Pros and Cons of Ducks and Duck Vs Chicken Care

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Catmoose1347, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Catmoose1347

    Catmoose1347 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone! I have chickens and I'm thinking about adding some female ducks to my flock (for eggs). I know very little about them and I'm wondering if you all can help me.

    I know the basics, like they need water to clean out their nares and extra niacin. However, my usual method of researching (Googling and seeing what comes up) has yielded surprisingly little information.

    Chickens have a very strict pecking order. Do ducks have that as well? What about the hen to drake ratio? Do ducks suffer from the same common ailments as chickens like egg binding and bumble foot, to name a few?

    Thanks for any input!
    Cat
     
  2. Gatsbysmum

    Gatsbysmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey! Ducks are very rewarding and sweet. For male to female ratio, every drake should have one to two girls. Ducks do work out a pecking order, but it's less strict and there is much less squabbling in general. Never heard of a duck having bumblefoot, but I could be wrong. Feel free to ask questions. Are you wanting to buy adults or ducklings? Ducklings need constant supervision around bathing water because without their mother to rub oils on them to make them water proof, they can drown. Once they get their feathers in they are fine though. :)
     
  3. Amykins

    Amykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Frankly, I don't know why I didn't get my duck sooner. They are soooo rewarding. Forgive me chicken owners but I prefer ducks to chickens tenfold! Chickies are just...sorta there, they can have personalities but for the most part you know what to expect. With ducks, they're such hams! I always have a smile on my face watching them waddle around and acting cute. They're very silly animals!

    They're WAY messy, but generally it's not too bad with a few clever adjustments and well-placed facilities.
     
  4. Gatsbysmum

    Gatsbysmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I totally agree! I loved my chickens, but ducks are such goofballs! And they are very messy. But their cuteness and delicious eggs make up for it... [​IMG]
     
  5. Quailsong

    Quailsong Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't had ducks long, so below is my humble & newbish experience with ducks:

    I've seen posts here on BYC with people treating bumblefoot on ducks just like chicken's feet (with a bit more care on the webbing part). I've never had it though on any of my own ducks, so can't speak from personal experience how hard/easy it is to treat or get.

    Ducks are MESSY. Imagine the worst mess your chickens could make (like tipping over your waterer all over the coop) & now prepare for the worst. They love messes, especially mud. So dirt runs in rainstorms are like heaven to them, and a messy coop for you.

    Keep waterers outside, pellets for food if possible. If they stay with the chickens I'd try to feed them by themselves a batch of high protein feed, maybe when you tuck all the chickens in for the night. The ducks will stay outside longer so you can feed them then. I actually do this very thing for my ducks & meat turkeys nightly.

    I've read a minimum ratio for ducks is 2-3 hens for 1 duck. But if you're not going to breed them you could just get hens & they will be happy together. Boy ducks are sweet when they're young but when they're older they will generally try to mate with anything & everything when they're mature enough. Expect them to start eyeballing your chickens if there aren't enough girls available for them. Maybe even your boots. ;)

    When it concerns pecking order ducks are not so affected by it, but are pushovers against chickens & their order. Expect them to be at the bottom of the chicken's order, but they won't care much about it. They have bills which seem to intimidate chickens to a point.

    Give them a kiddy pool & they will love you. Toss in duckweed, plant bits, even minnows for treats. ALWAYS have water for them in some form or another, esp when there's food available or they can choke easily. Ducks take huge mouthfuls, kinda like a starving dog gulping food. If you can manage a thin/tall water bucket which they can't climb in or tip then keep that so they can dunk their heads to clean out their nares whenever they need. At the least, keep the kiddy pool available for them in the run.

    Keep a rag/paper towels &/or gloves on hand. Ducks don't like ramps & don't always like going back into the coop at night. So prepare for a lot of herding & picking up ducks (pick up the loudest & the others will follow). You will get messy.

    The more a duck bathes, the less messy they are. Even if they recently bathed they're far dryer/cleaner than a duck who hasn't bathed that day; due to the oils/slime/mud build-up.

    I've found ducks hard to handle when they're young. They're just so squirmy, like sea-saws. And they will think nothing of pooping a jet of liquid all down your shirt/legs or whatever else is in the way (not that they can help it). It's a bit easier to handle them when they're older since their hips become their center of gravity, but when they're young they really try to flop forward & then back quickly. Read: projectile poop. So arms out or tuck in close with duck butt faced in the other direction. ;)

    I hope my ramble helps. It's a lot of hands-on experience and as I've only had mine a few months I'm still learning!
     
  6. Catmoose1347

    Catmoose1347 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the replies!

    I have a small (4' by 2') tub in my chicken run. It is about a foot tall. Is that too high, or do I have to bury it a little? Also, are they okay when eating chicken feed? Can female ducks eat chicken layer feed if they are also laying eggs?

    Do ducks use nesting boxes?

    Wow, this is a lot of questions! :p
    Cat
     
  7. Gatsbysmum

    Gatsbysmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That tub might be a little high. They can eat chicken feed as long as they get niacin supplements.
     
  8. Catmoose1347

    Catmoose1347 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are there any negatives to having them? I know that chickens can be noisy and aggressive to people and each other. Do ducks have these problems?

    In addition, I understand that they need to free-range (or can they be kept in a run?). Will they wander off? [​IMG]
     
  9. Gatsbysmum

    Gatsbysmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The girls are noisy. They don't really wander off really, though. They like to stay in open spaces and out of the bushes. They aren't usually aggressive.
     

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