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10-17-2005, 12:58 PM #1
I saw mention that you have ducks. Would you mind telling us about them? Dh has mentioned interest in getting ducks.
10-17-2005, 01:50 PM #2
Sure I love to talk about my girls! Anything in particular you want to know?
I currently have a female peking and a female muscovy. We also had a femal roan that unfortunately was killed and years ago a male mallard that flew the coop.
They are very easy to care for. With the exception of the moscovy quite vocal. They make great pets and follow you like a dog. I can almost tell the time by the pekings behavior.
I do use the eggs.
We are in WI so we do use heatlamps in the dog house in the winter. The biggest thing for us is keeping them safe from predators.
10-18-2005, 12:19 AM #3
Dh is freaked out by chickens but likes ducks, i have no idea what made him so sensitive to chickens. But he'd love to read the finer points about ducks and things that he might need to concider before we persue raising ducks.
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10-18-2005, 10:39 AM #4
LOL Glad I'm not the only one on th chicken thing! I'm scared to death of them!!!! I was attacked by a rooster as a little kid while getting eggs for the neighbors. Try to run I fell over a haybale and ended up laying on the ground. That rooster really tore me up. My Dad heard me and came andtried to shoo it off and he ended up hitting it with a board as it was so enraged (probably the louder I screamed the more scared it got!). Heavens I hate chickens!
The ducks eat very little feed in the summer as they are so busy eatting bugs. We have had very little problems with misquitos since weve had the ducks which suprised me because we have our people pool and the duck pool.
If you are somewhere noise is an issue I'd recommend the Moscovy ducks. They are very very quiet. My Peking female is horrendously loud. Fortunately I have no close neighbors and I find her mouthyness amusing.
They are extremely comical to watch. Our peking doesnt understand species and routinely does her mating dance for one of our dogs and snuggles up under the dogs neck.
Duck feed is very very inexpensive. We mix 2 kinds as the feed store recommended. Hormone free if they are to grow normally and have the life of a pet. The feed guy said hormone free is very important as the hormone feed makes them grow very quickly to be slaughtered but as a pet would actually potentially shorten the life span. I do give them a few pieces of bread daily as a treat. A domestic duck can live 20 yrs so that is also something to think about.
We would never eat ours but the Amish around us raise Moscovy and Peking. They say moscovy taste like veal and that breeding a moscovy with a peking produce offspring that are sterile but good to eat. Blech! but very practicle I guess.
Ducks are kinda dirty/messy. We have a good chunk of yard fenced for thm and one of the dogs. We had to put some of that cheapo white meatl fencing you put around flowers etc by the sidewalks so that they weren't pooping on the sidewalk non stop. Also once they liked to sit on the backsteps quacking for attention/food and the mess on the steps was bad!
Baby duckys need to stay quite warm so we had them in a box inside at first at night as spring night are kinda cold here. Another concern with babies is drowning. Until we were sure they could get in and out of the pool they could only swim supervised.
10-18-2005, 12:27 PM #5
There is an excellent book called Storey's guide to Raising Ducks. It's written by Dave Holderread and can tell you everything you need to know about keeping ducks. My library has many copies.
My purpose in having ducks is to produce organic eggs for my household. My ducks are not pets.
I purchased 3 'sexed' female ducklings thru a grange. Sexed means they've determined the gender, rather just giving you a handful and hoping for the best. That's called 'straight-run'. My ducklings cost only $6 each.
We live in mild climate. It only snows 3-4 times per year and while we can have below-freezing nights anywhere from October thru May, most nights are NOT frosty.
Our yard is not fenced (we have a half-acre in a suburban area), and we do regularly have oppossum & racoons on our property. There are many red-tailed hawks in the areas and we also regularly have neighbors' dogs on our property. I spent about $200 to buy a 6ft tall chain link, put-it-together-yourself dog-run. It's 7 ft wide and 13 ft long. Dh and I put it up in about 2-3 hours, but we also added to it. We stretched chicken wire over the top (to keep out predators). I also strung 1/2" mesh wire (chicken wire would have done, but the other was a bit cheaper) around the bottom of the pen, up to about 2.5 feet. This is to prevent racoons dining on duck thru the chain link. I just used those plastic zipties to attach the extra stuff.
Every other morning, I shove the pen to a clean area of the back yard. I have about six to eight sites I rotate thru in clockwise fashion. In the winter, I place the pen over the garden, and lay down a few inches of straw. Every few mornings, I toss down a bit more straw to cover the soiled areas. In about March, I move the ducks back onto the lawn and turn the soiled straw into the garden to decompose for 6 - 8 weeks before I plant.
Ducks also need shade year round, so we have a tarp over the top. Initially it was flat, but last year when it snowed, I thought the whole thing was going to cave in, so now we have it rigged up with a slope. The tarp also keeps the rain off of the lamp. In order to lay well, poultry need 14-16hrs of daylight each day. I have an outdoor extension cord running out to my pen, a lamp timer plugged into it, and a metal poultry lamp plugged into that. I use a 40 watt bulb. Unless it's getting below freezing, then I put in a heat lamp.
I attached rabbit feeders to the sides of the pen to hold the: feed, calcium supplements and grit (rocks that birds use to help 'chew' their food). I also have two buckets for drinking water.
The only other thing they need is a nesting box. During the summer I use an old plastic newspaper recycling bin, tipped up on it's side (so it has a bottom, a roof and three sides). During the winter, I have a wooden box that provides a bit more protection from the elements by having a wall (with a doorway) on the 4th side.
My ducks do not often have swimming water. In the summer, I put a kids' pool in the pen and fill it, but it's a pain to have to empty it so I can move the pen 48 hours later. According to duck experts, ducks like swimming water, but it's not necessary, so please don't think I'm cruel.
Oh, and my ducks are Indian Runners. They and Khaki Campbells are the best layers. I've gotten well over 300 eggs PER DUCK this first year. By stretching the cost of the shelter over the first two years, I calculated my cost per dozen eggs at about $2.50. Figuring only ongoing expenses (food, grit, calcium), my cost per dozen is only 96c. And that's for organic feed.
LMK if you have more questions.
10-18-2005, 12:47 PM #6
One more thing: I give my ducks 'healthy' table food. For example, if my 4yo isn't hungry for the 2nd half of her peanut butter sandwich (organic), instead of leaving it, so I can wrap it up for another time, she picks it apart. That goes to the ducks. Their favorites are oatmeal, corn on the cob, anything tomato and the skins from baked potatoes. My ducks do not like carrots at all, nor will they eat most raw vegetables, such as potato peelings, celery (too hard - they don't have teeth), or broccoli 'stumps'.
10-18-2005, 01:43 PM #7
Valerie ~ Are your eggs really big? I'm not familiar with those breeds. Our peking eggs are really large. I end up using 1 duck egg for every two chicken eggs in a recipe.
10-18-2005, 02:01 PM #8
Also I only usually get 1 egg per duck per day.
10-18-2005, 02:19 PM #9
I only get one a day per duck also, or less if they're moulting (losing feathers & growning new ones - done about once a year).
The first year the eggs were a bit large. Now that we are into our second year, they set very nicely into cartons recycled from 'store-bought' 'large' chicken eggs. Last year, they fit the cartons, but it was snug. I usually go 1 to 1 in a recipe, unless it calls for more than about 4 eggs, then I might reduce my number of eggs. I'm pretty casual about recipes and cooking amounts.
10-18-2005, 02:34 PM #10
Thanks for the info. My peking is about 2 years old. No clue why those eggs are huge. Maybe because shes big????
I'm making potatos tonight. I;'m going to try feeding them the skins. I never thought to feed them that kind of stuff.
10-18-2005, 03:05 PM #11
I have a question. Do the duck eggs taste like chicken eggs or do they have their own distinct taste?
10-18-2005, 04:09 PM #12
Kathy~ Good ?!!! I usually bake with them so I can't say!
10-18-2005, 04:48 PM #13
I think they taste the same. Before I got my ducks, a friend gave some eggs from both her chickens and her ducks (also Indian Runner). Except for slight differences in size, I couldn't taste a difference.
There is definitely a difference between fresh and store-bought (weeks old) eggs. Fresh eggs taste more like eggs. Store-bought and restaurant eggs taste very bland to me. You do have to be a bit careful: if you feed your poultry TONS of any one strong food (garlic, fish, etc), the eggs can take on that flavor. I've never noticed that with mine. The most strongly flavored thing I've given them in large quantity is Brussels sprouts. Recently the three of them shared a quart of (cooked) Brussels sprouts. I did NOT notice any change in the flavor of the eggs.
Michelle, you'll find they make wonderful garbage disposals. BTW, mine won't eat raw potato peels, only the skins from baked pototaes. Since yours have room to forage for bugs and worms and greens, you probably already use less feed than I do. Throw in some table scraps and you might cut your feed bill even more.
10-19-2005, 12:53 PM #14
Valerie~ They loved the baked potato skins!!!
10-19-2005, 03:50 PM #15
Here's a thread where I give a bit more detail about what I feed mine: https://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/...threadid=61706
Today I took out a quart container, plus a pint container of miscellaneous leftovers for them (a couple of days worth). I didn't even give them any feed.
Oh, and to answer something you said yesterday: egg size is relative to the bird's size. I mean, have you ever seen an ostrich egg?! Wow! Does your muscovy lay? I would imagine her eggs are quite small.
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