Was 2 females and 1 male duck the right choice?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ClassyChicks, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. ClassyChicks

    ClassyChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I just joined BYC, and posted in the Intro page. A helpful fellow user suggested that I also post my questions in the Duck section, so here goes...Thanks for the help!

    Hello! I currently have 7 chickens, mostly barnyard mixes of all shapes and colors. I'm obsessed with them. My oldest pullet is 11 mos. and my 2 youngest are 6 mos. All of them are laying now, even through our New England winter, except for one of my 6 month olds (who's not the brightest chicken, in the sweetest way) and one of my 8 month olds that has a crossbite. She is a very happy girl and spoiled rotten-we make her a personal bowl of feed mixed with warm water to "mash" it up every morning, but she will most likely never be healthy enough to lay. I cannot bear the thought of culling her-she is the most affectionate and grateful girl I have!
    I'm ready to extend my flock this Spring, and have ordered 3 Cayuga ducklings, 2 female and 1 male for early April delivery from Metzer Farms. It was a lot of time and patience introducing our current flock to each other since they were all spaced around 1-2 months apart (we kept getting roos, after raising them and loving them, we'd have to trade them back to the farm and would get baby chicks in return), and I am hoping introducing ducklings will be much easier.
    Am I wrong? Do I keep my ducks separate til they're big enough, or should I keep them separate permanently? Is there an introduction period as with chickens? Was I right to order 2 females and 1 male? I was under the impression that a male was necessary to keep the females happy, and 2 females were necessary to keep the male away from trying to mate with my hens. I'm also hoping maybe my crossbite special needs hen may bond with the ducks since she's alienating herself a bit from the other hens lately...
    As you can tell I have a lot of questions! I tried to give myself ample time to prepare and educate myself on ducks before their arrival in the Spring! Is there a way to put this thread out there so the right duck/chicken parents will catch it and respond?

    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR ANY HELP. [​IMG]I'm hoping everyone can live together in harmony!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome!
    [​IMG]

    It may work out okay. It is going to be up to the ducks and the chickens, and you can help bring about a positive result, if they are willing to let you.

    It is a risk when there's a drake around hens (chickens). Some drakes, not all, will try to mate with the chickens. Some drakes, not all, seem to do better with up to six ducks (girl ducks). And you won't know till he's full grown, and maybe not till the following spring, when drakes misbehave the worst.

    And these are generalities. Bean lived happily with Carmella and Hazel for two and a half years before they joined my all-girl flock. He now happily romances the three buff girls (he's a buff), and he is not a brutal bully. I am grateful for that.

    Some folks let their chickens and ducks run together but have separate shelter at night. Some have shared shelters. Biggest thing to manage with ducks is water. If you can set up a watering system that keeps you sane and them healthy, you are doing well. And it can be done, so start thinking about how you will keep the ducks healthy without torturing the chickens. Ducks splash and put many things into their water (mud, food, etc.) and chickens really don't seem to like that.

    Let's see who else can help out with your questions. Thanks for joining us!
     
  3. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, it might be fine. I let my ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys out in the yard at the same time. For the most part they keep to their own groups. Occasionally, there will be arguments between the groups but nothing serious. I have everyone seperated out into their own houses and pens when I can't be outside with them though. Keeping ducks in with chickens can be a big problem, especially in the winter time with the water. I had to keep young ducks in the chicken house until they were feathered enough to join the big flock and it caused all kinds of condensation in the chicken house and this was still Fall. Not good. Even with venting, it just never seemed to be enough. In NE you need to keep this in mind, just look at today and yesterday. Too much moisture could cause frostbite on the chickens if you don't have a heated building. Just something to think about. My duck house has a 2 x 4' section of floor that is boxed between the stringers and covered with hardware cloth. Their water and food sit over this in the winter. It should have been larger, [and will be, more like 4 x 6'] it doesn't get rid of all of the water splashed out but does help. If you really want to be prepared....think what you'll do in the winter months with them. There will be days they shouldn't be allowed outside and this is when everything that can go wrong will. [been there, done that] Just my 2 cents.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    If I may add, what will you do when the electricity goes out for a week? That's my been there done that. The good news is that I had planned for it. And I developed some impressive biceps and pectorals.
     
  5. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol! Oh yes another good point Amiga. It gets even better when you're using a well to get the water and no electricity. Even just 3 ducks are going to go through at least 5 gals. a day and probably a lot more. My ten geese and 22 ducks go through 90 gals. every 2 days. This is drinking, cleaning their waterers and bowls.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    We can get by on five gallons a day for a few days, but that's no water for bathing. This is the ducks, by the way.

    One winter I put their swim pan under the roof downspout and when we had a thaw, they swam in the meltwater. It was a kick.
     
  7. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Meltwater....haven't seen that yet, lol. Maybe on Monday we will, then I'll haul out the pools and hoses and fill them up. Poor babies needs it bad! If it gets to 27 tomorrow, like they are claiming, I'll let them out to play in the snow for a bit. It helps but not much.
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    It's expected to hit 34F tomorrow (after 6 degrees overnight. ouch), and maybe rain Monday.
     
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    Keep them seperate until they are similar in size to the chickens. They will need to be introduced in a similar manner. Unless you want them to reproduce, you do NOT need a drake. If you want eggs or just ducks they will be perfectly fine without a drake. Without a drake, you avoid any potential breeding issues with the ducks or the chickens. Your special needs duck may bond with them or maybe not, hard to say for sure.

    If I were you, I'd probably change my order and get another female not the male (it doesn't sound like you want babies). I'd brood the ducklings seperately. Because they are coming straight from a hatchery, you don't need to be concerned about disease so you can TRY to intro them to your chickens but you need to be VERY careful as ducklings will have no protection against the pecking of upset chickens.

    Potential bonding with your special needs chicken could alienate her further and subject her to further aggression from the flock. I would be prepared to seperate them permanently if need be.

    Good luck with them. Post pics when you get them and post any duck related questions here on the duck forum.
     
  10. ClassyChicks

    ClassyChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    We don't have well water here, so in a power outage, we still have water. I also have a section of the basement fenced off already as an emergency shelter for the chickens. We've only had to use it once to weather Hurricane Sandy, but it could be easily designated for the ducks if need be during the Winter-there's fresh hay and a dog house already, we could just add a small pool.
    It sounds like setting up a separate pen for the ducks may be the best idea. If it is adjacent to our existing coop, I'm sure my nosy girls will be checking them out constantly, and perhaps gradually I can let them all out together to free range. We'll have to see if Tootsie (cross-beak) shows interest in befriending them. I do realize that once she becomes a "duck" there will be no going back to her chicks. The only reason I had this notion is because on a local farm, the owner showed me once that her roosters that don't quite get accepted into the elite roo crew would hang out with her ducks instead.[​IMG]
    One more question, what do I feed the ducklings for the 1st 8 weeks? I know no medicated chick feed, but do I buy non medicated chick feed or is there an actual feed for waterfowl?
    Does everyone eat their eggs? I'm actually interested in incubating some of the eggs with my boys, so I think I'll take my chances and keep our drake in the order. Fingers crossed! Can anyone recommend a reliable small home incubator? I've heard some negatives about the Little Giant, or styrofoam ones in general.
    I'm so appreciative of all of the help and suggestions on here already-Thank You!
     

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