Tag Archives: Duck

Ducks 2.0

Ducks 101 was a nice start to gathering information for raising ducks.  I’m now 3 weeks into actually raising ducklings and I’ve been making a few adjustments. I read many articles telling me raising ducks is similar to raising chickens…not really.

CWDuck1Through experience, I’m learning how much ducks LOVE the water! Most, if not all the information I’ve read says ducks need water to drink and eat, but don’t “need” to swim. After seeing how my ducks respond in and out of the water, it seems cruel not to give them a place to swim. I would say ducks NEED to swim! Chickens on the other hand, prefer a nice dry dirt bath.

Ducks are messy! CWduck1.4 I looked through many pics of open duck houses with water containers in them, so that’s what I made. If you’re keeping water in your duck house, your bedding will be wet all the time. If you have open (netting of some kind) sides, plan for rain to get in. I built an open sided duck house with the bedding, food and water all inside. Mistake. I had to move the food and water to a “play pen” in the grass. So now every morning I have to move them from the house to the play pen. Then it rained. I am daily trying to plan ahead to build a bigger area so I don’t have to move them every morning, to include the pool and their house and keep all water away from the bedding. It looks like their house CWDuck1.1should be more like a chicken coop after all. I think I read that somewhere…

I have baby chicks in with my ducks because ducks are very nurturing. I am discovering two problems with this: 

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1. the chicks need space to learn to fly and roost. The roost isn’t hard, but that means my covered space needs to be tall enough for them to fly a little.  The other problem is that the baby chicks are starting to dig up the plants that the ducks like to forage through.

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CW

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They’re Swimming!

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We decided the ducks look too big for the water bowl they’re in. They jump in and out of it, dunk their heads and splash. It’s so cute, but they really need a pool.

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Aren’t they cute? They look so happy!

 

*Photos by Dena Speropulos

Ducks 101

We decided to get ducks! Why? ..My daughter said she would help take care of them. Other than that, I’ll let you know as soon as I know. For now they’re soft, cute and cuddly.

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I did a little research before I gave the final OK and here’s what I found out.

Basics Information (Ours are Pekins, the most common breed)

Ducks are water fowl. They get along with other fowl and also other friendly, safe, domestic pets. They like to swim and like to lay in the shade.

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Females are called ducks, males are called drakes and babies are called ducklings. Drakes are quieter than ducks and can be identified by a curl feather on their tail.

Ducklings are covered in down until feathers come in 1 – 3 months. They start laying eggs by about 4-6 months old and lay at least 200 eggs per year. Ducks will not sit on a clutch of eggs until there is about 15 eggs.

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Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs, richer tasting and the yoke is a brighter orange. (I’ll let you know in the spring :)).

Most ducks are larger and heavier than chickens and larger ducks generally don’t fly.

Food and Water

Ducks don’t scratch like chickens do, but they do forage for bugs and some foliage and garden plants such as lettuce and strawberries. They don’t have teeth, so all vegetables fed to them should be soft. There main feed is duck or wild game starter, which are higher in protein and calcium than chicken feed.

Ducks like to play in water and can get things very muddy. It is not necessary that they have water to play in, but it should be deep enough for them to submerge their head, to clean their nostrils, eyes and to drink. Water should be kept clean, changing daily if necessary.

Housing

Ducks need shelter from the elements and predators. Something like a dog house works well as long as it is made predator proof from raccoon, possums, neighborhood cats and dogs. A safe area to stretch out and run around in will keep them happy and healthy.

Ducks don’t normally put themselves to bed like chickens do, but they can be trained to go in their coop at night. They don’t need nesting boxes, they’ll lay anywhere.

Litter may need to be changed daily if it’s getting wet. It needs to be kept dry to prevent bacteria and disease.

On to the scrap pile to build a duck house!

*Photos by Dena Speropulos