New Duck Questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by farmerlaura, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. farmerlaura

    farmerlaura Hatching

    Oct 15, 2014
    So an acquaintance recently impulsively bought 2 ducks. She lives in a deed restricted, gated community..needless to say she can't have ducks and she doesn't have the space, so guess who's taking her ducks?! Yep. We have just started a homestead on 5 acres so we figured "we have goats and chickens, whats 2 ducks...?!" Even though we never considered having ducks on the homestead, I don't want them to be neglected where they are or just dumped somewhere. So Here are my questions:

    She has said she has 2 males one that she said she thinks is a Mallard and one that she thinks is a Pekin. Since we aren't in the habit of just getting mouths to feed we will use them for eggs and meat. But, we obviously need females for eggs. Does it matter what breed of duck I get for them to breed with? There are only 2 stores near me that have ducks-all males-until spring. I can order pekin and blue swedish from Ideal now. Her's are only a few weeks old so I was thinking it would be better to get the females now so they will be close in age vs. waiting until spring.

    I don't know if ducks will just mate with any ol' duck, if there are complications to this or not. For my goats, Im obviously not going to let my doe breed with her offspring and don't allow imbreeding, but does it matter for ducks? should i just wait until these 2 get bigger to know for sure what they are (Im assuming I'd be able to tell by looks?) and then get the same breed of female or just get the ones Ideal has now? I'd appreciate any input, because I really don't know a thing about ducks except my kids like to feed them at the park :D


    Jun 10, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    Ducks can breed with any breed so you an get the females from ideal. As for imbreeding I believe it is not OK for siblings but might not be bad if duck and offspring. If you post pics people might be able to help with breed.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  3. Orca5094

    Orca5094 Songster

    Jul 26, 2014
    Inbreeding is just as bad in birds as it is with mammals, you don't want to do it. They might be ok for a generation or two, but then you'll start getting alot of genetic problems. Best to avoid that scenario and only allow non-related individuals to breed.

    But yes, all breeds of ducks can and will breed with each other. You just have to make sure your males aren't too big for the females because they could potentially be injured or even killed during breeding. I would suggest getting the females now so they can all grow up together and bond while they're young. Good luck!

    And yes, post some pics so we can help you with the duck breeds. :)
  4. WildThang

    WildThang Chirping

    Jun 10, 2014
    For two males, you would want at least Two or Three females, at the least. Male's tend to get territorial the older they get over the females. They want them -ALL- Much like when a female dog goes in heat, you don't want two male dogs around her. From what i have noticed with my ducks. Watering systems are a must, I'm sure you have them around your property due to the chickens. They can use the same watering systems just fine. You want to make sure you have some Water for them to take baths, dunk their beaks to clean out their noses. They will dunk their heads in the water and make a sneezing noise. They are blowing the water out their nostrils to clean it. They also LOVEEE mud puddles and digging holes in your ground. From water and the mud. We use Pallets, under the watering system to keep the ducks from being able to get a beak full of water dropping it on the dirt and making mud puddles (Because they were doing that really bad.) As long as its not to high the ducks can climb up it. If you are going to be using them for eggs, I would get a small dogloo and a bit of hay throw it on the inside, when they reach close to five months old. In their duck pen (Provided if you make them one.) So the girls wont just make or lay eggs just anywhere. That way you can keep track of where they will lay their eggs. Meat birds, you would probably just want to get pekins for that. They get bigger, and have a lot more meat on them. It would be a good idea to get the females as soon as possible, Around the same age, introduce them into the environment together. That way they might have a better chance of getting along. They will get use to each other regardless, but it seems to be a much easier introduction. To the pecking order. We feed them the same thing that we feed our chickens, just not the medicated chicken food. Once they hit to being adults we switched to pellets. Five Galen Bucket, With a hole cut into it and half of a Rounded pipe on it helped keep the food dry, but wide enough to get their heads in it to eat. With the end angled downwards (Inside the bucket.) That way the food didn't just pour out. Sense it was towards the bottom. So gravity took over.

    I'm Not saying this is what you need to do, this is just from experience and reading up on how we have raised our ducks.
  5. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Songster

    Apr 19, 2014
    West Chester, PA, USA
    This is a bit difficult to answer since the lady you're getting them from really doesn't know much about them, but I thought it would be worth tacking a few things onto what the others have said.

    If you don't already know, you should ask where she got them. If it was from a breeder or hatchery, they should have told her what breed they are. If it was from a farm or feed store, the one she's calling a Mallard might really be a Rouen. The employees at our local farm stores all call Rouens Mallards and won't be convinced otherwise. The coloring is basically identical, but most of the similarity stops there. Adult Rouens are far larger than adult Mallards, and Mallards are flying ducks, while Rouens can't fly at all.

    Which brings me to the next point...Mallards are in the Bantam class, and Pekins are in the Heavyweight class, which is the same class Rouens are in. The Bantam class is the lightest weight of the classes, so Bantam <-> Heavyweight is as far apart in size as you can get. For that reason, you should not add Mallard females even if one of the ones you're taking really is a Mallard. The Pekin drake will not care that a Mallard duck is a different breed, and it will undoubtedly at least try to mate with her. Over time, possibly a short time, that could lead to injury or even death of the female. They're just too far apart in size for breeding to be safe.

    So what if you can verify that the "Mallard" is actually a Rouen and would be about the same size as the Pekin? You still go with Pekin females because you're interested in egg production and Rouens are not good egg-layers. While Pekins aren't among the highest egg producers of the duck breeds, their production is still far higher than that of Rouens. A typical Pekin could be expected to produce twice as many eggs as a typical Rouen.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
  6. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Songster

    Apr 19, 2014
    West Chester, PA, USA
    I knew there was something I had forgotten to mention. If by "Ideal," you mean Ideal Poultry in Texas, their website says they sell only straight run in these breeds of ducklings. That means they haven't checked the sex of the ducklings and whatever you get is going to be the luck of the draw. If I were you, I definitely would not take a chance on purchasing straight run ducklings if I already had two drakes. If you order 3 ducklings, you'll almost certainly end up with at least one drakelet, which would give you a 3/2 male/female flock. Having more drakes that ducks, or even an equivalent number of each, is just begging for trouble once they mature. What you want to look for is 3 ducklings that the breeder/hatchery will guarantee you are female.

    There's always a small extra fee for sexed ducklings, and some hatcheries will do the sexing for the small fee even if they advertise only straight run. Many won't do it even if you're willing to pay extra, especially if you want only females. If that's the case with Ideal, I strongly advise you to look elsewhere, even if it takes a while.

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