What kind of duck would suit me best?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Wolf-Kim, May 25, 2008.

  1. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    I have a large pond(about 1.5-2 acres) and about 7 acres of horse pasture. We currently have a wild flock of Canada geese residing on the pond and we have the occasional mallard. I really enjoy ducks, but misfortune seems to have befallen the ones I've owned in the past. So I am here to draw on the world wide wisdom of my fowl friends(BYCers) to help me out.

    I want a very self-sufficient duck. The geese eat just fine here, I'm hoping to have a few ducks and not be 'required' to feed, but to feed only to remind them where home is and to keep them friendly.

    I want a larger duck, I think. The mallards have always dissapeared one by one on this pond, I think it may be the nearby hawk I've seen chasing doves around the pond. The geese get along just fine, so I am thinking maybe a larger duck than mallards would be better off against a hawk. If size doesn't matter and hawk will snack on them regardless, please let me know so I'm not wasting time, money, and heartbreak.

    I'm hoping for a duck that lays well.

    LOL. Sounds like such a duck wouldn't exist. Self-sufficient, lays well, and stays out of the hawks talons... We'll see what ya'll have to say about it.

  2. BeckyBird

    BeckyBird Songster

    May 11, 2008
    Maybe a Muscovy? I've seen lots of them at public ponds.
  3. flyingmonkeypoop

    flyingmonkeypoop Crowing

    Apr 30, 2007
    Deer Park Washington
    I say welsh harlequins. They are larger, lay lots, are pretty, and pretty self sufficent. The muscovies are basically still a 'wild duck' they might fly off and they are poor layers but they have the size and self sufficiency going for them.
  4. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    They would not be penned up at all really. I wouldn't mind providing them a house, but I really do not want to close them up at night. Muscovies were one that I was thinking about, but it was only because I do not know much about duck breeds.

    Does size help keep hawk predation down? I would like to have ducks, but I would hate to be required to build a pen just to keep them alive.

    Do you have any problems with hawks and your welsh harlequins(do you let them free-range?)?

    Muscovies do seem fairly common, so they would probably be cheaper to obtain than other more rare breeds.

    How do Rouen ducks fair free-range?

    Last edited: May 26, 2008
  5. professor-yellow

    professor-yellow Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    From experience, the Pekins are large enough to hold their own. They also are well suited foragers and a voracious appetite.

    Rouens would be well suited also but would not fair well with the birds of prey. They are good layers though. They had a near miss with an owl close to dark, and after that they would be looking in the sky and listening for sounds in the air. if they see a hawk or owl, they will waddle under the bamboo where they are safe.

    Out in the open though, they are sitting ducks (pun intended).
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Your conditions are ideal for pretty much anything. So, I suggest you select based on which breed looks best to you. Ultimately, you'll be the one looking at them day in and day out.

    To me, the three prettiest breeds of duck are Silver Appleyards, Saxony and Welsh Harlqeuins.
  7. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    what about pekins or cayugas
  8. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    Endless Mts, NE PA
    We finally have had some success by getting adult ducks that were already free ranging at another location. They are pekin/rouen/crested mixes. We still get 'hit' ... had 7, hen hatched 7, lost 6 last year and 4 this year, 4 left, all males now from original. These guys seem to have developed a little savvy about survivial, though. We have taken some measures to try to reduce our predator population, but there will always be 'something' else coming across them now and again.

    Someone gave us 5 young duckrunners, they made it through winter, but got hit by something this spring.

    I'm currently growing out some more rouen/pekins and hope they learn from the other ducks.

    In winter, we do try to collect them up in the barn at night, but we are in the north and it gets pretty nasty sometimes. We try to keep at least one spot open on the pond for them, and they swim all year if there is access. (Funny to watch them skate over the ice!) What you might find frustrating is getting eggs if they are totally freeranging. Sometimes they will lay in a nest, a lot of times they just laid them any ol' place, like along side the pond and then they'd roll in (we'd see eggs in the shallows).

    Still, I love watching my ducks on the pond.
  9. asher

    asher Chicken Enabler Extraordinaire

    Jan 26, 2007
    Mountains of NC
    Since the poster above said it sounds well suited for any breed...why not get a mixture and then decide what you like...or enjoy the different breeds? Unless you want the eggs for hatching, of course. Then that wouldn't work unless you don't mind mixes.
  10. RebelsHope

    RebelsHope Songster

    Jul 27, 2007
    Cayugas are great ducks. They are good foragers and being developed in NY they are rather hardly ducks. I think that they are a rather striking duck too.


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