What do I do with these ducks?

Crunchie

Brook Valley Farm
12 Years
Mar 1, 2007
1,367
8
181
Maryland
Bear with me here, I'm a chicken gal, and I'm c-l-u-e-l-e-s-s when it comes to ducks!
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I've got three adorable young call ducks. We got them as pets, no intentions of breeding or anything (besides, they all turned out to be drakes
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). I've basically been "tractoring" them in a small wire pen since they were old enough to live outside. They're in a busy area of the farm and they get moved around to fresh grass often. When I get a chance, I round them up and put them in a kiddie pool to play. Well, I'm feeling pretty bad about keeping them in the pen they're in. It's fine, not the most terrible set up in the world--I think they get their needs met, you know? But when I got them I had visions of (now here's where the clueless kicks in) them free-ranging like my chickens. I'm a tad bit more informed now, and I know that 1) they'd likely fly away if I cut them loose, and 2) they don't necessarily come back to the same place at night (I might not be able to lock them up in their house each night), so they'd be easy meals for predators.

Ok, so I'm not letting them loose. So, now what do I do with my ducks? Yes, I could build a more permanent, larger run for them. But I really don't want to confine them to a run that will, of course, become a muddy mucky mess in a matter of days. Do I have any other options? Is wing clipping feasible/humane? If I clipped their wings, how high could they fly? The reason I ask about the wing clipping is because I have a nice paddock in front of my barn that is fenced in with 2" X 4" woven wire that is 4' tall. Could they fly out of that with clipped wings (something tells me they could, but I gotta ask anyway)? If I could keep them contained within the fence during the day, rounding them up into their house at night wouldn't be difficult (they're pretty friendly). This would give them so much more room and they would have constant access to decent pasture.

Thoughts?
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Hillbilly Hen

Crowing
12 Years
Apr 11, 2009
5,468
37
346
Newaygo Michigan
We never had any problem with ducks when we had them. They stayed with the chickens and went to bed every night like the chickens did. The only problem we had was when we tried to give a couple away to a neighbor lady that lived down the road quite a ways away, they came back!
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What kind of ducks are they? We always let ours free range.
 
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Crunchie

Brook Valley Farm
12 Years
Mar 1, 2007
1,367
8
181
Maryland
Quote:
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Oh gosh...that's funny. Those ducks were determined, huh?

So yours stayed around...hhhhmmm. I think I worry extra about these guys 'cause they are so little. They are the same size as my banty Polish! And I don't let my banty Polish free range (though, and don't tell them I told you this, but...they are very lacking in common chicken sense!
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).

ETA: They are Call ducks.
 
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Hillbilly Hen

Crowing
12 Years
Apr 11, 2009
5,468
37
346
Newaygo Michigan
We had Rouens. I couldn't say as far as the call ducks, but ours definately liked it here enough to stay. My brother in law has the ducks that look like bowling pins, he lets them free range too and they stay around. He lives a little further north than I do. I thought the ducks were actually easier for free ranging than the chickens because they didn't eat my flower beds and gardens like the chickens.
Oh and I guess they were determined, we thought they would like it at the neighbors since she lived by a lake!
 
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deanna&rich

Songster
10 Years
Jun 2, 2009
106
4
109
chimacum, WA
We're new at this too. We let our pair of ducks free range with the chickens in the day, and when the chooks come back home at night, the ducks follow them and just kind of hang around until I shoo them into their own safe pen. Ours are: one pekin and one swedish; they seem to like to be near all the other chickens but don't really mix together.
 
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evonne

Songster
10 Years
Oct 5, 2009
1,295
9
151
Las Vegas
i have 3 mallard drakes... i don't think they could fly even if they wanted to... lol... they're HUGE.... not fat.. at least i don't think so.. just big... bigger than the mallards i thought they were at first... lol...

anyway... mine have been with ym chickens since almost day 1.....
i have an open fenced area.. i think the original owners had goats in it... anyway that's the chicken "run" but the chickens just hop up tp the 5' fence top, and out to freerange the yard... sometimes when i open the gate to the area the ducks come out to roam.. sometimes they don't...

when they do come out, they never go far.. not nearly as far as the chickens have decided to roam... and if i don't usher them back to the run before it gets dark, they end up hunkered down almost where they hunker inside, just on the wrong side of the fence....
i have to heard them like sheep when i want them to go somewhere specific... but they only go of course like every 5th time.. lol..
sounds like your little paddock would be about like my run... t's maybe 20x20?? but if you're worried about predators,... n/m... you said they have a little house they go into safe and snug at night??

there was a little snip in the issue of hobby farm i grabbed today that gave a little info on a guy who uses a flashlight to herd in his ducks when they get to far and dont come back before dark...

they know where the food is.. they'll be back....
on that note.. i have/had 2 spaztic pheasants.. not sure if the dog pawed the fencing off their cage to get to their food, or if they pecked at it enough to loosen the nails... but last night i noticed a big section pulled away and pheasants missing... i figured they would either come back or they wouldn't... well this afternoon one made his way home... we'll see if the other shows up in the next few days.. lol..
 

Ducks-R-Us

Songster
10 Years
Jul 23, 2009
377
8
121
North Dakota
I have call ducks and they can fly real good. Although, I do not let them free range all the time, I do let them free range while I am out there. They are real tame ducks and are easy to gather back up and put back in there pen. They will not fly away from you unless they are startled and then they will not fly far. Normally when I first let them out of their pen they will fly about 50 yards, land and come running back - it's fun to see. Once in a while when I am by their pen they will come to me by flying, it's great to see them do that. When it's time to go back to their pen, I just walk them back and they go in their pen real easy.
 

duckluck

Dulcimyrh Ducks
10 Years
Oct 22, 2009
1,970
50
221
Illinois
Quote:
Personally, I have found that my calls don't leave their source of water...they have flown a bit but never out of the pen. I lost two pet quality ones earlier this summer but one came back, and ever since I put the kiddie pool out there no one has gone AWOL...I really think the one that I lost gotten eaten by an owl, we have lots of great horned owls here. Everybody goes in at night and the one that came back was at the back door of the barn two days later, quacking to be let in!
 

allanimals21

Songster
10 Years
Aug 27, 2009
684
3
141
MN
My muscovys stay where they are unfortunately. I have them in the back run of my chicken coop. Well they were supposed to move in with the goat on the other side of the property. Long story short I spent almost an hour rounding everyone up and moving them. 15 minutes after I walk away I look outside and they are all in a line heading back across the property...They will not leave the "common" bird area of the property!
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LittleSquidgenHome

Songster
10 Years
Aug 21, 2009
129
7
111
Michiana
I don't have calls, but my muscovies used to fly, and my anconas still do. I did in fact clip flight feathers on my muscovies, which is painless if done correctly, like a hair cut. If your birds are going to have a protective fence, I think wing clipping is a good option. If you are going to let them free range without a fence I suggest leaving their flight intact. If they don't have a safety fence the only protection they have is to fly away. If they are in a secure paddoc, they won't need to fly away because they are safe and secure. Really it is up to what you want to do. If the birds are well fed they aren't going any where. Enjoy them ducks are really fantastic critters.
 

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