Requirements for a Ducky backyard?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by pipnzipdip, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. pipnzipdip

    pipnzipdip New Egg

    Jan 27, 2017
    I have a few chickens in our backyard in the city. I would love to add a few ducks but I would like advice on whether my yard is too small. Part of it is already taken up by a fenced garden and the chicken yard. We have a teeny tiny pond (like 3x3) they could use to take a dip but really isn't big enough for swimming. Would I need to provide something else? (watering trough was a thought)
    Are backyard ducks a bad idea in the city? What kind of space do they need to be happy?

    My wish list was:
    Some eggs - a lot isn't necessary but winter laying a plus.
    A breed that will not fly out of our yard.
    Relatively quiet.

    I guess I'm asking someone to talk me out of it and stick with chickens! :)
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    My Runners don't need more than a swim pan to be happy - it's a very small livestock trough - I also use concrete mixing pans. Those are more durable than kiddie pools, but the latter work fine for a while. Then they develop a leak from being lifted to drain them.

    I would avoid Call ducks - they fly and can be loud. My Runners make the occasional ruckus, but usually only if there is a problem - low on food, or someone walks into the yard.

    Younger ducks I have had laid eggs all year 'round. Then mine have become more seasonal layers as they age (seven years old now).

    Ducks enrich ponds very quickly - so if you have a pond with fish in it, I would not let the ducks have access to that.
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Like Amiga, I have runners. I also have a welsh harlequin.
    My runner girls were LOUD until they were around a year old or so.
    Now, not so much. They will make a bunch of noise if they see a suspect bird flying around. They make a bunch of noise if they are out of food. They make a bunch of noise when they feel like it now and again

    My WH wasn't so loud, but she can be if she wants to be.

    All of them chatter, but not any louder than chickens cackling.

    Water - unless you have a way to easily dump/clean your pond, don't let them in it. Use a kiddie pool, a concrete mixing pan or some other thing you can easily fill and clean/dump. My girls love to swim in their pond (we have a 11x7 pond I build them), but they don't spend all day in it and are just fine with the kiddie pool when they are locked up in their pen.

    Mallards will fly. Muscovies will fly. You can clip wings to keep that from happening.
    My mallard girl, while sweet, was a serious loud mouth, but a fox took her, so not sure if she would have gotten quieter after a year or so.
    Pretty much anything will lay through the first winter, after that you'd have to provide light to keep them laying. Mine don't lay during the winter or quite a while after a molt. My girls are 5 and 7.

    Each duck will be an individual and not all of them read the books on how they are supposed to behave. But welsh harlequins and cayugas are "normally" a quieter breed, but again, they don't read, so up to them if they want to be loud mouths or not.

    My ducks and chickens share my yard, but we live on 6 acres in the country, not a city lot. They aren't fond of each other, but they do tolerate each other. New birds always take a while for my existing flock to accept. It took keeping my ducks and new chickens penned up last year for the ducks to finally stop chasing the new chickens.
    1 person likes this.
  4. You have gotten two great replies already.......All I will say is that they sure can be noisy at times.......I live on 7 acres so my Ducks mess, noise and smell is not an issue.....
    Ducks are fantastic pets.....I love them more than Chickens......

    Best of luck.....

  5. mlh328

    mlh328 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 2, 2016
    Butte, MT
    You didn't mention how big your yard is, I would check city ordinance for rules on how much space is needed to be up to code.
    I live in the middle of town and have 3 Cayuga's. They haven't started laying yet so I couldn't tell you how they do through winter. They are really pretty and relatively quiet unless they want something our hear me come home. They can't fly. These are my first ducks so I can't tell you how they compare to other breeds but I would definitely recommend Cayuga's.
  6. pipnzipdip

    pipnzipdip New Egg

    Jan 27, 2017
    [​IMG] I have the same problem with the chickens. I've even tried reading aloud to them from The Book of Chicken but they still won't behave!

    Thank you all for the replies and input. I appreciate it, especially breed rec'd and need for designated splash pan.. Lots of food for thought. Bummed about the muscovies- those were always my favorite as a kid.

    To answer questions-
    We are on about a fifth of an acre so the backyard is about 2-3000 sq ft? (best guess) A third of that is already taken by garden and chicken yard. A fair junk of the rest is a concrete patio. How landscape destructive are ducks? I can't give chickens free access to our lawn area or they dig it up and make bare spots. Would ducks do the same? If they aren't destructive I was thinking of letting them have free range of the yard all the time and making them a separate little coop of their own to bed down in at night.

    Is getting just two OK for keeping each other company or is it better to commit to 3+?
  7. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Mine free range, so damage is minimal. My chickens do more with scratching and then making dust baths in any bare spots they find.

    Ducks will drill in mud. Ducks will drill in dry ground for bugs. So if they are in a small space, they will drill and likely turn the space to grass free and when it is wet... mud.
    Mine have been penned up for summers to avoid the fox family and it wasn't really too bad. If you find they start to make a mess of the yard, you can rotate them around so they don't damage one area too much and it can get back to normal while they are in another spot or two.
  8. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2016
    Rhode Island
    My Coop
    Mine free range as well, but aren't aware that free ranging is supposed to make them not drill up my annual beds.
  9. purslanegarden

    purslanegarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2016
    Even a 3x3 pond will get soiled quickly (one to two weeks), so you should have a way to clean the water.

    You may also opt to not give them a pond but just a container of some sort that is deep and large enough for them to dip their head in. This suffices for their water needs, but IMO, why have ducks if they can't go swimming? Watching their antics when they swim or play in water (even if it's not big enough for a swim but if they can get into it and do their duck thing, it's good) is one of the reasons to have ducks.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  10. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Overrun With Chickens

    May 19, 2014
    Georgetown, TX
    My ducks can be distructive to my yard, but the chickens scratching is worse. Also my runners are my loudest ducks but are also the best, friendly and will do ANYTHING for food. My WH was a great pet too. My Cayuga and white layer are the least noisy.

    Also my ducks sit at my back door and poop ALL over my patio. As soon as they see someone in the house the all go off for treats. So unless you want a poop covered patio you will need to fence something off for them.

    2 ducks would be fine together but I like to get groups of 3 just in case something happens to one you don't have to run out and find another duck ASAP. Over the course of 3 years I have lost 1 duck and 1 chicken due to various health issues.

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