How much space per duck when feeding?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Henrik Petersson, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm planning on building a feeder for my future ducks. I have a question: Let's say the opening of the feeder is so small that not all ducks can eat at once. Will the ducks take turns eating, or will the weaker/lower-ranked ducks risk not getting enough food? When the first few ducks are finished eating and walk away, will the remaining ducks be smart enough to start to eat, or will they, gregarious as they are, follow their friends, despite their hunger? (I have a feeling my chickens sometimes do this.)

    And if all the ducks need to be able to eat all at once, how big a hole must the feeder have? How many inches of width per duck?
     
  2. revans2003

    revans2003 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can only speak from my four duck experience, but only two at a time can eat. The four ducks will all jam into the opening for the bowl and somehow through motion and gravity they will all get a turn. The two Pekins are huge but my welsh and mallard have no issue navigating there way into the food bowl and then backing out for water.
     
  3. Darkwing4

    Darkwing4 Out Of The Brooder

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    It's all of the above - taking turns, pecking order, some staying behind to eat, some sticking with the group. The best solution I found for my 5 is a wide(ish) circular feeding station. They make a very pretty pinwheel. They all seem to get enough, they're in a group, and there's room for all.

    They also free-range, have a pond/swamp in the backyard and I give them straw for bedding which they love to poke around in. So they've never had to be particularly competitive. Now that it's winter they won't have as many food options so I'll be watching for any aggressive behavior.
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    [​IMG]I like to use these main reason my chickens cannot get into them and scratch the feed out but it also works well for the ducks and geese because 5 can eat at one time I have 3 of them and built covers to keep them from getting snow and rain in them.

    and if your real handy which I am not but would love one of these
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  5. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, friends!

    Miss Lydia - I think I can build the latter one. However, I'm thinking of building a small house with a protruding roof in front of the pop door, and put the food and water under said roof, outside, in order to make my ducks be able to eat in heavy rain without having to pass through the rain from the house. Hence, I'm planning on making a feeder small enough to comfortably fit under that roof, which will probably be something like 5x5 ft.

    Am I overestimating how much ducks will suffer from being in heavy rain? Is it not overly important that they can walk somewhat dry from sleeping area to feeding area? (It snows here too occasionally!)

    (I am going off topic in my own thread, but I won't report me!)
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    LOL
    listen mine do not like heavy rain at all they stand stalk still with their chest out. They actually look like lawn ornaments. I think your on to something so please once you get it started how about sharing, it is always good to see others ideas especially for those that are just starting out. I look forward to it.
     
  7. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks seem to hate heat. They love rain (even heavy rain) and seem to thrive in the cold. The other day it wasn't even 40 and rained constantly. Unlike Lydia's ducks They were out splashing, digging mud holes and otherwise making their pen a mess. They've yet to see snow, but I don't foresee that as being much of an issue with their personalities. Every duck, but particularly every flock, has different tolerances. My ducks prefer to sleep outdoors unless it's below freezing and they really sprawl out if it's warm. Even now it's 26 degrees F (-3 C) outside and they are in the "open"--safe in a wire pen-- and refuse to use their warm and cozy nesting box. its 3feet x3 feet nest with a 3x3 "breeseway" plenty of room for the 4 of them to have their own space, but nope, outside it is.

    They are happily asleep right now in their little duckie "bundles" You can see their actual house just above them...fat lot of good it does!

    [​IMG]

    (this is pic from a night time security camera so it's not great)

    My landlord nearly fried his chickens two years ago because his wife insisted on putting in a heat-lamp when it was below freezing. He couldn't figure out why they kept breaking out of the coop. An experienced farmer told him that animals are not so stupid as we often think and will typically do what they are comfortable with. It turns out that his chickens only favored the heat lamp (on lowest wattage) when it was well below zero with wind--about -5 F (-20 C) or down to -10 or even -15 F when it was still outside (-23C to -26C). My then ducks were free range on a flowing river and never went in their "house" except to lay. Crazy.

    Rain does ruin my duck food (layer pellets), but I tend to keep it away from where they are sleeping to prevent mice and bugs.

    Now, I'm not advocating animal cruelty, I think all animals should have the ability to be warm, safe and dry. I just caution people against extravagant set ups before they know the needs of their animals. Now, it can be hard in the northeast where I live to gauge those needs on a daily basis, but once you have the basics covered, I feel it's better to have a plan on how to supplement rather than tearing things down mid-winter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  8. Darkwing4

    Darkwing4 Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG] here's a pic of my coop with an extended roof with food underneath and water to the side. My ducks like it in their coop which has hardware wire and closed off/insulated with straw. They don't seem to mind rain or snow but I'm glad they use the coop.

    They have a heated waterer off to the side. It only just got cold today - we've been lucky this winter with mild days in the 50s and 40s. I'll be sad when the pond freezes completely.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  9. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies, guys!

    Me and my dad have been banging our shaggy heads together for a few week and come up with a couple of neat solutions, if we may say so ourselves.

    First, we intend to put a solid metal or hard plastic roof over a big part of the pen, some 3 yards square. We figure it will be enough to constantly have a dry area were we can keep the feeders at all times. The house will also be under there, or at least its opening will face that area. That roof will also give the ducks plenty of shade.

    As for the feeders, we currently have an idea in mind that's very much inspired by DIY feeders I've seen online: Upright buckets, with 4 holes cut in each of them, each hole big enough for a duck to get the head in, but small enough so that the rest of the body won't fit. We'll just slosh a bit of food into the bucket every day. The holes will be high up enough on the sides of the buckets so that the food doesn't pour out.

    Furthermore - and this is where we get original - we intend to cast cement plates in the bottom of each bucket. When we cast them, we'll put a thin sheet of plastic in the bucket between the bucket and the cement, so the cement doesn't stick to the inside of the bucket. After the cement has hardened, the plastic sheet will be removed. Each plate will cover the bottom of the bucket and be 1-2 inches thick. We'll keep these plates in the bottom of the buckets as ballast, to keep the ducks from tipping over the buckets. During cleaning, the plates will be removed.

    Hope I explained it understandably enough. [​IMG]

    What do yo reckon about the cement plates; overkill? We already have some cement bags around the house, and a blender...
     
  10. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Exchange the word "cement" with "concrete" in the above post... Haha.
     

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