Hottentot and Ringed Teal Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by HottentotTeal, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. HottentotTeal

    HottentotTeal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everyone!

    Half of this will be well though out and the other half may seem like rambling or me talking out loud, so forgive me for making such a long post

    I am having an extremely hard time finding any extensive information on the 2 duck breeds I would like to look into possibly owning.

    I don't know if it's because they are just not popular as pets or maybe ducks of all breeds or types are just too similar to really require going in further detail or study.

    My guess is both, but probably more so that they just aren't exactly your run of the mill pet.

    Also, I apologize if the grammar and spelling is not entirely accurate. I am typing this in notepad and will dump it in the post window when i am ready, so please be kind! I tried to preview this at least twice.



    If you also just have any kind of general information about the two breeds, please post anything you know, because i would love to read it!



    I am putting some very serious thought into building a small duck "palace" in my backyard.

    I have been reading several threads for information and they have been quite helpful with giving me ideas and extra things to consider and ask.

    First off, here are 2 pictures of the workspace I would like to use:

    [​IMG]

    If you look closely in this pic, you can see a metal duck statue peeking from the bottom left bush:

    [​IMG]


    The shrubs, mulch, etc, would all be ripped out and i would plan to put dirt and grass on top of that to start with. I have some more thoughts on the flooring later down this post.

    The dimensions for the "palace" are about the following:

    6.5' x 11' if i just use the measurements from the back to the back ground driveway.

    6.5' x 15' if i use the same measurement but extend to the edge of my back porch rather than the driveway.

    It's really about 7 feet, but i wanted to put some space in because the "palace" area would most likely not be flush with the rear driveway.

    After talking the dimensions over, we would probably go with something in between 11 and 15 feet for the width.

    I hadn't thought about the height, but I figured at least 6-7 feet, enough to go up to the balcony beams in the foreground of the area and for us to walk in to clean and do maintenance.

    I believe that would be enough room for 1 pair of ducks.




    Costs:
    I'm not entirely concerned about the costs of getting everything set up. I don't know how much money it will cost, but I probably won't be building the housing myself and depending on some of the things to decide further down the list,
    I'm sure the cost can easily go into $1000 or $2000?

    Location:
    I live in the Houston, Texas inner city Heights Area. We don't really have stringent zoning laws and i will double-check on codes and laws later, as I really just want to see if this all would be feasible first.

    Temperature:
    It seems that freezing temps are not really a big deal for ducks, at least in my area, since it may only dip below freezing a handful of days of the year in my area.
    I think the main problem with temps for me would be heat. The area in my pics has only partial sun and is well shaded a majority of the day. Only small sections of the area, like maybe 1/4 to 1/3 at a time will be in full sun only for a few hours a day.

    Those times are generally in the early and late hours as area is quite well protected overhead from my roof and the angle of the sun as it progresses during the day. The pictures I took above were taken today at 1130 am.
    I'm guessing as long as they have a nice little pond and fresh water at all times, they can easily keep cool in hot weather.



    Type of Duck:
    I would like to get a Hottentot Teal (preferably 2, so it won't be lonely and hopefully make less noise) or maybe 2 Ringed Teals. I'd much rather have the Hottentot Teal, but I honestly could not go wrong with either as far as the look i am going for in my duck. I would probably prefer to have 2 male ducks, but I don't really know much about social behaviour of ducks and whether the pair would be more ideal as female and male. I also don't really want to breed them. I would just like to have 2 ducks that i can love and enjoy.



    Loudness:
    The first order to resolve is how loud i should expect the ducks to be.

    I just registered on this forum yesterday and have been reading and searching threads on here for quite a few hours both days.

    I have found several threads on noise and it appears for as quiet a duck as possible, it is best to get a male duck and/or pairs of ducks.

    Unfortunately, Ringed Teals and especially Hottentot Teals do not seem exceptionally popular, because for the 10+ threads I read in searches on noise, I did not see them listed when people posted about noisyness.

    I checked Youtube hoping for a good audio sample and found maybe 3 or 4 videos with both kinds of duck in total. I believe I was only able to make out the sounds from one of the ringed Teal videos and they didn't seem too loud.

    When I did a search for Ringed Teals on this forum, I did find an example of someone mentioning the female sounding like a dying cat at times. Yikes! We have plenty of cats around here, which i will be talking about later.

    Of course, I have a beagle, so what possibly can be louder than that? Needless to say, he is an indoor pet, but my ducks would have to be outside.





    Building the Habitat:
    I forget the exact thread, but it was one where 1lpoock posted pics of an Aviary construction. I went to 1lpoock's website and was very impressed with the Aviary design.

    I was thinking of making mine with either wooden posts similar to the ones for our walkway in the back to the garage, which you can see in the pics, although they might be a little big.

    I would need to make a roof, because we have old trees all around and limbs occaisionally fall everywhere in the backyard.

    In any case, i would like to build an aviary with some similarities to the one on 1lpoock's website about half the size, since that is the space I have to work with.

    Another option I am actually leaning towards is pouring concrete all around the corners/framing perimiter area, because if I just dropped wood posts in the ground or those clever flat planks like 1lpoock used to obstruct viewing in and out at the ducks' eye level, it might encourage termites.

    The boards on the bottom would be a must for me because there are stray cats and dogs in the neighborhood. Dogs I am not worried about as much, because our house is fenced in on all sides.

    However, the front uses metal fencing and cats and toy breed dogs can slip through.

    That brings up the problem of preventing them from digging in.

    I was thinking of digging down maybe 1.5 to 2 feet and laying down wire or something along those lines to prevent animals like a cat from digging in.
    I just don't know if concrete poured around the perimiter would be enough or if i should just lay down wire down below.



    Flooring/Grass:
    Should i make the floor of the giant duck cage area grass?
    I noticed at the zoo they commonly put ducks in with other birds in caged housing, but a majority of the ground in each area is covered entirely with pebbles.
    I have read that ducks love to eat everything and fear they might eat pebbles if i went that route. Plus I am not sure if that would be hard on their feet. My guess is it would be compared to grass.
    In addition, I still have no earthly clue how the zookeepers clean the area if the ground is all pebbles other than a spray hose. I'm just worried that might be a little unsanitary.
    I believe the flooring for the zoo duck exhibits is dirt with a healthy level of small pebbles completely covering the top.
    I believe we have St. Augustine grass in most of our yard. If grass is used, is there any particular kind that should be used or does that really matter?



    Sleeping Area:
    Does each duck require a little nesting place, like a box shelter or tiny roofed shelter inside the caged area?
    If so, what would be recommended for nesting material?
    I see Hay, sawdust, and other bedding mentioned in the book i am reading, but it only briefly mentions it.




    Pool/Pond:
    Is Concrete or Plastic recommended? At the Zoo, I noticed they have concrete pools that the ducks swim in. I just wonder if it is safe for their feet.
    Lowes and Home Depot sell plastic ponds that you can drop in the ground.
    I'd like to get an idea how deep your ponds are. I think the plastic ones at the home improvement stores are about 1 foot, maybe 2.
    Again, I am just not really sure where to go on this. Obviously, concrete will cost more and i read in one thread that if concrete is used, a sealant should be used to make cleaning it easier.
    Also, I suppose a filtration system would be recommended if I were to go the route of concrete and I would probably want to put one in a plastic one as well just to be safe.
    I am not really sure how easy it would be to clean either and would welcome input on that.


    Pests:
    Since other animals may sometimes come into our yard like a stray cat or dog, do ducks get fleas or would they simply eat them?
    We also have bees and wasps. I am not really worried about bees, because they normally are not aggressive and if i were to build the duck palace, I would of course rip out all of that loverly shrubbage that attracts them.
    However, are wasps and bees a threat to them? I know they may come to the pond to drink. I have a small bird water bath in the backyard nearby that a lone bee will frequent every now and then.


    plants:
    I only got a chance to briefly search this, but i would like to have some plants inside for them to be able to hide by and feel safe and possibly even eat or nibble on. Also I know they like to perch on short objects, so maybe a log or two would be good. Again, my only fear about that is termites. I guess I could use some ornamental rocks for that instead?



    Food:
    The book i bought recommends the following fresh greens:
    lettuce
    chard
    endive
    watercress
    dandelion leaves
    It recommends putting them in the water trough to keep them fresher and prevent them from spoiling.

    Of course I would plan on buying food specifically formulated for them as well, like pellets, etc.

    I have also read they enjoy mealworms and night crawlers and i think i saw a website that sells dried ones.



    Books:
    If there are any recommendations on Books, specifically about Ringed Teals, Hottentots, or just Teals in general, I would love to know.

    I did a search on Barnes and Noble and also on Borders and didn't find anything specifically on them, other than small books with pictures of them.

    Amazon turned up the same results that i had on the above 2 sites.

    I did find a book at Borders called "Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks" and bought it this afternoon.

    I hope to find some of these questions answered in there and I am sure more will come up as i read it.



    Ok, I think that covers my initial post. I spent 3.5 hours typing this up.

    Thanks to everyone for reading and any replying in advance.
     
  2. JROOSTER

    JROOSTER Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow
     
  3. Hattiegun

    Hattiegun Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:DITTO
     
  4. jsvand5

    jsvand5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ocala, FL
    I don't have either of the types you are looking for, but if you want a quiet bird I would go with hooded mergansers. They are absolutely silent aside from the males mating call during breeding season. They do need a bigger sized pool IMO since they are a diving duck. They are great though. Definitely my favorite.
     
  5. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

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    If you also just have any kind of general information about the two breeds, please post anything you know, because i would love to read it!

    I know you saw my aviary and checked it on my website, but I don't know if you saw my ringed teal page on there also, I have some information on there about them http://sprucecreekwaterfowl.webs.com/ringedteal.htm ...also, Mallard Lane Farms raises both those species and has nice info on them here http://www.mallardlanefarms.com/teals.htm ...I do know that hottentots are very very small and can get through a two inch opening. I hope to get them someday and our aviary is covered in 1" heavy knotted aviary netting so I think it will be fine.

    I hadn't thought about the height, but I figured at least 6-7 feet, enough to go up to the balcony beams in the foreground of the area and for us to walk in to clean and do maintenance.

    This is definetly enough room for 2 pairs. Especially if you are sticking with teals, they are very small. The teal like to fly around and perch so the more the room the better; however, your area sounds good for a few pairs.

    I'm not entirely concerned about the costs of getting everything set up. I don't know how much money it will cost, but I probably won't be building the housing myself and depending on some of the things to decide further down the list,
    I'm sure the cost can easily go into $1000 or $2000?

    No, it shouldn't be that much for an 11'x7' aviary. You would just need a wooden frame, a wooden sight barrier at the bottom, and some type of netting to cover it with. This shouldn't be but a few hundred.

    It seems that freezing temps are not really a big deal for ducks, at least in my area, since it may only dip below freezing a handful of days of the year in my area.
    I think the main problem with temps for me would be heat.

    The freezing temps usually are not a problem for my ringed teal. However, both species are very little and they can get frostbitten feet very easily. As long as they have a small shelter with straw in it, they should be fine. Also, the heat won't be a problem, as long as they have clean water to swim in.

    I would like to get a Hottentot Teal (preferably 2, so it won't be lonely and hopefully make less noise) or maybe 2 Ringed Teals. I'd much rather have the Hottentot Teal, but I honestly could not go wrong with either as far as the look i am going for in my duck. I would probably prefer to have 2 male ducks, but I don't really know much about social behaviour of ducks and whether the pair would be more ideal as female and male. I also don't really want to breed them. I would just like to have 2 ducks that i can love and enjoy.

    I strongly suggest you get pairs (male/female). You will probably have a hard time getting a breeder to sell you two males or two female unless they are extras. I like the look of both the ringed teal and hottentot teal, but I've only had the ringed teal. They are very fun to watch and I would definetly suggest those. Again, get a pair, you will love having little ducklings and I'm sure you wont have a tough time selling the offspring if you only want to keep a pair.

    I have found several threads on noise and it appears for as quiet a duck as possible, it is best to get a male duck and/or pairs of ducks.

    This is totally different in exotic ducks. I can't speak for hottentots, but the ringed teal barely ever make noises. The male will sometimes make a louder noise, but it lasts for maybe a second and isn't loud at all. The female will rarely make a noise and when she does it is kind of loud and does sound like a dying cat haha...but they don't compare at all to domestic ducks.

    Unfortunately, Ringed Teals and especially Hottentot Teals do not seem exceptionally popular, because for the 10+ threads I read in searches on noise, I did not see them listed when people posted about noisyness.

    A lot of people on BYC just have domestic ducks, many have exotic ducks like mandarins and wood ducks, but few have more than that.

    In any case, i would like to build an aviary with some similarities to the one on 1lpoock's website about half the size, since that is the space I have to work with.

    Thanks for the compliments, but I suggest not building one with greenhouse frames in your situation, but build one more squarely if you know what I mean. I'm sure this is what you are planning.

    Another option I am actually leaning towards is pouring concrete all around the corners/framing perimiter area, because if I just dropped wood posts in the ground or those clever flat planks like 1lpoock used to obstruct viewing in and out at the ducks' eye level, it might encourage termites.

    We don't have any wood actually in the ground, the only thing in the ground is the metal posts from the greenhouse frame.

    I was thinking of digging down maybe 1.5 to 2 feet and laying down wire or something along those lines to prevent animals like a cat from digging in.
    I just don't know if concrete poured around the perimiter would be enough or if i should just lay down wire down below.

    I don't think you need this as long as you have a sight barrier, we don't have any wire buried and haven't had any problems and our aviary is right next to a woods. We do; however, have an electric line running around the outside perimeter to zap any predators.

    Should i make the floor of the giant duck cage area grass?

    Your best bet is just grass or sand. Doesn't really matter what kind.

    Does each duck require a little nesting place, like a box shelter or tiny roofed shelter inside the caged area?
    You will want a little shelter on the ground for them to go in, we also have a little shelter to put food under too.

    If so, what would be recommended for nesting material?

    You can just use straw in their house. However, sometimes teal will nest in wood duck style nesting boxes and sometimes they will nest on the ground. I think with two pair, you could get away with two nesting boxes and one ground shelter. In the nesting boxes you should use wood shavings.

    Is Concrete or Plastic recommended? Lowes and Home Depot sell plastic ponds that you can drop in the ground.

    Its your preference. We use a plastic one from Lowes and I really like it. It has two levels, one is about two feet deep and the other part about one foot. We drain it about every two weeks with a sewage pump.

    Also, I suppose a filtration system would be recommended if I were to go the route of concrete and I would probably want to put one in a plastic one as well just to be safe.

    It's too much work putting a drain in the bottom, like I said, our sewage pump works great for us!

    Since other animals may sometimes come into our yard like a stray cat or dog, do ducks get fleas or would they simply eat them?

    Don't even worry about this, they eat bugs and clean themselves in pond water.

    I only got a chance to briefly search this, but i would like to have some plants inside for them to be able to hide by and feel safe and possibly even eat or nibble on. Also I know they like to perch on short objects, so maybe a log or two would be good. Again, my only fear about that is termites. I guess I could use some ornamental rocks for that instead?

    We have lots of driftwood and dead wood in our aviary for them to perch on. The only plants we have are tall grasses that we cut down every year.

    Of course I would plan on buying food specifically formulated for them as well, like pellets, etc.

    I have also read they enjoy mealworms and night crawlers and i think i saw a website that sells dried ones.

    We just feed them poultry layer with a bit of cracked corn mixed in. Sometimes we give them greens, but they don't seem too interested, they love worms though.

    I did find a book at Borders called "Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks" and bought it this afternoon.

    I hope to find some of these questions answered in there and I am sure more will come up as i read it.

    You will probably not find any info in that book, its geared more towards domestic ducks. I just found out about my ornamental ducks by asking around. Feel free to ask more questions!​
     
  6. jsvand5

    jsvand5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ocala, FL
    1lpoock, do you know anything about the baikal teal? I have been wanting a pair of those but I need something that is very quiet.
     
  7. HottentotTeal

    HottentotTeal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for posting everyone. Especially, 1lpoock.

    I just happened to come home from work for lunch to check on my poor hamster and i was soooo happy for the replies.

    I think he is dying. We bought him when he was already a year old and i have had him for a year already so he has lived pretty long. He hasn't been moving or eating. I came home so i could feed him some yogurt, which he did eat happily.

    He's still not moving around much, so i fear he won't live too much longer.


    I'd say I love you for posting, 1lpoock, but I think my wife would kill me if she reads this. I first thought about contacting you via your site or a PM, because you obviously know your stuff about Teals, but I figured it would be best to first post here and see what happens.

    As you had suggested, I do plan on building a squarish duck aviary. I'm not really sure how fancy i want it to be, but I was thinking of doing a little roof on top. We do have extra shingles tucked away from when our house was built a few years ago. I will probably just go with the plastic pond from the Lowes or Home Depot. From what i read in your posts and a few others on Teals, I should go with 1 inch wire, so i will be looking at that.

    I also thought instead of wooden walls, which i think you have, maybe i can do plastic. I'm just not really sure about that yet. I will talk to my home builder and i am sure he can help me with some ideas for that as well.

    Maybe i can draw something like some sketch plans and upload it later and get some thoughts on it.

    For the construction, I probably could do it with some help, but if there is no zoning regulations, I could probably ask my home builder to send a guy or 2 out to build it for me. I'm not really a tool or handyman person, so that is why i thought the costs might be a lot higher, especially with labor costs and supplies. Plus, I'd rather have it done right and it would be a very long learning process for me trying to build it.

    As far as a sewage pump, I can search for that on here some more when i get home later tonight. Do you ever take the plastic pond out or is that a device you just put in, like a hose and then just pump the water out and maybe scrape the tub clean afterwards and refill?

    Judging by your measurements from the aviary, I thought maybe i can get 2 pairs or 1 hottentot pair and one ringed teal pair. I don't want to get ahead of myself though, but i can always dream.

    I did have your site and Mallard Lane Farms bookmarked, since you both have Ringed Teals and Mallard seemed like the only place that has Hottentots.

    Thanks for the info on the pairs. I figured most places will sell just male/female pairs. It's not a big deal. I think socially it would be best for ducks to be in that pairing, so that saves me from having to ask that question later.

    You are right about the book. It is unfortunately not very helpful and it covers the more common domestic ducks, which most are of course bigger than the little teals i want to get. I realized this when i found it at the store yesterday, but I figured some of the general material would be applicable. I'm just surprised how little information there is on these ducks!

    I think we will go to Home Depot and Lowes tonight and maybe take a look at what kind of supplies they have, especially the tubs/ponds and we can start getting a more accurate price on some of the accessories.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to reply to my "novel." I greatly appreciate it!
     
  8. destinduck

    destinduck obsessed with "ducks"

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    Baikals are very quiet as are most wild type ducks. [​IMG]
     
  9. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

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    Mallard Lane Farm's Website :

    Baikal Teal One of the most exotic looking members of the teal family, the Baikal drake is a striking bird. His head is a Harlequin pattern of green and yellow separated by an elaborate scrollwork of black and white lines. The breast is a warm buff, the flanks gray, and the back a cascade of plumes in buff and brown. The female looks rather simlair to a greenwing hen, but is more brown in color and has a distinct white spot at the base of the bill. It is noteworthy to mention that hybrids have been documented between Greenwing and Baikal teal, thus these two species should be kept separate.

    Native to China and breeding in central and eastern Siberia, this bird is easily kept in captivity, however in alot of cases is not easily bred. While the Baikal is a calm bird and will get along well with others, I prefer to keep mine separate from other species, thus giving them less disturbances during the breeding season. They seem to perfer natural cover for nesting, my birds have not shown any interest in several different sytles of nesting boxes. and eggs are normally laid in tall grass. The breeding season is in Spring and begins in May in my region. Clutches consist of 6 to 8 eggs and are incubated for about 25 days. The ducklings are not difficult to raise.​
     
  10. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

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    Sandusky, Ohio
    I first thought about contacting you via your site or a PM, because you obviously know your stuff about Teals, but I figured it would be best to first post here and see what happens.

    Thanks a lot. However, I'm just getting started in all of the ornamental ducks and I am also learning; I really hope to get more teals alond with other kinds too. Just wait until Boggy Bottom Bantams gets on here, they really know their stuff about wild ducks.

    I'm not really sure how fancy i want it to be, but I was thinking of doing a little roof on top. We do have extra shingles tucked away from when our house was built a few years ago. I will probably just go with the plastic pond from the Lowes or Home Depot. From what i read in your posts and a few others on Teals, I should go with 1 inch wire, so i will be looking at that.

    That sounds good, you might even be interested in roof panels that are clear, can't remember exactly what they are called, but they would let sunlight through. Also, if possible, I would try to get netting from 3tproducts' website (1 inch), teals especially can get spooked easily and if they run right into chicken wire or hardware cloth, they can kill themselves.

    As far as a sewage pump, I can search for that on here some more when i get home later tonight. Do you ever take the plastic pond out or is that a device you just put in, like a hose and then just pump the water out and maybe scrape the tub clean afterwards and refill?

    Our pond is permanently in the ground. We drain it out and try to get as much sand/silt as we can out of the bottom before refilling it with a hose.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to reply to my "novel." I greatly appreciate it!

    Good luck at Home Depot or Lowes...let us know what you find!​
     

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