Help w/ what breed to get and other questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by mustangsaguaro, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am thinking about getting a couple of duck eggs to hatch, but know nothing about ducks. Any input anyone can give would be greatly appreciated. I’d like to know can baby ducks be given the same type of starter feed that is given to baby chicks? I know it is not advisable to feed medicated feed to ducks which is not a problem as I don’t feed my chicks medicated feed. As the ducks get older and start laying can they be on the same feed as laying chickens or do they require a different percentage of protein. I don’t feed your typical commercial feed. I mix my own by mixing whole grains for my chickens. Can ducks be on whole grains too or is a different diet required? I also know they like water (i.e pond or small baby pool). On our property we have a pond but it doesn’t have water in it year round. I could easily get a baby wading pool. Would ducks be ok w/ that?

    As for breed I have no clue what breed to get. What breeds are out there that are friendly and usually like people? Also, looking for a breed that is good at eating bugs (especially flies and ticks). I’d like to stay away from the breed/color you see of the ducks in the wild, I think those are called mallard ducks. I am very interested in the call ducks (bantams) but not sure if they would fly away (I think they are to cute). Do call ducks come in standard size. I know there are bantam, medium and heavy ducks. I’d like to stay away from any of the heavy breeds. I also like the Cayuga or East Indie ducks as well. What other breeds are out there that are in the bantam or medium class. What is a non noisy or less noisy breed of duck. I know muscovies are pretty quiet but I really dislike the growths so want to stay away from them. What would be a good amount of ducks to go w/? I don’t want to go w/ a lot because I already have 30-40 chickens. I am thinking maybe 3-6 ducks is this a good number?

    Finally can I house ducks w/ my chickens or is it not recommended. Do ducks like to roost in the same respect as chickens or do they prefer to be on the ground. At what age do females begin to lay eggs?

    Any input on breeds/temperament, etc. or anything important I may have missed would be greatly appreciated. Also, do ducks tend to be prone to mites/lice like chickens do?

    Thanks
    Kim
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I need to go tend my little flock, but wanted to say welcome, and congratulate you for asking before bringing them home.

    They are fabulous animals, and if you don't get the water management right, you could be kicking yourself.

    So, take a look at the stickies on this forum, and see if you get some more information. I plan to check back in later some time.

    They are different than chicks, grow faster, tend to have fewer health problems from what I have read, but seem more prone to predator attack, again, just my impression from reading. I only have ducks.

    I love my runners and buffs. Take a look at runners. If you want layers they are a very good breed. There are many other good breeds out there.
     
  3. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have only had ducks for a couple years so I can only give you a few tidbits. I do have Cayuga but my first group was all boys so they were beautiful and fun to watch but not "productive" They are active foragers although I can't really say for certain how well they work on bugs as we have been in a drought and bugs were scarce b/c of that. The Drakes I had/have are pretty quiet but the girls I have growing right now are chatty cathys. I would say in comparison to a Pekin they are about 25% quieter on average. I keep my chickens and ducks together but with a chicken flock that large I would suggest making them their own sleeping quarters to keep them from being pooped on and picked on. When they are just wandering the yard they will be fine together. I have heard runners are productive and very good foragers and it is my understanding they don't LOVE water quite as much as other ducks. My Cayugas are ALWAYS playing in any water that can be found.

    They can be fed just like you would feed your chicks and are started much the same they are a little less fragile and actually require cooler temps starting at about 85 then going down until no heat at about 4 weeks. They will make a horrible mess of the brooder even with all the fun watering contraptions we have thought up to try and discourage them. B/c of this I reccommend getting them when you can put them outdoors or a more open arrangement at about 3 weeks or so. If the weather is in the 50 - 60's they wont need heat by then....they grow soooo fast.

    3-6 is a good number. Be careful of getting straight run ducklings from hatcheries that sell sexed ducks b/c it seems you always end up for 5 drakes and 1 duck or an uneven mixture of some sort. It is a lot like chickens 1 drake for every 6 ducks give or take.... so if you have the option I would pay the extra 1.75 or w/e to get sexed ducklings or have a plan for the extra boys....pets, crockpot, etc....

    Well that turned into quite the book hope it gives you atleast a jumping off point & WELCOME!!
     
  4. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    San Martin, Ca
    Thanks for the info on the ducks. I know you suggested runner ducks. I really don't like the look of runners because they are so upright. So will probably opt not to get runners. I'm really set on calls, east indies or cayugas. But am open to other breeds as well. Just need more info on those that are familiar w/ them. And was hoping for more responses than what I have currently gotten. Although the responses I have gotten have been very helpful. I am not one that would purchase through a hatchery. Quality is just not there. I show some of my chickens. And if I were to get a few ducks I would go thru a breeder and purchase eggs and hope to get 1 or 2 SQ birds. That is just me.

    Thanks
     
  5. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are 2 links in my signature (at the bottom of this post) that will provide some of the answers you are looking for.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    [​IMG] I chose runners in part because of their looks, and I can appreciate you wanting some that look more traditionally duck-like.

    So how about Buff Orpington ducks? I have four of them. They are smallish, about 4 to 5 pounds, and I think they are beautiful. They are, in my opinion, a designer duck, since Orpington bred them to have a certain look, and to be dual purpose ducks. The American Livestock Breed Conservancy wrote (if I recall correctly) they were developed from Cayugas, Aylesburies, Runners and Rouens.


    [​IMG]
    This is a photo of my Michele. Shelly passed away last year from egg yolk peritonitis.
     

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