Need advice and help about getting my baby ducks outside

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Birdydeb, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is the situation if you didn't read earlier posts when I got my ducks. I have 10 Welsh Harlequins and one gosling(tufted buff) from Metzer's. They hatched June 13. One of my goslings died, I believe it was a water bowl accident and he drowned. It nearly devastated me along with all the rain we have had that meant we have been just slowly creeping along getting the duck house done. The lady who was gonna take some of these ducks never did. My fault for not dealing directly with her but through a friend. :( Will never happen again but I decided I ordered them...I will be responsible for them. All of the ducks seem happy and healthy even my little runt duck that wasn't doing so well so I had pulled her and had her by herself. She is still about half the size of the rest. I integrated her back with the rest last week as I thought best to do it inside where I could observe how she handles it in a flock. (I may need to do a thread on just her later) She is small but fiesty .....she holds her own very well. :)

    We have been adapting a metal shed that is 8 x 10. We almost had it done last weekend...and the rain came...again. It is up and has three windows cut into it that are 40" x 22". Both sides and the back. They are covered with hardware cloth and framed with wood. We have the OSB and the rest of wood for framing the inside but....rain. :( today I called in "the big guns" meaning a professional and he came to look at the job. He will come tomorrow morning and finish meaning it will be lined, the windows will have covering to go up and down and best of all....he will cut me four vents in the gables for the ventilation needed when windows are closed for weather. He is going to cost me a small fortune but as much as I love them, I can't deal with them inside much longer. So hopefully this weekend, on the brink of them turning 6 weeks old, they will finally be outside. :)

    The run is up as far as the chain link fencing. I believe hubby and I should be able to put HC on the bottom with a skirt and put a netting over the top. It is NOT supposed to rain for three days.

    My questions: After he finishes the duck house tomorrow, I was going to spray the floor and the walls down with Thompson's Water Seal. It says low VOC but how long should I let it dry and air out? 2 days?

    What should I use as bedding on the floor? I had intentions of using straw. Originally I thought sand but don't like the thoughts of poopy nasty wet sand. Suggestions?

    And the biggie: what in the world do you all use for feeders and waterers? None of my ducks was willing to stick their head into half gallon or gallon milk jugs. I have been using heavy glass bowls inside a baking pan inside. I don't think this will work well outside. I have a tub that can be cut and set up as a watering station. I am leery of anything plastic as I think that was why my gosling died. :(

    My intention of course is to leave my sole gosling with the ducklings. Meanwhile all my friends and family have been on a hunt to find her a buddy. Unfortunately, gosling season is over. She has been in a separate crate scooted right up beside them and usually sleeps right on the wire beside them. But not physically with them. Will she be okay running around in the duck house with them?

    Finally. If I get them outside, should they be fine in the duck house for a few days as we finish the run? Do they need that like chickens do in order to equate their house as home? We are getting ready to roll into 90+ degree weather( I know...some of you are going, I wish).

    I am soooo nervous and I refuse to put them outside until I am pretty much positive they will be safe in their house. All suggestions, ideas....and encouragement would be most welcome right now. :)
  2. tmorgan46

    tmorgan46 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 22, 2015
    Stafford, VA
    Ducks and geese get along very well. We have a White Chinese gander that was raised with ducks until we got him. Yes, that's an identity crisis of the water fowl type!!! He's all better now and acts just like a goose. We had two saddleback pomeranians and one of them died early on so we had to get "Momma Goose" a mate. And wha-la we got "Papa Goose". They live integrated with our flock of Muscovies. They all get along great, well at least until the height of mating season and then the drakes weren't so friendly, or maybe I should say too friendly with Papa Goose. He didn't like that one bit and learned to steer clear of the drakes for a month or so. So, your coop has a wood floor? And once you spray it down with Thompsons, I'd suggest letting it cure for a day or so. As a suggestion, I used a stall mat covering the wood floor to help with clean up, and then treated for a hernia right after...(boy are they heavy!!) And on top of that I use a layered approach of straw, wood shavings and those handy wood pellets that TSC sells for horse stalls. They soak up moisture like it's nobodies business. I use sand in the chicken coop but not in the duck / goose coops. I grabbed 3 or four of the large but shallow rubber feeding bowls at TSC. I think they're meant more for small farm animals, but the ducks and geese can't tip them over and they hold a ton of food. When we started out, I had food and water in the coop and realized they do much better and I had to clean coops much less frequently by keeping all food and water out of the coops and in the same location. They get fed in the morning and I'll make sure they have fresh water before I herd them all into their coops for the night. If the run is mostly finished, I'd let them begin to range now, unless they are very tricky to catch / herd back into the inside pen you have set up. I'd definitely put the goose in with the ducks as soon as possible and watch them very closely at the beginning. But I don't think you'll run into problems with that. Hope this helps. Let me know if there's anything I've said that's confusing or needs clarification.
  3. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you. That helped a lot. I am so leery of anything they might drown in but at the same time.....they splash all their water out in the blink of an eye! As much as I NEED them to go outside, I am scared to death for them. The death of my gosling almost put me over the edge especially since I was at fault for using a flimsy plastic bowl. I think the remaining gosling, Anna will be fine. She is a cuddler. The day they go out I will monitor closely, both because of Anna and the little runt duckling I call Miss Peep Peep. I know from the first night jitters with the chicks that this will eventually be over and I will wonder just why I worried so. The thing is....nasty mess and all....I just adore my ducks. The only thing I would do different is make sure that whoever was going to take part of them actually did so and NOT use plastic containers for water. I am trying my hardest to keep them ALL healthy and safe.

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