Pekin Duck Club!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DenverDucky, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Welcome, DaffyDuck100

    Mallards are much smaller than Pekins. While an all female group would probably get along - it is really up to the individual ducks - I would worry about a big Pekin male mating a little mallard female, especially if there were only two or three females.

    Rule of thumb is 3 to 6 females per drake (male).

    There are exceptions to the rules all over the place, I am sharing what I feel would be healthiest for the ducks, and cause you the least grief.

    If you have all girl ducks, then together with the chickens could probably work out (again, it's up to them). But it is dangerous for the chickens to be with a drake, many drakes will try to mate with the chicken and seriously injure or kill them due to mismatched equipment.

    Ducks need a flock. I feel it is a tremendous responsibility to only have one duck, because I would need to be with the duck 24/7 for it to be content. So I have a flock of 12 girls and one boy. Originally we had eleven runners. Two died of illness, and then we adopted buffs, so we are up to thirteen now.

    Four sounds like a good number. If you spend time with them and they know you are the bringer of good food, and you are gentle and friendly, I think you can have a good relationship with them. Some ducks are very friendly, some less so. In our flock, there are three or four who will let me pet them - when they feel like it [​IMG].
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  2. DaffyDuck100

    DaffyDuck100 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2014
    Ok, Thanks so much!
    You are so helpful!!! :)
    So (just to clarify) I should get 4 female ducks!
    Do you think it would be a bad idea to get 2 (female ) pekins and 2 (female) mallards because of the size difference or should I just stick with 4 pekins and dont worry about the mallards. Would it be better to get a male mallard?
    Thank you sooo much for answering my questions!
    I would like to purchase the ducks as ducklings (because I think they are so cute and then you get to know them really well!) this means I need to get them a heat lamp. Do you have any recommendations? They are going to live in a cage in the garage when they are young and I will let them out when I'm around so they wont get too cold. When they are older Ive already got a smallish "A" frame cage with a big space for them to walk around in. I have a pond at the other end of the house that they can play in when I'm with them, is it better to put a small pond in their yard so they can play in it freely when I'm at school?
    Do ducks like damp/dry straw or grass? (I know its a stupid question but I have no idea!)
    What are the main foods to feed the ducks? People have said to feed them scraps, is that enough for them?
    Thanks so much for answering all my questions!
    I ask so many at once and I'm sorry. Thanks so much for you answers to the previous questions!
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    DaffyDuck100, many of your questions will be answered here

    That's why jdywntr compiled the information in one place. I would say, and based on Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks (I recommend the book), 8 to 10 weeks old is the first time I would change from having water and food with them 24/7. And then only overnight.

    Briefly - drakes are pretty, and quiet, and can cause some grief. As cute as they are, some of them are brutal when they mate, pulling out feathers, picking on one girl. But many, many drakes are sweet and wonderful. Just be prepared and aware.

    I had all girls for three years. Then we adopted a trio that included a drake. We had a few issues mostly because my all-girl flock had never seen a drake, and gave HIM the grief. sigh. I think we are okay now.

    You may not have raccoons in the garage now, but when you get ducklings, every predator in the neighborhood will try to find a way in. So, plan now for a little fortress inside the garage for your babies. If a predator gets, in, it's much worse than a horror movie.

    I use plastic tubs that are called concrete mixing pans. Very durable, the ducks do fine in them, easy to dump, rinse and refill. Ducks poop in their water. Takes less than 10 seconds, they just do that. So they need fresh water regularly. The water is perfect fertilizer for gardens, so include that in your plans.

    When they are ducklings, no swim time without supervision. Ever.

    And it's best if at least one side of the swim pan has a ramp, or maybe you can set the pan in a low spot so the ducks can get in and out easily without hurting their legs - especially Pekins, they hurt themselves if they have to scramble or hop too much. I learned that from a friend who has a bunch of Pekins.

    There are never too many questions, and no stupid ones. Ducks like to make things wet and at the same time they need dry bedding!!! So one of the usual things we all need to do to bless the ducks is keep up with the bedding, keeping it reasonably dry. Hay molds quickly, though there are people who use it. Straw can work for some people, but just the other day a friend of mine said, "no more straw!" I use wood shavings for the night pen, chopped straw in the day pen.

    Room service daily is spot-picking the poo, then fluffing the bedding. I replace shavings as needed. Sweet PDZ or peat moss mixed in with the bedding helps reduce ammonia, which is a very dangerous thing. The poop plus water plus bedding can produce ammonia and that can - if it gets bad enough, actually choke and kill ducks. They sleep with their little heads right next to the bedding. That's why moldy bedding is so bad.

    There is a steep learning curve, don't get discouraged, learn all you can, and participate in the forum. Most of the responses I have seen here over the last 3.5 or 4 years have been kind, helpful, positive, informative. Maybe 1% cranky or snarky, I will say.

    Scraps may be okay in small quantities, as treats, but their diet needs a good balanced basis.

    Right now I am feeding organic layer pellets with a little bit of ground flax seed, and I have just started a couple of weeks ago including some winter wheat fodder (wheat seeds sprouted and grown to 2.5 inches of green blades) for some fresh green. There are inexpensive but good poultry vitamins, too. The kind I get is vitamins with probiotics and electrolytes, about $4 or $5 dollars a packet, and a packet lasts me close to a year. They don't need them all the time because I start with the balanced ration, but in times of stress I like to give them vitamins once a week. Like right now - weather's really cold and they aren't getting out much.
  4. JFreeman

    JFreeman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Pekin Club. [​IMG] I'm doing a bit of research before I get my first Pekins, and thought a perfect place to do that would be with the very owners. I don't really want to go through a hatchery, but that's how I discovered the breed. A long time ago, when I was a kid, my family had a flock of Mallards, and my Dad loved them, but I prefer a breed that could be a bit more personable (and less likely to roam very far away), which drew me to the Pekin. First and foremost, if I have never personally owned a duck, how many would you suggest I start with? I have a small pasture (about an acre) they could free range in (though I need to fix a hole in the fence so the neighbor's dogs don't go on a hunting spree). Secondly, where would you suggest I get them from? I have never seen any advertised locally, and I'm not sure where to start looking.

    Thanks for any help.

    Edit: Never mind my number question. I read above and I'm thinking four would be good for me.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Welcome, JFreeman [​IMG]

    One suggestion is that you check out the free rehoming section of the site. Sometimes life changes force people to give up their ducks, and having a caring, responsible owner is a blessing. I trust you would be that person.

    Good idea to fix the fence. Predators of all types seem to really go after ducks. So please I don't want you to be shocked, and your future ducks to be killed. Think about security, especially at night, but we have been reading about hawk attacks more this past year than I recall seeing before. Maybe we just have more duck people now.

    Get the water management idea handled in your mind early on. They are waterfowl. Pekins would probably do well with a couple of concrete mixing pans, set into the ground about halfway so they don't have to jump to get into or out of the swim pan and hurt their legs. Swim pans need to be dumped, rinsed, refilled frequently, so siting them uphill from a garden or hedgerow will be a wonderful thing.

    I have a love-hate relationship with half inch hardware cloth. It protects the ducks from predators, and tries to maim and kill me whenever I handle it. But it's worth the risk, to protect the ducks I love. As I was sharing with another duck person recently, dead is dead, gone is gone, there is no do-over. One of our members' Avatar title is "Protect the flock!"

    Ducks seem to offend chickens, the way ducks drink and mix things into the water. So a duck shelter would be good, I think.
  6. JFreeman

    JFreeman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you for the tips. :) We have quite a few hawks around here too. It seems like every time I let my chickens out to free range, there is a hawk soaring close by. Luckily, my chickens favorite place is under a small raised storage building. The ducks will be in a completely different fenced-in area where they will have their own sleeping arrangements. I do need to figure out what to do for them as far as water goes. What size mixing pans should I consider? It looks like there are several sizes.
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I think mine are something like 22 by 32 inches. About 8 inches deep.
  8. JFreeman

    JFreeman Chillin' With My Peeps

    So a couple of 10 gal will be plenty to work with. This will be so much easier than dealing with fish. ;)
  9. waynec1955

    waynec1955 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2013
    Munford, Alabama
    We started with four Pekin ducklings that we picked up at Tractor Supply. I would suggest you start with a small number so you can handle then and bond with them more easily. I know you said you wanted to avoid hatchery birds, however most of our chickens came from Murray McMurry and we had them vaccinated before shipment. Obviously Tractor Supply got theirs from a hatchery as well. We have had no problems with our hatchery stock and would not hesitate to order again. We also have some chickens and some other ducks we bought from individuals, where we ran the risk of bringing disease into our flock. Our ducks and chickens do not share the same pen, both do free range and the chickens will enter the duck pen to clean up the ducks scattered food.
    I had Mallards when I was young, I really liked them and found them to be quite beautiful. They are also very good flyers, one day a flock of wild ducks flew over and all my ducks flew away with them.
    You can sometimes find ducks on traders helper and craigs list. You should always use good judgement when dealing with someone you do not know.
    Good luck to you , I'm sure you will enjoy your ducks as much as we do.
  10. JFreeman

    JFreeman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the encouragement. The main reason I really want to avoid buying from a hatchery is because I don't want them to ship such a small number and it ends up costing the same amount as the birds themselves. I found a person on Craigslist that has 25 young Pekins for sale, but I would love to have ducklings. I'm really really wanting to hatch my own, but I can't be sure of the sex until after hatching (learned all about venting) and really only want 4, so starting off with ducklings would be better for me. I wouldn't mind getting them from Tractor Supply if they have them, but would they let me sex the ducklings before I buy them?

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