Hi I'm new with a ton of questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LadyMe, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. LadyMe

    LadyMe New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    May 1, 2012
    I've been reading old threads for hours, and searching the best I can, so I do apologize as I'm sure this has been asked but I can't think of the specific phrasing to search for :) I appreciate any answers you can give!

    I'm really thinking about getting some runner ducks. 3-5, not too many. We will have a fenced 3/4 acre for them to run around in. I want them for their eggs/cuteness/ teach my kids responsibility. I don't want to get in over my head though.

    Duck cost aside, how much do you pay to feed ducks monthly?
    How much was your initial set up cost, for the housing?
    Did you make your own or buy it premade? Share a pic?
    How much time daily/weekly do you put into duck care?
    Are there any links/pics you can show of the lowest maintenance/ less mess housing?
    How much space do they need if I need to leave them inside their pen for a day or two?
     
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,215
    139
    243
    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    [​IMG]
     
  3. LadyMe

    LadyMe New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    May 1, 2012
    Thank you so much! I'm in north/eastern NC, it's windy but we've only had a couple of freeze days this year.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,962
    1,927
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    [​IMG]
    And the Duck Forum [​IMG]

    I have nine runners and four buffs. We go through a fifty pound bag of feed every three to four weeks. I also use one or two pounds of peas and three or four heads of lettuce a week. I buy a 50 pound bag of oyster shell and that lasts for at least six months (much much less expensive in the 50 pound bag - I think $12, when a 2 pound bag is $7).

    I also spend money on shavings - about $6 a bale, lasts about a week and a half, depending on the weather. Compressed sawdust pellets for absorbing water splash are $7 a bag, they last a couple of weeks, depending. I used to use bales of straw but we had several musty bales - I could not tell till I opened them :(

    I built Little Fort Knox (a neighbor built the main parts of the house to my design, and I finished it, then built the veranda and day pen solo), and spent quite a bit of money. I am not good at finding bargains and was somewhat isolated at the time. That meant a few trips to the big box store. Also invested in a Patriot fence charger and a roll of equine tape. On the other hand, I have not lost any ducks to predators and we have a nice pen the ducks can stay in while I am out during the day. I could have saved myself a few hundred dollars if I had realized that close to half my flock was not winter-hardy, and so their night pen is in the walkout basement. It works great, because I keep the basement more tidy now than I did before we had anyone living there.

    That brings to mind the cleanup. Room service in the morning takes about 15 minutes - pick up a few poop piles for fertilizer, stir the shavings, rinse out and refill two water buckets. Big cleanup may take up to an hour every two weeks. That involves removing all the shavings, the sawdust in the water stations, replacing shavings and sawdust.

    There's also building up a medicine chest for the ducks. If one has no vet or no money for a vet, getting set up to treat the ducks (they get sick nights, weekends and holidays) matters. Have you seen the first aid kit thread in the stickies?

    Space-wise, the day pen is 10'x16' with a 4'x8'covered porch. By leaving them, do you mean you would go away for days, or you'd be gone most of the daytime? My feeling is that someone needs to check on them at least every eight hours, six is better. Predators watch. They see your patterns. Two days is a long opportunity for breaking into a duck pen.
     
  5. cosbackyard

    cosbackyard Chillin' With My Peeps

    414
    25
    118
    Feb 20, 2013
    Colorado Springs, CO
    With three ducks I've been going through 50 pounds every two months or so. So that's about eight bucks a month. Mine do forage every day for at least a couple of hours, though.
    They're medium-sized campbells.

    I'm planning a new run right now. 3x6 with an attached 5x6 run. It's cold here in winter and we have endless predators so I have to build strong. Wire for the run alone cost $100. Roofing should be another $90. Wood and misc about another hundred. So I'm figuring $300 total.

    If you have raccoons, and I'm assuming you do, build it like fort knox. No gaps, 1/2 inch wire mesh at least around the bottom for a run. Use locks or carabiners on all of the doors. Never forget to lock them in at night. In my area - one mistake means dead ducks. I've lost... 9 in the last few years. First time because I used chicken wire. Second time because I didn't have locks on all of the doors (just latches) and the third time when I forgot to lock them up at night.

    In my old coop I kept three ducks in less than 8 sq ft. Their small run, when I had to keep them cooped up, was only 20 sq ft. They didn't seem to mind. Most of the time, though they free-ranged daily.

    I only spent maybe 10 mins a day on maintenance. Letting them out and in, food and water when necessary. I changed out their straw every 5 days or so. Emptied, cleaned, and refilled their kiddie pool about the same frequency.
     
  6. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    4
    81
    Feb 9, 2013
    Kentucky
    My ducklings are 3 weeks old. I have 5. I feed them nutrena nature wise chick starter. 18% protein unmedicated. I paid about $15 for a 40 lb. bag and they are maybe 1/4 - 2/3 of the way through it. They are in the brooder and its to cold for them to go out and forage right now. It's been snowing here but this weekend it's supposed to be warm (in the 60's) so I might try to let them out for short periods. I'm building their house this weekend. We got all the free plywood we want so that's nice but we will have to pay for the enclosure. I'd suggest looking on craigslist. You can find some great materials that people are giving away for free. Especially pallets. Right now I'm estimating our fencing to cost $40 but yours will probably cost more if you're enclosing that much space. Right now they're in a homemade brooder. I found a huge box (yes, they grow FAST and you will need the biggest box you can possibly find. Think refrigerator box. You can probably get one for free at Lowe's) and I lined it with a large waterproof tablecloth (you can find them at Walmart or party stores for 98 cents). I put sticky-side-out rolls of duct tape in the corners of the floor to help hold it in place, then, pulled the rest up over the sides and duct taped it all around (they sling poop and water EVERYWHERE). I use pine shavings from tractor supply (FINE pine shavings) for their bedding. (DON'T use cedar. It's harmful). Be very careful when selecting bedding. Mine were on a bigger, harder pine shaving for a while and it scratched up their feet. I had to doctor them up for a couple days with neosporin. Always check their feet for scratches/cuts. The big bag of fine shavings from TSC is $5.99. I go through a bag about once every week and a half. Some might go longer but I clean my brooder out everyday. You can make your own waterer by cutting a hole a little bigger than their heads in the top of a cool whip tub and fill it with water. It actually keeps the brooder dryer than a chick waterer. I'd say just put their food on a shallow bowl. It's easy, cheap, and no matter what you put it in they will get it wet. They have to use the water to swallow do they'll go back and forth between them. You'll need to invest in a heat lamp but they're not all that expensive. I paid about $7 for my heat bulb. I obviously don't have pics of my duck house yet but I'll upload a pic of their brooder for you. Where do you plan to order/buy from? I think 2-5 is a great number to start with. It keeps them in a flock so they will safe but it's not too many to handle.
     
  7. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    4
    81
    Feb 9, 2013
    Kentucky
    [​IMG]
    This is my 5 ducklings along with 9 chicks at 2 days old.
    [​IMG]
    This is my 5 ducklings in the same size box at 3 weeks old.
    [​IMG]
    And this is my 5 ducklings in a MUCH bigger box.

    That's why you should go ahead and find a huge box.

    Hope this helps! Be sure to share pics when you get your new babies!
     
  8. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    4
    81
    Feb 9, 2013
    Kentucky
    Oh! I almost forgot. If you don't want to smell a wet poopy mess sweet PDZ will be your best friend. Get the granular kind and sprinkle it in their bedding.
     
  9. LadyMe

    LadyMe New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    May 1, 2012
    So much to think about! I plan on letting them out in the am and herding them back in every night, but I want to make sure they have enough space if there is a day I can't get them out or we go on vacation. Someone would still come feed and check on them, but unless I find someone who house sits, I don't want them to have to worry about the out of pen time.
    There's a guy near me who has a billion chickens/ducks/ turkeys. He lets em all out in the morning and they run around and flock and play together and then at night they all go back to their own pens :) that's where I saw his runners and was totally smitten by them. He has babies occasionally, I just want to get all my "ducks in a row" before I dive in [​IMG]
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,962
    1,927
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    And we duck lovers greatly appreciate that! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by