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I'm going to be new to owning ducks and I have some questions.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ChickyMomm, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. ChickyMomm

    ChickyMomm Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 9, 2013
    Massachusetts
    Hi BYC! I have a few questions about owning ducks. I've never owned ducks before and I'm going to be new to it. I currently own 8 hens and I'm planing on getting a couple of chicks in the spring, along with two ducklings. Can you guys answer these questions for me?

    -I've heard ducks are messy. How much of a mess do you guys think 2 ducks could make? Would it be easy enough to someone new to duck ownership to deal with?

    -I'm planning on having the ducks and chickens live together. Are there any special living arrangments that ducks need? I know chickens need nesting boxes and roosts, but do ducks need something like those to be happy besides a small pond?

    -Can I feed ducks and my chickens the same feed? I currently feed my hens the DUMOR Layer Crumble. Would that be fine for ducks to eat?

    -Are there any specific breeds that would be easier to have than others?

    -Are drakes as territorial and protective as roosters?

    -Are ducks excessively noisy?

    If anyone could answer these for me, it would be a huge favor!! Thank you!
     
  2. Twoandhelp

    Twoandhelp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2015
    I know others can probably give better advice than I can (I've been a duck owner for less than a year) but A good tip for the brooder- put something like a cooling rack with a grid pattern (so they can walk on it easily) over a cake pan. Then the waterer on top of that so the water doesn't get all over their bedding. That's the worst of their mess- when they drink.

    My drakes can be a little overzealous (I have one too many) but they are never aggressive to me, and not overly rough with each other.

    As for noise? I love the whisper of the drakes and the fun quacks of the female. You probably won't be bothered by two.

    I have silver appleyards and anconas and I LOVE them both.

    All I really know about feed is it can't be medicated!

    I'm not qualified to advise on much else. Good luck!
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Welcome to the threshold of Duckdom!

    Ducks are waterfowl. If we don't provide an environment that takes that into account, messes will result. But they don't have to. I have 9 Runners, 4 Buffs and a Black East Indie. We don't have a mess problem.

    With only two, it should be a snap to manage their water. Here are some water management ideas I have come across.


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/641902/created-a-water-saver-for-my-duck-brooder

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/679433/water-water-everywhere/10

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/858161/feed-water-solution-for-brooder#post_12901321

    http://frankiemakes.blogspot.ca/2012/06/watering-solution-for-ducks.html

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/259876/do-your-ducks-have-water-at-night/10#post_13568197

    post number 8 from this
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/959603/ducklings-getting-stuck-on-their-backs#post_14939819

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/969751/help-baby-ducklings#post_15125952


    I use two kinds of watering stations. The larger one is the bottom half of a large plastic dog crate (for large plastic dogs?!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] I put sawdust pellets in the bottom to absorb splash. In the morning I scrape off the top layer of manure and moisture.



    [​IMG]

    This is the smaller watering station - a kitty litter box (note the entrance).

    Have you seen this?

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings#post_10611711
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Ducks are much messier than chickens, especially as littles. Because of that, I'd consider not brooding the ducks and chicks together. Ducks make a mess with their water and bedding will get wet unless you stay on top of it. While my chicken as an adult doesn't care, chicks can get chilled if the water mess isn't managed well. Amiga gave you links that can help, but be prepared that you might still need to separate them just due to water.
    That and rounded bills vs pointy beaks... sometimes don't mix well in the brooder. And it isn't always the chicks that pick on the ducks. Also, ducks are going to grow faster than the chicks and that could lead to some issues. Just be aware things can arise and if you do brood them together, at some point, you might need to move to plan B.
    As adults, my chicken has a house to herself and the ducks have a separate house. I hose the duck house out daily. The chicken didn't even poop in her house at all for about 2 weeks.
    Ducks make a muddy mess of their water. My chicken doesn't care. She has her own clean water they can't get to, but she doesn't touch that and just uses the messy duck water.


    My ducks have a bin of pine straw which is where they normally lay their eggs when they are laying. Sometimes they will lay them in the yard, pond, or willy nilly in their house not in the box, but usually in the box. Ducks don't need roosts (muscovies will roost, but the mallard derived ones will not)


    I use a flock raiser crumble to feed littles. Then once old enough, they all go to chicken layer feed.

    Breeds - depends on what you are looking for in a duck. I have had runners, welsh harlequin, a buff and a mallard. The buff and mallard were not long lived due to a fox :( but the buff as was a male and a sweet little guy that loved hanging out with his mallard girl. The mallard would fly and that's how she became a fox snack... she flew out of the pen, probably to their pond and was likely taken as a result. But she was a loud mouth. Very sweet girl and very bonded to the buff and you could tell she was not happy when the fox got him. My runners are quietly talkative girls. They love their pond and just seem to have fun. My welsh harlequin is a hoot to watch in comparison to the runners. So very different in movement, but she keeps up with them. She is typically quiet unless she has something she thinks you should know about and then she tells you loud and clear!
    All my girls were louder in their first year and then quieted down. They chatter, but they aren't too quacky too often.

    Boy ducks - they can injure or even kill a chicken if they try to mate with them. Boy ducks are anatomically different than roosters. I didn't see my male trying to mate the chickens, but he had plenty of ducks to keep him busy when he so desired. With just 2 ducks, I'd not get a male since you also have chickens.
     

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