So tell me about ducks

pamghatten(wny5)February 2, 2010

Eric,

I'm curious ... what is involved in taking care of ducks. I have a 3/4 acre pond right behind the house. I have a barn with 4 stalls, 3 occupied by miniature donkeys.

But I have fox, coyote and hawks, and maybe bobcats. And it gets really cold in the winter. Last weekend it got down to -4 Saturday morning.

Not sure I want to add to my menagerie, I also have 2 dogs and a bunch of cats. But the ducks look so cool.

Deep end of the pond

Deep end of the pond looking back at house and barn.

Other end of pond with gazebo

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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

I uploaded a video to Youtube. Poor quality. You can get an idea of the setup I have.

I'm think with all your predators you may think of Muscovy ducks. They can fly, if you don't clip their wings, more able to defend them selves.

The perfect world would be fences,pond,foraging area, and a house to lock them up at night.

Everytime I feed my ducks I whistle. You can hear it in the video. I started this when they were two day olds. Now I'm like the Pied Piper. Everytime I whistle my ducks come running, dinner time.

Ducks are very entertaining and messy. Their eggs are larger, more nutritious, and taste better the chicken eggs.

If you decide to get ducklings, it's a good idea to supplement the chick starter with brewers yeast. Niacin deficiency is very crippling. I learned that the hard way.

Dogs and ducks can cohabitate, but be careful and go slow. Training.

Here's a bunch of photos

out in the snow

Foraging in the stream

Brooder

dang cute

following the rototiller

flying Muscovy female

Hope all the photos doesn't slow things down.

If you want more detail, let me know.

Hope others chime in and give advice also.

Eric

Here is a link that might be useful: Eric's moscovy ducks

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 10:22PM
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pamghatten(wny5)

Dang cute is right ...

I'll have to llok at the video from home.

How are they messy?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 12:45PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Mostly in their house. I use a bucket for their waterer. Ducks need to be able to submerse their heads to keep the nostrils clear. They throw the water everywhere. They are also little poop machines. Very wet and sloppy.

The video is way to long and really doesn't give much information.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 1:09PM
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citytransplant

What about the gardens, do ducks forage and tear up the flowers and bushes?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 7:11PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

citytransplant,

I had more trouble with these guys.

6 Toulous Geese. They ate strawberries, raspberries, young tender shoots, and even bark. In the photo they are drinking from the drip irrigation line, so they would stretch it out too. I replaced the geese with Muscovy ducks. They eat both protien and vegetation.

Ducks are more interested in tilling / drilling. Looking for slugs, bugs, worms, seeds. They do eat some grass and clover. I broadcast 10 pounds of clover in my orchard last fall. It should really take off this spring. So not much in the way of damage in the orchard , but keep them out of the vegetable greens. Boy do they like a good salad! :~)

I also have rabbits. They can also do alot of damage in a hurry.

Rabbit tractor

Excercise area.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 10:54PM
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prmsdlndfrm

Eric you are right on from my experience, but I could not imagine not having at least a few ducks around, I find them more personable than my chickens, and nothing short of goose eggs are better for baking.
josh

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 9:53AM
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citytransplant

Eric,

Love your pictures, your place looks like animal heaven and it even leaves a bit of garden for you humans too. How perfect.

The reason I asked about ducks foraging and eating vegetation is becasue Pamghatten has such beautiful gardens, I thought perhaps the ducks would destroy all of her work.

Joan

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 11:02AM
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pamghatten(wny5)

Thanks Joan, good question ... my gardens will certainly never be perfect, but I do spend a lot of time on them.

I didn't get to the video last nite ...

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 12:37PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Joan,
Thank You. I keep no secrets they are not pets.

I would recommend short fences around the beds. They don't need to be very tall. 12 inches tall wood probably do it. 24 inches for geese.

Pam,

It's not worth the trouble. It was my first attempt at uploading to YouTube. Poor quality and way to boring. This spring I'll try to do a better orchard garden video.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 2:51PM
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pamghatten(wny5)

I did watch your video Eric ... laughed at the sound of the dog drinking ... they'll drink any old water, won't they?

Pretty ducks .. but I'm not going to fence my gardens .. I'll just watch your ducks instead!

Pam

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 6:19PM
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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

My duck is great fun. I got two ducklings when I got my chicks last spring. Didn't know that they grow up WAY faster than chickens -- within a couple of weeks they towered over the chicks. Sadly, over the summer something killed the boy, so I just have Ari Duckass now.

If you look at the archives on my blog you'll see quite a few duck-related entries.

BTW, if you get duckling do NOT feed medicated chick starter. Ducks eat WAY more than chickens and can overdose on the drugs. Be sure to get starter for mixed flocks.

--Johanna

Here is a link that might be useful: Baby ducks

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 8:59AM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I LOVE DUCKS!
My first batch here in Florida was 2 Pekin and a Cayuga. Bobcats came in broad daylight and took my Pekins from the pond and yard.
I have 2 and a half acres and 2 ponds and a creek,My Black Cayuga is still with me and I raised 11 more ducklings last spring,all which are still alive. NONE are PEKIN or pure white. I think white is a predator magnet.They are let out in the morning and have full reighn ofthe ponds and flower beds but I do fence the veggies.
We have a duck house and chainlink duck yard (Large dog kennel)which they demand to head to about 3 or 4 in the afternoon.Their they are fed and watered and at Dark they go into the duck house and are locked up to prevent predators from getting in. All are named and sweet as can be,

Plenty od fresh eggs to eat

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 3:10PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Way Cool!

I'm not sure why anyone would have chickens. Ducks are more entertaining and some breeds out produce chickens.

Looks like you have Welsh Harlequin, White and Dark Crested, Golden 300 or Campbell,and maybe a Blue Swedish.

Very nice.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 3:25PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

I forgot to mention. I ordered 20 new ducklings. 14 White layers and 6 Cayuga. They should arrive tomorrow or Wednesday.

Over run by ducks !!!

Eric

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 3:30PM
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jillzee

In answer to Eric's wondering of why anyone would own chickens rather than ducks, a friend of mine has a severe duck egg allergy. No allergy to chicken eggs, but duck eggs make her vomit.

But yes, otherwise, they certainly seem fun!! :)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 3:49PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

we named this guy Lucky Lou for his rabbits foot on his head LOL

Tina

Rambo ManDuck (Roen)

Isis

Hattie (Harlequin)and Zoe

Danny Drag Duck(looks like hes wearing eyeliner and a wig)

Ginger was a big Ugly duckling left over from Easter. No one took her til I came along She broke her leg and my grandson and I made a little splint and she healed just fine AND is a Gorgeous duck!

Hawkeye is the bully but so handsome not sure what he is

Jinxie is a Cayuga from my original batch(and the friendliest)

Napaleanna I think a Florida Mottled duck. She is quite small. lays small green eggs, can fly and has a squeaky big mouth

Ichabod the Indian Runner duck. we were doing some remodeling new doors tile etc and they kept coming in!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 4:11PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

jillzee,

It was mostly tungue and cheek, but you are right. I have a customer at the Farmers Market that buys my duck eggs, because she is allergic to chicken eggs. I'm glad I don't have any major allergies.

goldenpond,

Where did your ducks come from? Some look like interesting cross breeds. Napa with the long eyebrow looks like my Golden 300. They also lay green eggs. Her friend in the photo, if she had a blue gray bill would be a Khaki Campbell.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 4:55PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I bought some at the Trading Post,the Cuyuga the Magpie( sorry I called her Harlequin) and Indian Runner. They have the True breeds and are sexed. The others I bought from a Feed store in Ft Pierce that weren't sexed and it was, " well they are only 3 dollars and eighty cents so you get what
we have " attitude.
Napoleanna's bill is pretty orange and her feet are very BRIGHT orange.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 6:37PM
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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

Those ducks are so cute!

One of the reasons for chickens vs. ducks is they're a bit less messy, especially if you don't have a pond available. My one duck makes a big ol' mess in the barn this time of year, since there's nowhere for her to swim outside. In the summer she just gets a kiddie pool, but it helps her spill less in the barn (at least it seems that way).

I love the look of the runner ducks. Might just add a couple more this spring (what am I talking about! Hold me back!!!)!

--Johanna

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 8:25PM
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pamghatten(wny5)

eric, we need to see pictures when your ducklings arrive ...

Pam

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 12:47PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

ERIC,
i ALSO JUST REALIZED YOU HAVE black labs!!!!!
Did you start them out together or how on earth do they manage so well?Do you hunt anything with them?
Just curious as I have told my hubby we couldnt possibly have one with the ducks so we have small dogs.Wonderful little dogs (SchITZU)I might add and they do get along and are even a bit timid around the ducks.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 1:29PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

So the ducklings showed up Wednesday morning. I ordered 14 White Layers and 6 Cayuga duckings. They shipped 16 White layers and the 6 Cayugas. Unfortunately 2 of the Cayugas died in transit and 1 more last night. That leaves me with 3 Cayuga ducklings. To bad the 2 extra ducklings were not Cayugas.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 7:35PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

goldenpond,

The only hunting my dogs do, is the pantry. Typical Lab. always act like they are starving.

Jacob was about 3 and Pepper about 1 1/2 when I adopted them. Pepper, she is one on top of the hay bale.

Very trainable breed. Pepper, she would rather play frisbee. She doesn't give a hoot about ducks. She will chase fox, deer, cats and bumps in the night. Jacob, has addison disease. He doesn't have a lot of energy to waste. His goal is to find all the duck eggs hiding in the orchard.

They are a little timid around the ducks also. I think it's from when I had geese. 6 Toulous geese. The ganders would chase the dogs. Jacob would show his teeth, but take off running after being goosed.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 11:50PM
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pamghatten(wny5)

Love the pictures of the ducklings ... you'll have to post more as they get older.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 1:09PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

sorry about your ducklings deaths.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 6:08PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Muscovy drake on the roof. First time I've witness this. He's not a very good flyer. To heavy.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 2:30PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

This is altogether a wonderful thread.
One reason I'd sooner have chickens is their poop's not so sloppy. And keeping open water for ducks in our cold winters sounds like a challenge.
Otherwise I'd like some ducks, esp. as they're said to enjoy earwigs, of which we have a plethora.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 5:53PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

paulns,

Thank you. All is required for ducks is a pail of water. The pail needs to be deep enough to keep their nostrils clean. I've not seen much in the way of slug damage for years, go ducks! They also eat grubs, worms, etc etc.. For me the poo is not bad. I just keep building up the hay, deep pile system.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 7:09PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I like ducks better, they don't tear up the lawn as much in a tractor. But if you want the ground cleared of plants for planting, chickens would do this better since they can scratch better.

And ducks are hardier so don't die mysteriously in winter. Golden 300's are great layers, I haven't tried other breeds to compare. Golden 300's are too heavy to fly so not as much problem to catch as chickens.

I do like duck eggs so much better, the whites are so firm and crystal clear.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 3:31AM
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beeliz(2)

Do you guys ever have trouble with any kinds of mites or pests involving your ducks??

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 12:57PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

hemnancy,

It's true hardy little buggers. Simple heat lamp, food and fresh water is all that's required. My brother raises chicks. Double heat lamp, insulated blanket, dealing with pasty butt. Seems like a lot of work. I'm sticking with ducks and Muscovies.

Eric

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 1:29PM
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eyecndiggit

Here is our duck video. Ducks are crazy, funny and entertaining!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Ducks Gone Wild Video

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 2:29PM
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huisjen(z5 ME)

Beeliz, no. Ducks have no mite problems. Or at least mine never have.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 6:21PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Dan,

What are you doing here? Your are supposed to be designing my fish tanks. LOL~

Dan, what breed do you have?

Eric

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 6:38PM
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moonsparkz(Long Island)

I have pet(white Pekin)ducks also. I sand their aviary and the manure can be removed with a flat bladed shovel. They get shavings in the shelter. I live in NY and dont use any heat lamps for them. They have 2 gallon buckets of water always, and for a treat I fill a large size (short sides) cat box with water. It lets them full body bathe but I can empty and wash it daily. No smell or mosquitoes

And if at all possible, a pelleted feed made for ducks is best. Since mine are all adult they are on a 16% protein diet.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 3:36PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

eyecndiggit,

That's a crazy fun video. I should teach my muscovies to fly around behind my tractor.

moonsparkz,

Do you have any pictures?

Eric

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 7:04PM
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eyecndiggit

eric_wa Yeah they were a blast. It took me three days to teach them to go into the truck. But there was a reason I taught them the trick. They had to go to the auction and they only way to get them in the truck was through their own choice. They were no longer producing enough eggs to pay for their feed and they refuse to stay in the pasture where there was plenty of food. They just flew over the fence and came into the yard.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 7:30PM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

I think ducks are smarter than chickens. They certainly have better senses of humor.

I mostly keep chickens because I can't eat duck eggs. They are so delicious, though.

And nothing is cuter than a day old duckling.

--Jonathan

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:44PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Nothing?

How about week old bunnies.

Eric

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 10:37PM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

Eh, bunnies are okay, but I don't think they have anywhere near the personality of ducks. Bunnies are one-trick ponies.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 12:02AM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

bunnies are cute when they get older but THOSE look like rats!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 3:07PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Tonya,

Rats! Why I oughta ................post another picture.

See the goofy looking runt?

Momma staying away from the piranhas

Wasn't the topic ducks, Lol

Eric

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 8:55PM
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melmoz

I am thinking about getting a few ducks myself and had a couple of questions.

Could I keep two drakes by themselves?
Could their house be only a dog house as long as I could close them in at night?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 3:20PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

melmoz,

Sure. I would call them Felix and Oscar. Dog house, Pail of water and non medicated chicken feed.

Your ready to go.

Eric

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 3:48PM
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melmoz

I was thinking about a few names, Archie, Gilbert or Hector, but now you've added more names to the list! So which two should it be? Archie, Gilbert, Hector, Oscar or Felix?

Do you know anything about Cayuga Ducks? I was thinking those may be a good fit for me considering they are suppose to be the quietest of the ducks, besides the Muscives (don't think that's spelled right). I really like thier coloring and think they might be the cutest things with two wings. I have done a lot of reserch, but it always helps to get advice from real owners!

Thanks to you all in advanced!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 10:27PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

I was thinking of the Odd Couple. Oscar Madison and Felix Unger. That gets my vote.

Muscovy or Muscovies, but they are not from Russia.

My Cayugas will be 6 weeks old on Wednesday. They seem to quack just as much as the other ducklings, but maybe a little softer voice. I would go with the Muscovy the quackless duck, if noise is a concern. Lori may have more Cayuga information for you.

If you like coloring, check out this handsome boy.

Mr. Muscovy aka big boy

Cayuga ducklings (dark ones)

There's always a goof in the back ground, trying to get into the picture.

Eric

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 12:21PM
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melmoz

Oscar and Felix! Got it! Had to have someone explain that to me, haha.

Mr. Muscovy is gorgeous! Noise really isn't a huge concern, I have a lot of land and not a lot of neighbors, I just thought it would be a nice plus. Your ducklings are so cute that one in the background cracked me up.

I think I am going to go with the Cayuga, I am very excited!!!

~Melmoz

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 5:18PM
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huisjen(z5 ME)

I currently have three ducks, who are unnamed. It's harder telling who's who with big flocks of nearly identical looking ducks, and these are khaki campbells.

In the past I've had indian runners, and wouldn't mind having them again.

How many names can I remember?
Massey
Ferguson
Allis
Chalmers
Fordson
McCormick
Deering
Farmall
Huber
Minneapolis
Moline
Cockshut
And at one point there was a trio named "This, That, and The Other."

Dan

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 8:25AM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

They sound like tractor names?

Eric

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 12:45PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I have a female cayuga and she is the friendliest but then I have had her the longest.She's not afraid to eat from our hand,peer in the glass doors and sneak in the garage to eat the cat food. When her mate was killed last year she quacked loud and long searching for him. It was sad but made me realize her personality.She has gotten a few white feathers now but our Jinxie is the best around the kids etc.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 1:00PM
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