Looking for basic info about ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by rosiesgirls, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. rosiesgirls

    rosiesgirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2014
    Broadalbin/Perth
    I have been keeping chickens for a couple of years now and am interested in getting some ducks. My primary interest in ducks is to forage for bugs. We have an organic market garden a that's about an acre in size and would love for them to eat some of the pests, along with the ticks we have in the back, near the 3 ponds that the ducks would have access to. BUT, since I've never had ducks, I have a lot of questions about keeping them before I jump in. I'd appreciate any and all advice folks can give me.

    My questions:
    1. Which breeds are the best foragers? If they have free access to our garden, will they dig it up like the chickens do?
    2. Are there breeds that won't fly off with the wild ducks that visit our ponds, and should I be concerned about them interacting? (I know I can clip their wings, but I'd rather not have to do that if I can avoid it.)
    3. Of the foraging breeds, which will also provide me with some eggs?
    4. I am absolutely in LOVE with Call Ducks...they're so stinkin' CUTE! How good are they at foraging and how big are their eggs?
    5. Can I mix Calls in with larger breeds?
    6. What do I need to provide in terms of housing? I plan on allowing them to free range during the day with free access to the ponds, so I know I don't need to provide a pool (except maybe in winter??) but our property also backs onto wild land that has coyotes, so I need to have them come in at night. Mainly, how much square footage per duck do I need/want?
    7. How much feed can I expect to have to supplement (or is it possible to tell me that?) I know I'll need more in the winter as we're in upstate NY and get snow, but am just looking for a general idea. Also, are we talking pellets or grain?

    I think that's it, but if there's info you wish someone had told you before you got your first ducks that isn't in my list, please share!! OH! Also, what are their needs in terms of a brooder?

    Thanks, in advance, for all your help!!
     
  2. The Duck Ladie

    The Duck Ladie Duck Addict

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    Feb 23, 2016
    Hope this helps!
     
  3. mlh328

    mlh328 Out Of The Brooder

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    Butte, MT
  4. The Duck Ladie

    The Duck Ladie Duck Addict

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  5. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Just to answer your question about them coming home......Ducks are not like free range chickens that go home to roost at night.....That could be a real issue with predators......The chances of Wild birds breeding your Domestic Ducks is high also.....

    I would make a large pen and not allow them to the ponds......


    Cheers!
     
  6. rosiesgirls

    rosiesgirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Broadalbin/Perth
    Thanks for the info!

    @The Duck Ladie: Exactly the type of info I was hoping to get...thank you!! Getting all hens might not be a bad idea...I was reading about drakes trying to mate with chicken hens and doing a real number on them.


    @mlh328: The charts should be a great help...I was thinking it would be nice to be able to compare breeds.

    @chickens really, I totally get your concern about predators...I have the same concern. However, I will definitely be letting them free range...that's the whole point of getting them. I expect to train them from duckling stage to come home by luring them back with treats in the evening and if need be, I have an Australian Shepard who likes to herd...I'll enlist his help to get them home if I have to.

    Thanks again, everyone! Now...to develop plans for a shelter......
     
  7. The Duck Ladie

    The Duck Ladie Duck Addict

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    Yes, getting all hens is not a bad idea. I have read more than once were boy ducks were trying to breed with chicken hens. This can kill the hens because a drake's boy parts are different from a roosters.

    Holderread's tips for picking your breed might be helpful! http://www.holderreadfarm.com/selection_tips_page/selection_tips.htm

    I highly recommend getting storey's guide to raising ducks by dave holderread. It is very helpful in an emergency, and helped me very much in picking my breeds!
     
  8. rosiesgirls

    rosiesgirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2014
    Broadalbin/Perth
    Yes...I have Story's guide to chickens and it's incredibly helpful...full of info. Will definitely get the duck guide.
     
  9. QuackSpeak

    QuackSpeak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @rosiesgirls , Welcome to the World of Ducks!
    The only thing that wasn't mentioned in here is that, unfortunately, Call ducks can fly. So, if you have your heart set on them, you'd need to clip wings... They are adorable though!
     
  10. rosiesgirls

    rosiesgirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Broadalbin/Perth
    @QuackSpeak: How often do they molt? I have a small parrot whose wings I clip and I only have to do it about once a year (usually about every 8-9 months, to be honest) when he loses, and then replaces, his flight feathers. I would assume it would be the same with ducks?

    Also, if they fly, but don't fly FAR (and come back) I don't mind. I just don't want to spend $50 or $60, raise them up from ducklings, only to have them take off for parts unknown! I'd rather not have to clip them, if I didn't have to.
     

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