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How do I do this

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by moodlymoo, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. moodlymoo

    moodlymoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 17 pullets in a large coop and run in our backyard. Recently the hubby and I have been tossing around the idea of getting a few ducks. I need all the info possible for care, housing, and behavior for these. Which are GREAT layers but also very friendly as we have 4 human babies. What do they need in a coop and run, how do I set up the coop, do they use nesting boxes, ect. Please help out. Also, are they good cold weather animals? We are in oregon where we deal with nasty rain, wind, and a few nasty cold nights.
     
  2. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They should do fine in Oregon. I would go out and buy "Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks" it will answer all of the questions you listed and help you think of questions you never knew you would want to ask. Everyone will give you different info about what ducks are best, how to house them, etc. Because everyone has different needs and reasons for getting ducks.
    I picked Ancona ducks because they are good dual purpose, pretty, hardy, calm, and critically endangered. I also visited friends with ducks, and farms with ducks, to meet as many breeds as I could. It helped me rule out some ducks I thought I liked until I met them. I still liked them, but realized some of their needs and mine were not in line.
    The author of Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks is an Oregonian, so you're in good company there.
    Good luck. Ducks are wonderful. I love my little trio.
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    Ditto on Storey's Guide.

    I have nine runner girls and could not be happier. We are a good match!

    A few things I've read a number of times here on the forum:

    Ducks are water babies. They need water to drink and wash in, at the very least, and they splash. So any setup needs to take that into account. If you get brooder water management handled, then duckhouse/run water management handled, you will save yourself much grief and consternation. Ducks cannot help it, they don't do it to annoy anyone, they just splash! Which of course, makes mud and crud, which if not managed well, can produce odors, and the whole thing goes downhill from there.

    In my experience, it's the amount of time and attention you pay to ducks that can make them friendly. I had read that runners are very nervous and skittery. Mine? Not so much. And they have never bitten anyone. But I have put great effort into working with them and socializing them. So if you want minimal interaction with your ducks, you might not want runners. Still, many runners are very good layers. It is difficult to predict sometimes as not all breeding programs emphasize laying ability.

    Welsh harlequins are supposed to be good layers, as are Khaki Campbells. KCs were bred from runners, rouens and mallards, by the way.

    Ducks are sitting ducks when it comes to predators. They don't roost. Raccoons will reach through chicken wire and pull them through piece by piece. For nighttime, they need little Fort Knox, and they need to be trained to go there before sundown.

    Ducks may or may not use nest boxes. But mine lay (just about all the time) in their house, often in nests they make themselves in the shavings or straw.
     
  4. Senna95

    Senna95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey there! I'm just north of you (in Woodland, WA). We have chickens and ducks (together). They get along fine: the only thing is that ducks will be quite a bit messier. They need to have a place to bathe (I have a black "mixing tub" (made for concrete mixing) in their pens....... ) and they like to splash their water all over the place. The way I have mine set up: Dig a big hole, fill it with drain rock, then set the tub of bathing water on top. This lets most of the water drain away rather then getting the whole yard wet.

    By the way, if you're looking for some adult or young females, I still have a few runners and runner/welsh harlequin mixes available. All are and/or should be good layers.
     
  5. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    Reading up on ducks I read that they can tolerate cold weather. Remember they have down to keep them warm. Also I have muscovies that r very friendly and I love them. They are seperate from the chickens in that they REALLY make a mess.
     
  6. moodlymoo

    moodlymoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have a large wooden dog house that is not being used could that be used for the "coop"? I also plan on building a run around the coop and put a big kiddie pool inside the run. How does that sound?
     
  7. Senna95

    Senna95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The secret is DRAINAGE!!! If you have good drainage you won't have a problem with mud. No drainage = mud.

    A small doghouse should be fine for a few ducks (I started with my first 6 in an igloo doghouse too). The bigger you can make their "yard" the better, and keep the feed as far away from the water as you can..... and did I mention drainage? Really.... spend the time and money to dig a hole and put in some rock. (dig it a foot or 2 wider then the swimming pool, and about a foot deep... all the way around), or you'll be frustrated and slipping and sliding on mud all winter long.
     
  8. moodlymoo

    moodlymoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 23, 2011
    Portland OR
    How do I place food in the house though and what type of bedding is best for ducks?
     
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    I have been impressed at the many ways Duck Forum participants have come up with for feeding, watering, and bedding!

    For my runners, I use pine shavings over the linoleum, and top that with some straw that I change out more frequently. When I do change the straw, I stir the shavings up. They stay nice and dry and insulate the bottom of the duck house and make it nice and cushy.

    Food and water are on the veranda, not inside the house. The veranda is a porch covered all over by half inch hardware cloth (top, bottom, sides). There's some sand on top of the hardware cloth on the bottom, and I top that with sawdust. I use a cultivator every day or two to stir the sawdust. That keeps it smelling pleasantly earthy. From time to time I either add fresh sawdust pellets and stir that in, or shovel out a few buckets full and place on the compost and then add fresh sawdust pellets.

    I use a deep stock pot for the veranda water - they don't splash very much with that.

    ETA: With ducks, food needs to be accompanied by water or they are at risk of choking.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  10. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If this dog house you have is wood, I would put an addition on it. Cover the existing floor with linoleum, and do the porch idea with the wire bottom. I couldn't do a porch, so mine have an elevated drinking station with a catch pan under it, wooden frame covered over with hardware cloth. Think of it as adding an external nest box, only it has a wire bottom for the splash to fall through and houses the water container. Which keeps the bedding dry. Added bonus of having a lift-up roof on it for easy access to replace the water.

    With the run, go big... GIANT... or go small and smart. I didn't have the space for big, so ours is 10x10 and the bottom if filled with 6 inches of gravel I can hose off. Barring some big expensive project, that's all the drainage we can do here. I wish I could utilize the side of a slope. I have like 5 different plans for duck houses and set-ups now, after having them again this year. [​IMG]

    So far mine have laid in the "nest box"... a large plastic tote flipped on it's side and filled with bedding. I got an egg 3 days after someone started nest making! They do everything on the ground, so you don't need a tall building unless you want inside it too. You want to allow for a lot of inside space since you live in a cold climate. I have 8x5 for 5 ducks, tons of space, enough that I can lock them up without it being torture on them. I plan on adding 3 more girls.

    The breed I chose is Saxony, to me they are just drop dead gorgeous! Heavy too, a large duck. My oldest female I had started laying exactly at 6 months old, and an egg every single morning until she passed away from a freak accident. The younger birds have another 2 months until they start laying. The boys are just cool looking. They really are a dual purpose duck if these other females lay as well as the first one did. She was more reliable than any of my chickens.

    I wanted something rare too, is another reason I chose them.

    As far as being pets... the difference between super friendly park ducks and the ducks at home is the park ducks have people throwing food at them ALL day, while the ducks at home just have the brief times the owner goes out there. You need to visit them A LOT, with food, from day one. And don't chase them to hold them, you want them to feel confident in coming up to you, and chasing them in an attempt to tame them down will backfire. Let them come to you, visit often, bring food. Specially frozen peas. Forget the bread, it's not that good for them. Don't let the kids chase them around if you want them to instead come running up to you. As soon as I stopped trying to hold and cuddle my ducks they started hanging out willingly with me as a group. [​IMG] It's easier to tame 2 than 10.
     

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