Lots of Questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by SJUDD, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. SJUDD

    SJUDD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good morning all. I have 3 Mallards and a Cayuga. They are almost 4 months old. I do have a few questions if anyone would be willing to answer for me?
    1. When will I know what sex they are? What is the "drake feather" and will I know it when I see it? I know Drake Mallards have green heads but when does this come in?

    2. What do I need to do to keep them warm this winter? They are in a 10x10X6 coop during the day and evening, except when I let them out in the yard to "play" twice a day. I had a cat carrier in the coop that they slept in but they are now too big for it. I need to build something for them but not sure how big it should be or what materials will work best to keep them warm and snug on the cold evenings.

    3. When, approximately should I start looking for eggs?

    4. One of my ducks is limping and is missing some feathers on the same side that he/she is limping. (around the belly area) I checked for bumblefoot and my friend (who is WAY smarter than me when it comes to poultry) came over and checked to see that the hips were aligned properly, etc and found no problems. I have the last 3 feet of the coop completely predator proof but I heard the neighbor had a racoon in their yard eating their fish. Since something (I assume the same racoon) killed my last 4 ducks, I have left a light on in the backyard and my window open every night and haven't heard anything. The bottom 3ft of the coop is covered to where there is only about 1/4" of room to reach in... is it possible that racoon has been trying to grab at my ducks without them making any noise?

    5. they are still eating flock raiser with occassional treats of peas or leafy greens... should I be feeding them something else?

    I had Mallards as a child but honestly it was over 20 years ago so I don't remember a lot about it. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you
     
  2. zooweemama

    zooweemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    1. When will I know what sex they are? What is the "drake feather" and will I know it when I see it? I know Drake Mallards have green heads but when does this come in? You should know by now. Females QUACK very very loudly. Males rasssssppppp very very softly. Drake feather should be coming in, any time now. Look for a cute little feather curled towards the sky on their tail. Females do not have this.

    2. What do I need to do to keep them warm this winter? They are in a 10x10X6 coop during the day and evening, except when I let them out in the yard to "play" twice a day. I had a cat carrier in the coop that they slept in but they are now too big for it. I need to build something for them but not sure how big it should be or what materials will work best to keep them warm and snug on the cold evenings. Make sure that the coop is weather proofed for Fall/Winter so the ducks can stay clean and dry. Where you are unless you are buried in snow- should not need to do anything special for them. Just keep their coop clean and dry. Rain cannot be blowing in it.


    3. When, approximately should I start looking for eggs? Some as early as 17 weeks. But generally closer to 20 weeks seems to be the norm and anywhere in between.


    4. One of my ducks is limping and is missing some feathers on the same side that he/she is limping. (around the belly area) I checked for bumblefoot and my friend (who is WAY smarter than me when it comes to poultry) came over and checked to see that the hips were aligned properly, etc and found no problems. I have the last 3 feet of the coop completely predator proof but I heard the neighbor had a racoon in their yard eating their fish. Since something (I assume the same racoon) killed my last 4 ducks, I have left a light on in the backyard and my window open every night and haven't heard anything. The bottom 3ft of the coop is covered to where there is only about 1/4" of room to reach in... is it possible that racoon has been trying to grab at my ducks without them making any noise? If a coon can reach his hand INto the coop- you need to remedy that. You do not want a coon to be able to reach in.


    5. they are still eating flock raiser with occassional treats of peas or leafy greens... should I be feeding them something else? Just put out a clean dish of oyster shell. if they need, they will eat it usually. :)
     
  3. SJUDD

    SJUDD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you zooweemama! I appreciate the answers. I am in Central California so, although we sometimes get as low as 17 degrees in the winter, we only get snow about once every 5 or 6 years and only a few inches at that. I am not sure a racoon can reach in there or not, the holes are about a 1/4" and I thought that it said on the forum to make them less than 1/2" to keep them from reaching in. The last ducks were killed because something got the pen open... I corrected that by adding a more difficult latch and keeping something heavy in front of the door.
     
  4. zooweemama

    zooweemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    You will need to make sure they STILL have access to fresh clean water. If water freezes often- then you will need to make sure that they daily have access to water to drink and to dip their entire head in- so that they can keep their nares and eyes clean and clear. The coop sounds ok then. I am unsure of the issue your duck is having- I hope someone has input on that!
     
  5. zooweemama

    zooweemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh how about during the day? Foxes will hunt during the day. Neighbor dogs? Look for open wounds, offer some electrolytes (I LOVE Rooster Booster personally- it has electrolytes, vitamins and live cultures - think yogurt). My ducks and chickens do awesome on that stuff when they are feeling low.
     
  6. SJUDD

    SJUDD Chillin' With My Peeps

    My dog is in the backyard during the day so nothing will be in the yard during that time. Also the chickens would be easier for a fox to get to as they are in a run during the day that is fenced off from the dog.
     

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