Soon to be new duck farmers :)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by goodolsurvival1, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    (*the post may sound similar as the birds that we want to add to our flock setup we are posting in their respective forum space)

    we are moving out to a 4.9acre property (buying family home from our aunt and uncle)... right now we have just buff orps (2 flocks since we have too roosters that are really good from last hatch but don't tolerate each other any more so had to make two flocks)

    We want to add ducks and know when we get them from ruralking they are straight run. We also for stress, disease, etc. purposes the ducks will have their own setup and never free ranging with the other birds (unless they fly over to each other). we will be converting our kids plastic playhouse that they have outgrown into a chicken cook, turning the turtle sandbox into a small pool for then they are in their area (locked up before out to free range and at night), and a 10x10 (to start will expand if needed) chainlink dog kennel. when they are free ranging they will have a pond they can go to. There is a spring feed pond on the property and they will have free range of the whole property (unlike other flocks who have fenced in pasture area(s)

    Here are some questions that we have and figured it would be better asking here from others experience.

    1. what are duck coop requirements? I know they don't need a roost, but was told they really don't need a nesting box either as they will form their own nest area with the bedding (we were still going to use the area with the sink is at in the playhouse as the roof of the nesting box put a nesting area there)

    2. our ruralking req a min of 2 ducks bought at a time, but since they are straight run would it be better to at least get 4 in hopes that we get females and males (or at least one male) as our purpose for ducks is meat and letting them successful repopulate the flock (along with as pets all our animals are pets that we love even though our livestock is also a way that we are trying to become more self sustainable)?

    3. is there a way to make sure the ducks stay tame (in the sense of comfortable around us and okay with handling)? I know as ducklings they will have to stay in the run/coop setup and not get in the pond cuz will drown if they get tired till they are producing their own oil (but hatched ones raised by a duck is fine).

    4. do you ever have to worry about a male duck (don't know what male/females are called lol) being mean towards you look chicken roosters? (we have weeded out a mean rooster already from our chicken flock)


    5. right now we feed our chickens= grounded alfalfa, wild bird seed (it has corn, milet, etc. in it), black sunflower seeds with oil, oats, and some D.E. in it (its between 17-20% protein) along with some oyster shells. during wintertime we add crack corn to the mix as a treat (separate)... can this feed mix we make something that ducks can eat also? or do they need something more specific? I'm assuming what we aren't adding they are finding while free ranging and winter time they will just eat more feed and we may have to suppliment a little more.

    any other duck tips for new duck people is welcomed :) as i always do my research extensively before every adding to our setup to make sure it is something I can manage (i have 3 kids and a hubby who enjoy the animals etc. but seems its 90% me responsible for tending too after the initial excitement of the new addition then all they want to do is pet or feed them and im left to the poop lol)

    we are in n.e. ohio if that matters when it comes to caring for ducks

    TIA
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  2. bell1774

    bell1774 Just Hatched

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    That's a lot of questions but I am happy to answer. I am not an expert but I'm ok. I recommend either mallards, Perkins ( standard white duck you think of) , or Indian runners. They are all awesome ducks. The coop requirements are pretty much the same a chickens i would think exalt the nest box and stuff but mine are free range. Some duck breeds don't fly . Get like 5 ducks in my opinion they are flock birds. For number three not really pretty much just if they start not liking you just give them treats only if they come to you and if some do the ones that won't will be jealous. For number four just no. For five I'm not sure so sorry. We don't make our own.
     
  3. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alberta, Canada
    I can help. I love my ducks! :love
    1. A nesting box is optional. If you hope your ducks will use it, after they start laying, place golf balls or imitation eggs in there to encourage them to lay there. You need 2.5-4sqft/duck (I gave 5sqft/duck in my coop so when I ended up with extras, I had room). Plan for extra space. It's not if you get more ducks, it's when. They need at least 3ft height, and if it is elevated add a ramp. Lots of ventilation and light in there too. If you get muscovies, they need a roost.
    2.You do not. DO NOT need more than one drake. Please, for the ducks' sake, if you get extra drakes, keep the best one and eat the others! Duck hens can die if overbred and drakes will rape each other in breeding season if the ratio is not 1 drake to 4-5 hens. 4 or 5 would be a great starter number. Pick a good meat breed, but also realize you want a dual purpose breed too in case you want your focus to switch to eggs one day.
    3. Yes, you're right about duckling swimming. Anyhow, handle them a lot. Pick them up. They love having their beaks rubbed! Talk a lot so they know your voice, and move very reasurringly. You want them to eat out of your hands, so when they are older and hungry, take one gently around the base of the neck to steady it in place, with food in your palm, and put the food at the end of its bill. They'll nibble a bit. Then later they come up for hand fed treats and food, they just have to get the idea first. :)
    4. No, unless the ratio is incorrect. Muscovy drakes are more aggressive than mallard-derived breeds. If you have 1 drake to every 4 or 5 hens, your drake will be fine. (If you only have two or three hens to begin, and a drake. That is okay! Just watch them so the hens don't get exhausted during breeding season.)
    5. This is a tough question. First of all, duckling safety. Ducklings can not be fed chick starter- they have a higher niacin requirement. If they don't have enough niacin they can become crippled. Ducks who do not or have not laid an egg must not be given calcium, this can cause issues! You can buy duck starter, grower, rationer, and layer from the store. If you're not into that kind of so called "normal" commercial feed, you can feed them corn, oats, alfalfa, clover, cat food. They also eat leftovers. There's a great BYC post called "Duck Treats and Supplements Guide"- read it. It's awesome. Search up duck treats and it will be a looong list. :D

    Duck poop is going to be a problem. It's runny, and smells different from chicken food. If your kids and husband handle ducks, make sure they wash their hands because the poop and dirty feathers can carry salmonella germs (the risk is not high, but better safe than sorry.). As ducklings, the poop will be very runny. When they start eating grass and going outside, their poop solidifes. Mine, for example, eat a ton of clover inside their duck tractor, and their poop slightly resembles moist chicken poop now. It won't ever be completely solid, but it does get thicker with greens. I suggest using shavings as bedding since they soak up the wet parts of the poop and help with the smell.
    Also make sure your ducks have access to water deep enough to wash their eyes and nares in. A 5-gallon bucket partially covered with wire works beautifully.

    May I ask what you plan to get for breeds? And what security measures there will be for them?
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welshies covered it! I hope you will bear with me sharing a slightly different take on chick starter anyway.[​IMG]

    There are many folks who feed chick starter without B vitamin supplements and their ducklings appear to be very sensitive to the lack of vitamins and yes, they can end up with leg problems and seizures and other neurological symptoms. Heartbreaking.

    When they begin to add niacin or B complex supplements to the diet, the problems can sometimes resolve within days. So a bunch of people who can only get ahold of chick starter, just add supplements as a matter of course.

    Some folks seem to be okay giving chick starter to ducklings. I do not know what the variables are, how to explain this. Maybe their littles get outside and eat enough bugs to get the niacin and other B vitamins they need. Maybe it's a genetic trait.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  5. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Isn't brewer's yeast a form of niacin for those who use chick starter?
    I read something about this on the forum the other day.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Brewer's yeast has niacin (B3) and other B vitamins, too. And a number of people add a tablespoon of brewer's yeast per cup of chick starter to boost the niacin levels.

    My guess is that other B vitamins may be lacking, too, like thiamine....but I haven't the resources to nail that down.
     
  7. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would never be able to guess. I just feed my ducklings the right type and % and then let them forage from 3 weeks onward if artificially brooded... It works well. I have my little tricks for feather quality, eggs, fertility, etc, but my feeding program is rather simple. I envy the people who understand that stuff! I can never figure it out!
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Some of us figure stuff out - or try to - because we get stuck, unable to get our hands on the right stuff...... I would love it if someone could explain all the components that affect egg shells. Because even though some articles sound like they've got the whole thing covered . . . from what I have seen, I think there are some missing links.

    Life is amazing and mysterious...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very true! That's why scientists still have jobs. :) And of course, why we haven't made cyborgs yet!
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     

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