Please critique my duck plans

KidOnTheMountain

Hatching
9 Years
Feb 28, 2010
7
0
7
Hi Duckxperts!

I'm new to this forum and have been learning so much from reading posts. Ducks seem like so much fun!

We fed and cared for my daughter's teacher's ducks last week and just feel in love. My husband and I would love to have ducks and have been scheming and planning, trying to figure out how we could accommodate ducks and we think we have a good, workable plan. We've been reading all the duck/poultry/waterfowl books we can find, but I would love to run our plans by a group of people with a variety of experiences, to see if it sounds good and try to get whatever advice we can. Above all, we want our ducks to be happy, kept in healthy humane conditions.

So here's the plan, theoretically for 4 ducks, but please advise on all points:

duck coop, 4'x6', between 42" and 48" high, attached to

secure hoop house made of 4 cattle panels, so approximately 9'x17'. (both coop and hoop house would be as predator proof as we could make them - we live in the woods in Western MA surrounded by thousands of acres of wildlife-protected land). Inside hoop house, we'd have a 100 gallon, 70"x15"x18" pool with drain

attached to approximately 1/3 to 1/2 acre of fenced yard, including our small vegetable garden which we'd close up in the spring when everything's tender and delicious, but hopefully open up for free duck weeding later in the season. I would use this area only when I'm home and able too keep 1/2 an eye on the ducks.

the area has a nice mix of sun and shade and borders some wetland, which I have mixed feelings about. I'd love to let them swim in it when there's enough water, but I've read that botulism can be a risk in such swampy areas. I need to find out more about this, but I'd want to be able too keep them out of the swamp if it were necessary. It it's not necessary, I would let the ducks free-range when I'm outside.

These ducks would be pets/layers. We'd get all females. We have a four-year old daughter who is very good at remaining calm and quiet around animals and a 7 month old baby who we will probably not subject the ducks to until her behavior is fairly predictable. We are looking for calm ducks who don't need tons of water and who like to stay close to home - any breed suggestions?

So there it is! If you've stayed with me through all that and can spare a minute, I'd love some feedback - basically, I want to make sure it isn't too small/confining, but really all advice is welcome.
Thank you!
 

cristina33

Songster
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
375
0
149
ma
Hi I am in western ma too. I have alot of critters like fox , coydog, coyotes, coons, possums, fishercats and hawks. I have lost chickens to a fox , daytime he was freaky i beat him with a rake and he didnt really run away from me . I also lost a roo to a hawk. I to have wetlands in my back yard and thats where all my preds come from so i would be careful about that area. your plans sound good i think.
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Cristina
 

toadbriar

Songster
9 Years
Jan 28, 2010
590
16
148
central massacheezits
Hey! I'm in central MA and am lucky enough to live in similar circumstances as you
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We are also planning on ducks this year. We have a pond (~1/3 acre or so) and I am planning on free-ranging them during the day - husband and I both work from home. I am thinking their pen will probably be hardware cloth, they'll be in it at night and when we're not home. There'll be a coop inside.

I've heard folks run geese with their ducks, which discourages hawks. Our paddock with goats and mini horse are right by the pond, I wonder if they'll dissuade hawks too.

What kind of ducks are you getting? We've built an incubator, I'm going to try to hatch out some Anconas
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KidOnTheMountain

Hatching
9 Years
Feb 28, 2010
7
0
7
I think I just found someone local who will sell me magpie juveniles (4-6 week olds) in June. Can you have just 1 goose, or do you need a pair? I worry we don't have enough room for a goose and even though I think they're beautiful, I find them a little threatening, to be honest. I wish we hand enough room for a guard donkey!

I have heard that wetlands can be really predator heavy - our electrician saw a bobcat near our swamp last summer. On the other side of our yard there's a little stream, but I think I would just bring them there with people. I'm a stay at home mom, so I'm here a good part of most days.

Anyone know about magpies? Botulism?

Thanks for the replies! It's so so nice to get feedback and advice and join this lovely community!
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