What Sort of Ducks Should I Get and How Many and Any Other Tips

Catfsm

Songster
8 Years
Sep 28, 2011
79
19
112
West Lnn, Oregon
We are in Oregon. I have 2 acres on a little river. I created a 70 by 30 fenced pasture and put in a bunch of chickens (50 or more-- lost count). I also have quail in a couple cages, bunnies also in some hutches, and two goats of my own and 4 that I am boarding in my "Goat Hotel" for people who plan to find farms in the future. The other animals are kitties and the wild animals in and above the river.

I would like to get some ducks. The question is what kind: Muscovy, Campbell or Runner. I do not want whatever they are to fly off with the Mallards and Wood Ducks that are often in the river. They are obviously my first ducks and I am not sure. I want a great layer! I want duck eggs!

I have a coop for the chickens. This is large and opens out on the pasture area. The coop door is about 4 feet up because the goats went through if the door was lower There is also a tiny barn with an 8 by 12 room for the goats to sleep and a metal door I can slide over it for goat security. The barn is onen on the pasture side. There is a viewing area to see the goats when they sleep and to care for them if sick, etc. The bunnies and the quail are in another area near the pasture inside of large hutches and cages. There is lots of space outside the pasture, but I found that hens were tearing everything up, dropping dropping all over, and the roosters generally were not friendly toward visitors. I realize ducks can be messy, too, but I do not plan to have 50 or more as with our chickens. The chickens are inside the pasture with the goats! They all enjoy being in there! They run around all day together and look beautiful. My goats are all now gathered round a Christmas Tree I put in for their eating pleasure.

So, now I want ducks. SOME say the ducks could live with the chickens in the big coop. Others say ducks spread diseases to chickens and they suggest having the ducks free range all over and having a house for them not in the pasture area. This last seems good. I am thinking that ducks will need a kiddie pool for swimming and some people say that ducks can hurt chickens, etc Some say ducks can eat chicken feed. Others say chicken feed will kill them. I thought I would just try chicken food! If chicken food is not good then they will HAVE to be separate from the hens because the hens' feed is accessed easily inside their big coop. My idea right now is for the ducks to have a small covered house where we feed them and right next to that house would be a kiddie pool for them to wet their feed and to paddle around if they want to. The ducks would be allowed to free range around our yard. That way they can eat up bugs and slugs. NW Oregon is the slug capital of the world!



So, the questions are:

Would I need to get runners due our little farm being right on the river? Would other breeds swim off or fly off? Should I clip their wings to stop that? I do not want them to fly south in the spring!

Will ducks go int at night like chickens do?

What breed is the best layer?

What would I need for them?

What genders and how many of each would make a great start?

Should I get tiny ones at the farm store or an adult pair or just a couple female adults? Adults are selling for around 25 dollars, and that is a lot for just an experiment wtih ducks. I plan to do some chicken chicks under a heat lamp in couple of weeks, and would it work out to put a couple of ducklings in with them? I believe baby duckies will cost around 4 dollars or less.

Later on, I want to figure out how to use my incubator, which I traded someone for but have not yet tried at all. However, I am tied up with projects and won't get to that for another 6 weeks or so. I want duckies NOW!

Will I need to trim their wings to prevent them from flying off with the migrating birds spring and fall or will they stay if I give them good feed?

Besides a shelter, a pool, chicken feed what else will ducks need if anything?
 
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TLWR

Crowing
9 Years
Jul 10, 2010
2,878
253
254
southern AL
So, the questions are:

Would I need to get runners due our little farm being right on the river? Would other breeds swim off or fly off? Should I clip their wings to stop that? I do not want them to fly south in the spring!
Muscovies will fly unless you clip their wings. Runners and Campbells can't fly high or long - they might try, but they aren't going to make it anywhere. Any of them could swim off.

Will ducks go int at night like chickens do?
They can, with some training and sometimes some reminders. My ducks will do anything for peas. So if they don't go in on their own, I grab some peas and they will follow over hot coals for peas, so I just lead them in with peas.

What breed is the best layer?
The first year, my runners were laying almost an egg a day. Your best layers of the 3 will be the runners and campbells. I think muscovies are seasonal layers.

What would I need for them?
Room to roam, a secure roof over their head, food and water deep enough to dunk their heads - swimming water is even better.

What genders and how many of each would make a great start?
Male ducks can try to mate with your chicken hens. That could end badly for the hen. It may not be a problem if there are enough ducks to keep the drakes attention or he may have enough and still look to the chicken hens. If you get any males, just keep an eye on them and have a way to separate them if needed. A 3 or 4 to 1 ratio of ducks to drakes is usually a good number to start. If you don't want males, then just go with a female flock.

Should I get tiny ones at the farm store or an adult pair or just a couple female adults? Adults are selling for around 25 dollars, and that is a lot for just an experiment wtih ducks. I plan to do some chicken chicks under a heat lamp in couple of weeks, and would it work out to put a couple of ducklings in with them? I believe baby duckies will cost around 4 dollars or less.
All depends on what you want. Farm store likely won't have sexed ducklings, so when you get 2, you won't likely know for a few months what genders you ended up with. You can order ducks from a hatchery, but a small number will be a premium price. But then you get what you want breed wise and gender wise.


Will I need to trim their wings to prevent them from flying off with the migrating birds spring and fall or will they stay if I give them good feed?
You'll want to clip your Muscovy wings if you go with Muscovy. The runners and campbells will be fine.

Besides a shelter, a pool, chicken feed what else will ducks need if anything?
a camera for pictures :)
 

Krazyquilts

Songster
Aug 2, 2016
1,018
839
237
Geneva, Ohio (northeast of Cleveland)
Would I need to get runners due our little farm being right on the river? Would other breeds swim off or fly off? Should I clip their wings to stop that? I do not want them to fly south in the spring!
Most domestic duck breeds can't fly. If mine start off in the doorway of their house, then they get about six feet away or so, tops. And that's with them about 2 feet off the ground and they are flapping for all they are worth. It's more like a really long jump than flying. Mallards can fly and Muscovies too.

Will ducks go int at night like chickens do?
If you train them to, then yes. We started putting our ducks in their house when they were still very young. They were already used to sleeping on straw because I had a little bedroom area with straw in their brooder. We carried them from their pen to their house at night and the in the morning we would sort of herd them back to their temporary pen. Their pool was in the pen so it wasn't hard at all to get them to go there! And they liked being in their house at night because they felt more secure in it.

What breed is the best layer?
Khaki Campbells are reportedly the best. Welsh Harlequins are also really good. My Buffs started laying right after my Welshie did.

What would I need for them?
A kiddie pool sounds great, good quality food if you want eggs, a safe predator-proof place to sleep, grit for digestion and calcium (crushed oyster shells) for the layers, extra niacin for ducklings.
Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks by David Holderread is an amazing book.


What genders and how many of each would make a great start?
At least 2-3 females per male. But really, it depends on what you want to do. We are currently getting 4 eggs a day from our five girls = 28 eggs per week. That's quite a lot of eggs for a two person household, but not nearly enough to sell. When we decided how many ducks to get, I fully intended on sharing duck eggs with lots of people so we haven't had a problem getting them used up. ;) Do you just want eggs, or eggs and meat? And just for your own family or to sell? If you want the ducks to raise their own babies, then make sure you get a breed that goes broody. If you don't need them to do that or if you want to buy new ducklings every year, then technically you don't need to have a male. As far as how many to get, if you are anything like most of us on BYC, you will always want more ducks!

I would recommend getting no fewer than 4 ducks to start. That way if you lose one (or even two), you'll still two ducks left to keep each other company.

Should I get tiny ones at the farm store or an adult pair or just a couple female adults? Adults are selling for around 25 dollars, and that is a lot for just an experiment wtih ducks. I plan to do some chicken chicks under a heat lamp in couple of weeks, and would it work out to put a couple of ducklings in with them? I believe baby duckies will cost around 4 dollars or less.
I'd get ducklings. They won't be as skittish around you then become they will have known you for their whole lives. Personally, since you live in Oregon, I would ducklings from Holderread Farm. He hasreally great quality ducks and they wouldn't have to be shipped very far. Their ducklings are sold straight sex, which means that you'll get a mix of both males and females, usually about half and half. As they grow, you decide which male(s) you want to keep for breeding and harvest or sell the rest.

From what I heard, ducklings are way too messy to brood with chicks. People do do it, though, so you could try.

Besides a shelter, a pool, chicken feed what else will ducks need if anything?
Ducklings need more niacin than chicks do, and never feed ducklings medicated chick feed.
 
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