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Young/mature ducks vs day-old?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ericatdallas, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. ericatdallas

    ericatdallas Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi,

    New to ducks... well sort of, my family tried ducks when I was a toddler but I apparently loved them so much they died (Elmyra-style from Tiny Toons) so my family gave up on them.

    Anyway, now that I have my own toddlers I wanted to give ducks another try. I've been scouring the internet for all the advice and how to care for them.

    We just bought a property with a couple of acres. We have a 170 year old barn that's in decent shape that was formerly used for chickens. We plan to have some of those too --- I think my wife joined this site last night.

    I'm in charge of ducks. Wife is in charge of chickens.

    We're thinking of starting pretty quick with 2-3 ducks and let them mostly free range.

    There's a few Craigslist ads that are selling/giving away eggs all the way up to adults.

    Is it advisable to go with older ducks? Will they be a problem with bonding with our family and learn not to run away?

    Will adult/mature ducks be easy to handle for 'newbies'?

    Any other advice would be appreciated. We live in upstate NY.

    I'm considering Cayugas and/or Muscovies.

    - My goal for them will be eggs.
    - Maybe meat, but the kid you see as my avatar is shocked that people kill chickens... so we'll see.
    - I want them for pest control. I hate mosquitoes and flies. I know any poultry will deal with the other land bugs, slugs, etc.
    - snake and lizard control would be good too... we had a ton of lizards when we lived in Florida. My wife liked them but I found them annoying.

    Thanks,
    Eric
     
  2. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome :)

    I would go with ducklings. IMO they are much easier to integrate and imprint very quickly on people, so older ducks may have issues if they've been abused etc.. They need some care for the first few weeks, but bond so much better...and who can resist ducklings? ;)

    I have Mallards and Runners; eggs from the runners, mallards just because... Runners are great with bugs in the garden, weed control etc... Butcarent very friendly; quite skittish in fact.

    I've wanted Cayugas for a while... Beautiful ducks :) Pekin are good with kids, quite docile.

    There are some very knowledgeable, great people here that can help in every way possible, great site :)
     
  3. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    West Chester, PA, USA
    Congratulations on the duck decision and on doing research in advance! When you say your (sounds like main) goal is eggs, do you mean for eating/selling or for ducklings, or for both?
     
  4. Alexandra33

    Alexandra33 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, definitely ducklings. That way you have raised them, and there is a much greater chance of their bonding with your family. Older ducks would probably be the best fit for individuals with years of experience because they would know how to handle all the "difficult" behaviors.

    My duck flock consists of 3 Mallards, 2 Khaki Campbells, 2 Cayugas, a Blue Runner, and a Buff duck. If you're looking for egg production, I would recommend Runners and Khakis and although my Runner hasn't started laying yet, I've heard that they are fabulous. Anyway, my Khakis out lay all the other ducks AND 29 chickens! Not only do I get about 2-3 double yolkers every week, but a few days ago, one of the Khakis gave us two eggs in the same day. She is such a gem.

    All the of the ducks breeds I own are great foragers and eat a ton of bugs, which is helpful since our farmyard has an abundance of ticks, gallynippers, mosquitoes, Japanese beetles, and grubs.

    Cayugas are stunning, and they are decently calm. Mine are only about 7 weeks old, but already they are absolutely gorgeous! The breed is known for being easy-going and tame as well as quiet (quiet is actually a stretch, since mine are almost as loud as the others [​IMG]). Don't forget that at the beginning of their laying cycle, you could be blessed with black eggs!

    I would NOT advise you to get Mallards, although mine may be exceptionally bad. Not only am I required to clip their wings so they cannot fly away, but they are unusually aggressive towards other ducks and the chickens. They have been the worst ducks I think I have ever been at a disadvantage to own, not to mention that they hate me with a vengeance. But I will say that this is not the case with all Mallards, and mine are probably one in a million. Only good thing about the breed is that they are highly ornamental and I get lovely little mint green eggs every day from my girls,

    Best wishes with starting your duck adventure!

    -Alexandra33
     
  5. stlmick83

    stlmick83 New Egg

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    Aug 5, 2015
    i've never done it any other way than ordering hatchery day olds and i think the shipping minimum is 15 usually. what is your predator situation? just lost one to a raccoon. do you have a dog to keep them away? will you be locking them up at night? do you have a waterpond, fountain, lake of any kind? that will keep them around. depending on the breed, most wont fly away. if you get a trio, one boy to every 2 girls.
     
  6. ericatdallas

    ericatdallas Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah... after further consideration, I decided I might wait until early spring to give myself some more time to research. I would hate to have to figure out how to take care of them during the winter while still learning to keep them in more desirable conditions at the same time.

    But yes, eggs for eating mainly. Ducklings maybe once I get better at it.

    Thanks. I hate bugs. I love ducks --- watching them and eating them. So when I found out ducks are good at pest control it just made sense. :)

    I didn't want to go for 15 at a time. I wanted to take things slowly. My wife is ordering chickens so I'm hoping we can find a supplier to give us both. She's buying 12+ chickens though --- so she's just jumping in (2-3 of each breed that interested her).

    I have no idea what the predator scenario is... I read there are bears, coyotes, foxes and bobcats in the area. While we have a barn, I'm not sure it's ready for ducks or chickens yet. I wanted to develop a small fenced in area for them as well but that might have to wait.

    I was hoping to kind of just let them loose in the day and get them to shelter at night once they're big enough. I expect to lose a few from predators (not wishing for it, but being realistic). My hope is that they'll breed faster then I'll lose them.

    Anyone have inputs for poodles or goldendoodles as guard dogs for poultry? I read yes and no. My last goldendoodle liked to shred toy ducks but was very gentle with animals and kids. Great watch dog in that she would let us know when strangers or animals came close but terrible as protection since she'd roll over.
     
  7. Alexandra33

    Alexandra33 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Murray McMurray Hatchery's minimum for duck orders is two, while Meyer Hatchery's is 3. My first six were from Meyer, and the other three were from McMurray. I have had great service from both regarding ducks, and although I have never ordered chicks from McMurray (since their minimum is 15), Meyer has FABULOUS healthy chicks that you might want to consider if you're looking for varied poultry. 26 of our chickens were hatched there, and no fatalities or issues have resulted. But then again, that we haven't lost any in shipping could be attributed to the fact that we only live an hour and a half from Meyer. [​IMG]

    -Alexandra33
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  8. Celtlore

    Celtlore Out Of The Brooder

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    I have four different breeds of ducks and got them all as ducklings. They formed their flock and are quite calm and friendly, love treats, etc. I think you and family would enjoy Ancona ducks, they lay very well, can have colored eggs (not every duck does though) are quite calm and very friendly. They are a patterned feathered duck and come in quite a few colors with white. I
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  9. ericatdallas

    ericatdallas Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh, that made me think of another question. If I get say 4 Muscovies this year and another 4 Cayugas will there be any conflict? Will they "flock" together?

    Also, do Muscovies and Cayugas interbreed? I read that Muscovies and Pekings will but their offspring will be sterile and somewhat undesirable?

    I would prefer they didn't that way I know what is hatching out of what.

    Thanks,
    E
     
  10. ericatdallas

    ericatdallas Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 5, 2015
    that's good to know. I know NY has a minimum of an order of 6 though. McMurray was one I was looking at but I don't think Meyer is on my list yet. I'll have to check them out.

    What are the thoughts on buying off Craigslist or eBay? I'm into expensive exotic ornamental fish and generally that crowd looks down on eBay/CL fish because of poor breeding stock perceptions and breeders that don't properly care for their fish. Not that good breeders aren't on eBay or Craigslist... it's just assumed any good breeder will have a "reputation" on one of the major forum sites.

    Is that the general feel here as well?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015

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