Newbie from Indiana

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Sunsetlake, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2014
    Rural Indiana
    Hello,

    I am new to this site and was hoping to ask a few questions about ducks. I recently placed an order for 4 ducklings which are to arrive on April 1 or 2. I am receiving a male and female welsh harlequin, 1 female Cayuga, and 1 female blue Swedish. I have never raised ducks before. However, we have lots of ducks, geese, deer, and other wildlife that frequent our property. We live on 40 acres of land which has an 8 acre lake. The previous owner of our home already must've had chickens, because there is a large coop set up in the large barn, with a small opening to the yard which had an enclosure made of chicken wire. We had torn down the chicken wire part when we moved here, but are going to put it back in for the ducks so they have more access to the yard during times I can't let them roam.

    I primarily decided on ducks because I have always liked them and thought they would be a good fit for our property because of the lake. And, I've always wanted fresh eggs.

    After reading about ducks a little more though, my questions are:

    I'm a little concerned that after the ducks are old enough and I put them in their pen/coop and then I let them roam, that they will never return. In other words, when they find our lake will I ever see them again in their coop?

    Are there certain things I can do to make sure they come back to their coop?

    We thought about maybe using our tractor to dig out a small pond type area closer to the coop. Do you think that would help if they had a water source a little closer to their coop? The distance from the coop to our lake is about 300 ft or so. We could dig the small pond about 50-60 ft away from the coop.

    Any ideas or thoughts? Or if I want eggs for eating should I just get some chickens too?

    If I've not been clear enough please let me know and I will clarify.

    FYI - I posted this in the new members thread and it was suggested that I post it here.

    Thank you!
     
  2. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Get both :)

    Ducks - if you need them to go back to their coop at night, feed them yummy treats there.
    I built my ducks a 1000 gallon pond. 95% of the time, I have to get them out of their little pond to go to bed. No way I could do that with an 8 acre lake. I'm sure if they knew they'd get peas each night in their house, they'd go there and quack until I delivered!
    If they are out on the water, they aren't protected.

    My ducks have 4 fenced acres behind the house. They stick to the close acre or so.
    The chickens stick to the same acre, but they now all go to bed on their own. I've had some that picked other places to go to bed, but just moving them to their house a few times usually worked.

    Right now, 3 of my 3 chickens are laying regularly.
    2 of my 5 ducks are laying again.
     
  3. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2014
    Rural Indiana
    We have some fenced in areas of land behind where the coop is located. So maybe if we did decide to dig out a small pond in that area for the ducks and then if I would feed them some "treats" every evening in the coop area...Just maybe I could coerce them home?

    And, our 8 acre lake is used quite a bit during the warmer months for boating, skiing, jet skis, etc. I would assume that I might be able to coerce the ducks to their duck pond fairly easily if there is a lot of that activity going on, correct? I am wondering if when they see/hear a ski boat coming down the lake that they may decide it's too noisy and disruptive for their lifestyle and then they might see the quiet duck pond as being a better alternative?
     
  4. Aacre

    Aacre Chillin' With My Peeps

     
  5. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

    36
    6
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    Mar 4, 2014
    Rural Indiana
    Thank you!

    After they are old enough to be outside (which I was assuming after about 2-3 months???) I do plan on keeping them in their coop and run area for a while so they get used to it. Then when they are used to it, I was planning on letting them forage during the day and then putting them in their pen during the night with some duck feed. I think using a type of treat might be a good idea too. I always have a large garden every year, of which I have so much zucchini i can't use it all. Does anyone know, do ducks like zucchini? If not, what other types of veggies might be good to plant that they may like? I also always seem to have bumper crops of butternut squash, watermelon, and pumpkin. And, would they like the leaves off of beets and radishes? Just wondering what I could grow that might help. For some reason peas don't grow well in my garden. If they really like those I would have to just buy them from the store.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. Aacre

    Aacre Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm unsure on what they like to eat. Every duck or chicken has their favorite, but ducks seem to really LOVE peas! They go bonkers over it. I say to experiment with various veggies to see what they like.
    Oh, 2-3 month sounds good to me! Ducks grow quickly!
     
  7. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

    36
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    Mar 4, 2014
    Rural Indiana
    Also, questions on the coop in our barn. It is built into one corner of our wood barn. It has a wooden door with a latch on it. There is a small opening cut into the side of the wall that leads outside, and we are going to put/add the run on there. What should we build the run out of? I don't want raccoons getting in there - we definitely have problems with them on our property. We have a lab who is outdoors all the time, and she will bark and chase them off when she seems them, but she doesn't always see them. Those pesky critters still get in our barn from time to time and eat my cats' food and tear up stuff. So, what's the best way to raccoon proof the run?
     
  8. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    Hi there. Sounds a bit like my setup. My ducks have a corner of the barn that is theirs, then the pen is off the side of the barn. I constructed it with 2x4s, chicken wire and hardware cloth. Make sure that section faces South, I have learned. Mine does not and I will be reconfiguring this year as a result. You can build a roof, which will be nice in rotten weather, but then you will need to consider roof supports, and if you live in an area with snow, you might opt to go without. Or You can run an electric fence line at the top, that should work.

    As far as training ducks to go in, I think the advice you've been given so far is good. Don't put them out until they are fully feathered, and feed in the pen and you can also teach them command "pen up"... My ducks always pen themselves at dark, and if I want them in the pen, I tell them to pen up and they do.

    Your dog will likely help keep predators away, but your best defense is good predator proof housing. And mine do love zucchini. :)
     
  9. Richb353

    Richb353 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome Aboard,
    I currently have two Cayugas and will be receiving another 10 Cayugas and 10 Welsh Harlequin from Metzer Farms next week. At about 6 months old and full size now, I have been leaving the gates to their fenced area (the size of a basketball court) open when I am working in the yard and can keep an eye on them. They are curious little walking yard ornaments and meander around the yard, but when they get a good distance, I usually herd them back to their "pasture".

    I make it a point to feed them at the same time (morning and afternoon) within their pasture daily in the hopes that it will become a routine. The idea is that regardless of where they wander during the day, by the afternoon they should know to be in their pasture. I am still a novice at this, but I'm told ducks can be trained this way. There is a small pond at the edge of my 5 acres perfect for them, but before we get there, I have to be sure they will return home before dark.

    Enjoy
     
  10. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

    36
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    Mar 4, 2014
    Rural Indiana
    Thank you so much for the advice, I really appreciate it.

    Probably a stupid question, but why does the coop/run need to face south? FYI, when we purchased this property the coop/run was already there and it's already south.

    Good idea about some electric fencing!
     

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