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Should I get a duck or two? How can I make this as easy as possible?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Nifty-Chicken, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey Friends,

    We were thinking about hatching duck eggs, or getting some ducklings from the feed store. My concern has always been having to change everything to accommodate a duck. I'm just too busy with the family, work, and everything BYC related to add much more new stuff to my workload.

    I talked to Cindi and Chel and got the impression that some breeds are pretty easy to take care of and don't "require" a pond / pool. So, my questions for anyone who is duck savvy:

    1) Which breeds are good layers, quiet, and don't require water?
    2) If there is a breed that matches the stuff above, what will I need to adjust about my current chicken setup to accommodate a duck? (Shelter, feeder, waterer, sleeping arrangements, nesting boxes, etc.)
    3) I don't mind providing the occasional water / pool / pond for swimming, but I don't want to have to always have one available.

    Is this doable? If so, my daughters would LOVE to have a baby duckling around and I'd love to have duck eggs and the bragging rights at work that I own a duck!

    I look forward to your thoughts & suggestions!
     
  2. tnokie

    tnokie Out Of The Brooder

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    I would say maybe runner ducks. They aren't real bad to sit around and quack,they like water but can get by drinking out of a container. and lay fairly well seasonally, and are fun and funny!
     
  3. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh goodie, another duck slave. LOL [​IMG]

    To answer your questions....
    1) Which breeds are good layers, quiet, and don't require water?

    Great layers are runners and Khaki Campbells. Good layers are most of the rest. I have a pekin who lays me an egg every day. My scovy girl lays well when she is not broody, which is every other hour in the spring it seems. She is very quiet. She only twirtles instead of quacking and she squeaks if you take her eggs away. Ducks don't "require" water, but you will find they are happier with it. They stay cleaner and the main reason ducks tend to be mite and lice free is because they bathe. They need plenty to drink and they will play in the water and get it everywhere, so you might just as well give them a small baby pool. And there is nothing to lift your spirits or put a smile on your face than to see ducks splashing joyfully in a pool of fresh water. [​IMG]

    2) If there is a breed that matches the stuff above, what will I need to adjust about my current chicken setup to accommodate a duck? (Shelter, feeder, waterer, sleeping arrangements, nesting boxes, etc.)

    Well, they don't roost and they don't sleep at night like chickens. We keep a low watt bulb burning all night as ducks tend to do ducky things when everyone else is asleep. They nap when the mood strikes day or night and don't usually use their shelter. My ducks lay eggs wherever they please, but will generally lay in the same place once they find their "spot". I don't let mine out til at least an hour after it gets light. By then they have generally laid for the day. Sometimes I find an egg out by the pool, but only rarely. They do need water available if you leave feed out 24/7. They have to wash their food down or risk choking.

    3) I don't mind providing the occasional water / pool / pond for swimming, but I don't want to have to always have one available.

    Again, a pool is not absolutely necessary, they need deep enough water to clear their nares (nose holes) and dunk their heads, but again, the joy that they (and you) will get out of it is way worth it, in my opinion. It also makes for cleaner, healthier more mite and lice proof, if not muddy ducks.

    I mean how cute is this???[​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My advice? Get one of each. Maybe you can try finding a contact close to you on the Duck Rescue site. Maybe you can give a good home to a duck in need of adoption. [​IMG]
     
  4. NiftyChick

    NiftyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How fun! I'm getting excited about having a duck![​IMG]''

    So, I have a couple questions:

    1)If we do have a pool, how often will we need to be changing the water?
    2)Are duck droppings the same as chickens' so far as using for garden fertilizer?

    Thanks! (We LOVE this forum - and the site! [​IMG])

    -Emily (Nifty-Chicken's Wife)
     
  5. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Emily!

    1)If we do have a pool, how often will we need to be changing the water?

    You will know. [​IMG] It depends on how many ducks you have and the size of the pool. It doesn't have to be sparkling clean water, but it shouldn't be stagnant or foul.

    2)Are duck droppings the same as chickens' so far as using for garden fertilizer?

    Pretty much. I use the "duck tea" from the pools right on the garden. Straw and bedding stuff in their shelter go on the compost pile to rot a while.


    Ducks are a lot of fun. They are so silly and quacky that I just smile thinking of their cuteness.​
     
  6. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raised ducks many years ago. I had mallards they would actually leave my yard and go to the river not far from my place. They would always return, they would circle the house and quack and land in the backyard it was quite a sight.
     
  7. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

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    Wow, my wife posted... how cool is that?

    So, what's the most quiet breed of all? Keep in mind we are in a pretty busy city with close neighbors. They don't mind the chickens (so far) but a quacking duck might be over the top.

    I guess quiet ducks is priority 1, then ability to not have to have water is 2, then egg production is 3. My wife will probably chime in with stuff like personality and looks, but I may have to override her. [​IMG][​IMG]

    Hey NiftyChick... er... um.... Honey... How many ducklings do we want? Will you call the feed store and see if / when they get ducklings and what breeds they will get in? Heck as long as you are calling will you also ask when they will get chicks in?
     
  8. NiftyChick

    NiftyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, terrielacy for all the great duck advice!

    Will you call the feed store and see if / when they get ducklings and what breeds they will get in? Heck as long as you are calling will you also ask when they will get chicks in?

    I just called and asked when they'd be getting chicks in and the reply was "about a week ago!" [​IMG] Asked about ducklings and he said later in the season, probably sometime in April. It will be a "mixed" breed.


    How many ducklings do we want?

    ....I don't know....5? Then we can sell a few when they grow up and keep our favorite 1 or 2? Anyone think they may want to buy a couple ducks from the SF Bay Area mid-Summer/Fall?

    Maybe 3 would be a better number.....How much do ducklings eat?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
  9. NiftyChick

    NiftyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also just noticed this topic from January "I'm looking into getting some ducks,But do they make obnoxious sounds?"
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=75

    eggchel says
    With Muscovy ducks, neither the male nor the female is noisy. They make little trilling and friendly hissing noises. They are very sweet, quiet and friendly. If you are worried about noise, I recommend Muscovy ducks.

    So Muscovy ducks sound like a good bet. (Thanks Chel!) ......however, I also saw this from SandraChick......
    As far as upkeep--they are easily 4x the work of chickens. They need clean deep water at all times (they have to be able to dip their whole bill in water, so they don't choke on their food). Every bit of standing water will be muddy- including the dog water bowl. They make a huge muddy mess around their pool, etc.

    4X the work?? [​IMG] hmmm​
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
  10. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey Friends,

    We're still back and forth about the whole duck question: Should we get any?

    Also, if we decide to get ducks, do we go with the ones at the feed store, or hatch from eggs. There are pros / cons to both I think, but I guess it will come down to what breeds they have at the feed store and if they are sexed or not.

    If anyone else has thoughts / comments on us getting a few quackers (quiet ones) please reply with all your wisdom! [​IMG]
     

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