Please educate me on Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by mkeawsh, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. mkeawsh

    mkeawsh Woody Hollow

    Sep 23, 2007
    Beaufort, MO
    I love ducks but don't have any idea on what is required to house them and keep them safe. Can they free-range with my chickens? Do I need a pond or will a kids wading pool be okay? Will they fly away? Could they be locked up with my chickens at night?
    When I was a girl, we used to go to the lake in our city and take any hurt or sick ducks home to nurse back to health and brought them back when they were healed and healthy.
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Since I've never owned a duck, I would start by reading through the topics in the sticky at the top of the duck forum.
  3. ChickenPrnces

    ChickenPrnces Songster

    Jan 2, 2012
    Deerfield, NH
    Ok! Here is what I have learned! They can be kept with the chickens but do you really want to? They will make a huge watery mess of the chicken coop! They eat the same food as chickens! Non-medicated chick starter and then layer pellet at around 6 months old. A kiddie pool is fine! I suppose they could ree range with the chickens but they are slower and way more suseptible to predators! Same thing with flying away! They may not but that does not mean that there is not a big old hawk waiting to fly down and get them! My run is enclosed by wire all four sides and top! What breed are you thinking about getting as some have different requirements??
  4. Oneacre Homestead

    Oneacre Homestead Chirping

    May 25, 2011
    When I first got ducks I was not prepared for the mess and the difficulty of keeping the area clean. Also, they need vegetation in addition to feed. I didn't know this the first time around and my ducks got out and voraciously devoured my husbands watermelon vines.

    My biggest tip is to have thief water on a wire platform. You have to make it very strong, but it is the only way to go!!!!!!
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Can't comment on them being with chickens.. we don't have any.. and being my ducks are Muscovy and i have drakes i wouldn't run them with chickens anyways..

    Um, let's see my ducks have kiddy pools.. they work perfectly fine.. a touch of a hassle to clean, re-fill but it's not rocket science lol All my birds free range daily and none are clipped.. the hens do fly but don't leave... [​IMG] heck they all "wait" at the barn come dusk to be put in.

    My predators are night time worries so that is why they are kept locked up then, of coarse really the whole free range and how you house your ducks depends on your climate, predators and breed of duck..

    Their is a ton of info on this board and on the web, i researched before we bought and then quite a bit you learn as you go.. nothing beats real world teaching! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  6. bexnd

    bexnd In the Brooder

    Jan 18, 2012
    u also might want to look into diferent breeds smaller ones like call ducks larger like muscovy which r a quieter breed where as call's can b noisey some breeds of duck cant fly like mine which are pekin x
  7. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Songster

    Aug 31, 2009
    Ducks are great fun! They are messy, yes, but if you set up right, the mess is manageable.
    Some ducks fly, small breeds and muscovies. We keep one wing clipped on the muscovies, they are fine. My runners, pekin, and mutt duck cannot fly, nor could my Ancona cross and my Blue Swedish ducks.
    Don't know where you live, but if you live in a colder climate then you need a summer and winter plan. I can tell you what works for us.
    Summer, not too hard. Ducks have a large wading pool and several smaller drinking/facewashing dishes. For the overnight, I leave food and water down. This can get messy. I put hay on the shed floor (which is covered by a horse stall mat), put a larger rubber feed pan down, put the drinking bowl in that and put a piece of wood across the middle. That is so they don't bathe in it at night. The wood has notches cut in both ends so it fits on the bowl and they cannot push it off. What a difference in how much water gets spilled. Like night and day, before that, the whole shed floor was soaked every am.
    I got a very large rubbermaid storage container. Took off lid, turned it upside down, but one door in front at one end and another on the side on one end. Put hay in that, that is where they usually lay their eggs.
    Winter, the whole floor is covered by hay. I used my manure fork to remove it daily and replace with clean hay. Soooo much easier this way, no poop build up. I was using my horse's hay, but called my hay supplier, got bales of last years hay (made sure it was dry and not moldy), it is very cheap and I use that for the floor and "house" area.
    I do the same with the water, except I use a heated dog bowl. I used a bird bath heater in the pool and just drag out some hot water to put in the washing dishes. I might add these dishes are also rubber feed pans. They don't crack in the winter and if the water freezes, they are flexible enough to be able to stomp on to get the ice out and don't break.
    I cannot stress enough the importance of locking them in somewhere secure at night. There are some that will disagree with me, but I have always done it and I highly suggest it.
    We just experienced a mink going after one of my rabbits during the day, so now I am extra vigilant about keeping them safe. So, start out with them being safe and you will be better off. I do free range them during the day when were are home.
    Be sure to pay attention to drake/hen ratios too. My suggestion (again, jmo), is that you have 3 girls to each boy. Overbreeding by the drakes is a problem many times and it can hurt or kill your females. Also, I don't have chickens, but have read that the drakes will try to mate your chickens and can hurt and kill them too. I love my boy, but glad I only have one, I have 5 girls. Works out great.
    Ok, this is all I have time for now. Hope I helped.

  8. bexnd

    bexnd In the Brooder

    Jan 18, 2012
    youu can also buy nipple drinkers for them i've just purchased some which screw onto drinks bottlea but u can make them with buckets etc its good for less water wastage and if you wish to put suppliments in their water you know it's being drunk not bathed in. Lol but u will want to still provide water for them to bathe in
  9. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    A good book to start with is Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks.
    Read up on individual breeds online.
    Go & visit someone who has ducks. Volunteer to help them out for a day, or a few days.

    Everyone who responds has/will give you great advice, but if you read Storey's or another one of the great duck books out there, or even one of the magazines I see at TSC (usually just the cliff notes of Storey's Guide from what I can tell) you'll be able to ask more specific questions, and get more concise answers.

    Ducks are incredible, I get so much pleasure from raising them and have learned a lot, but they are disgusting little things. You should also think about what you want the ducks for - pets, eggs, meat, garden help... that will help you determine what breeds are best suited for your situation.
  10. mkeawsh

    mkeawsh Woody Hollow

    Sep 23, 2007
    Beaufort, MO
    Wow! Thank you to Everyone. You are all GREAT!!! I am kind of excited about getting ducks now. Veronicasmom - Pekins and Mutt ducks can NOT fly or do you clip their wings also? I don't understand about clipping wings and would prefer not to have to do it. I will learn if I have to. Is there some breeds that are friendlier than others? I sure a lot has to do with the amount of handling and interaction. All my chickens were incubated in my bathtub in the 'bator and brooded in my livingroom and got held every day. I'm thinking the same set up would not be possible with needing water for the ducklings?

    BTW - I live in MO.

    Now, to tell my dear patient husband he has more building to do. LOL

    Thanks again!!

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