Thinking about getting ducks.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by johnfarr, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. johnfarr

    johnfarr New Egg

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    I've been raising chickens for about 5 years now and love it. I am intrigued with raising ducks but have some reservations. I have about 1 acre, fenced in, with a small pond (~0.2 acres) which wild ducks occasionally will visit, and I have had many people say "you should raise ducks". I want to raise them for meat, eggs, and just plain fun, but am a little hesitant.

    The chickens free range during the day, then go into their coop religiously every night and all I have to do is shut the door behind them. They are protected from predators, etc. I'm worried that with ducks I will have to chase them around or herd them or lure them into the coop at night and I don't really want to have to do that. We have young children and I have enough bedtime routines without chasing around a bunch of ducks every evening.

    I was wondering if I should just get some ducklings, raise them inside until they have feathers, then just put them outside and let them fend for themselves. They could eat the chicken feed, swim in the pond, and just sleep outside. If I lost one or two to raccoons, it wouldn't be the end of the world, especially if they were relatively low maintenance.

    Would that work?
     
  2. Virus

    Virus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks are very fun to raise and watch and if you raise them from eggs they will love you. It is true that ducks don't take to coops as chickens do, some may go into the coop it really depends on the duck. Mine goes into his coop by himself because I put hay for him to cuddle up in so he likes that. What some people have done is build floating coops that they anchor in the middle of their ponds. Most things that attack ducks don't really want to swim out there so it keeps them away and the ducks feel really safe out in the water. Though if you don't want to do that you can just lean a long piece of wood up against something so they have a place to get out of rain and wind and such.
     
  3. johnfarr

    johnfarr New Egg

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    Thanks, I like the idea of a floating coop. That would be really cool but seems like it would be kind of challenging to clean, etc. But just to clarify, you are saying that just letting them sleep outside or under a little lean-to or something would be ok, right? I don't necessarily need to build a whole new duck coop with an enclosed run, or try to get them into the chicken coop every night if they don't want to go?
     
  4. Virus

    Virus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Must ducks to just fine with a lean-to as shelter it makes them feel less trapped. So yes they should be fine sleeping outside without a coop, especially if their living in a group. Just putting something in the water they can sit on will make them happy.
     
  5. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks spend the night in a shed - when it gets around dusk - they start milling around in front of it - going in and out as a group, etc - I just have to close the door for them.

    For the first few months we fed them at night in the shed - we don't feed them inside anymore - just too much of a mess.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    @johnfarr - What's your climate? Up here, depending on the breed, the number of ducks, their behavior . . . we would end up with ducks dead from hypothermia if they did not have a reasonably warm (above freezing, out of the wind, dry) shelter.

    We also have a long list of predators, who have all day and all night to get at the ducks, who have no defenses. Most domestic breeds cannot even fly. A brooding duck (sitting on eggs) often won't leave the nest, so she and her future ducklings are destroyed.

    If you have young kids and don't want much extra effort, please wait. It's not inevitable that domestic ducks get destroyed. They can be cared for, but it takes some time every day, and it doesn't sound like you have loads of extra time right now.

    Please consider planting a food plot for the wild waterfowl, and enjoy them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  7. applebutter14

    applebutter14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    my ducks go in the coop all by them selves...every now and then i have to tell them to get to bed because its dark out and they are still swimming in their little pool but they know that when i come out at night it means they should be in bed so they waddle on in the coop and its no big chase-i just point my finger at the coop and say get to bed and they go in in the coop.

    owing ducks is alot of fun. but remember!:ducks are messy with water. so if you are planning on keeping them inside while they are young you will need to clean up after them. but its all worth it! [​IMG]
     
  8. applebutter14

    applebutter14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    some duck breeds are messier then others i found out.

    some messy breeds i have owned: indian runner-sedish-cayuga-magpie

    not so messy: white crested ducks

    not messy: call ducks
     
  9. johnfarr

    johnfarr New Egg

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    Thank you for the thoughtful replies. Some more info: I'm in Toledo, OH. We get winters. We have had problems in the past with hawks and raccoons. As far as hawks, if the ducks take some of the heat off the chickens, I'm actually ok with that. Coons are another story, and I understand they would be vulnerable. There were some wild ducks that took up residence last year. There were originally 5 babies and a mama, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1, then no mama. I don't know what got them.

    After researching this more, one idea I had was to not keep the ducks through the winter. Just complete forget about raising them for eggs and go for meat ducks which we could butcher and eat in the fall. We seem to have more problems with the predators in the winter anyway, and limiting the length of time we have the ducks may decrease the likelihood that something besides me will eat them.

    As far as the mess, from what I've read a good meat duck only takes a few months to reach maturity so we could hypothetically get them later in the spring which would allow us to keep them in the garage (instead of in the house) until they are big enough to put out. Do places sell ducklings late in the spring? We have bought our chicks from TSC in the past but I don't know how late in the year they continue to sell them.

    Seems like it would be relatively easy, but I'm still not sure. Please let me know if I'm missing anything.

    @Amiga- I love the idea of a food plot for wild ducks. What would be a good thing to plant for that?

    John
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  10. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks will do anything for peas, including running to me each night when I walk out with some and walk them to their house and lock them in..
     

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