Sugar and Spice

skemper

In the Brooder
Oct 22, 2020
1
12
15
Hi everyone! Excited to be here and learn more about how to take care of our duckies, Sugar and Spice (see if you can guess which is which).

(1) Are you new to chickens / when did you first get chickens? >> Yes, we got our ducks a week ago. They are not currently laying (they're supposedly both female and 2 years old, but maybe someone here will know better!).

(2) How many chickens do you have right now? >> Just the two ducks.

(3) What breeds do you have? >> Welsh Harlequin

(4) What are your favorite aspects of raising backyard chickens? >> So far it's their entertaining sounds and antics! They were a little skittish at first but are warming up. Hoping for some good eggs once they start laying (or we start trying to force them to lay with lights etc).

(5) What are some of your other hobbies? >> Trail running, reading novels, brewing beer, going to the beach, chasing a toddler.

(6) Tell us about your family, your other pets, your occupation, or anything else you'd like to share. >> We also have a dog, cat and the aforementioned toddler (2 years old). She really loves the ducks and shows no fear. She especially loves scooping out duck pellets for them (way more than they seem to eat...). The dog is very interested in the ducks but also a little scared. The cat is totally indifferent--I think he can tell they're too big for him to eat.

(7) Bonus: How did you find BYC, how long have you known about BYC, and what made you finally join our awesome community? >> I did a fair amount of research on the forum before getting the ducks. Thanks to everyone who's posted

A quick status update/issues if anyone wants to weigh in: So far things are going pretty well! There is starting to be a bit of a smell in the run, which is all gravel. I had hoped that hosing it down regularly would be enough, but I may have to hose more often/aggressively, or maybe being wet is what's making it smell? I also don't really know how to tell if they're eating enough? They didn't eat much the first few days, which seems normal as they were a bit nervous. Now they are more interested in food, but they still don't tend to finish what I give them (about a cup of pellet feed in the morning and evening, plus a few leaves of kale torn up). Does that seem like enough? Too much? They also get to run free on the gravel and scavenge weeds and bugs most of the day.
 

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Isaac 0

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Jul 19, 2016
21,254
82,116
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Iowa
Hello, and welcome to the BYC community.

The evident problem with using gravel/ or rocks as bedding substrate is it offers very little comfort to the duck's leg, and subsequently, over time, can lead to issues such as Podermatsisis (Bumblefoot), sprains, arthritis, keel sores, and other conditions that can be caused by general inactivity such as wet feather. The other problem is while rocks drain well, they don't absorb much of anything.

You can achieve good drainage, good absorbability, and soft bedding by adding lots of organic matter to the run in the form of fine wood chips, leaves, and other decomposing matter.

Newcomers can sometimes be a little weary of everything the first few days of integration. Generally, restricting food for the ducks is not needed, and can lead to issues such as eating too fast. You would be better off filling a large bowl, or feeder with feed, and offer it to them free choice.
 

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