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Thinking about getting some ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ksguy, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. ksguy

    ksguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, I've been keeping chickens for almost a year. We've got 7 that I picked up at a couple days old last June. We love them - they're laying and doing great but the other day while at Tractor Supply they had ducklings (we stopped to look at chicks but the selection was horrid), and they're CUTE. My 3 year old went bananas but I told her no since I didn't know where we'd put them. We were at the store to pick up t-posts so I could fence in the garden to keep my chickens out. Well, it just so happens I read that keeping ducks in your garden is an excellent idea for pest control, which brings me to my questions.

    How much predator proofing do ducks require? Same as chickens? My chickens have a 16x16 fully enclosed run (roof as well) that I leave open to their coop so they can come and go as they please at bedtime and at dawn. I will have no such protection for the garden - just a 4' welded wire fence to (hopefully) keep the chickens out, and keep the dog from trampling things. I'm looking at Welsh Harlequins due to their reputation as docile birds that can possibly be held, and their excellent foraging skills. I believe they are also relatively ground-bound so the 4 ft fence would suffice. But what on earth do you do for predator protection? A small doghouse-like coop with a locking front door?

    Also, there is a several acre pond across the street from me. If I let the ducks out of the garden to free-range, it's likely they'll see the pond. What's the likelihood they'll up and disappear on me for "greener pastures"?
     
  2. Virus

    Virus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks usually need a closed in coop at night to keep them safer but the coop doesn't need to be as complex as a chicken coop. Chickens need the run and closed house with nest boxes, but in my experience ducks only need an A-frame coop with a semi closed in area for nesting. My duck coop has half of the walls wire so it gets sun light and air flow while the other half is metal walls so they have a place to sleep and lay eggs and I open one of the wire sides so they can be in the run and do their thing. Ducks don't really need two level coops and are happy with the floor being the ground or hay in the winter.
    While welsh harlequins have less chance of flying they still might, so I'd clip their wings just to be safe. Or if you put netting over the top of their run they should be fine. If they free range be careful as hawks will try to get them the same as them do chickens. If you want to fence them in it doesn't need to be vary high maybe a foot or two if you clip their wings or net them in as ducks don't jump or climb on things like chickens do. Welsh harlequins are also very calm and social and pretty easy to tame. Though the females quack really loud and they quack a lot but this is common for must female ducks of any breed. They may want to go check out the pond but if they like you they should come back.
    Ducks are very fun to raise and watch do their thing. They're pretty much like feathery dogs!
     
  3. ksguy

    ksguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info. As I mentioned they would be in an enclosed garden space with a 4' welded wire fence so I don't think they'd be going anywhere.

    How much feed would a duck this size go through per month? Does that vary in winter when the ground is frozen and they can't forage as well?
     
  4. Virus

    Virus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One bag of feed last me about a month and a half and yes you will go through it faster in winter since. In the winter I put cut up greens and scratch grain in their water.
     
  5. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A Standard bred welsh harlequin should not be able to fly at all unless it is down a hill. Now jumping is another story they might be able to jump quite high like maybe a foot or 2.
     
  6. ksguy

    ksguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many birds is that for?
     
  7. Virus

    Virus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have five.
     

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