would like ducks but don't know enough...yet

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Cynth, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Cynth

    Cynth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am interested in getting ducks. I would like some to eat and a few for eggs. I have never owned ducks and do not have a pond so am wondering how it is possible to get started with this. Can you eat any duck? do all ducks lay edible eggs? Is it easy to raise ducks? Can ducks and chickens be together????
    thanks for any help I get.
     
  2. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Cynth, and welcome!!

    You've come to the right place for advice and help. Ducks are great companions and very useful livestock. For an overview on basic care, uses, and breeds, check out my article in the current issue of Grit magazine, which can also be read on-line: Raising Ducks for Fun and Profit

    For more in-depth information, check out or purchase Dave Holderread's book, Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks.

    And of course, hang out here and ask all your questions! This is a fantastic group of knowledgeable, helpful duck folk!
     
  3. Cynth

    Cynth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for that article. So do the eggs meat ducks lay get eaten? Or are they strictly used for hatching? There wasn't a mention that ducks have to have a pond??? Will they leave if there isn't water every day? What do they do in winter time when ponds are frozen over? How about a childs swimming pool? Do they need a lot of area to hang out?
    thanks
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Hi, Cynth,

    when we say "ducks," that is a BIG group!

    There are many breeds, and depending on the breed, size of flock, and your management style, there could be different answers to those questions. (c:

    I love my ducks so much! They are beautiful and delightful! And they have not read the books, so they don't always do what others (on the forum or in books) say that "ducks do."

    There are some things they have in common though. They need warmth and a clean environment growing up. Many people are shocked, shocked I say, at how much wet mess their ducklings make. Some of that may be expectations, some may be limited space, limited time to do cleanup, learning curve about duck behavior. It also depends on how many you have.

    Meat duck eggs can be eaten.
    Most ducks don't have to have a pond and in fact, a pond with predators is a bad idea, IMHO.
    They need water every day. They might not leave, they might get sick and die. (May sound like an exaggeration, but really, they need fresh water)
    In winter they need a warm enough, dry enough, free from drafts enough place (and that is all over the map, based on what I have read here), and enough water to wash their heads in to prevent sinus and eye infections.
    Any infection left untreated may become serious, as in, fatal.
    I use a concrete mixing pan for them to swim in.
    They need at least 25 square feet per bird if they don't have pasture (yard) to regularly explore. That is from Holderread's book.

    I hope this helps.

    I want people to have ducks, and to enjoy them. And I very much want the ducks to be loved and well cared for, too. If you and all of your family are okay with some level of splash and poop, that's a good start. If not, I would suggest you not cause yourself and your ducks a bunch of heartache.
     
  5. ben is a terror

    ben is a terror Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm still learning too. I have decided yes to ducks but havn't figurered out what types. Some questions I was asked were Do you want to breed? How big is your space? Meat, eggs
    , both? Going to show? Temperment? I know Muscovy don't quack they hiss. Some types can fly some can't. I'll learn along with you. I'll post what I learn, you post what you do.
    This is the best friendliest site!
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG] to you, too, Ben is a terror,

    I decided on runners because I wanted a smaller duck, one that would eat many many slugs, and be a good layer.

    When I saw what runners looked like, that's all it took.

    They eat slugs, bugs and weeds and make some excellent fertilizer. Their personalities are stellar, and they are very coperative 90 percent of the time (so, they have a sense of humor).

    Runners have changed my life. And it's a much better life now. More full of nutrient management, too.
     
  7. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great questions! The difference between meat ducks and egg ducks is primarily in what they have been bred to optimize. Meat ducks tend to be larger, faster-growing animals whose genetic pattern predisposes them to producing good meat quickly. It doesn't mean their eggs aren't good to eat--just that they haven't been bred for optimal egg-laying ability, so they are likely to lay fewer eggs than laying ducks. Laying ducks can usually be eaten just fine (though Runners don't provide much meat, although it is good lean meat), but they will tend (if they've been selectively bred) to produce more eggs. Multi-purpose ducks will tend to be reasonably good for both purposes, but perhaps not as good as either as a duck bred for one purpose or the other.

    Sorry about the water omission--I've heard that comment from others, and if I could go back and re-write it, I'd most definitely make a mention of that. What has already been said is true. Ducks don't HAVE to have swimming water, but they do have to be able to get their nostrils submerged after eating, to clean them out. They prefer to have bathing water and will stay cleaner that way. Larger breeds may need swimming water in order to breed effectively, and also tend to have more delicate legs (because they're carrying more weight) and may really appreciate the ability to take the weight off by swimming. Smaller breeds tend in general to be less swimming dependent. Most people can get away quite nicely with a kid's wading pool or two in the pen or available while the ducks are free ranging.

    Predator protection is a prime concern. Many people (myself included when I was a beginner) think they don't have predators in their neighborhood. They are almost always wrong. You probably have foxes and maybe even coyotes, but you almost certainly have raccoons and owls and hawks. Raccoons are clever, aggressive, and determined. They can climb, dig, reach through, open latches, pull body parts through wire, and they will worry your ducks half to death until they figure out a way to get in and eat them. And they live in even the mostly densely populated urban areas (NYC has them, so does your neighborhood, unless you live in a part of the world where they don't, and I don't know where that would even be). I hate to over-stress this point, but I learned it the hard way and I've seen many, many others on this board learning it the hard way (honestly, there's probably a post a day about this, at least). So make sure you get lots of input on how to keep them safe, look at what others are doing, and be disciplined about putting them in their secure enclosure every night before dark.

    Anyway, I am supposed to be working and will get back to that now. Just wanted to pop in and answer your questions. Ducks are awesome, have fun.
     
  8. ben is a terror

    ben is a terror Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I learned the hard way about preditors Oh no I thought not in a res. development and not with a 6' fence around the yard. Came out to find 3 of my girls with no heads. Also had a falcon yea a felcon fly right in to the shed and kill 2banty hens and 1 banty roo plus my very special lap hen who would lay an egg in your bed but never poo in it. Then the little b******** sat in a tree right above the shed all day. If I had a gun!!!!!!
    Never think you can be over safe
    This is the very crowded NJ shore.
     
  9. Cynth

    Cynth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Ben, I will. Thank you all, I am aware of predators! We just got some guineas today. I have read they will alert all the barnyard friends of hawks and eat a mink (we have a lot of those here) and terrorize a coyote. We will see. I will look into small ducks for next year. I don't want the big ones. they don't even look attractive to me. We have some acrage. will they destroy a garden? I don't mind the mess. I will just put up a fence so they don't go in the front yard. I don't want a flying kind.
    Cat-I understand they need water. I am wondering how to make sure the chickens don't drown if they are around the duck water.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  10. aineheartsyou

    aineheartsyou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I knew I was interested in welsh harlequins but wasnt sure about all the other breeds so i ordered a couple WH and thena bunch of mixed ducklings so i could experience different breeds and I have decided that I love WH and runners [​IMG] So I sold the rest (except my husband's blue swedish and my son's cayuga) and am gonna focus on silver welsh harlequins and runners
     

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