New to ducks and have some questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by HSerChickLady, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2012
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    We're looking at ordering 8 ducklings as pets for our kids. I've read the Storey's guide but still have a few things i want to be sure we have correct before we place our order.

    -First is having a drake a good idea with them being the kids project or would it be better to just keep all ladies? Does having a drake affect the happiness of the girls? We were only planning to get 1 drake if we get any at all.

    -Is it ok to mix 4 different breeds together? We were looking at getting 2 each of Buff, Cayuga, Swedish, and Runners.

    -Will a 4' x 8' coop with a 12' x 12' run be enough room for them? For their safety free-range is not an option with our local wildlife but i also don't want to make it unnecessarily large especially for winter.

    -The Storey's book says that i have to supplement Niacin, do i really? Everyone i know with ducks just feed them regular feed and doesn't supplement. We're going to be using DuMor feeds (starter, grower, layer) as that's about all we have available to us. Agway is the only other we can get here.

    -Will feeding layer actually poison a drake with calcium if we have one? The Storey's book says that. Again i don't know anyone locally who's had a problem feeding everyone the same feed.

    I think that was all i needed to know. Thanks so much for the help! The kids are so excited.
     
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  3. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you!

    In a couple years we might let the kids hatch some eggs. But it's probably easier to just order hatching eggs i'd imagine than to keep a drake?

    We will be using pine shaving for bedding most likely. They're what we use for the horse and chickens. Though i do have access to hay chaff if needed.

    What brand of feed is the Flock Raiser? And how do you supplement your ducklings niacin, and to what age?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  4. dukzzz

    dukzzz Out Of The Brooder

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    be careful using hay, it grows mold and aspergillosis which can cause bad respiratory infections for your ducks. the pin shavings work well with older ducks but ducklings tend to try to eat them
     
  5. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  6. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't like hay for bedding either. I use CareFresh or SoftSorbent for my rabbits and guinea pig, but those are more edible than the large flake pine shavings. I've always used flake shavings for my chickens. Our TSC has both flake and fine shavings to choose from and that's why i get them there.
     
  7. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will look for the Flock Raiser. Our TSC carries some Purina feeds but i can't remember if i've seen that one. I guess we'll have to discuss the drake, i'm not sure which way i'd like to go.
     
  8. Rosepath Garden

    Rosepath Garden Out Of The Brooder

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    I like to keep a drake around I find the girls lay more eggs this way.
    That said it dose mean I answer some sticky questions from my three boys,
    on all the duck surfing in the pond.
     
  9. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I intend to keep a drake.. i actually have 3 right now.. don't recommend that .. but i need to wait another couple months to get rid of at least one.. no idea if the hens would be happier without one or not but they certainly seem to like having them...

    My main drake oldest has quite the affection for one of the hens, grooming and basically cuddling with her.. it's quite sweet [​IMG] I'd never part with him anyways, we've had him since he was days old.

    I don't pen my birds but my barn is bedded with shavings(same as i use for my horses) and straw which adds extra warmth and the hens "nest" build with it. I never supplemented anything and i have now raised 4 three days olds & two 3/4 weekers' without a single issues.. i used a duck starter from purina and moved to a grower... I did briefly try a layer but was concerned since i had 4 drakes at the time.. i'm really doubtful i will go back to one this year.. my hens have continued to lay pretty consistently for months and now all my hens are laying(5 in total) using my current feed .. i do have free choice oyster shell but i'm unsure why i'd need a layer>? [​IMG] and with my intent to definitely keep one drake, possibly two.. i think it's best if i don't..

    As for pen sizing, if the intent is never free range, i'd make it as large as you possibly can.. ducks are messy and the water alone will ruin the ground.. before you get into their nose digging and droppings.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  10. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2012
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    Thanks! Perhaps having 1 drake would be best. I wish we had more choices in feeds around here, but i will certainly look and see if i can find the Purina feeds you guys mentioned. I'll probably skip layer feed for them too if we have the drake.

    Right now the plan is to never free-range them. We have a lot of foxes and coyotes, our barn dog, and a pair of hawk's who nest right across the road from us. Last year our neighbors lost 8 ducks to Red-Tailed Hawk's so having ours loose is just not practicle. We have been thinking of making a fenced path to our small pond and letting them in there a couple times a week to putter, but we'd also have to fence in the pond. Luckily it's a small one but still it could be hard to make it fully enclosed. We might try making a tractor type run for them as well and let them use that from time to time when we're home during the day.

    My sister used to put her Pekins on a leash and walk them around the yard. Have any of you tried that? Hers loved it, even though it does sound strange.
     

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