Just thinking about getting ducks… I have a lot of questions

Silkie Princess

🙄🤚Be kind to the Cochins
Premium Feather Member
Jun 24, 2021
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some of you might have seen my previous thread where I was asking about Indian runner ducks and my broody silkie. I am not getting ducks right now or in 2022 ( although I would love that) I might get ducks one day though. I would keep them as pets. Probably would get only like 3 females. Okay so here are the questions:
- what does a healthy diet look like?
- exactly how loud are they? ( I have a lot of roosters (12) and my neighbours are okay with that so I don’t think about the noise level too much)
- What ,,special” things do ducks need?

And some info about how I imagine things would be:

- they would be in contact with the chickens but they would have a separate run and coop
- I would like to have pekins or Indian runners


please feel free to share some tips for caring for them!
 

Callender Girl

Crossing the Road
Sep 18, 2018
3,270
19,261
766
North Central Iowa
I LOVE runner ducks! Currently, I have six females and two drakes who eat a commercial feed designed for ducks. In the winter, they get a little scratch as a treat only. Summer treats are usually refrigerated grapes and frozen peas; in the fall, they devour broken-open pumpkins.

My runners are not nearly as loud as my Iowa Blue rooster. The boys really only mumble, and while I can hear the girls from my house, they are sheltered just a few feet away from the living room window on purpose. I want to know if there are predators afoot. They do tend to be a bit busy at night, but it's not noisy enough to be bothersome to me indoors.

Until it gets too cold and everything freezes, they get plenty of water options -- a kiddie pool, a couple of rubber dishes and a small livestock water tank. My runners will take any opportunity to bathe in anything and will try to crowd into the heated dog water dish when their water dishes are frozen. It's funny to watch the ducks try to see how many birds will fit in a small dish.

During the day, they are loose with the chickens and geese. Although I've heard some people have, I have never had an issue with the drakes trying to mate with any of my chickens. Once in a while, a runner will nip at a chicken, but that's always a squabble over food. The ducks and chickens have separate runs and coops.

My girls are prolific layers who produce lovely, white eggs. Quinn, my runner queen, passed away this year. But she laid beautiful pale green eggs.

In so many ways, ducks (and geese) are easier to keep than chickens, especially in bad weather since they don't really care if it's wet or cold. Often, while the chickens are huddled in their coops, the ducks want to be let out to go play in the snow!

While the chickens will wander off and split into small groups, the runners stay together just about all the time. If you find one runner, you find them all. I like that! Also, because of their tiny wings, a 2-foot fence is generally all that's required to keep them "penned." Once in a while, a brave girl will launch herself over a barrier, only to want to come back to her flock as soon as possible.

While the chickens live in well-ventilated and insulated coops, the ducks' shelter is partially open. One end is enclosed and I run a tarp over most of it for the winter. But they don't require nearly as much protection from winter weather, and it's below freezing for months here.

On the other hand, the runners are so much messier than chickens since their water goes EVERYWHERE, which means their shelter bedding gets wet and smelly, and their run can easily become a mud bath. Cleaning out their shelter is one of my least favorite jobs in the entire world.

They seem more prone to leg injuries, and while mine love me when I'm feeding then, none of them really want to snuggle, unlike some of my chickens.

So, short answer is: Ducks? Yes!
 

Silkie Princess

🙄🤚Be kind to the Cochins
Premium Feather Member
Jun 24, 2021
3,222
11,317
481
Slovakia
My Coop
My Coop
I LOVE runner ducks! Currently, I have six females and two drakes who eat a commercial feed designed for ducks. In the winter, they get a little scratch as a treat only. Summer treats are usually refrigerated grapes and frozen peas; in the fall, they devour broken-open pumpkins.

My runners are not nearly as loud as my Iowa Blue rooster. The boys really only mumble, and while I can hear the girls from my house, they are sheltered just a few feet away from the living room window on purpose. I want to know if there are predators afoot. They do tend to be a bit busy at night, but it's not noisy enough to be bothersome to me indoors.

Until it gets too cold and everything freezes, they get plenty of water options -- a kiddie pool, a couple of rubber dishes and a small livestock water tank. My runners will take any opportunity to bathe in anything and will try to crowd into the heated dog water dish when their water dishes are frozen. It's funny to watch the ducks try to see how many birds will fit in a small dish.

During the day, they are loose with the chickens and geese. Although I've heard some people have, I have never had an issue with the drakes trying to mate with any of my chickens. Once in a while, a runner will nip at a chicken, but that's always a squabble over food. The ducks and chickens have separate runs and coops.

My girls are prolific layers who produce lovely, white eggs. Quinn, my runner queen, passed away this year. But she laid beautiful pale green eggs.

In so many ways, ducks (and geese) are easier to keep than chickens, especially in bad weather since they don't really care if it's wet or cold. Often, while the chickens are huddled in their coops, the ducks want to be let out to go play in the snow!

While the chickens will wander off and split into small groups, the runners stay together just about all the time. If you find one runner, you find them all. I like that! Also, because of their tiny wings, a 2-foot fence is generally all that's required to keep them "penned." Once in a while, a brave girl will launch herself over a barrier, only to want to come back to her flock as soon as possible.

While the chickens live in well-ventilated and insulated coops, the ducks' shelter is partially open. One end is enclosed and I run a tarp over most of it for the winter. But they don't require nearly as much protection from winter weather, and it's below freezing for months here.

On the other hand, the runners are so much messier than chickens since their water goes EVERYWHERE, which means their shelter bedding gets wet and smelly, and their run can easily become a mud bath. Cleaning out their shelter is one of my least favorite jobs in the entire world.

They seem more prone to leg injuries, and while mine love me when I'm feeding then, none of them really want to snuggle, unlike some of my chickens.

So, short answer is: Ducks? Yes!
Thanks for the info! Do you have any solution for the mud around the pool? And would wood chips and maybe sand be good in the run?
 

Fountain Farms LLC

In the Brooder
Dec 6, 2021
5
26
34
some of you might have seen my previous thread where I was asking about Indian runner ducks and my broody silkie. I am not getting ducks right now or in 2022 ( although I would love that) I might get ducks one day though. I would keep them as pets. Probably would get only like 3 females. Okay so here are the questions:
- what does a healthy diet look like?
- exactly how loud are they? ( I have a lot of roosters (12) and my neighbours are okay with that so I don’t think about the noise level too much)
- What ,,special” things do ducks need?

And some info about how I imagine things would be:

- they would be in contact with the chickens but they would have a separate run and coop
- I would like to have pekins or Indian runners


please feel free to share some tips for caring for them!
some of you might have seen my previous thread where I was asking about Indian runner ducks and my broody silkie. I am not getting ducks right now or in 2022 ( although I would love that) I might get ducks one day though. I would keep them as pets. Probably would get only like 3 females. Okay so here are the questions:
- what does a healthy diet look like?
- exactly how loud are they? ( I have a lot of roosters (12) and my neighbours are okay with that so I don’t think about the noise level too much)
- What ,,special” things do ducks need?

And some info about how I imagine things would be:

- they would be in contact with the chickens but they would have a separate run and coop
- I would like to have pekins or Indian runners


please feel free to share some tips for caring for them!
We keep our non breeder ducks and chickens in the same area. Kind of a run but it's 60ft x100ft. Double deck coop, duck on the bottom chickens up top. Keeps the ducks from getting pooped on all night. They all get all flock which has enough niacin for growing ducks. Noise is on par with roosters but they get chatty all hours of the night. They love a pond, but starting out it isn't a requirement. They do need a water source deep enough to dunk their nairs (nostrils).
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
3,047
5,494
431
I love my runners. They hang out with the chickens all of the time as the chickens are nicer to them than my muscovy.

Diet - I feed an all flock and have a container of oyster shell on the side.

Housing - they prefer on the ground, I use a retrofitted playhouse.
They sleep with the muscovy.

Noise - I don’t think they are exceptionally loud. But, I live in the country no close neighbors.
One of my 3 is louder than the others, but nothing too loud. I can't hear them from the house, but I can hear the rooster.

I don’t have Pekins. @Quatie does. I've heard they are great ducks to keep as pets, just end up with more leg issues.

As far as mess, they are messy. Love water. Love making messes with water.
What has helped is that I got a rubber mat, like a stall mat, and use it under the water.

I would also suggest reading Storeys Guide for ducks. 😁
 
Last edited:

Silkie Princess

🙄🤚Be kind to the Cochins
Premium Feather Member
Jun 24, 2021
3,222
11,317
481
Slovakia
My Coop
My Coop
I love my runners. They hang out with the chickens all of the time as the chickens are nicer to them than my muscovy.

Diet - I feed an all flock and have a container of oyster shell on the side.

Housing - they prefer on the ground, I use a retrofitted playhouse.
They sleep with the muscovy.

Noise - I don’t think they are exceptionally loud. But, I live in the country no close neighbors.
One of my 3 is louder than the other, but nothing too loud. I can't hear them from the house, but I can hear the rooster.

I don’t have Pekins. @Quatie does. I've heard they are great ducks to keep as pets, just end up with more leg issues.

As far as mess, they are messy. Love water. Love making messes with water.
What has helped is that I got a rubber mat, like a stall mat, and use it under the water.

I would also suggest reading Storeys Guide for ducks. 😁
Thanks!
 

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