New to the forum and have question about ducks...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LonesomeDuck, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. LonesomeDuck

    LonesomeDuck New Egg

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    Aug 25, 2016
    Indiana
    Hi everyone,

    We are going to be converting an old chicken coop into a duck house later this fall and getting our first few ducks and so wanted to get advice from the experts here.

    - What breeds would you recommend that are good egg layers, not loud, and have calm temperaments? Based on my studies so far it's looking like Golden 300's, Khaki Campbells, and Welsh Harlequins are our best bet? The chicken coop is ~20 feet from our house and we have a dog that has an invisible fence system which keeps him from going into the chicken coop.
    - Would it be a better idea to get a mix of breeds or just multiple ducks of the same breed? Are there certain breeds that don't get along?
    - Our chicken coop is really a small building that was converted to a chicken coop. It's ~10 feet tall inside and about 10 feet long and 8 feet wide. From what i've read, ducks don't like to nest up high and their nest boxes have to be on the ground. Is there anyway to get multiple levels of nest boxes so we could fit more ducks in our coop, or should ducks only nest on the ground? Based on some rough math, leaving entryways for us to walk in and for the ducks to walk out, we could fit probably 5-7 ducks on the ground floor if they need 4 square feet per duck.
    - We are looking at getting the ducks in mid to late September, and they will have just hatched. Is that too late in the year as winter will be coming soon or is it just fine so long as you provide necessary accommodations?
    - We are going to construct a run out the back end of the chicken coop that will probably be ~17 feet long and ~8 feet wide. Should the water supply for the ducks be on the inside of the coop or on the outside of the coop bordering the run? Didn't know if it made more sense to keep the water on the outside to keep the coop dryer, but then they'd have to go out in the cold to get water in the winter. What setups do y'all use to keep their water supply from freezing?
    - The feeder setups we've seen are basically pvc pipes that gravity feed as the ducks eat. Should the ducks have all the food they want to eat all the time, or are you supposed to regulate when they can eat? What feeder setups do you recommend?

    Thanks,
    "Lonesome Duck"
     
  2. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2016
    New Hampshire
    Ok, well, first of all, where are you located? How cold are your winters? If you get day old ducklings at the end of September, they will need to be in a brooder with heat lamp for at LEAST 3 weeks. So end of October you'll be putting 4 week old ducks outside. Not fully feathered then.
    My PERSONAL preference is to get them in April, they go outside in May, have all summer to grow, learn to swim, enjoy the sun etc.
    The size of your coop is fine, and fully feathered ducks are very cold hearty, but if you live where it gets frigid, such a big coop doesn't allow the ducks' body heat to warm the space on those really cold nights. And ducks require more ventilation than chickens as their coops get very moist and you want to avoid mold growth.
    Ducklings up to about 6 weeks old should have constant access to food and water deep enough to dunk their entire head.
    After that, you can keep food & water outside at night provided they get a nice filling dinner just before bed, and a nice breakfast in the morning.
    And ducks don't NEED a pool in winter, but they love it and get dirty without it, so on days above freezing, I'd give them access to something to rinse off in.
    Oh, and levels for nest boxes may not work. Even nest boxes may not work. Ducks tend to just lay eggs on the ground. Have a nice cooshy layer of straw on the floor.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. LonesomeDuck

    LonesomeDuck New Egg

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    Aug 25, 2016
    Indiana
    Thanks. I'm in north central Indiana so our coldest temps in the winter get down to negative 10 degrees or so. So is there any need to provide a "nest box" divider so that one duck doesn't dominate the other, or do they do just fine with a common area to sleep?
     
  4. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2016
    New Hampshire
    You can certainly put dividers but it's a crap shoot where they will decide to set up a nest.
     
  5. LonesomeDuck

    LonesomeDuck New Egg

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    Aug 25, 2016
    Indiana
    The more i read it sounds like it might be a better idea to wait till spring till get the ducks. We are torn because our first child is coming in November. Part of me wants to get the ducks now so we have them before the baby comes, but part of me says it'd be better to wait till spring as it'd be easier to raise the ducks then.
     
  6. SmallFarmUSA

    SmallFarmUSA Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2016
    Indiana
    Just a thought though, if you get them now, they'll lay in the spring, whereas if you wait till spring to get them, they may not start laying until 2018 spring. It depends on what you want the ducks for. I live in southern IN, and have four nests due to hatch in a week.The breeds you're deciding on are some of the best(IMO [​IMG]), and yes, different breeds of ducks get along fine. Also, I would second keeping their water out of the coop, as ducks are incredibly messy with water, and you'd be dealing with mold/mud in no time flat.
     
  7. bydhatch

    bydhatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2016
    NC
    Going to answer a few of your questions that I am sure about! :)
    One, I personally think welsh harlequins would be best...but I might be biased. ;)
    Two, they should have water available where ever they are. (Except at night if no food is present.)
    Three, for the first while of a ducks life they should ALWAYS have food available. There are differing opinions on how long. After that you can regulate their feed.
    I hope I could answer a couple of your questions.
     

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