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

JustCallMeMaple

Songster
Aug 22, 2021
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Western PA
I have mixed flock of 15 chickens in a oversized run with a duck house (prefab tractor supply I used as my chick transition house before going into the big girl house). I had 5 ducks but males were made into dinner (I won't keep a male duck with chickens they breed by inserting corkscrew penises into the female and it would destroy a chicken, that and drakes will drown chickens in water trying to breed). I have 2 pekin girls and 1 khaki campbell (was 4 pekin but yeah see above) they are delightful. The pekin are loud ducks but bigger to snuggle and hug/cuddle. My Khaki is an odd one she gets cuddled and rather enjoys being on her back cradled in my arms like a baby and getting rubbed and loved on. Would not say it's typical Khaki behavior as I've read they are flighty birds but mine is just a sweet love.

They are ALL about routine. I kid you not routine to the point that they walk a lap up the run to go to bed at night (early on when learning I carefully herded them in and now they do it without me herding but do the routine every day). They get excited to see me and will call to me every single time they see me. Pekin are loud and they can be heard from a ways away but they're very social and will bob their heads, chatter and wag their tails (Khaki does it too in miniature). Size wise they are very different and because there is ample space and were raised with the chickens from a young age they have understandings. Ducks can push chickens out of the way at a moments notice if they want but they generally don't often and it's not aggressive nipping just a tiny nibble on the chickens who move over a step. They will lay next to each one another (chickens/ducks they don't care it's getting chilly so it's warm).

Ducks need to be able to dip their beaks/heads to clear their nostrils out it's not an optional thing it's necessary for their health. They need more niacin generally than chickens. I transitioned to an all flock and give free offer oyster shell, grit and give a lot of treats and goodies with my scraps. My ducks are fond of greens leaf veggies (spinach, lettuce etc) and all go crazy for worms especially my Khaki campbell, I say 'num num' and she's looking at me like a hawk spying prey seeing if I have her favorite 'num num' dangling in my fingers.. lol.

My ducks are not laying yet they are 18wks however Khaki's should be good layers even though she's maybe 4.5lbs to the Pekin 8lbs.. My Khaki can fly if she wants to, but she's bonded to pekin that are very bad at flying (too heavy to really fly) so I'm not overly concerned. The ducks are great at watching for predators and if they don't call out the hawk is nearby the local crows will for them.
 

Quatie

Crowing
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Oct 16, 2020
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Pekins can have a lot of issues. They have wonderful personalities. A lot of people who have them tend to agree they lay an egg almost every day. Mine won't stop laying and molt, and needs extra calcium to maintain her health. They are great as meat birds because they put on a lot of weight. However, they put on a lot of weight. So they have a lot of leg issues. They are more prone to bumblefoot and naicin deficiency. They require more naicin than any other breed, and sometimes require extra as adults.

They sometimes do not clean themselves as well as other breeds and can get eye and nare issues. But usually a pool of some sort solves most of those issues.

I feel like Pekin are just not a great starter duck. They have a bigger learning curve than other ducks due to their size and requirements. Ducks always have a big learning curve no matter how much research you do, but Pekin I would say are the hardest.

Look into white layers too. I have heard their personalities are similar to Pekin, but much less weight.

Runners are a great breed and will also lay lots of eggs. They are going to be more skiddish than most breeds. But they definitely can become social.
 

JustCallMeMaple

Songster
Aug 22, 2021
285
542
163
Western PA
Pekins can have a lot of issues. They have wonderful personalities. A lot of people who have them tend to agree they lay an egg almost every day. Mine won't stop laying and molt, and needs extra calcium to maintain her health. They are great as meat birds because they put on a lot of weight. However, they put on a lot of weight. So they have a lot of leg issues. They are more prone to bumblefoot and naicin deficiency. They require more naicin than any other breed, and sometimes require extra as adults.

They sometimes do not clean themselves as well as other breeds and can get eye and nare issues. But usually a pool of some sort solves most of those issues.

I feel like Pekin are just not a great starter duck. They have a bigger learning curve than other ducks due to their size and requirements. Ducks always have a big learning curve no matter how much research you do, but Pekin I would say are the hardest.

Look into white layers too. I have heard their personalities are similar to Pekin, but much less weight.

Runners are a great breed and will also lay lots of eggs. They are going to be more skiddish than most breeds. But they definitely can become social.
I can agree that Pekin are not easy because they need more niacin than other breeds (bigger birds) but I wouldn't doom and gloom them to that degree, mine are clean birds (except rainy days they love to dig around in mud you just can't see the muddy on a Khaki because well.. color). I have not had leg issues (then again when I got them I made sure to be as proactive at preventing issues the best I can though like anything and any breed things happen illness can happen to any as can niacin issues if you don't prepare). I would say get what you want but make sure you're prepared for any health issues known for their breed just like when picking a new dog people should research health issues, temperament and energy levels. I would'nt trade my Pekin for another breed because they're lovely in personality. I don't anticipate health issues but with any animal it can happen so I prepared all the signs, symptoms and keep watch. Any sign their legs are turning I would be ready with extra niacin and go from there, so far they are pretty hardy birds for me. I think though everyone has their own breed preferences. These are my first ducks, I don't regret it. I would love to have an aylesbury (heard many good things on their meat but) and also like the look of muscovy in that they kind of have cute grumpy faces. I'd get more Khaki just because they're so small and cute but food wise they're not that meaty. Getting a breed for the purpose you want is the best choice.

Pekin are friendlier than Runner BUT both are social animals and Runners can be taught that people are friends just may take a tad more time which can be rewarding imo to earn any animals trust is wonderful who cares how long it takes.
 

indianaducks

Songster
Feb 4, 2021
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Surprisingly, my pekin are far more skittish of us than some of my other ducks. My magpie drake and my blue swedish female are by far and away our most friendly (eat from our hands). And my runners are adorable and pretty friendly too.
 

Silkie Princess

Be kind to the Cochins😘
Premium Feather Member
Jun 24, 2021
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My Coop
My Coop
My twice removed elder cousin has 63 runners if u need some contact me!😜
I would... But I'm on the other side of the world
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Deleted member 94844

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All of my ducks were very quiet... for years... until I got Rouen. She is LOUD. My advice is, be prepared for the worst, but mostly it’s just quiet duck chatter.

I feed mine Mazuri waterfowl supplemented with as much veg as I can... they love lettuce, peas, tomatoes. Also some fruit like watermelon.

I built a pond for them and they come in the house at night, sleeping in dog kennels lined with towels.

Love them so much.
 

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