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I wish I had thought of keeping ducks!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by AnaD, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. AnaD

    AnaD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2011
    N. Ca
    I am a new chicken owner and I'm getting used to the poop all about and we are going to put up a large run so that they are not free pooping as much.
    Anyway, now I am hearing that ducks are better at keeping pest bug populations down, and that they produce more eggs than chickens, and that they are smarter than chickens. If I had thought about it I would have chosen ducks over chickens any day. I have always prefered ducks overall.
    Well, now I want ducks! I think...[​IMG] perhaps just two.
    QUESTIONS:
    What are the pros and cons of backyard ducks (I hear they are really messy!)?
    What would be the best duck breed that might be good for a moderately large backyard, good with children, small dogs, and chickens (ducks and chickens living together mass hysteria?)?
    Where in the heck does one purchase a duck?

    My biggest opstical is convincing my SO that now that we have 7 chickens that we also need two ducks. lol [​IMG]
     
  2. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    What are the pros and cons of backyard ducks (I hear they are really messy!)?

    Yes, they are messy - they have liquid poop. And it can squirt quite a distance. Molting will turn your yard into the aftermath of a down comforter factory explosion. Ducks can get a bit rowdy, especially when they sense danger. Imagine your drunkest redneck aunt laughing out loud. THAT's gonna be what you hear at 3am. [​IMG]

    Khaki Campbells and Runners can outlay some of the best chicken layer breeds. And the KC eggs will likely be bigger, average 0.5 ounces. Plus, you can charge more when you sell them. They only need a cat litter bin or kiddie pool to swim in and its a great bit of entertainment for the whole family when they do. Buy a dozen feeder goldfish on a Friday afternoon and you'll be entertained until sundown. Breeding season is an absolute hoot - ducks are NOT shy. [​IMG]

    What would be the best duck breed that might be good for a moderately large backyard, good with children, small dogs, and chickens (ducks and chickens living together mass hysteria?)?

    KCs and Runners are great fun and lovely. My Rouens are amazing, but they don't lay as often. I keep them mainly as the guard ducks of the flock. I'm also absolutely in love with my Silver/Blue Swedes. Great mammas, lay huge eggs and often.

    Where in the heck does one purchase a duck?

    Feedstores. Hatcheries. Folks like me who have ducks, though its not duckling season yet here. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  3. AnaD

    AnaD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2011
    N. Ca
    Wow, runners are pretty cool looking, but they only sell them straight run because they are rare [​IMG]
     
  4. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    I have Muscovies in with my chickens until I can fence in around the pond...they have made such a mess at the water..they get in it and splash it out and it is just muddy where the water is now....every other week, I have to move the watering tub to another spot in the hen house..hopefully by the end of March the fencing will be finished and they can be on the pond...that is my goal.
     
  5. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

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    Aug 3, 2009
    With ducks you need to be prepared for the mud, the holes you fall into that they've drilled in the pen, the noise factor of a hen, the fact that some breeds CAN and WILL fly off given the opportunity, cleaning pools everyday and the chickens water will pretty much stay muddy due to the ducks.
    IF you can deal with all of that, ducks are FANTASTIC! I adore every feather on my little monsters. Entertaining, social and adorable.
     
  6. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    AnaD,

    Runners aren't rare, at all. They breed like rabbits, have you checked the boards at your feedstore? Checked Farm & Garden Craigslist? Tried the local 4-H folks and Grangers? Geesh, I was practically giving them away last Summer because everyone had them here.

    You can also try here:
    http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/fawn_white_runners.html
     
  7. AnaD

    AnaD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2011
    N. Ca
    Maybe indian runners are different?
    Do you think late march is a good season to buy ducks? Northern Ca is usually in the 60s on average then and I'd rather not keep the messy ducks indoors during their brooding period.
     
  8. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    Maybe indian runners are different?

    Nope, same beastie. You might consider picking up a copy of Storey's Guide to Ducks.

    I'd rather not keep the messy ducks indoors during their brooding period.

    First week post-hatch, ducklings need a 95F brooder. Deduct 5 degrees each week. Can you do that outdoors? If not, consider buying 6-8 week olds.​
     
  9. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    You can get sexed runners from Metzer Farm in small numbers (you just pay a small order fee). I ordered 3 last summer.
    They poop.
    They make a mess.
    They poop.
    They play in their water.
    They poop.
    They poop in their water.
    They poop.
    They put lots of food in their water.
    They poop.
    But they really are a lot of fun and worth the poop and mess.

    If you brood them outside, you just need to make sure it is warm enough for them - 90/95 the first week and then drop 5 degrees a week for a bit until they can do without the heat lamp. I had mine outside when they arrived in August (in sountern AL) and still had the heat lamp on at night for them for the first 2 weeks.
    If you do outside, i'd put them out there, out of a drafty area, with a heat lamp, and if you can, bring them in at night - with a heat lamp.
     
  10. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,835
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    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Did I mention they poop?

    a lot.
     

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