New to ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by WestKnollAmy, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

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    I had ducks many years ago but can't remember anything about them. I do not believe I took very good care of them so before I get any more I would like to find out some important things about them.

    I only want a few and mostly wanting them to sell the eggs for cooking. I have plenty of chickens, both free ranging and in tractors or pens.
    I am interested in the Runners but would like to know if there is a breed that doesn't care if it has a pool to play in or not. I know they need water to eat and that will be fine.

    I can set up a large pen for them and even let them free range some if I am not as worried about collecting the eggs.
    I have tried to Google some info but there is a ton of junk to read out there and I am not sure if a book would cover the details I am looking for.

    I want to make sure I feed them correctly, house them well and get the right breed that will work for me. I love the Runners but the Pekins are nice, except I think they like a lot of water to play in. I haven't a pond or creek but use kiddy pools a lot for my chickens and big tubs for the horse water. There isn't much in the way of shade trees here but I do use tarps.

    Oh, and size of the breed's eggs was something I had been looking for, as well. My ducks never laid that I ever knew of but I did free range those poor things before the neighbor's dogs got them. Now I am almost predator proof. I never discount the fact that hawks or foxes could get something here.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Duck_feeder

    Duck_feeder Drowning in feathers!

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  3. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    All ducks can live without swimming water, they only really need water deep enough to emerge their beak/head. That being said, they are waterfowl... allowing them something to swim in promotes preening which keeps their oil gland functioning properly. They use the gland to keep themselves oiled up for waterproofing/weatherproofing and feather health. You don't need to have a pond for them. Something small enough to just get their body in works fine. Even allowing them bathing water a few times a week will keep them happier and healthier.

    If you wait till around 8:30 am to let them out, most waterfowl will have already laid their daily egg. I don't have direct experience with this yet since my girls refuse to lay thus far, but most of the reading I have done has said this.

    The book Duck_Feeder recommended is a great book and well worth the money to own. It's a good reference book that you can go to again and again.
     
  4. cracking up

    cracking up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi - I don't know a lot about ducks but when my runner started laying the eggs were just like americana chickens, same size and color. When I ordered hatching eggs they were bigger and odd shaped and white. When they hatched out they weren't runners so that must have had something to do with it. Mine are happy with a cat litter box full of water and then I fill a childs pool a couple of times a week. They also love it if you just run the hose on the lawn if you don't mind the holes they'll dig.

    I've always used straw in their pen (they're only in at night) but lately I've heard it isn't good and I've heard the same thing about shavings. Right now I have bermuda in their coop but hoping to find out what is really the right thing to put them on. Maybe just wire with nest boxes?
     
  5. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

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    I am sure I will put shavings in their night coop and they will have grass and dirt in their pen. I am sure I will have a kiddie pool for them but am dreading the mess. The chickens only get theirs cleaned once a week but I suppose ducks will be more of a "dump 3 times a week" deal.

    Sounds like the eggs will be pretty.
    I have always liked the Runners and they were great when I had my garden. So polite about the plants but did a number on the bugs. My chickens are bad to eat all the veggies along with the bugs.
     
  6. priss

    priss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wait wait wait...I use wood shavings...is this bad? Why is this bad? Am I doing something wrong? I use wood shavings and then I put lots of straw over the top. Is that bad for them?
     
  7. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

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    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    So far what I have read has said to use shavings. There is a ton of material on the internet but I never know what to believe. I am going to get the "Story's" book.
     
  8. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    Quote:You're fine ducks are fine, Priss [​IMG]
     
  9. Duck_feeder

    Duck_feeder Drowning in feathers!

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    Quote:It all depends on their living arrangements. A lot of people don't like shavings because they don't really absorb the mess the ducks make (if moisture doesn't get absorbed, the stink is worse - especially indoors). Nettie and I don't like shavings because some pieces can be sharp and cut the feet of the ducks. Shouldn't be much of a problem for you if it's covered with straw and most of their run is dirt and grass.
     
  10. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    Personally I love shavings and they seem to absorb a lot more than when I used straw. The shavings also aren't as likely to get moldy.... or so I've been led to believe. When I was using straw, I encountered a smell that made me think I might be getting mold.

    I use the deep litter method and haven't had to clean out the duck house since September which is when I started using shavings. I just add more d/e and more shavings when it starts getting too moist. The house is 8'x12' and until recently housed 16 to 18 waterfowl every night (now there is more and I need another duck house.. in the works). The duck house also has very good ventilation. I put my nose down to the bedding to check the ammonia smell everyday. They don't use the house during the day, instead when they want to get out of the wind they bunch up against our house under the deck/balcony even though the duck house is open and accessible. None of my ducks have experienced foot problems.
     

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