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Mandarin info needed

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by TurtleFeathers, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. TurtleFeathers

    TurtleFeathers Fear the Turtle!

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    Jan 9, 2009
    By the Chesapeake Bay
    Good morning mandarin keepers - I have some questions for you...

    1. Can you tell me what you feed your flock? Looking for base diet info here, but feel free to include treats and info on diet for ducklings vs. adults, diet during the breeding season vs. the off season, or any other tidbits you feel would be beneficial.

    2. In a small flock situation (say, under a dozen birds), is it best to have an equal number of males and females, or can there be extra/spare birds of one sex or another without any fighting or dominance/territory issues?

    3. In your experience, do mandarins breed in their first spring season, or is it true that they wait til their second spring?

    4. If ducklings are handled by and socialized with humans from hatching, is it possible to keep them from becoming skittish and afraid? Or will they usually revert to that behavior no matter how they're raised?

    5. Can they be housed with other duck breeds? What about with chickens?

    Thanks so much!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  2. tonini3059

    tonini3059 [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Luv

    Nov 6, 2008
    Southwestern PA
    My first pair of Mandarins I had i let them run with my call ducks and chickens. They were very friendly because of the friendliness of the other birds. The only problem was they free ranged and they did not want to come back in at night. Now I have a Pair of white and normal in with my wild ducks. They are a little skittish. I feed them the big four feed and mix scratch in with it. I have seen that if people handle them from the time they hatch you can get them to come eat out of your hand. Also it is always better to have more females than males.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  3. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    Quote:
     
  4. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
  5. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

    Apr 20, 2009
    Sandusky, Ohio
    1. Can you tell me what you feed your flock? I mix a bag of cracked corn with a bag of layer feed during the summer, in the fall and winter feed more cracked corn, and in the spring feed more layer feed. Also, when babies start hatching you can put some ducklings feed on the ground or in a place that the ducklings have easy access to.

    2. In a small flock situation (say, under a dozen birds), is it best to have an equal number of males and females, or can there be extra/spare birds of one sex or another without any fighting or dominance/territory issues? I'd say keep at one male per female....in the wild they mate in pairs and rarely will they breed in a trio. Make sure your enclosure is big enough for the number of pairs you plan to have!

    3. In your experience, do mandarins breed in their first spring season, or is it true that they wait til their second spring? This coming spring will be my duck's first spring, so i dont have the answer until then [​IMG]

    4. If ducklings are handled by and socialized with humans from hatching, is it possible to keep them from becoming skittish and afraid? Or will they usually revert to that behavior no matter how they're raised? My mandarins i got as adults....they arent very friendly, but they arent scared. They wont fly like crazy when I'm near them, they just keep to themselves. Wild ducks arent supposed to be social pets. Earlier this year, I raised two mandarins from ducklings and they wouldnt bond to me.

    5. Can they be housed with other duck breeds? What about with chickens? I'm sure they would be fine with chickens and mine are with wood ducks, teals, and grey call ducks.
     
  6. TurtleFeathers

    TurtleFeathers Fear the Turtle!

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    Jan 9, 2009
    By the Chesapeake Bay
    Thanks so much for the info everybody! Chickensioux - I found that sticky AFTER I'd posted this, but thanks! What an awesome list - come to find out, I've been feeding some of the right things, but there was a lot of stuff there that would have never entered my mind.

    Anyway, my situation is this: I have 5 mandies - 3 males, 2 females, all about 6 months old now (there was originally a third female, but she died early on). They were pretty skittish when I first got them at about a month old. I tried hard to gain their trust, and although they did calm down and get used to me a bit, they just never really came around completely. I have read where some keepers have the same problem with mandarins, so I don't feel too badly about it - although I would love to be more "hands on" with them, I guess it just wasn't meant to be...

    At first, I housed my little flock outside in a fenced in pen next to my chickens, but they figured out how to shimmy up between the tree and the chicken house to sit on top of it - which concerned me that they might escape. So I turned them loose in my 14' x 24' greenhouse, which worked out great for them - they have plenty of space, places to perch, its predator/escape proof, it doesn't freeze (the heater kicks in at 50F), they're exposed to the natural day/night cycle, etc... However, it didn't really work out to MY advantage tho - I mean, cleanup is incredibly easy in there, but I hardly ever see them!!! They just sorta lurk around under the benches and behind large plants, and only pop out when I'm changing their food and water - but they always keep their distance. When I DO see them, it just takes my breath away - they're absolutely gorgeous, every feather is in place and the colors of the males are just SO vibrant - if they weren't moving, I'd swear they were painted decoys! Its been about 3 months since I put them in the greenhouse - they seem happy, and always travel as a group - when I've seen one, the rest haven't been far behind.

    Their base diet thus far has been non medicated chick starter (which I *believe* is 20% protein), which they eat like its going out of style - but I've been concerned that maybe as they mature or go into their first breeding cycle, they may need something different. I give them a little of the same scratch as I give my chickens, which they really like. I also put down fruits and veggies, but I never see the mandies eat them - the fruits and veggies DO disappear, but I also have turtles in the greenhouse, so I don't know who is eating what. But everything is available to everyone, so if they choose to eat it, they can. I've been thinking of switching to a gamebird feed with my adult chickens (higher protein) tho , so I'm glad to hear that will be good for the mandies as well.

    I've been concerned the last few days tho, because I've noticed that the two females and two of the males seem to be hanging out together more, and that there is one male sitting by himself on the other side of the greenhouse away from the others. He doesn't seem unhealthy, and if I accidentally surprise him, he will run back with the others and they do accept him, but I don't know for how long. I don't know if its the SAME male each time or not, because I can't tell the three males apart - but if it IS the same male, could the others have paired up and sent him into "exile", so to speak? And if so, should I be concerned that this lone male will eventually be viewed as competition by the other two, and might they gang up on him? Should I consider getting another female to balance things out, or will a single new female be viewed as an intruder and throw off the balance completely?

    My little flock won't be a year old til next June, but if they're going to breed in their first spring, I'd like to have everything set LONG before that time rolls around - any advice you can give me is GREATLY appreciated!!!

    ETA: Sorry, I forgot to add, I have several sizzle chicks that I may not be able to house outdoors this winter (it may be too cold by the time they're old enough to go outside) - would housing them til spring in the greenhouse with the mandarins be out of the question? If it will put the chicks in danger or upset the mandies, I won't even consider it - I just hate having chickens in cages in the garage all winter long...

    Thanks again -
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  7. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Hahira, GA
    I kind of agree with most that has been said. I have raised them and over 100 other species of migratory/ornamental waterfowl for 25 years or so, unfortunately had to move a few years back, so ...dont have them right now, but will in the near future as we just got settled in on our new farm.
    Anyway, here's my experiences with them...

    1) purina or mazuri gamebird diet is the best feed. It comes in starter, maintenance, and layer versions, there is also a seaduck version. These types of wild ducks require higher protein levels than your standard barnyard varieties.
    In addition to this, I also had loads of diving duck, fish eaters and such, which really need the hi pro diet, so as a supplement, I gave them small pellet dog food and floating catfish feed, they LOVE IT, and it really keeps them healthy. Some grains are fine too, but just here and there, dont try to feed them that as a sole ration..
    2) Pretty much 1 to 1, trios will work, but best paired. Male mandarins can be a little aggressive, but just being bullys, nothing really comes from it, multiples per pen are fine, just give plenty of space, also tree and ground cover go a long way to keeping them happy and comfortable. A bare , open pen leaves all these style ducks feeling vulnerable, and thus more skittish
    3) 1st season birds do produce fertile eggs, but they are most production in their 2cd and 3rd years up to 5 or 6, then they start to taper off
    4) as far as imprinting a mandarin, good luck, they are wild ducks by nature, the more attention you give them, from day 1, the tamer they will be, but they will never really be a domesticated bird, I'm sure some have had a few exceptions, but that's the exception, not the rule..
    and 5) They mix well with other wild style ducks, domestic ducks can be overly aggressive to them as they are very small in comparison, best if kept with wood ducks (no they cant mix breed either) various teal, and things like that.
    Never put them with chickens or barnyard fowl, usually doesnt end well for the ducks..

    Hope this has helped, good luck with them
    Aubrey
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  8. TurtleFeathers

    TurtleFeathers Fear the Turtle!

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    Jan 9, 2009
    By the Chesapeake Bay
    Thanks for the VERY informative post Aubrey!!! Will put the info to good use! However, your info has prompted me to ask more questions! LOL! Hope you don't mind?

    So mandarins aren't big fruit/veggie/greens eaters, huh? Must be my turtles eating the stuff I put down then.... I feed my turtles koi food as well, so I'm sure the ducks have partaken of that, too - how does koi food compare to catfish food, nutritionally speaking?

    And you're saying I can leave the spare male in the greenhouse with the two pairs? I would hate to have him get beat up or stressed out, but there are LOTS of hiding places in there - which is good for him I suppose, but it would present a HUGE problem if you told me I needed to remove him til he has a mate!

    Actually, its a JUNGLE in there, so I'm sure they ALL enjoy all the hiding space. But because there is so much foliage, there is not a lot of space for them to fly. I mean, I'm sure the do fly at least vertically, as I get the occasional overturned flower pot on the top shelves of the benches, but there are also lots of hanging baskets and large ficus and palm trees which probably impede any horizontal flight. Are they dependent on horizontal flight in a predator free environment, or will they suffer if the space is unavailable?

    As for breeding, all of my males are supposedly brothers, and one of the females is their sister (their parents were supposed to have been unrelated to each other). There is just one unrelated female (she's the only one I can tell apart, because she has a big splash of white on her throat). If I can't find a mate for this spare male before spring, can I hold back a female duckling as a mate for him? Or would she be too closely related to him? Assuming these ducks breed in their first season, I mean...

    Thanks for putting up with all my long winded posts and questions! I've just not been able to find the answers I'm looking for online anywhere. Got any good links to share?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  9. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 9, 2008
    Hahira, GA
    no problem, let's see if I can get these for you, if I miss one, just ask again! LOL


    My catfish feed was 30% protein, never used Koi feed, but am sure it's up there too.

    Mandarins, will eat grasses and such, not big fruit and veggie guys though, more of the bug, worm, and water critter eaters.

    Spare males in with pairs is never a problem as long as it's not crowded , and well landscaped, which sounds like you are good there.

    As for the breeding, unrelated is always ideal, but 1 time around will not give you any troubles with deformities or anything like that. Mandarins are one of the more common ones though, so shouldnt be hard to find some unrelated stock. By the way the average price for yearling birds is $40- $50 a pair, dont get taken by the high dollar internet breeders. I have seen some astronomical prices on websites before. I will be happy to get you info from various , reputable breeders if you'd like, with reasonable prices.

    Not dependant on flight on predator free zones, they are cavity nesters though, so a nesting box, up on a pole would be nice for them.
    can give you a basic duck box design if you need it. No worries on big spaces for flight, they can fly straight up to a box if need be, and once they learn the enclosure , they will fly circles around it, weaving in and out of all the plants, kind of cool to watch, one of the biggest things I miss, other than the vocalisations of all the different breeds, and obviously their beauty.

    Think that may have gotten all of them. I dont know of any popular site with info on them. You can subscribe to the A.P.W.S. (American Pheasant and Waterfowl Society) , and Game Bird Gazette magazines. They have lots of nice articles on care and husbandry of all these different types of birds, as well as classifieds for all of them.

    Let me know if you have any more questions

    Good luck to ya,
    Aubrey
     
  10. TurtleFeathers

    TurtleFeathers Fear the Turtle!

    842
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    Jan 9, 2009
    By the Chesapeake Bay
    Aubrey - thanks SO much again! You're a wealth of information!

    Yes, please do send me some of your breeder contacts - you wouldn't happen to know anyone with mandarins in the mid Atlantic area, would you? And would this be for birds, or eggs? Do mandarin eggs even ship well? What about artificial incubation as opposed to natural?

    Other than that, I think you covered everything I needed to know for now - I'm sure I'll come up with other questions down the road tho, so would you mind if I PM'd you directly?
     

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