How much water do ducks need... and a few other silly questions....

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ladybug99, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. ladybug99

    ladybug99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 10, 2010
    Monroe New Jersey
    I am new to ducks.... so here is my situation... we bought 5 cute little ducklings back in the beginning of October with the hopes of building them a nice enclosure with a built in pond for them. Needless to say we got hit by the hurricane in the end of October with the duck pen half finished. So my five huge ducklings ( really they are bigger than my chickens) are currently living in our chick brooder. Its large about 20 ft by 8 ft.It has an enclosed outside pen as well. I know ducks need water to eat so I have them trained pretty good to come for thier food and drink out of the chicken waterer... but since they have gotton bigger we have moved the feeding outside in the morning where we have rigged up a small pond from a top of a bird feeder. They love to get right in the water slurp it up and make a mess with it. At night we are still using a chicken waterer. They make such a mess, they get everything wet and I have to clean up the muck almost every morning!!! My question is once they have finished eating do they need a huge amount of water or can I take it away till the morning??

    And while I am at it a few more questions..... my ducks love being outside but don't go in by themselves, can I train them to automatically go in at night like the chickens or will I forever have to entice them inside with tasty treats?!

    And one final question... what is the best type of bedding or floor for our duck pen.... I currently have them on sand with straw for them to sleep on. The sand gets pretty wet and smelly if I leave water inside. they seem to like to nibble at the straw....But when the duck pen in finished I would like some ideas on what to put on the floor, I don't think we will be keeping water inside thier enclosure since they will have a nice sizable pond to swim in.

    I appreciate any ideas or suggestions :)
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Glad you are asking these questions.

    Rather than ramble on, I will ask if you have read the duck stickies

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/256233/ducks-sticky-topics-index

    Ducks have a unique relationship with water. I did not keep water away from my ducklings till they were 8 to 10 weeks old, then only for 8 hours at night.

    You can successfully manage their water and that will be healthier and greatly reduce mess and aroma.

    They must have water deep enough to wash their heads in. It prevents infections.

    Take a look at the stickies and then let us know what you think.

    I am in New England, and we got grazed by Sandy. Do you have electricity back yet?
     
  3. ladybug99

    ladybug99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 10, 2010
    Monroe New Jersey
    That is my plan as well... just keep it away at night. The pond we have outside is plenty deep enough to get thier entire heads under the water.

    The "sticky's were not much help on my other questions.. when you go to bedding and runs it just shows you pages of ponds... I don't have the time to go thru everything. And I did not see anything there on duck behavior and training.

    The Jersey shore was hit real bad in the storm, and then again with the big snow storm. We got our power back last thursday, there are a lot of people who still don't have power. We lost a lot of trees on our property and some of our roof, and various pieces of the house My coops are a real mess with endless amounts of sticks, branches and other strange debris that blew in...I only need some free time to clean it all up. We consider ourselves lucky :)
     
  4. Marty1876

    Marty1876 Hi Everyone!

    Welcome to ducks! They certainly do grow fast, don't they? LOL Yes, they are quite messy. Personally, my ducks just have a bit of straw in their small outdoor houses. I make a pen, and put a dog house or something larger in there. I spread a few flakes of straw in the bottem, and rake it out and compost it weekly. I do not have food or water in duck houses. I only keep water outside, for reasons I'm sure don't need to be explained to you. I put ducks in at dark, and let them out first thing in the morning.

    Train your ducks to go in at night, by putting a very small light in their duck house. You will have to "heard" them in for a week or two, they don't learn fast, unless its wet or tasty. You could try putting snacks in at night for a week. After a few weeks, at full dark they will wander in (most of the time) under the light, where you can just go shut them up for their nighttime safety. After you shut the door, unplug the light (unless they are laying and you want them to keep laying at night/early a.m. for you)

    I don't keep ducks and chickens togather, except they can mingle in the large fowl yard if allow it. Its only becasue ducks are so messy. I use 6-8" walmart storage containers (old ones with broken lids usually) and small kiddie wade pools (the hard plastic kind) for watering my ducks. If you allow water in their bedding area, it will only get everything soggy. You can make "low mess" duck waterers from old milk jugs.

    I'm thinking about writing an article about that, since it seems to come up so often. Basically, you take a well rinsed/washed empty milk jug and put a whole the size of a duck head (about 2.5" accross is big enough) on the flat side of the caren, about 2/3's way up for the bottem of the whole. (opposite the handle, more or less). This can be used overnights, or in brooders. I use it all the time for baby ducks, but I have to make a new one every week (or save and reuse old ones) as they ducklings grow so fast. Its the only way to keep brooders from becoming a wet mucky mess. I brood so many ducklings, that I've had to devise some tolerable brooking methods.
     

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