Should I get ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Mac14, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am thinking about asking my parents about getting maybe 3 ducks but I need more info on them before I ask. I am wondering what are the best things about getting ducks? Do they go very well with chickens? How much space does each one need? Would 2 or 3 of them be able to just have a kiddie pool? I might ask more questions as time goes on. And I have heard that Khaki Campbells are considered one of the best, but was also wondering about Cayugas too.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome to the threshold of Duckdom!

    Good that you are thinking ahead. There are a number of stickies that go into some of the answers to your questions in some detail, but I will offer what I can here.

    I fell in love with my ducks the moment I opened the box they were shipped in. They were day-olds. And I fell in love immediately with the Buffs I adopted as adults.

    It is difficult to hold onto a bad mood around ducks. They are therapeutic.

    The slug population has dropped (I would guess) 80% to 90% since I got ducks.

    Duck poop is wonderful fertilizer.

    Ducks eat weeds and bugs.

    Ducks are very responsive to people if they are raised to be around them.

    I have thirteen ducks and they share two kiddie pools. For nighttime, 3 to 4 square feet per duck is good, in my opinion. Some keep their ducks in tighter quarters at night. Storey's Guide recommends minimum 10 sf per duck for a pen if they get out to pasture daily, or 25 sf if they do not. Mine have about 200 sf in their secure day pen, and about 100 sf for nighttime.

    Many people have ducks and chickens together. Drakes can be a problem because if they try to mate with a hen they could kill her. (Plumbing differences.)

    From what I have seen and heard, Khakis are great, Cayugas are great.
     
  3. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I am thinking on putting them in this little "coop" thing that I have, here is a thread I have posted about it, but since then I have added about 5 feet of fencing (could maybe add more), and I am planing to attach 1 or 2 nesting boxes to it.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/695124/doghouse-now-a-chicken-house#post_9425901

    I do like that they do not scratch like chickens, because the edges of our grass have been torn up when they free-range. :p :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  4. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another question, I know it depends on how much you handle them but in your opinion do ducks tend to be nice and sweet or a little "aggressive"?
     
  5. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I would say the dog house would be big enough for 2 maybe 3 but you will want a much larger area for their yard or it will turn into a mucky mess very quickly.

    As for ducks being sweet or aggressive it does depend on how much they interact with you. But breed, gender and individual personality also factor in. Some ducks and drakes are extermely friendly some are terrors. I have never been one to coddle my birds, I raise them for meat and eggs not pets but I have never had an aggressive drake and they all come up to me for food/treats. They do try to get away if I have to pick them up for something but they will come close enough that I can grab them quickly if need be.

    You mention the destructiveness of chickens scratching. Give ducks a puddle and your grass will turn into a mud pit that nothing will grow in.

    Since you have a small area available for them, if you decide to get ducklings, I would suggest getting sexed ducklings so you know what you are getting. If you decide on 3, then you definitely don't want 2 males.

    There are a number of things that you need to look into before asking if you can get them. Who will care for them? Ducklings are similar to chicks but WAY more messy and smelly. They have different dietary requirements than chicks but do need much less elaborate housing. I also suggest getting a book, check your local library, so that you can read up on what you are getting into. Storey's Guide to Ducks is great and is my go to for info.

    Think about what you want them for. Eggs, meat, ducklings, lawn ornaments. These things will narrow down the breed. Also, most ducks will be loud. Again, breed and individuals will differ but some breeds are more chatty than others.

    If I had to choose, I'd have ducks instead of chickens. Luckily, I have room for all. [​IMG]
     
  6. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you jdywntr! The most I would be getting would be 3 and I would at LEAST let them out to free-range every other day.
    I would like nice ducks therefore I would handle them a lot when they are little.
    I would have a pool in our garden somewhere nearby. Our garden is just made up of weeds basically so if there is a mud pit it doesn't really matter, it is just our chickens roam up closer to our house where the grass/lawn is and is torn on all the edges.
    I don't exactly live where it is smaller, I think my mom said that out property is about 0.7 of an acre, so I could have another actual coop, but my dad doesn't want to make one, so I rigged this up for a sick or injured chicken, but then we got something that is more practical for a sick/injured chicken or duck so this is just open for anything.
    I am the one that is wanting the ducks so I would have to take care of them.
    I know I still have a lot to learn about ducks, so info will be learned along the way. I think I already know enough about them to take care of them, but the next time I am at the library I will stock up on books about ducks.
    I have chosen to get 2 Khaki Campbells and 1 Cayuga so they will be easier to tell apart. They will be for laying and pets.
    Thank you for the info. If you seriously think that I am not ready for ducks, than just tell me so, I will not be offended and will make it so I can. But thanks again for the info! :)
     
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glad to hear that you are thinking about everything. Are you going to get just females?

    The only other bit of advice I have, make sure that where you are living you are able to have ducks. Many places allow chickens but consider ducks livestock. Alot of people figure they can get them and nobody will know but there is no mistaking the noise of ducks. [​IMG]
     
  8. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope I am thinking about everything, if I am not I will probably find out real quick, by BYC or by experience. :p Ya, I want just females. I live outside city limits so I can. Some people down our road even had horses in their driveway, of course there was not enough room and they finally moved. They also had a duck LIVING in a dog crate, chickens living in small cages, and 3 dogs inside all the time, it was really bad.
     
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its always bad to see or hear of those situations.

    You are actually in a great part of the country to get ducklings, well in spring at least. You have Metzer Farms in CA and Holderread's north of you. Though, I don't know if Holderreads sexes. Metzer does, my first ducks were runners from there and were great. Nervous wrecks but thats a breed trait. Check out Metzers website they have alot of info available.
     
  10. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cool, I just checked Metzers out and it seems like a very good hatchery. What I am thinking on doing is ordering 3 chicks and 3 ducklings from Meyer Hatchery possibly. I haven't heard any people order ducks from Meyer, maybe because those ducks aren't as good.
     

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