New to ducks, looking for advice :)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by rachd1987, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. rachd1987

    rachd1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello everyone, I'm Rach, I live in the UK, I'm hoping to be a duck mum soon, and have been spending a lot of time reading and researching about their care. My partner and I have decided Campbells would be the most suitable breed for us in our garden. I wondered if I could get a bit of advice on a few things? I've read so much conflicting information, I'm a bit confused about what to believe.

    What is the minimum amount of space 2 ducks would need if they were in a pen most of the day? We plan to let them out to free range in the rest of the garden (and probably my kitchen!) as much as we can, but when we are at work, they will need to be in their pen to protect from the neighbours cats.

    I would like to feed them a mix of pellets and homemade feed (wheat, barley/oats, maize (corn), chickpeas, lentils/peas, sunflower seeds, shell grit) if possible, would there be any issues with this, and would this give them the right balance of vitamins they require? Also, can anyone suggest supplements (UK stockists) I could add to the natural feed, most vitamin / supplement mixes I've found are aimed at chickens?

    My partner has acquired some artificial grass, I'm a bit dubious about using it for their pen, I think they'd pull it to bits and worry they'd eat it - am I over thinking? We'll be getting a plastic paddling pool for them so it could make a good floor lining to reduce the mud bath underneath. Another potential use (if it would be safe of course) I considered would be to use it to line their coop, with straw on top for bedding, as it could be taken out and jet washed?

    Apologies if any of these questions have already been answered elsewhere, and if some seem a little naive, I don't want to rush into bringing any little duckies home until I feel fully clued up and equipped to care for them properly! Thanks :)
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC @rachd1987
    I don't think it would be a good idea to use the artificial turf all duck are nibblers including ducklings so if they can pull it off and eat it then it wouldn't be a good idea. In expensive vinyl flooring is a good way to go with a layer of shaving over top But not cedar shavings. Depending on duck size Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks rec 2 to 10 sq feet of run space per duck. It's a great book also filled with good info so you might want to look for it. inside 2-6sq ft again depending on size and temperament of duck. To start off ducklings have a hard time with pellets crumble is best and by the time they should go to the next level of feed then introduce pellets. as for the seeds I'd start introducing them as they get older also I use just about everything you have mentioned but i make it in a fermented feed fermenting makes the seeds and peas softer and easier to digest. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/391329/homemade-duck-feed#post_16447166 might get some ideas here. As for vitamins not sure what you can get in the UK but niacin is a must when raising ducklings and most chicken feed doesn't have enough so something with a good source of B3[niacin ] will be a must also Brewers yeast food grade can be used as a source of niacin. If you are planning on getting ducklings you need the raising duckling thread I'll get it for you.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings#post_10611711
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  3. rachd1987

    rachd1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you very much @Miss Lydia for taking the time to reply, funnily enough I'm off to the library later in search of some duckie books, I'll see if I can find that one! I came across mentions of Brewers yeast, I'll definitely get some for them, apparently it's good for growing your hair so I might give it a try myself! Haha!
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I use it in my smoothies most morning. Please keep us updated especially when you get your babies..
     
  5. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The minimums stated per duck for the coop is 2 sq ft and for the run in 4 sq ft. I say give them as much space as you can. It would be better to have too much space then not enough. I would highly recommend you get three ducks if you can manage it. If something happens and you lose a duck it would be much easier for the remaining ducks to cope if they have another ducking friend. Just something to keep in mind.

    If you manage to find a copy of Storey's Guide, there are recipes in there for homemade feeds. I don't know anything else about making your own feed.

    I currently have a piece of wood covering my ducks water tub that is in their pen. It is in the ground so I couldn't remove it so I had to cover it for winter. I didn't want to leave it untreated so I stapled a piece of artificial turf on it. I have not noticed any sign of them trying to eat it. They do lay on it sometimes. You might want to check out this thread. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1017110/fake-grass-artificial-turf-3-yrs-and-counting-with-ducks

    Just want to add that I think it is great that you are doing lots of research and [​IMG]
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I had not seen this thread very interesting still not sure if I'd use it but I have geese also and they will pull on and eat just about anything. Sure is pretty though.
     
  7. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I imagine it wouldn't work very well with geese. And there is always the chance that even if it works for a lot of people it won't work for everyone. That's why you can find a lot of conflicting information, especially with animal care. Sometimes you just have to try and see.
     
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  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I'm thinking my chickens would really not like it lol
     
  9. rachd1987

    rachd1987 Out Of The Brooder

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    Everybody, meet Jasper, Rosie and Lily! They're settling in well, eating and drinking tonnes and pooing an unbelievable amount!

    [​IMG]

    I'm in love with them already. They were born at the beginning of the week, unfortunately I think the time for imprinting is well past but I'm hoping to build a bond with them so they become sociable pets. Any tips on how to tame them a little? They're a bit skittish at the minute, I'm trying to handle them without stressing them out too much. Once they're settled they sit ok with me and don't mind being stroked
     
  10. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are little itty bitty things that are dinner to most other things. When approaching from above, they are just doing what comes naturally.

    Spend a lot of time with them on their level. I used to bring my 3 into our bathroom and just sit and lay on the floor with them and they'd run around and over me. I had their pen raised up so I could sit and be at their level (though they were basically looking at a giant head lol). At night, I'd bring them inside one a time to hand out and watch TV. They turned into 3 friendly ducks.

    Just spend a lot of time with them. But be aware, that they will go through a stage where they think you are the devil, regardless of how much time you have spent with them. Bu t the ungrateful little buggers do grow out of that stage after a bit.
     

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