help me pick a duck breed

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LadyLuck, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. LadyLuck

    LadyLuck Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 15, 2012
    now that my older DD has her flock of hens (and of course her pet roos) my younger daughter wants some ducks.
    We've told her we will get her some ducks this spring.

    I've read that some breeds don't need a whole pond of water to be happy, they only need a small pool/puddle/splash area. This is what I need. I'd also like a breed that stays small, good forager and good for pets. We may use them for eggs, but that's all, I don't picture us eating pet ducks.

    From what I've read, it seems like Welsh Harlequins would be a good fit, except I can't find info about their water preferences.

    Finally, how do I house the ducks? our hens are free roaming during the day and come to their coop at night where they are counted and tucked in. What kind of coop do ducks like? do ducks and chickens give each other diseases? any other concerns?

    thanks so much. we love our chickens so much, I can't wait to give ducks a try too.
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
    WH should work for your situation but I wouldn't consider them "small".

    Ducks can be housed in coops similar to chickens but they will probably need a larger space because they are quite messy. Many people keep ducks and chickens together without any issues. However if you get males then they must be separated if they try to mate your chickens.
  3. LadyLuck

    LadyLuck Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 15, 2012
    how small a number of ducks can I keep and keep them happy? I know they are flock animals, so I wouldn't try to keep only 1, but would 3 or 4 be ok?

    I'm looking at this handy chart from Metzer farms and while they are slightly heavier than the runner ducks, they are lighter than many others... do they actually grow bigger than this?
  4. DucksnDaffodils

    DucksnDaffodils Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2013
    You will LOVE your ducks no matter what the breed. I have had WH and they are WONDERFUL! birds, but I have a pond and one of their favorite things was to go swimming. I'm sure they could survive without it as any ducks will though. When I first read what you were looking for before you mentioned WH's I immediately thought of Indian Runners. They are good foragers, lay eggs, supposedly don't need water to swim in (once again I don't have that problem so don't know by experience) and can be superbly friendly and a hoot to watch. Of course they are different looking then most ducks and might take a little getting used to, but anyway, that's my two cents!! [​IMG]

    Have fun on your duck journey!!
  5. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    The Metzer chart is the standard for each breed. Some could get bigger but it wouldn't be by much at all. 3 or 4 would be fine, I'd probably go with 4 or 5 just in case something bad happens during shipping or over the first few days. Hopefully it wouldn't but you don't want to be in the position where you are left with only 1 should tragedy strike. I'd probably just go with females if I were you that way you don't need to deal with any drake drama. ;)

    Runners are a little smaller but they are a very nervous breed. I started with runners and while very entertaining, you need to spend a ton of time with them to get them used to people. Even then, they may not be what most consider "friendly". I would probably go with WH, they seem to fit in with what you want.

    A kiddie pool is fine. For housing, they don't need anything as elaborate as chickens since they don't roost. Basically, a secure, predator proof house. Depending on where you are and your temps it can be anything from open air to an insulate house. 3' tall will work but it will be harder for you to clean if that low. 2.5-4 sq ft per duck inside if they will only ever be in their at night. 6-8 sq ft each if they may need to stay locked up for a long time due to weather or your schedule.

    I would recommend getting a book, buy it or from the library, I like Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, it is my duck bible. Metzer Farms is also a great place to get ducklings, I got my runners from them.
  6. grawg

    grawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2011
    East Tennessee
    x2 this. If you get 3-5 ducks, one drake is the absolute most you would want.
  7. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    For sure, drakes bring drama and babies lol Kiddy pools are great because you can control the cleanliness and no risk of predators(snappers for instance)
  8. Maxcine99

    Maxcine99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2013
    Clinton, MD
    Aren't call ducks the smallest? I've heard they make good pets etc and they look so small they probably wouldn't need a whole lot of water imho.
  9. LadyLuck

    LadyLuck Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 15, 2012
    I looked at call ducks and they seem adorable, but the price is problematic.

    I also thought of runners, but they get mixed reviews on whether they make good pets, and they just don't look very duck-ish. Apparently to a 7 year old who is wild about ducks, the ducky look is important [​IMG]
  10. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL

    Calls can be pricey. They also don't ship well as ducklings, too fragile. Very true about runners, they don't look very ducky.

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