Possible New Duck Owner With Questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Jjfester, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Jjfester

    Jjfester Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2015
    DuPont, Washington
    Last summer we got 4 Chickens, we have 1 Barred Rock, 1 Light Brahma, and 2 Australorp hens. We built a coop that is approximately 4' x 7' and probably about 4ft tall. The front is the door and the roost and the back wall opens all the way and has the nesting box, and window, and their water and food. They are let out in the morning and free range in our yard.

    We have been kind of talking about getting a few ducks for a while now, but have always backed away because we were afraid they would be too noisy and messy from what we have been told.

    We have had some cats interested in our chickens for the whole year, but none really were brave enough to mess with them, until a few days ago when one tried to attack my Brahma. She was unhurt and a neighbor chased the cat away, but without being allowed to have roosters we are again thinking about a couple ducks since we have heard they are good watch dogs.

    I have been reading up, but have found a lot of varying information and thought I would ask around here.

    First we would like to know suggestions on the least noisy ducks that would work in a small backyard neighborhood, but would still possibly provide some guard dog abilities, while getting along with our chickens and hopefully be friendly.

    Second, we don't have a lot of room, but it does help that the chickens roost up high and I believe the ducks can nest below, but we would like to know what the minimum ratio for ducks would be? Some say you can get a pair, other say you need at least 3 per Drake. Also would we be better off getting all males, all females, or females with a male? We don't have to have eggs, but it would be nice to have.

    Third, I keep hearing they are messy and I don't really care if they are messy in the yard, but wondering with only night times in the coop how that would work out. One person said to not leave food in the coop and put it in the yard in the morning with a big tub of water and keep the water with the small lips or a hanging water in the coop at night. Has anyone had experience with this?

    Are they generally noisy enough to disturb the neighbors? Will the consider the chickens part of their flock and thus not need as many to keep them socially happy?

    Any and all advice would be appreciated.
  2. Ghibli

    Ghibli Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 22, 2016
    Gold Coast, Australia
    So, I don't have a whole lot of experience, I've never owned chickens and I'm relatively new to ducks, just to let you know [​IMG] We have one Muscovy girl (Osono), one Ancona girl (Carue), two Cayuga girls (Sophie and Mei) and one Cayuga drake (who was supposed to be a girl too, so he's named Kiki).

    For quiet, Muscovies are great, our girl makes these cute little noises but they're always quiet, she can't quack like the Mallard based ducks can. This is a good example of how they sound. You would have to clip wings if you're worried about flying, but to my knowledge that's very easy as long as you can handle them. She's everyone's favourite, she's so cute and sweet.
    Best recent picture of her I have, goofball likes to occasionally clean herself in the water bucket, even though we have a pond she loves too!

    We haven't had her long but she's already much friendlier than the others, only took a few days for her to be eating out of our hands, now she runs over to greet us when we come outside, follows us around the garden, very curious. She's laid 20 eggs for us now, we leave her with one in the nest just so she doesn't go find somewhere else to lay them, seems to be working so far. She likes to spend time in the morning after laying her egg just sitting on the nest. So she probably would hatch and raise ducklings if we let her. Her eggs are delicious! Yolks are like twice the size of a chicken yolk, and she lays 80g eggs.

    My personal suggestion would be to get all girls, unless you're sure you'd want to hatch out more, but you could easily buy a drake or buy fertilized eggs if you decided you wanted that. Drakes can cause issues, they can be overly rough or aggressive, and you generally want somewhere between 3-6 girls per drake, although you can be fine with a pair, it depends on the personality really. My experience is that our drake doesn't really defend more than the girls do, just today one of our Cayuga girls bit a cat's tail for hanging out in their territory. We get wild brush turkeys here in Australia, and the ducks will chase them off if they get too close. Osono, the Muscovy was the first one to be willing to chase off the male brush turkey, before her, the Cayugas were too scared of him.

    The 3 Cayugas and Ancona are lovely too, the Ancona we got at the same time as Osono, and she's still pretty scared of us, she comes over whenever I dig (Working on a bigger pond for them!), loves worms, and she's almost willing to eat treats from my hand now but not quite (Osono will, she gets mad at Sophie and Mei for eating the treats she thinks should all be hers). Cayugas we've had since they were 3 weeks old, they're scared of me when I'm standing, but if I crouch down or sit down they come over excitedly for treats, moreso the girls, the drake will eat from my hand but he usually hangs back. Our girls can be very loud if they want something though, our biggest Cayuga, Mei, has this deep loud quack and then her sister Sophie will join in and yell too. They only do it really to demand something, food or treats, when they were younger sometimes they just wanted company and they'd yell for that.

    Hopefully some of this is useful, and someone who knows more about keeping ducks and chickens can help with that part! [​IMG] Good luck! I absolutely fell in love with ours, they're so fun to watch. If you have any other questions I can answer to the best of my ability too!
  3. Jjfester

    Jjfester Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2015
    DuPont, Washington

    Thank you for your reply, we looked online more over the last 24 Hour and Muscovy and Cayuga are the two we were thinking of looking more into. I think Cayuga are beautiful, but may be a bit loud for our small backyard.

    I have an email into a farm and garden supply near us asking for more information on Muscovy, they had previously recommended runner ducks as not having to clip wings and not needing bathing water so we are adding that to our list of ducks to research.

    I am still hoping someone with multiple ducks and chickens will see this and reply as well.

    I will take all you said and all else we find into serious consideration, and thanks for the link and picture!

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