New duck advice

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by sapoho, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. sapoho

    sapoho Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2010
    SW TX
    I've been researching and getting things together to get a couple of ducklings. I'm looking at either a couple of Rouens or Cayugas. I'm wanting friendly ducks. Any opinions or experiences to share about these two breeds? I'm an animal person and love to pet and spend time with anything I have!
    Do all ducklings imprint?

    Also, are two females or two males the way to go? From what I understand one male with one female could possibly result in injury to the female. Any advantages over males only vs females only? Would bachelor drakes fight even with no ducks around? Or would two ducks and one drake be the best way to go?

    Sorry for all the questions... I just want to make sure I'm ready.
     
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    If you have one it will imprint. You have more they will stick to each other. The key is to work with them daily, that way they will get attached to you.

    Ratio. One drake will not hurt one hen. 2 drakes will. It is a bad idea to get 2 boys and 2 girls. There will be over breeding and drake fights going on once they are mature. Ideally you are looking for 1 drake with 3-9 hens. So get 1 boy and 2 or 3 girls. They will also cross breed if you get two breeds, so that is something to think about too.
     
  3. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, female ducks can be noisy while male ducks are very quiet, so factor in the noise into your decision if you want to get a group of just one sex. Also, females give you lovely tasty eggs - a great bonus!

    Ducks are also really messy, so be prepared for that!
     
  4. sapoho

    sapoho Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2010
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    Oh yes, I am preparing for the mess. We're putting together a greenhouse and pen right now and I'm trying to find something that will be easy to spray down in their primary area. A friend gave me a quail trap which I'm going to cut the wire bottom out and replace with... something, heh. Haven't figured it out just yet.... maybe some hard plastic or left over Plexiglas. That cage will be used when they are ducklings then modified again for shelter once outside in the pen. Does this sound like a good idea? We're planning on using chicken wire to protect them from any predators at night and probably make a connection into the greenhouse for warmth in the winter the handfull of days it actually gets cold here... I live in Southeast Texas so our winters are pretty mild. I'm still looking for the perfect watering hole - something big enough for them but easy to maintain.
    We won't get our ducks until our set up is ready - in the meantime I'm researching and foraging my butt off to reuse items for the pen (My hubby works for the city and finds all sorts of discarded goodies!)
    We have unlimited access to hay for bedding and was thinking we would compost the used/soiled hay.

    As far as noise goes, we baby sat a mini-pincher for a while and if the neighbors didn't complain about that yappy thing, I don't think ducks will bother them [​IMG]
    I've already warned them!
     
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Chicken wire does not give any protection. Waste of money. Hardware cloth is the way to go.
    I would give them a 4x6 foot space for sleeping. That gives you enough space to add food and water for the night, and some beds for them to sleep in. They don't need the beds, but mine love it. For flooring I would suggest a horse stall mat, which is about the size of the sleeping space. It is easy to clean off and prevents them from slipping. I would build a small shed and divide it into half, that way you can store the feed and bedding in it too. I think it is a good idea to connect them to the green house, but they will be fine in your climate without it. Ducks can handle up to -20 degrees with wind protection. The the occasional nightly freeze will be ok once they are fully feathered in. On the other hand they will weed your greenhouse, and eat your lettuce while at it. [​IMG]
    Ducklings need a brooder that is draft protected from all 4 sides. A large plastic tub or an old crate will do. Do not use a red heat lamp, they can explode when getting wet or even cause a fire. A 100 watt light bulb from 2 feet above will work just fine.
     
  6. sapoho

    sapoho Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2010
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    Thanks!
    The chicken wire was free and I think they have other fencing we can have as well, I'll look around and see what they have. My inlaws never throw anything away so there is always a high probability they will have something sturdy we can use! The money we save from re-using things will go to some good wood to build them a nice little home.
    Would the chicken wire at least work as a roof to deter predatory birds?
     
  7. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would just add, that you can have a smaller sleeping area and not put in any food or water at night-time. (No offence to Kat - she gives really good advice). They will probably only use the shed for sleeping, preferring to be outside during daylight even when cold and wet (especially when wet!). I don't suppose you get much rain in Texas though! The ducks don't need food or water during the night and it will really reduce the mess and keep your shed dry and clean if you only keep these outside. It's a good idea to have a storage area built in, saves on dragging sacks of stuff back and forth.

    I'm not sure if hay is a suitable bedding, as I think it is prone to carrying mould spores which can affect bird's lungs if wet. Perhaps if you change it frequently it is alright? I'm not sure.

    I use a horse bedding which you can buy from the feed store. it is dust extracted, fairly cheap and contains no nasties.

    Well done you for researching and getting everything ready before you get ducks. A much better way to do things than a lot of people who buy on impulse for cuteness and then don't have the right facilities to keep them.
     
  8. sapoho

    sapoho Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2010
    SW TX
    We found some hardware mesh wire and sketched out a plan for our pen, got a medium sized water tub we can use until they start selling kiddie pools again, a bin for feed... everything has come together now! I have a large plastic dog crate they can hang out in while ducklings inside the house, so I placed our order for two Cayuga's and starter feed! I'm excited!
    I'll do a little more reading up on bedding for outside as well. Thanks for all your helpful advice!
     
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I have a Cayuga pair and I love 'em. They are remarkably quiet ducks. Thelma's quack IS loud, but she only quacks a single quack every now and then - she's gone days without quacking loudly. I've only heard her quack when she's upset about something, and I mean REALLY upset. Like maybe somebody ran into her or pulled feathers or something. She's very mellow.

    Louie gabbles all the time, but it's not very loud. Thelma gabbles back to him, also quietly.

    Louie has a lot to tell me, I guess. Thelma lets him tell the duckie stories.

    Mine do not go into shelters any more - they did as young ducks. For a while they went into the chicken coop and settled into one corner for the night. But the chickens go to bed earlier than the ducks like to retire, and that coop has an auto door on it, so they stopped going into the coop. For a while they utilized the bottom section of an A-Frame coop, but now they spend a great deal of each night on patrol in the yard.

    They visit my land-lady and settle down on her back patio for a while, gabbling whilst she watches TV. She said it was the oddest thing, they gabbled amongst themselves while the set was on, and shut up immediately as soon as she shut off the TV set.

    Because they're black, they're stealth ducks. They nest in grass tufts, or under a bench next to my front door, or somewhere totally hidden. But they're up and out about all night long.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  10. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG] Love this!

    You must be very confident about predators at night. Although our garden is fairly secure, I would be a bit worried at night.

    Gryeyes, your ducks sound like they are a very sociable and happy pair!
     

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