Hardiest Ducks for Michigan weather?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Foresthome, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Foresthome

    Foresthome In the Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2018
    Michigan
    Hi! A duck newbie here from the woods in Port Huron, Michigan :) We have a dozen Khaki Campbells from Metzer farms that will be year this June. We are starting a small organic free range roadside business for eggs and veggies, and looking to add to our flock this spring. We have adequate housing in our modified shed for 30 but are undecided as to breed? Our ducks live a good life with every possible comfort yet we've had so many issues since the start. Two ducks were runty and have struggled/passed since arrival, sinus infections and blindness within a couple of weeks and very undersized. Currently lost one before Christmas and now housing a sickly one indoors. Are Khaki Campbells the best breed for us? Obviously egg production is important but I wonder if a little flock diversity would be helpful. I was interested in Welsh Harlequins but my husband is dead set on more Campbells. Is there a type of duck that is really hardy? I know they say all ducks are.....we have 5 kids helping out as well and the Campbells are so skittish and flighty. They are execellent foragers and smallish so eat less feed, so we are very happy on that front....but surely there are other duckies smaller in size and foragers that someone would recommend? We use organic feed, sanitize our bucket basin waterers, niacin, heat lamps below 0, vitamins, order crickets, fresh greens, warm mashes, grow dandelions year round, kiddie pools sanitized every day and given over temps of 20 degrees.....but I feel we are doing something wrong?
     
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  2. Poetastic

    Poetastic Chirping

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    Jan 20, 2018
    Northern Illinois
    I have a flock of Black Swedish ducks that are very hardy. I'm in northern Illinois, so I'm not sure if our winters are as bad as yours, but none of my ducks have ever died due to the cold. I've only lost three ducks in the three years I've owned them. They're also relatively easy to hatch and the babies are just as hardy as the adults. They're really mellow birds and lay a lot of eggs. One concern, however, is that the hens can get pretty loud sometimes. Also, they aren't the smallest duck either and are pretty slow and can be caught by predators easily. However, they are wary and alert so predators aren't a huge problem for them. I free range mine year round and they really seem to enjoy it. They are quite broody as well and will nest outside, so that is something to watch out for. They get along with all other birds, as I keep mine with chickens and guineas. I've never owned Khaki Campbells, but from what I've heard, they don't seem to be the hardiest ducks. Blue Swedish ducks are the same as the Black Swedish, but they are easier to find than the black. I think they would do really well in your climate because they are very hardy. I think they actually enjoy the snow! DSC_0011.JPG DSC_0025.JPG
     
    Soon2BChixMom likes this.
  3. Foresthome

    Foresthome In the Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2018
    Michigan
    Thank you so very much! Our ducks HATE the snow and are sitting in their shed huddled under the heat lamp. Everyone told us ducks were cold hardy, but our Campbells act depressed and sickly, causing a lot of worry on my part! I am so happy to see the pics and hear about your breed. I would rather have less eggs if it meant they weren't fighting disease all of the time. We live in the woods with a large backyard so luckily we have deterred any hawk attacks up until now. I spend all day outdoors gardening and they stay close in the summer, and my five little boys watch for hawks non-stop. They are very handy! I am going to research your ducks a bit, I think adding them to our flock would be fun! I never considered the Swedish because I didn't know they existed. Thank you SO SO much for your input, there is nothing like advice from real duck owners, rather than online reading!
     
    Poetastic likes this.
  4. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist Premium Member

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    South Park, Colorado, USA
    I also have Swedish. I have not had them long, but they certainly don't mind the cold. They are a medium size duck breed. Mine are friendly. They make more noise than my chickens. They don't seem to mind the cold and will often be bedded down in the snow with their feet tucked up. They run right out every day despite the weather and I've found duck sized holes in the ice in their pool on below freezing days. Mine had old but healed injuries from before I adopted them and I think the fact that they seem totally fine now speaks to their hardiness as well.
     
    Julie Birb likes this.
  5. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist Premium Member

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  6. Poetastic

    Poetastic Chirping

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    Jan 20, 2018
    Northern Illinois
    You're very welcome! I'm glad I introduced them to you! They're also very good garden birds. Mine will help me garden by eating bugs and weeds. They don't seem to bother what I'm growing, which is a miracle!
     
  7. Foresthome

    Foresthome In the Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2018
    Michigan
    That sounds amazing! My Campbells destroyed a lilac bush and rose within 3 minutes of "helping" me garden. They also tip over the toad houses and eat the boys "pet" frogs so they have been banned! I would so like a duck that could eat some bugs and weeds, there are plenty! My husband is stubborn about keeping the same breed, but since I order the ducks.....;)
     
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  8. Foresthome

    Foresthome In the Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2018
    Michigan
    Thank you so much for the pictures! I can show my husband, he won't believe his eyes. Your ducks are actually sitting outdoors...in the snow....this is what we imagined when we started raising ducks! They are so beautiful as well. I am very grateful for your help!
     
  9. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist Premium Member

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    I don't have many pictures, but there is almost always snow on the ground and they are almost always sitting in it when I get home from work. They do have a small house with a few inches of straw and they do go in there regularly, especially if it's windy, but they definitely aren't shy about the snow. My chickens on the other hand will crane their necks and stay on their ramp and try and do everything they can to get food and water without touching the snow. If the chickens even see snow out their coop window they sometimes won't even come outside for hours! The chickens are chicken! haha.
     
    Julie Birb likes this.
  10. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist Premium Member

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    South Park, Colorado, USA
    Oh, and no heat lamp for these girls. It was down in the single digits F last night and they didn't seem too bothered about it.
     

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