Some duck questions! :)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by June2012, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. June2012

    June2012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2015
    I'm planning on getting some ducks in the, hopefully close(!), future. I would like some ducks for eggs! ^o^ My backyard is about 1000 or so square feet.

    Grass is pretty abundant here and there is only a week of snow where I currently am. It does rain a bit, though! (I am currently in the Vancouver area) I am going to give the ducks and geese some feed, but I don't want them to be completely dependent on it. I will probably free feed. I do plan on giving them some veggie scraps when possible.
    1. Will I still have holes if I were to make a pond?
      • I read that ducks drill holes into mud or standing water and the holes are pretty noticeable. I am guessing this is because they want something to splash around in... And in order to keep the pond clean, I plan on using a skippy filter and many plants. I plan to add invasive plant species that ducks LOVE eating to the pond. :) (Duckweed and anything that can thrive in cold water while growing fast enough for ducks once fully established)
    2. Should I pasture or keep them in a run?
      • I am not completely sure if I want to make an enclosure for them and let them run around when possible, or to let them out all day. What is better?
    3. How many ducks could I "free range"?
      • I am thinking about an Indian Runner, a Campbells, and a Golden Hybrid Layer 300. If possible, a Muscovy drake and a Muscovy duck would be delightful. [Do I have room for a Cayuga duck? I love how they look..] I also understand that I would have ducklings if I had a pair of Muscovy, which I look forward to... :3
    4. Will a drake protect his ducks?
      • I have heard the most cutest stories about roosters and ganders protecting their girl(s). Will a drake do the same for his ducks, or will be too busy saving his own feathers in the time of danger?
    5. Will ducks lay wherever they like?
      • While I want to eat fresh duck eggs, I don't want to eat week old duck eggs sitting in the corner of the backyard. LOL! I heard that they do lay whenever it just pops out, but is there a way for them to lay in their nesting boxes?
    6. Do ducks have a barnyard smell?
      • Whenever I think of barnyard, I think of the petting zoo stench... I have neighbors close by and while we are a detached single family home, my neighbor's backyard is in front of mine -- not beside. I can't raise them if they smell a whole lot.
    7. Will letting ducks eat fish make the eggs taste weird?
      • I was hoping on letting the ducks have some minnows to nibble on in the pond, but I heard that it can make the eggs fishy. We are sensitive to smells so I want to avoid that as much as possible.
      • How about shellfish? Will the eggs smell if they eat shrimp?
    8. Sorry about this question: Would a goose be able to live comfortably with the ducks in the space that I have?
      • I would like a trio of geese (one gander and a pair of females), but I know that's just too ambitious. My breed of choice would be the White Chinese as a good watch animal, but I worry that would be inhumane because the goose would be alone.
      • Could I fit in another goose? I would probably select another Chinese, Sebastopol, or African... (I would like to have African goslings one day!)
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    So, I'll answer you space questions first. You have a yard of 1000 square feet. Each duck would need at minimum 10 square feet in the yard to forage and move around, etc. So technically you could keep 100 ducks in that space as long as the coop is big enough. So to answer your question as to whether you could keep all the duck breeds you want plus a pair of geese, yes, definitely, as long as you build the coop big enough.

    Will ducks still dig and play in the mud in other areas if you have a pond? Yep, they will. They like mud and water and will play in it wherever. However, my ducks have never dug really noticeable holes in my yard.

    As to whether you want to keep them in a run or free range them, that's up to you. A run would keep them safe from predators, but if your yard is already enclosed and fairly safe, then there's not much reason to keep them in a run. You'd have to watch out for aerial predators, but a big pair of geese might well discourage those from trying anything. If you want them to not be totally dependent on feed, free ranging is better as they will have more space and more opportunity to find other things to eat.

    I've had drakes protect their ducks before. I'm not sure if all of them will, though. A lot of them just run with the flock when danger comes. Ganders however do protect their mates, especially in the breeding season.

    Ducks, like all animals, have a smell if you don't clean up after them. Clean the coop regularly and you'll be fine.

    I've never had my ducks eating fish so the fishy eggs I am not sure about.

    You need to have at least two geese. Keeping one alone is inhumane and will make the goose very unhappy. You have plenty of room for a pair or trio as long as you build a big enough coop for all your birds.
    2 people like this.
  3. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    Pyxis did a great job covering your questions, so I'll just add a couple bits...

    Some ducks will lay in nest boxes, ground boxes not up high like for chickens, and some can lay willy nilly... if you check your yard daily, you won't have week old eggs sitting around unless they find a good hiding spot, lol...

    The other bit I wanted to address was the Muscovy drake with the other breeds... if you hatch out eggs, or they do, the pure Muscovies will be fine but any crosses with the other breeds will result in mules... girls would be fine as layers, but their eggs will never hatch and the boys won't be able to fertilize any eggs...

    Enjoy, ducks are a wonderful addition to your life... :)
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  4. June2012

    June2012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2015
    Wowza! This is amazing information -- THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am so grateful for your post. I thought 1000 square feet would be nothing for the poultry. I was also worried about holes because we rent, and, I just like a clean yard, haha.

    To keep my yard safe, do I need netting over it? Like you said, I think a pair of geese would do well in protecting the ducks and that's enough. I also doubt there being larger animals to worry about other than locking them up at night so...

    When you say that ganders do protect their mates, would they injure the ducks in anyway? I imagine the Muscovies having ducklings... I don't want them dead. :/

    I guess a fish diet for ducks requires a test run on my end... *rubs hands together*

    Would I have room for growing goslings/ducklings? I will not be keeping all the offspring they hatch, and be mostly feeding them some extra protein.

    There's not a place that they could have a hiding spot because it is just open grass, but I heard that they're sneaky little buggers. Hopefully they'll be good ducks!

    If I were to raise chickens with the ducks and the chickens laid in the nest boxes, would the ducks follow suit? I think I would only raise two or three light weights if that was a sure fire way for the ducks to lay in the nest boxes. I feel that the chickens would do nothing but scratch up the grass though. I like my grassy backyard!

    I thought so, but the other duck breeds have a super small chance of becoming broody, so I'm not worried. Though, I love more ducks in any form. Plus those are FREE! XD
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    1000 sq ft is not really that much yard. My pen is 25x25 which is 625 sq ft. If I doubled that, I'd have 1250. I have 4 ducks and 3 chickens. They free range. If they had to be in their pen 24/7 I'd not want more birds than that. I would not have more than 10 in 2x that space.
    Doesn't mean that lots of people don't keep more birds in smaller spaces.

    If it is already fenced, go ahead and free range them.
    You will need to provide food on a daily basis. A bunch of birds in that space are going to do some damage to the grass just by walking all over it and drilling into it looking for goodies. I would not add geese as they would be that much harder on the space.
    You will need to make sure to keep the yard clean which will likely mean hosing down your yard every few days.
  6. June2012

    June2012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2015
    The backyard will be fenced, so that's not a concern.

    I don't mind providing feed, but I don't want it to be their only source of food. I'm also adding a pond with some invasive plants and will only let the birds access it when the plants are fully established. Though, you mention that they would do damage. If I had 5 ducks, just how much damage would there be? It's just plain grass without anything else. No other plants, no trees...nothing. I also haven't seen any slugs or snails, which worries me that they won't have anything to forage for.
  7. My Ducks free range twice a day.......I have free choice feed/grains out all day long....Mine have really not damaged my yard at all....They eat grasses and bugs.......My 5 Ducks live in a 10x10 dog run.....Enough room for 5 Ducks....My Ducks never wander....Hang around the Back door and their run area.....

    1 person likes this.
  8. June2012

    June2012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2015
    How much feed do they eat, if you mind me asking? What breeds of duck do you have? They also sound better than my dog... She'd run away the moment I'd open the door for her escape! HAHAHAHAHAHA
  9. I have a Rubber stock bowl that I keep filled....Free Choice...I feed a mix of Grower crumbles, oat and barley crumble and old style scratch grains...It has less corn...I also feed roman lettuce, peas, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers or what ever else veggies I toss in...I make it like a watery salad in a bowl of water....They gobble it up....Dry cat food, about a handful every week...

    I have a Welsh Drake, a Buff Hen and a Saxony Hen, also two Calls. A Mallard coloured Drake and a White Hen....No chance of losing my Ducks....They wait for me at the back


  10. Welsh Ducky

    Welsh Ducky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2016
    NC Asheville
    I can answer number one, yes they will dig holes and yes it is VERY noticeable. This is my Pekin with his hole head down a hole :p . [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.

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