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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    Apr 12, 2010
    Wow, that was a great post Boggy Bottom Bantams!

    I am on the waiting list for Mallard Lane Farms for a pair of Hottentots.

    One thing i could really use help with is the flooring.


    The area i am working with is down to clay right now.

    I was thinking of digging it a few more inches and laying down a sheet of wire to prevent digging from below.

    Then on top of that:

    I plan to get about 2 inches of river gravel and 3 or 4 inches of sand, preferrably 4.

    I am thinking i should get medium sand for the ground, but is there a specific type of sand i should look at? I don't think i will find any good quality sand at Lowes or Home Depot, so i may need to just truck it in. Probably the same for the gravel.


    I am about to eat, but i will try to draw my current plan for the aviary and upload it so you can get a better idea of it and see if you can add any suggestions.
     
  2. HottentotTeal

    HottentotTeal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2010
    Ok, since i don't have a scanner and can't really draw that great, i decided to quickly "sketch" out what the aviary will look like in one of my video game editors.

    It's not exactly to scale and I didn't have time to paint it. (sorry, old Back to the Future joke)


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    It will have a mesh, of course, but I wanted to save myself the time and leave it off in the game editor. Plus, it might be harder to see the overall plan if i put it in.
     
  3. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 9, 2008
    Hahira, GA
    looks like a great design so far.
    Personally, avoid solid sand pens, it is very abrasive to their digestive system. I have seen them start pooping blood after just a few days on solid sand, it will cut their insides at times just because they eat so much of it and it's so sharp.
    Sand around the ponds is, great, it helps clean their feet off before they get in the water and helps cut down on the water maintenance, feed them away from the sand and they wont eat as much and be just fine.
    I would go with gravel and fill dirt for the main part of it, then top it with pine straw, and other shaveings, mulch etc are much better on them and can easily be racked up and changed in smaller pens like you are working on. This will help cut back on bacteria growth and smell too and give you cleaner healthier birds, where the sand will just hold it all and eventually be brown and smelly instead of pretty white.

    Stones of various sizes and shapes around your pond also help cut back on tracking dirt into it. I was always religieous about keeping stuff like that around mine, looks great to and they love perching on them. Like I said earlier too, it's real cool if you can get a log with an arch to it and hang it over your pond, I use to have several like that on the smaller ponds, they'd always spend half the day sitting on it.
    Another thing I always liked was misters over the ponds, can be done simply with pvc pipe and a screw on spray nossle, they love to get in the fine spray, especially in the heat of the summer, most liked eating icecycles off it in the winter too for that matter.
    Concrete ponds help with this too, if you dont line them, water will slowly seep out threw the concrete and keeps from over filling and wetting everything. Just another one of those astetic things and the birds really love it.

    As for concrete ponds, if you do go that route, fill it up and drain it a few times before putting the birds in, this will just help get the excess lime and all out of the way, I never once had any problems, but best to be safe too.
    I'd fill a new pond and let it soak over night then drain it, twice like this, then you were good to go. Also, to cut back on algea, you can put a small amount of bleach in the ponds too with no harm. I'd use a gallon in most of mine, but they were huge, some were
    40 feet X60 3 feet deep. In a small one 1/2 a cup will go a long way. And bleach them every time you drain them too, to kill all the bacteria that will grow in it, concrete or plastic, just helps keep them healthy and kills all the algea.

    Hope that helps you a bit more, you too are welcome to contact me any time, you'll love Mallard Lanes birds, they have some nice ones, their prices are dead on for most, some a re a bit high though, but they ahve great, healthy birds too!

    here's some pics I just got off the web just so everyone can see what we are talking about here
    keep in mind, these are about 5 inches long over all!
    female
    [​IMG]
    male
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  4. sianara

    sianara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    Central MA
    I'll definitely keep you in mind if I'm ever in a position to get more ornamental ducks! At this point, I have the ducks for enjoyment purposes AND for the eggs equally.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  5. HottentotTeal

    HottentotTeal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2010
    I bought a plastic pond liner tub at Lowes last week. I forget the exact dimensions, but i posted a pic on Page 2 i think and i want to say it's around 30-50 gallons.

    The builder was saying that concrete will most likely crack and even the plastic ones can too, but that it would be easier to replace that if it broke later on.


    I can't use mulch because it's very hot and humid here. Whenever it rains, mold, fungus, and mushrooms grow out of it. I am hoping pine shavings will still be ok for their bedding area. I am not really sure if it would be a good idea to put it all over the floor of the aviary and I am thinking since rain will be a factor, I may need to raise the ground nesting area just a few inches (2 or 3) off the ground.


    Initially, I planned to make a roof, but decided not to. This means i could always put grass back in. what do you about me doing that?

    We have St. Augustine grass planted on most lawns around here. I'm just worried about having a dirt surface because of all the rain. It will get very muddy, especially since i don't have a roof.

    I can always put a partial roof, like over the area i plan to set up their ground nesting box area to protect them from rain, but i guess the nesting area should do that.
     
  6. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Hahira, GA
    They're ducks, they wont get out of the rain [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I have never once put a shelter on any waterfowl enclosure, they just dont care for them, it would serve as a good shade giver for them in the hot summer months if you wanted to do a partial deal though.
    Being a small pen, yes raise the dirt level and all the excess water will run off and not be too big of a problem especially if you do a few inches of gravle then cover it with dirt (will act like a septic system in drainage), BUT in the long run, these are ducks, they are messy, and they love to make mud!!
    I wouldnt cover the hole pen with litter either, just one end of it away from the pond, and yes, if you want it pristeen, you are going to have to change it about once a week, I'm in south Georgia, yall got it made compared to us when it comes to heat, humidity and summer storms, it wont be that bad on you, just part of the waterfowl hobby that you have to be prepaired to deal with.
    As for grass, it would be beautifull, but you can forget it, they'll eat it quicker than you can keep putting it in.
    My main aviaries were 200 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 12 feet tall (several of them), bare as a bone on the grass department. You can plant stuff like pampas grass and tuff ornamentals like that, but that's it. Actually pampas, is great for them to nest in to.

    Keep the questions a comin
     
  7. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Hahira, GA
    Quote:I hear ya, over the next 2-4 yearts, I fully intend to get all of them back , and some I didnt have as the rare stuff seems to have fallen out in price, where the common , dime a dozen ones have sky rocketed, ?? Go figure right, Stuff that use to be $5000 a pair are now $800 and stuff that was $40 is now $100, dont make much sense.
    Let me know if you're ever looking, I'll be glad to point you in the right direction
     
  8. HottentotTeal

    HottentotTeal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2010
    Ok, thanks for letting me know about only covering a part of it as well as the duration to change it.

    Could you tell me how much i should feed them?

    I am supposed to go check out a feed store on Friday, because they are supposed to carry the Mazuri Waterfowl food and the PDF for the food says to feed a certain amount based on how many kilograms of bird you have.


    If I feed them at morning and evening, I am thinking maybe 1/4 cup of food per Hottentot? I'm, not sure if that is too little or too much.

    Also, I was wondering if it would be a good idea to have separate bowls for both ducks for water and food (4 bowls total), that way they won't fight over food.

    Here is what i am planning to do with the inside:

    [​IMG]



    I have some questions on the design of the actual aviary construction as far as the dirt floor and rock levels go. It's worrying me to DEATH, but this should be fun. [​IMG]

    The little shed will be a 3-walled and roof shelter for them.


    I am worrying about the dirt and rock. It pertains to whether i should have the worker do a majority of the ground work or should i just go back in and do that part my self.

    I can let him build the aviary and then go back in and carve out the entire bottom except around the posts he cements in and then put in wire all around on the bottom as well as the rocks, pond, and dirt.

    I'm just not sure which would be best though. I think putting wire in the ground to prevent digging is what is holding me up on all this. Or should i just have him pour cement all around or something else, or forget the wire completely?

    I think i will go get a solar electrical fence regardless just to be safe.

    Also I'm not sure if raising the dirt up to the wood would be a bad idea or not. He is going to use pressure treated "rot board" It is the same wood used on the bottom of our fence line. I'm not sure if that would be an issue later on or not.

    I think the main problem is I am wondering what I should do at the ground level all around the bottom frame. I'm just not sure if burying wood would be a good idea.
     
  9. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Hahira, GA
    You can use that high dollar Mazuir if you want, but it's way over prices, course 1 bag would last you for ever with 2-4 ducks.
    Purina Gambird diet is all you really need, and 1/3 the cost for 50# bag than a 40# Mazuir.
    1/4 cup should feed 2 hottentots all day, Just put you a small bowl out there and fill it up, you can see in a week how much they will eat, I like to keep them full myself, but not fat. and you dont want food out overnight either, that will draw rats, and can cause disease problems like avian tuberculosis. They wont fight over feed so dont worry about that, most teal are very gentle, baikal males are about the most aggressive, and they arent bad.
    Also, they love floating catfish food as daily treats!

    As for your wire bottom issue, I'd scratch it, over time, it'll just rust away any how. That fence charger is the way to go, one touch and their gone, use the 6 inch extender fence insulators, this will hold the wire well off and away from the pen fencing so the ducks cant possibly touch it.
    If they are using treated wood, you can add the dirt however high you want, another option is to take a 1 inch paddle drill bit and bore holes every foot or so in your bottom runner boards to allow for drainage, or use two bottom boards, one 4 inches tall or so at ground level, fill it up to that point, then use another on top of that, with a 1/2- 1 inch gap between them to allow for the runoff, this will also keep your wire attached better. That would be my main concern burring anything, the wire will eventually rust, unless you are using the welded wire, It's the most durable, and strongest against critters.

    Hope that helped you a bit
    Aubrey
     
  10. HottentotTeal

    HottentotTeal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2010
    ok, thank you soooo much for the information! As you can tell, I don't have even 1% of a handyman in my blood. [​IMG]


    I will ditch the wire and go with the solar electric fence/wire.


    For the feeding, I saw that most of what i read recommended feeding twice a day, so should i feed them 1/8 of a cup in the morning and 1/8 when i get home from work? Or should i just leave the whole serving out for them at breakfast time?

    I'm assuming if it rains, I might want to split the feedings to prevent it from spoiling.


    I don't remember the price for the Mazuri bag, but it didn't seem too much, in relation to what we get our dog and it seems like he wolfs down bags by the truckload. (once a month) Not sure how much the ducks can go through, but i'd guess a few months hopefully for 1 bag, which isn't a big deal to me in cost.

    We buy some fancy USA-made dog food for my beagle and I am just paranoid about Purina, because I thought they were part of the pet food recall a while back. I'm not really sure where the Mazuri stuff is made, but I know the Houston zoo uses it and I'd probably feel better just buying that one. I'll check and see if they have both brands at the Feed Store. I'm pretty sure they do. The website for the feed store said they specialized in Mazuri and Purina's exotic/wild animal feeds.

    Also, thank you for mentioning about the drilling/2-board option for drainage. I was going to ask about that and clearly forgot. That really helps a lot.


    I feel a lot better with all of this wonderful advice and hopefully I can get a few good nights of sleep now!


    I ordered the 3t netting that 1lpoock recommended on sunday, but it hasn't shipped yet.

    I am going to put the welded wire on the top as well as the sides instead of the chicken wire, but i thought it might be a good idea to also get (4) 2-sided clasps. I don't know the proper word, but they are spring clasps, kinda like the kind a jailor/janitor or someone would use with a ton of keys. I thought I could clip 1 in each corner at the ceiling on the wire and then as it hangs on the inside of the pen, on the other end of the clip, I could attach the netting to the ceiling that way. It would give maybe 2-3 inches from the ceiling boards and wire. Also, I was thinking of clipping a hanging wall of the netting right in front of the door, down to about knee level, in case they get the bright idea to try and fly out when i enter the cage. I'm not sure if that is overdoing it, though. My guess is they will just go to the opposite end of the pen when i enter as I don't really expect them to come up to me like my dog. I'm not sure if they will ever let me get close enough to them to pet them and I don't want to scare them by trying. I guess I can always dream.

    I'll see if they carry the catfish pellets at the feed store as well. At the Zoo, they have little bubblegum machines that have duck/fish food. It looks like small round brown pellets, kind alike dog food, but just round or flat kibble-like. Would that be the same thing? whenever I go to the zoo, I always try to feed the ducks with a handful from the machine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010

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