Newbie duck question...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by SunAngel, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    I have 3 10 week old ducks that have been raised with chicks I got at the same time. They get along great with my chickens and sleep with my silkies on the floor at night. My problem is, they constantly drown the floor of the chicken coop by playing in the waterers. So I have decided to section off the part of the run with their little pond in it and build them their own house. But I have a couple questions.

    Two of the ducks are females. Do I build nesting boxes for them inside their new house, in the pen somewhere or will they just choose to lay eggs on the ground of the pen instead?

    Should I lock them up at night or just leave them access to the pond and run all night, which I think is pretty secure? One of the females has taken on the role of property security alarm though and I worry she will 'go off' at random times during the night if left to see the yard.

    If I do lock them up, should I keep water and food in their house for nighttime or leave that stuff outside for day consumption only? My concern is that I will be using hay/straw for their bedding inside and I know someone said they need water if they eat or they will choke. I don't want them to be nibbling on hay or bugs during the night and need water.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated...thanks!
     
  2. DuckyBoys

    DuckyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2008
    Colorado
    I lock all mine up at night and they are between the ages of 15 and 8 weeks old, but I don't plan on doing that long term. Mainly because the pens they sleep in are really breeding pens and will have new tenants come January.

    I only feed my guys at night. Two pens have small water buckets in them to discourage swimming all night long and completely ruining the bedding (straw as well). The other group, which is 10 runners and 9 geese, have access to an outside run (45X50) all night long and they get two baby pools to swim in.

    Last night I got home late and all 28 of them were snuggled up against the inside of the barn door. I envision them doing that a LOT once breeding season rolls around.

    So in short, your plan should take into account your space needs, whther or not you WANT them to have swimming water or just a bit of drinking water, and if you really think your pond and run are secure.

    I feel completely comfortable leaving them out in my pasture all night long. The real reason I lock them up at night is so my donkeys can have fresh drinking water (and not have to worry about a duck or goose jumping in for a midnight turd fest) and a little "alone" time. [​IMG]
     
  3. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Thanks for the help.

    One more question...

    Once I separate the ducks from the chickens, what should I feed the ducks? Right now they are still eating the starter/grower feed that the chickens get. Should I stick with that or switch them to some other sort of food?
     
  4. karanleaf

    karanleaf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2008
    Glenwood, Missouri
    [​IMG] Hi Solarical [​IMG]
    I also have ducks,,,, so I thought I would put a couple of eggs in this basket as well as it were.... [​IMG]
    We also started with 3 ducks unfortunally 1 was taken by a coon so we had 2. This last winter we house the ducks in a garden/storage shed. We lined the walls with stacked straw bales for insulation. used a couple of light bulbs for heat source this seem to be comfortable for them and myself when I went to visit them. (still kept my coat on at times)

    [​IMG]
    This is Peanut & Butter Jan 08 Snuggling in for the night

    I kept food and a heated dog water dish in for them, the water
    needed to be change 2x a day as they still love to dig for bugs even in the straw in the winter. They loved to go out inthe snow and roll getting a snow bath, It was great fun to watch.
    [​IMG]
    Peanut & Butter in the snow Jan 08

    This year I have started feeding them outside of the shed and the water stays out also. They even now eat outside of run, they have 2 wading pools out in the yard to bathe in and as they have run of our yard during the day. We will put up a divider in the run. With the 11 juvenile Rouens we got 6 weeks ago we need to expand for sure.
    [​IMG]
    There has been alot less mess in the shed and run. I have put a platform inside the shed for the ducks to sleep off the ground on drier bed of straw. This has worked pretty well so far.
    This fall we will expand the size of the run as we have chickens and 16 Maran chicks to go to the coop in another 4-6 weeks.
    [​IMG]
    This photo taken 2 days after they arrived, they are a bit bigger now

    [​IMG]
    Ducks are very entertaining. After the rainthe ducks found they had a water fountain with DH's boat. [​IMG]

    We feed our ducks a 1 to 2 mixture of nonmedicated laying crumbles and poultry grains. They seem to be thriving. Best of luck with your ducks as they are great to have around. [​IMG] Karan
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  5. DuckyBoys

    DuckyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2008
    Colorado
    Well I raise up the flock on Purina Flock Raiser, but as I saw two of my runners mating today, I suppose th older ones will be switched to a layer pellet and oyster shell next trip to the feed store.

    I've not been disappointed with the Flock Raiser, I fed geese, ducks, and chickens with it and they're all healthy and in good feather. I also add in cracked corn when I have it readily available,( i.e. I didn't leave it in the garage and feel too lazy to carry down to the barn).

    They don't care for it that much but they get so much exercise free ranging in the pasure that I'm worried they won't be fat enough this fall to make it through the winter and produce fertile eggs in the early spring. So far they've gained weight pretty slowly, whcih is good in my opinion, more natural, but like I said above...really want enough weight on them to be good producers.

    I've been toying around with the idea of offering free choice cracked corn and only give layer/raiser in rations at night, but I haven't made up my mind yet.

    Hope that helps...post some pictures! [​IMG]
     
  6. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Thanks for all the help!!

    We had an old A-frame wooden swingset in our backyard just taking up space. So we are going to add 2x4s and plywood to that to make a duckie house. I am going to use pallets for the floor with a hay covering (thicker in the winter). I guess since there will be gaps that any spilled water can drain down through, I will give them water and food inside.

    Do I need to build 1 or 2 nesting boxes inside or outside for my 2 females? And when do ducks start laying eggs?

    Where my son is sitting is about where the duck house will go. The whole length with the pond will be their run. I think the chickens will miss the pond when we section it off...I might have to get them their own little pond lol.
    [​IMG]

    Lily the Mallard
    [​IMG]

    Shadow the girl Muscovy (named before my son knew it was a girl lol)
    [​IMG]

    And my youngest sons male Muscovy- Tank (which he turned out to be...hes a big duck!)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2008
  7. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Our TSC isnt really that great at offering different types of food. I can get layer pellets or mash, 20% grower/starter mix (which I use now), scratch grains (which I have a bag of now for a treat) and then the 24% starter.

    The bag of scratch grains has cracked corn and 4-5 other things in it...but I'm not sure if thats healthy enough for a complete diet.

    I will look again next time I'm in there and see if they have anything else that could just be used for ducks or other poultry.

    If not, is Layer pellets good enough for around 6 months old and up?
     
  8. karanleaf

    karanleaf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2008
    Glenwood, Missouri
    Yes you may want to fix up a couple of laying boxes I plan to do the same this fall to be ready for winter. I would make sure that you have a sleeping platform higher than where the water and food are located as the straw or hay will get moldy if it stays wet and that is not healthy... That was why I decided to feed and water mine outside of the shed. They get fed 3 x a day and then free range all day long. I wish you good luck. Show some photos of your converted swing frame into your duck hut when it's done I would like to see it.. I love to reuse things... sounds interesting.. [​IMG] Karan

    Just noticed your last post on the grains, it would be good to mix it with your laying mix or the starters mix they need the extra grains in my opinon. We get ours from the local MFA
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  9. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Great, thanks for the help!!

    I hope to work on the majority of the duck house tomorrow, but it might not get painted til Monday. Need to pick up a load of sand for inside the chicken run Monday morning, so looks like I am going to be busy. I will post pics as building progresses!

    Found out with our day and a half of downpouring rain this week, that with the help of the duck pond, my chicken pen turned into an above ground swimming pool. The ducks were in heaven!! The chickens didn't seem to mind, they went around finding tons of worms and whatnot, but my poor Silkies looked like drowned rats!

    Who knew buying a few ducks and chickens could turn into such an adventure lol.
     
  10. SunAngel

    SunAngel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Here's my before pics of the soon to be duckie house. I will post a some pics tomorrow during building progress!

    [​IMG]

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