We have sold up in town and are in the process of buying an acre. In town we had 3 chooks, and I plan to add to this 3 ducks, as I have been told they are more reliable at laying through winter. However, I don't know much about keeping them:
Any insights and websites recommended would be great.
Chris Smyth - email@example.com may be able to help. Just bought a chicken off him and he has ducks for sale too. Try email him maybe. Tash
Hi Laine -
I have kept Muscovys for a few years, I'm no expert but can recommend them as friendly, smart and will definitely stick around if you feed them. They mostly lay in spring and summer not winter, but then mine free range so perhaps they are hiding them out there somewhere. But they turn up with huge tribes of ducklings in the spring waddling along behind them. They are better mothers than the Apple Yard and Cayuga Ducks that I also tried. They need water of course but will make due with a water trough if you don't have a pond. They eat anything they are offered wheat, barley, corn and lots of grass but their favorite is waiting for our house cow to finish with her moooslie grain mix with molasses and finish the leftovers, but I don't imagine it is good for them:) Good Luck!
Khaki Campbells are the breed to go for egg laying but getting a really good egg-laying strain can be a bit difficult. You could try looking on the Rare breeds website for breeders http://www.rarebreeds.co.nz/directoryf.html#ducks. Mine started laying again a couple of weeks ago and will usually lay till just after Christmas but the ones I had about 10 years ago were fantastic layers and only stopped for a few weeks. They don't need their wings clipped. Mine free range during the day and then come into their pen at night for some chicken pellets. the pen is just an enclosure with a fence at waist height - they don't fly out. They have a house but don't usually use it. SOmetimes they will lay their eggs in there but are just as likely to lay them outside the house. Do you have a pond? They won't be very happy without one. The main problem with them is that they are terrible mothers. If one of mine manages to hide away and hatch out some eggs then unless we take them away from her there won't be any ducklings left after a couple of days. If you have pukekos the ducklings need to be securely penned up until they are almost fully grown as the pukes will attack them and unless their pen is very secure you might find you lose them all to a ferret.
Apart from that they are very easy.
Hi Laine :-)
I've got three ducks 'MamaDuck' our Pekin, 'Snowflake' one of her babies and 'Ping' a Magpie Duck. I have two 1/2 kids shell pond/sandpits that I fill for them and that is more than enough, in fact just one 1/2 pond would be fine for three ducks changing it daily.
They eat what ever I feed my chooks, vege scrapes, layers mash etc all mixed up. They eat a lot of grass, as all my birds are free range they pick and choose what they need all day long. My three sleep where ever they please around my property. Pekin's etc can't fly although they love a good flap they can't get off the ground so no need for clipping their wings.
'MamaDuck' was a great Mama the one time I've let her keep her eggs, she had eleven babies and only lost two. I actually opened two eggs left behind in nest and hand raised them for a night and day and then put them out with the rest of the ducklings hoping that MamaDuck would take them on and she did :-D She is a consistent layer when I can find her nest lol and I use her eggs for baking, quiches, omelets and pies just not for poached or boiled as I find them a bit to strong and would rather use our chooks eggs.
Have fun they are great to watch - the poop however is another story :-) nothing a daily hose won't take care of though!
Hi there, we have done the country acre thing too in the last year and I got 3 Muscovy ducklings last October. These are the first ducks we have owned but have had chooks for years. They were recommended to me as the type not needing much water and for being very quiet. They are great characters, I think they are all female as they are all the same size and not much larger than a chicken whereas the males are rather big. They eat what the chooks eat, pellets and wheat, and graze on veg scraps and grass as do the chickens.
I was worried about them absconding as they have grown up - we have a stream thru our property that leads to a nearby lake and a wildlife reserve littered with other ducks but to date they seem to prefer to be here. they were hatched in an incubator and mothered under a small bantam hen along with15 chicks. She was a very busy mum. I have clipped one wing each on them 2 months ago as they found a new trick-flying out of the poultry area and waiting for me in the morning on the roof of a nearby shed. Very pleased with them selves they were, bobbing and quacking. once they have learned a trick they want to repeat it as often as they can. They hassle my daughters rabbit as she has a feeder clipped to the side of her hutch. If you rattle the feeder with your beak it sometimes drops treats outside the wire mesh. We put a board it front of the feeder, they repeatedly knocked it over so we put a brick in front of the board and now they stand on the brick and try to pry the board away. They are very endearing in spite of the naughtiness.
For water they have a large pan which they dabble their heads in enthusiastically. They make water dirty very quickly and I have had to raise the trough for the sheep to keep the ducks out. I am not sure when they will start laying but am picking it will be soon as they are exhibiting mating and pairing up behavior. I am hoping they wont require a drake about to produce eggs as I don't really want to get one. They had their own housing but I have noticed that 2 of them have moved in on to the floor of the main chicken coop and they are frequently roaming about at night so must have better vision than chooks. They are messy with their droppings and I have to clean up the coop area more frequently with ducks in it but still they are great fun. - enjoy yours.
Hey all, thanks for your feedback. Sounds like they can be quite varied in their behaviour and laying. Will be a while until we are on our land, so plenty of time to do some more research - thanks for the link Penny. There is a guy at the local farmers market that sells ducks, so will check in with him also.