Messy Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Snooks, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Snooks

    Snooks New Egg

    Feb 24, 2012
    My husband wants to get 2 ducks. I have heard and read that they are messy. The ducks will be staying with our chickens in the coop and run. The coop is 4 x 8 and the run is 8 x 8. There will be 7 hens. So what is "messy" when you have ducks in the mix? Any thoughts and guidance would be much appreciated. Also wondering if ducks will use the same nesting boxes as the hens?
  2. bucky52

    bucky52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2011
    messy as in water and poo every where.we have two three week old ducks in a brooder.(not my choice) grandson show up on my steps
    with two cute adorable ducklings that he picked up at the Tractor Supply.Why! i asked he thought they were cute.i had no idea how to take
    care of these cuties.i would suggest you do lots of research on the care of them.i will warn you its almost impossible to find feed for duck.i feel they need a pond or lake which i don't have.i plan on rehomeing them in the coming months.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England

    Ducks love water. They need it for their health (they must be able to wash their heads often to prevent infections), they need to drink abundant quantities of fresh (if not pristine) water, they need to have it to be able to avoid choking on dry food, and they cannot seem to resist playing in it, getting it all over everything.

    They like to swish things in their water. They like to carry a mouthful of food or mud to their water . . . .

    Some ducks use a nest box, some don't, some do sometimes.

    I love ducks!

    Does your flock get to go outside the 8´x8´ run? Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks recommends ten square feet per duck if they have access to pasture and 25 square feet of run if they don't. This doesn't mean some runs are smaller than that, but that is one rule of thumb. I have nine runners and two buffs in 160 sf of run attached to 64 sf of duck house and porch, and they go with me into the gardens at least twice a day, sometimes for hours, so they are not confined to the run all the time.

    Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks and The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook are good sources to see what ducks need. The BYC Duck Forum is good, too!
  4. dr kicenski

    dr kicenski New Egg

    Mar 24, 2012
    Leona Valley, California
    From experience, I know that you cannot mix chickens and ducks. Ducks need lots of water to remain healthy and happy. Chickens need to stay dry to be healthy. Chickens take soft dirt baths; ducks like to play in water. They need to be able to dunk their beaks in water regularly. They would choke on their food if they didn't have water to wash it down. When I give them fresh grass by the handful, they take it to their pool to dunk the grass before they eat it. When I collect my hens' eggs, they are usually dry and clean-looking off the nest. My ducks' eggs are so wet and muddy that it is gross to collect them. It is nearly impossible to get the duck eggs to look clean and appetizing. All poultry are poop machines. However, ducks are in a pooping class of their own. No sooner do we change their plastic tub of water then they jump in, play happily, and poop their hearts out! We had no idea when we got ducks some 7 months ago, that they would be this messy! That being said, these ducks are my husband's favorite animal to deal with. We have 2 alpacas, 4 goats, 4 types of chickens, and 7 ducks. More time is spent to keep our ducks as clean and happy as possible, than the time we spend on all the other animals combined. Originally, my husband said he wanted nothing to do with taking care of my growing menagerie. However, when he saw my original problems occurring in my efforts to house the ducks, he couldn't help offering advice; which soon led to building them shelter, etc. Now he has purchased a pressure washer to clean off the harder surface for their super secure night time pen, as well as cleaning both plastic bathing pools: one in their 12' x 12' x 6' daytime pen and one in their 6' x 6' x 4' pen. So far, we have been pretty happy with our current plastic pools made from my large plastic boot containers found at Walmart and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. They are big enough for the gang to play in, but not too big for us to handle. Believe me, we are forever trying to figure out better and better ways to short cut our workload with these guys, but they seem to be worth it. I am absolutely amazed how my husband has taken to these birds. As the weather gets hotter, we have to redouble our efforts in changing the water more often. We have had 2 bouts of "limber neck" with 2 of our ducks. Regis survived very well because we learned from caring for our first sick duck, Clovis ( She never fully recovered from the illness. She died a couple of months later, even though she had regained some of her strength...but never completely.). So, to avoid bio hazards, we constantly work to keep these precious water birds clean. So, I hope this answers your question about keeping ducks and chickens together. Chickens: think dry environment. Ducks: think water, water, and more water. While our chickens are happy to be snug in the barn in winter, our ducks are outside jumping in their clean pool in their day pen that has iced over during the night. We just remove the 1/4" sheet of ice from their basin, and they jump in!
    GracieJ likes this.
  5. Snooks

    Snooks New Egg

    Feb 24, 2012
    Wow thank you so much for such great information. My husband would have brought ducks home the other day had he not been on his motorcycle. I have been doing lots of reading on ducks since then and just kept seeing "messy." But now I get "messy." I still would like to try ducks but need to have a much better area to put them in. So I think maybe it was good that my husband couldn't bring them home right away. However the thought of what he wanted to do made my heart melt and the ducklings are so cute. Thank you again so much for sharing your daily activities. It gave me a good picture of how much work the ducks are but I also have no doubt how worth it they would be to keep. I just need to have a better place for them to stay.
  6. porcupine73

    porcupine73 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 1, 2013
    Buffalo, NY
    I can tell you ducks are at least twice as messy as chickens in my opinion. This is my first year with birds, and my nephew has 9 chicks that I am helping him with, and I had six ducklings. The ducklings easily made twice the mess as the chicks. The bedding in the ducks is soaked every day. The chicks poop and such but they don't make nearly as much of a mess with the water.

    I wanted ducks instead of chickens for many reasons, but this messiness got to me, I couldn't handle it. I gave the ducklings away today, I don't think they would have been good to keep together with the chickens anyway long term.

    I've read the ducks don't require swimming water though it is a very good idea for them to have it, and they love it. I did not offer the ducklings swimming water because I'd read they don't have waterproofing until about five weeks. The ducklings after two weeks quickly got 'dirty'. They were almost sticky to handle it seemed like. The chicks not at all, they seem much cleaner.

    I knew going in that ducks were messier than chicks, I just didn't know how much. I would change the ducklings water and bedding twice a day and literally within 15 minutes you couldn't tell it had been cleaned. There were six ducklings in about a two foot by four foot space.
  7. Snooks

    Snooks New Egg

    Feb 24, 2012
    Thanks so much for posting this. This seals the deal for me that I need to not have ducks and focus on chickens. I don't like messy. This would drive me nuts. Unless they could be brooded in an out door area and have their own space for themselves which I can not offer here. Thanks so much again for sharing your experience.

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