Thinking about getting ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by blue2jade, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. blue2jade

    blue2jade In the Brooder

    Oct 4, 2014
    Hello. I don't know much about ducks, and this is just an idea for the future, but it sounds like a fun idea to keep ducks. If anyone has suggestions on breeds, or has tips on duck keeping, please let me know.

  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada

    Probably read this care for duckling sticky to know what your getting into, biggest thing with ducks is mess, they are waterfowl which means they adore mud, require water and make a mess... they don't come home to roost like chickens either, many hate being locked in at all actually.

    I started with ducks and still have quite a few, they are less disease prone, hardy, excellent foragers and in some cases out lay or equal to chickens.

    Breed wise totally depends on your purpose and expectations.... i mainly keep large breeds, Muscovy and Pekin, but do have a medium breed buff and finally bantam calls.

    A good book storey's guide to ducks, does do a breakdown of breeds but also helps for general care and such.

  3. Thejperez

    Thejperez Songster

    Oct 7, 2014
    You will Love LOve LOVe LOVE ducks they are a bit harder than chickens, because of all the water, but that's not bad it cools you off in the summer!!!! I have 6 ducks in total, 3 males 3 females,(all separate, got all of them for pets, so a Good mix with them )my nicest duck is a Drake, or male, Bert he is very loving. The hens, or females, are my babies they are like dogs but they feed me :D
    These are my babies
    My Welsh Harlequin. Good egg layer, loud and beautiful
    My crested mix breed. Got her a a farm sale with her sister
    The one aboves sister.she's blind but is fine
    Son of the one below

    The mother of son(no longer with us :(
    I hope you get ducks :D
  4. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    So you're aspiring to duckhood! I think you'll find them a real joy. I know it's just opinion, but personally I love them twice as much as chickens, whom I raised my entire childhood. They're smarter and have more defined personalities, and they are silly with a capital S! Watching my chickies scratch from my porch was calming, but watching ducks makes me giggle out loud. They're very comical. Read the link Quackers posted, that's pretty extensive info on how to keep ducks.

    As far as breeds, your best bet depends on your house and your preferences. I adore call ducks because they're tiny, cute, and super-duper-ooper friendly. BUT, they're also noisy and are lousy egg layers. Pekins are a good all-around breed, good layers and fairly tame. Same with Cayugas, only with them you get one gorgeous shiny green duck! Muscovies are great layers and are the quietest duck, but they're huuuuuge, and some people shy away from them because of their buzzard-like heads. Indian Runners are great egg layers, will keep your garden bug-free forever, and will make you laugh out loud as they wander the yard. They're VERY vertical. But they're also extremely skittish and you can't expect a lot of personal interaction with them.

    Best of luck to you, I hope you decide to take the plunge, your life will never be the same!
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014

  5. First let me say that I love my ducks. So, if any of this sounds negative it is really just an attempt to be honest about their care. I have 16 Cayugas (2 drakes, 14 females), one Blue Swedish drake, one Khaki Campbell drake, two Khaki Campbell females and one Crested Blue Swedish female. The Cayugas are a breeding group so I will end up with many more ducks than the above before all is said and done. They are just 18 weeks old and just maturing. The others are about 9 months old and are kept apart from the Cayugas because the males are intent on killing the Cayuga drakes and taking over their females.

    Ducks are fun, funny, beautiful, great egg layers. They are also a little noisier than other poultry and a lot messier.
    They do NOT have to have constant access to water but they are a lot happier if they have it. It does not need to be a lake or a pond...a decent kiddie pool will work fine. They must have water to drink available pretty much at all times, especially if there is food available. I don't have water or food in their "coop" where they sleep because of the level of mess they make.

    You can put clean water out and within minutes (if that long) they will muck it up with mud, food and poop. What ever goes in a duck comes out in about 20 minutes.

    They are hilarious to watch forage and to a large degree can easily be herded around a field to forage. Most ducks are excellent foragers.

    If you do get ducks be prepared as the brooding is as messy, if not more so, simply because it is contained for a period of time and you WILL have to clean their pen/brooder multiple time each day until they are old enough to be outside.

    They do have an absolutely essential need for additional Niacin while they grow so, if you can not find a duck feed you will need to add Niacin to their feed.

    There are really great, knowledgeable duck folks here on BYC so be sure you ask even the smallest question that pops into your head. The only stupid question is, after all, the one that did not get asked.

    Here are my gang of ducks...I would not part with any of them...


    Finally, and perhaps most important, if you have never owned ducks before be sure to read everything you can find on duck sex. It is a little disturbing if you don't know what to expect up front.
  6. Sfraker

    Sfraker Songster

    Feb 17, 2014
    Western NC
    Mine are a constant source of laughter for us. I have four female Welsh Harlenquins and a Pekin Drake. They are messy, but that can be contained with proper planning. For me I had to move their pen to an area of the yard that had better drainage. We found out quickly that the first choice of location meant we had a swamp in that area of the yard from all the kiddie pool drainings.

    Mine love their coop and actually trip me and get underfoot when I go into it. I have only fed them in the coop at night to encourage them to go in. That also means that I must keep water in the coop so I have to clean it frequently. I choose the mess over having ducks that did not want to be cooped. I have a routine down so cleaning and tucking them in at night is a fast process. I can certainly understand not wanting the mess in the coop so that is something you will need to decide on. When we first started and had a tiny coop it was a messy nightmare everyday. We recently build a 10' x 6' coop so that I can store the food and straw in it. And I can walk in and stand up straight while cleaning. It is MUCH better than in the beginning.

    I love watching them go crazy in their pool when I clean and refill it. I think it's a competition to see who can swim under water the longest!

    Watching ducks run across the yard because they know you have treats is hilarious! Their little heads wave side to side as their fat bodies waddle to you at high speed.

    On the bad side, I did start with 6 females and lost two to stray dogs. My husband walked into the house , came back out and the dogs were running off with one duck, another was dead and three more were injured. You MUST have good fencing and can NEVER leave them alone. What an awful lesson that was. It happened in less than 3 minutes.
  7. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    Just one more reason I'm afraid of dogs. I've never had a good experience with any dog that didn't belong to me. [​IMG]

  8. WildThang

    WildThang Chirping

    Jun 10, 2014
    Ducks are really lovely to have. But you will have to make some decisions before getting them. 1.) Inside or outside? 2.) Do you have the Yard? If you want them outside? 3.) Are you scared of getting a bit dirty?

    Ducks have poop and a lot of it. It's rather gross, Some who keep their ducks indoors use duck diapers. For a indoor duck, a lot of people like Male Mallards, or pekins. As well as call ducks, (For their small bodies.)

    Ducks once outside, wont be all lovey dovey like dogs. They are much more like cats, they will let you touch them give them attention when they want it and only then.

    Ducks require food, and Water. Water around the clock. Deep enough they can dunk their heads and beaks. They will make a kiddy pool brown within a couple of days. But don't let that discourage you! Sense small pools are easy to clean out.

    Some ducks are extremely good with laying eggs, others not so much. However, some are noisy some aren't.

    Our pekin duck is the loudest of the bunch we have welsh harlequins, a mallard, and a magpie. The Mallard and magpie are Mix's but definatly the cutest.

    Crested Ducks are cute, very cute, but you would not want to breed these ducks. The crest is due to a soft spot in their skull. They can have a range of neurological issue's. Seizures, exc. I wouldn't discourage from getting one, but breeding and mating one. I would not encourage. But if you do get one know what the responsibilities are. The illness's they can have, and make sure you are ready to deal with those issue's.

    For a Outside duck you will need a Enclosure, but i would reference 2. One outside enclosure to make sure the ducks are housed in at night, to keep from predators. And the other a small duck house for females that would be laying eggs.
    I recommend if you are in a area with alot of rain. Get a rain barrel hook a line to it, for automatic waters. Which would cut down on any water bill you have. Rather than running a city line out to them. Mind you if the rain barrel freezes in the winter you might be carrying buckets, but at least its not all year around. There is two ways you can feed them. Leave a feeder outdoors for them, Fill it up whenever its getting low. Or take food out to them twice a day at least.

    Here is our Duck nesting house. Our duck enclosure. With automatic watering in the coop, And automatic feeder in the coop. Just some idea's. it is lined with Hardware cloth all the way around the coop. Chicken wire, inside of a fenced yard with hot wire fencing that is on at night and a dog out at night.



    And Duckies!


    They LOOOVEEE water

  9. blue2jade

    blue2jade In the Brooder

    Oct 4, 2014
    Wow! Thanks everyone for so much information! This was exactly what I was looking for.

    I have a slow running creek in my backyard and I was thinking that that could be the duck's water source. Would this work?

  10. A creek would be nice for them. Some things you would need to make sure of. Does the creek ever flood or run fast and if so will you have a safe place for the ducks? Would the creek only provide them a means to leave your property...creeks to run for some distance usually. Have you checked for water based predators like snapping turtles, water snakes, etc.? Will the creek be their source of drinking water if so you might want to deter a little bit of it to make a small pool for them to actually swim in and be able to safely duck their heads into the water. Before you do make sure you are legally allowed to do so however. When you get everything together be sure to post pictures, we would love the see your final setup.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by