Is it mission impossible? Free range duck eggs

emckee

Hatching
7 Years
Dec 29, 2012
6
0
7
Shelby, NC
So here's what had happened...
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The second week of February I went to buy my yearly crop of chicks at Tractor Supply. Last year I was able to resist the cuteness of the ducklings, but this year that was not to be. I figured they'd be a new challenge and that I'd finally get to try a duck egg. Yes I could go buy a dozen but where's the initiative in that?

So we have 4 Rouens and 2 Khaki campbells. They were in the brooder with chicks for a few days, then moved to a dog crate in the garage for a while, and finally to an outdoor pen with a small pool.
We have a large pond inside a livestock fence where ducks have lived successfully on their own, without predators being a problem, so that's the best option in terms of minimizing mess and freeing up space for chickens.

My question is, in order to both set the ducks out free AND still have some control over them, is it a must that I build some sort of pen or structure in which to put food/water/nest boxes? Is it important (again, not in terms of predators, but in terms of egg collection) to close them up that certain place at night?

Not opposed to building something, it would just be great if I could convince them to lay in a certain place without doing all that.
 

Blondiega1

Songster
9 Years
Nov 5, 2010
549
16
141
Dallas, Ga.
I have pekins.
They free range.
It's kind of like Easter every day around here.
I go look around the lake and sometimes I find eggs, and sometimes I don't. LOL
 

bugflipper

Songster
9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
228
22
113
You pretty well have to lock them up at night to get eggs. Mine don't get locked up. Most of the time they sleep in the open and lay wherever they please, even in water, sometime before daylight. The crows come in every morning at about dawn and eat the eggs. If I want to hatch any I have to get there before the crows. A small shelter with food, water and hay in it would be ideal just in case they need in from the cold. Not really a need for raised nest boxes as it's rare for them to use them, at least for the rouens, pekins, cayuga and call ducks I have had anyhow.
Good Luck
 

HollyDuckFarmer

Songster
7 Years
Jun 30, 2012
2,683
177
208
LP Michigan
Yah, you want your ducks safely penned at night. Mine free range during daylight, at dusk I go call out: "heeeyy Ladies, time to pen up." They just walk right in. If I forget to call for them, they pen themselves up. All I have to do then is latch the door.

ETA: the drakes do not care that I call them Ladies. :)
 
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