New duck owner, care questions please

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by chicknmania, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    central Ohio
    We just got our little guy, it's just him, he was a freebie, and I know next to nothing about ducks.

    Ours is still in quarantine and he will be til early December. It's cold here, so I was gonna just let him stay in the barn with the rest of the flock for the duration of the winter. He will not be near water there but I assume that's ok, since it would be frozen anyway.

    In the spring though, we are trying to decide what to do. We have a pond, but it is in or near the woods, at the opposite end of our property from the barn where the rest of the flock is. I won't put him in the pond alone, but we will have to get him a friend or two in the spring. I'm worried about predators down there though. Should we build the ducks a duck house, or do they need shelter? Our pond has lots of cover, but that's also cover for the scads of coons and everything else that goes down there to fish, hunt, and drink.
    And we have lots of wild ducks who come through during migration season that i'm not necessarily interested in discouraging from staying over for a rest on our pond. Canada geese and ducks do not usually nest there and I'm pretty sure it's because the risk of coyote predation is pretty high, but it might be because they are worried about our dog, too. . So, anyway, here's my questions

    1) For now, what should we feed him? Breeder told us what we feed the rest of our flock is ok for him too, which is, layer pellets or crumbles, Flock Raiser, scratch, or cracked corn, or usually a combination thereof, with the majority being layer or Flock Raiser.; Sometimes sunflower seeds mixed in . Is this ok for him? Or should we feed him waterfowl food?

    2) Do ducks need a shelter house if they're on a pond? Our neighbor down the road started out with 12 white Calls and a duck house; over the past couple of years we have sadlly watched them dwindle to two. It doesn't look like the house provides much protection. I've also talked to others in the past who said they never provided any shelter for their ducks.

    3) Would he be happy staying with the flock on dry land until we can make arrangements for him on the pond, if we do that?
    We have a large baby wading pool...

    4) How long do ducks live as a general rule and how prolific are they? How would he react if we got him a male friend, and would they stick around or wander? We are not interested in babies, really, and it would be pretty much impossible to monitor nesting and/ or babies down there.

    5) Lastly, is it possible that he'd get tame enough that we could take him down for a swim, and he'd come if we called?
    I mean I guess it would be possible, but I don't know how tame they will get; I know some of our chickens tame easily and others are horrified at the thought of being a close friend to people. :( This last scenario would be ideal, if he'd follow us around, though a lot more work.

    Anyway, any advice is appreciated. Oh, and are there any chicken treats/ refrigerator leftovers that the duck should not have?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  2. Kleonaptra

    Kleonaptra Chillin' With My Peeps

    In the meantime he would much appreciate a deep water dish - its very important ducks have deep enough water to wash their eyes. So long as he has adult feathers, a baby pool is great. If he still has baby down, he wont have oil yet and wont float - he could drown.

    1. All that is fine for ducks but I would make sure you never give him MEDICATED chicken crumbles as ducks can poison themselves on it. All else is fine - he will forage for bugs too.

    2. I always have a lock up shed that predators cant get into, I assume you have a place for chickens anyway? When I didnt have a lock up shed, I caught them every evening and brought them into my laundry! They dont really need shelter as such, but a 'Safe Place' to sleep at night is essential. He will go where the chickens go, they will become his flock.

    3. By all means, use the wading pool. He doesnt necessarily need the pond, he will be much happier with the other birds. If he's still to fluffy for swimming, just a deep plastic dish to wade in and dabble in. Ducks love mud puddles!

    4. I have heard of ducks living 25 years but Id say 12 to 15 would be average. Some breeds go all year round, others are seasonal. 2 males might fight, or become good friends. He will be very lonely without another duck.

    5. Yes it is possible, but all ducks are different. I incubated and hatched my drake, he comes (or at least answers) when I call and follows me, but his mate Piper who I also hatched, is no where near as friendly. She tolerates me, Id say. Just always talk, dont try to pick him up or cuddle him too much. Once he knows you mean food and water he'll get to know and maybe even love you!

    Im not sure about no nos from the kitchen, hopefully someone else will be able to help with that.
     
  3. Childwanderer

    Childwanderer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2012
    Ducks can eat just about anything a person can- meat, dairy, fruits, veggies- but they must not be given raw potato or raw soybeans. Cooked potatoes are fine.
    Welcome to the world of Ducks!
     
  4. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Ouch. Are they attracted to soybeans? Our neighbor farms our field. just did beans this year, so it will be corn next year, but the following year it should be beans again and they will have
    easy access to that field and the rest of the flock loves to go in there. Idk if they eat the beans, but they do go in there a lot.

    yes, the chickens have a secure barn they go into at night. And that's where he is right now, in a pen while in quarantine. It's far away from the pond though, so I guess if he and friends
    go down there, we will have to figure out something.

    Lastly, how do they do in the cold weather? Are they fairly hardy? We expect to have a cold winter this year.
     

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