New to Ducks...what should I know?


12 Years
Mar 6, 2011
We just picked up two ducks from our local feed store. They were labeled as "straight run," which means we have no clue what gender or breed. We picked them up as pets, so we really don't care.

We have raised chickens, but never ducks. Any pointers would be appreciated.

Thanks bunches!
My main hint would be to make sure they always have a water source to rinse their beaks in. That it really important for ducks. Other than that they are similar to raising chickens.
Its pretty much like raising chicks but with more water and LOTS more poop to clean up. I mean....7 two week old chicks make less poop per day than a single day old Duckling!

PS. Where are the pics?!
They grow close to you very quickly. Are you keeping them inside? Their water is going to stay dirty because they transfer their food to the water dish to eat it. They poop with every 8th breath. They are very curious animals. Will eat most anything if you let them.
I can't post pictures yet because I'm too new on BYC. I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

I love my little duckies. We are pretty sure that one is a pekin and the other one we have no clue.

My husband and I have been playing with them every chance we get.

For now, they are living in a bin in the bathroom. I'm sure that we'll be getting a bigger container for them soon.

Yes, they are messy! We have 6 chicks right now that are so clean in comparison. But, I do have to say that our duckies have way more personality.

What will I need for outside when it gets warm enough? How do ducks do in the winter? I live in Utah.
I was thinking of getting a few ducks. What kind do I want? I have a large, deep ditch in front of my house. So they will always have water to swim in. Can they live in my hen house? Do they lay eggs like a chicken? Can you eat the eggs? Where do they lay eggs? Is there a breed I should go for?
when I say deep ditch, I mean that it was dug deep, the water is not very deep. However, there is almost always a liitle water in it. In fact I usually have a wild ducks in the water.

Any more help would be great!
Non medicated chick starter (medicated can be toxic to ducks)... add niacin (human suppliment section of about any store) to their water once a day (chickens don't need as much as ducks) so they don't get a niacin deficency... LOTS of water to drink....

Be ready (AND I MEAN FAST) for them to go out. They grow ALOT faster than chicks. They make a mess... be prepared for that too. They must have water to drink... they have to wash down their food.

Also, ducklings can have weeds and grasses from day one.... "baby" grass and shredded dandilions... be careful, though... grass ferments fast so if they don't eat it right away, take it away.

Ducks without mothers should not swim before two weeks old. Their oil glands that make them waterproof are not developed. With a mom they get her oil on them... but without a mom, you can chill them and they can die. If you have to bathe them... or just can't stand to not put them in the tub.... make the water luke warm and heat the room up... be ready to hand dry them too. They will be wet like a soaked cat.

I highly HIGHLY recommend reading up on ducks. They are in some ways easier than chickens and in other ways harder. Storey's Guides are always great starts.... you'll learn alot and your ducks will be that much better off because of it.

Enjoy them!!
It's not recommended they live in the hen house... duck houses are simple four wall construction, though. Yes, they lay like chickens... some breeds better than others. You can eat the eggs but some people don't like the taste and other prefer it. They lay on nests they make themselves on the ground... you give a female duck some straw, she'll make her own nest.

The breed depends on you. Campbells are the best layers... but you may not like their personalities. Pekins are meant for meat but are alot more calm. Mallards are pretty but will fly away because they are wild. Rouen looks like a mallard but is bigger and doesn't fly away. Muscoveys are ugly to some people but are very friendly and they will even roost in trees at night - they also will eat mice.

That's just the tip of the iceburg... then there are bantam ducks... which would require less space but preditors could get them even more easily.

There are runners who stand upright and run all over. There are all sorts... just depends on you, really.

ETA: forgot to mention... sometimes (and this depends on the individual duck) ducks can and will bite chickens and/or other things in your yard. I have one crested that bites all the chickens except one that he will share food with. He tucks his head down and charges them and pulls out whatever feathers he can grab... so not all ducks will get along with chickens... and I'm sure there are some chickens who won't get along with ducks.

Mainly it's not recommended because of their way of life... if you see the mess a duck will make overnight while kept up... you'd understand. It's just better to make a duck only home. You'll thank me in the end for that.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom