New to duck keeping

HeatherTheMommy

Songster
May 14, 2015
802
22
109
Felton DE
Hi there. This last saturday we picked up 5 ducks, 12 hens, 1 rooster and 2 guinea fowl. My daughter insisted she needed the ducks. We have 1 pekin, 1 black runner, 1 black swedish, 1 blue swedish and 1 khaki campbell. Im not sure exactly how old they are. My guess is 1 or 2 weeks. We are still finishing our coop but i think the ducks will need more room. We live on a 120 acre farm with a large pond. Do you let your ducks out during the day to roam or is it to dangerous? Down where the pond is we currently have a pair of wild geese with their 5 babies. Will they come back at night if we let them out during the day or is it best to leave them in the chicken run? Thanks for any info.
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BarrerasDucks

In the Brooder
Mar 24, 2015
67
8
33
Corbett, Oregon
Hi Heather! I am new to BYC but have had ducks as pets growing up and I have them now as well.

Yours are REALLY CUTE!!!

They need to be supervised while they swim and they can only swim in something real shallow for now. They don't have their feathers. Their oil glands don't start working till around 4 weeks and they aren't fully feathered till about 8 weeks. You'll want to keep them separated from the adult geese and chickens or make sure they are really supervised. They don't have a mom to defend them that is your job now!
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If you want really hardy ducks feed them Purina Flock Raiser. It is perfect for waterfowl. Make sure you don't feed them the same food as your chickens. It can't be medicated. Ducks and Chickens are completely different. (Ducks lay alkali eggs chickens lay acidic eggs...fun fact). If you handle them they will imprint on you. If you don't have time to imprint on them all pick at least one and the others will follow. If you treat them like a new puppy they will be as loyal as a dog.

Summary: Just make sure they don't swim unsupervised and keep them separated. Feed them non medicated food with 24/7 access to water they will choke. They will be messy at first (change bedding all the time) but once they get 4-6 weeks you can leave them out with the rest of the birds all day (while they are out they poop outside). Put them up at night. At 8-10 weeks I pull the food and water at night and put it back in the morning this keeps the pen cleaner.

They are a lot of work to start but when they become adults they are really easy and really smart. They like a routine just remember that. One last thing....THEY LOVE BROADLEAF WEEDS!!!
 

HeatherTheMommy

Songster
May 14, 2015
802
22
109
Felton DE
They are all still inside even the chicks. They are being fed purina starter for game birds i do believe for now. Did you let your adult ducks free range during the day? Or is it to dangerous?
 

BarrerasDucks

In the Brooder
Mar 24, 2015
67
8
33
Corbett, Oregon
I have a Goose as a guardian and a retired neighbor that loves to sit out on her porch and watch them while she smokes. I have a few acres for them but all my neighbors have guard dogs for coyotes. Geese will stop anything but a dog or coyote. They will die trying though. So in short I do let them free range. I saw you have wild geese... sorry missed that. Definitely keep them away from the Geese for now. Especially wild ones. A paint tray works awesome as a pool for them and your daughter will have fun watching them play.

With your pond I would get just one Goose. It will protect them. Get the goose now so it grows up with them. It will protect them from hawks, owls raccoons cats foxes etc. Then the can free range all you want. Do you have a dog on your property?
 

BarrerasDucks

In the Brooder
Mar 24, 2015
67
8
33
Corbett, Oregon
I don't know how big your pond is but is it big enough for a floating coop? Floating coops keep the critters out at night and gives them protection when they need to flee. 4 legged predators don't like to swim. While they are on the pond and that is where they will spend most their time they will be susceptible to aerial attacks unless a goose is in the mix.
 

HeatherTheMommy

Songster
May 14, 2015
802
22
109
Felton DE
The pond is huge. Maybe when we have more money we can build a floating coop. Maybe i can get a goose at the auction. Do geese get along with chickens too? We do have a dog but he stays inside mostly because he is a keeshond and doesnt dk well in the heat.
 

BarrerasDucks

In the Brooder
Mar 24, 2015
67
8
33
Corbett, Oregon
Yeah the Goose will guard everyone. They will even guard you! LOL!

They alert everyone to something out of the ordinary even if you have someone pull into the driveway. The Chinese and African geese are aggressive towards strangers and may even hold someone in their car. I have a Toulouse. They are a little more calm but still great guards. One goose will think it is a duck. Geese are also smarter than ducks.
 

Bengt747

In the Brooder
May 3, 2015
64
6
35
Any time you allow your ducks, chickens, etc. to roam in the yard, you run the risk of drawing a determined predator. Unless you lock the adult ducks up when you're not at home and at night, I would anticipate some losses. While it may not seem optimal to have to keep your ducks in an enclosure or run, it can go a long way in helping the ducks stay safer and happier. If you feed them in the morning and evening, you could train them to return to the enclosure with some positive reinforcement.

(There's an article on the BackYard Chicken homepage right now by CarolJ titled "Deciding to Free Range your Flock" that might offer some insight into the issue as well.)

Getting a goose may help, but it's certainly not a guarantee. Although a goose may become familiar or friendly with the ducks, a goose can only do so much against a raccoon, mink, or a fox in the dark (if the goose chooses to fight at all).

Best of luck!
 

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