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Homesteading: Ducks vs. Chickens

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nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 10, 2006
3:15 AM

Post #2605871

Not wanting to start a debate, I wanted really to get info. on ducks.

I was directed through one of the DG threads to check out a community call Earthhaven. On that website, I read that some type of duck was raised instead of chickens. I can not find the reference to the type/species of duck I have tried 3 times now, sorry.

I was wanting to know more about the species and Pros/Cons to raising them vs. chickens.?

Pros:1. 2. 3.

Cons:1. 2. 3.

calvin
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 20, 2006
3:17 AM

Post #2640117

bump
phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 20, 2006
5:51 PM

Post #2641628

Chickens are cleaner then ducks LOL
kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

August 21, 2006
7:20 AM

Post #2643494

Also, although ducks don't require a pond, I have heard that they are much happier if they have one... a pond entails a whole new set of chores -- but if you were planning for one anyway, it might not be a big deal... sorry, don't know anything about ducks because I wasn't planning on having any and haven't headed the reasearch department (me) in that direction yet :-)
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 21, 2006
10:10 AM

Post #2643556

What is the feed cost difference if you use only feed and no natural foraging?
Janett_D
Gamleby
Sweden
(Zone 7a)

August 21, 2006
9:53 PM

Post #2645435

The reason duck is as stated above :0)) dirtier is that most often people forget that ducks actually ARE water animals. They cant clean their feathers with that broad beak as chickens can without water. when their feathers get dirty because the dont have an adecuate watersorce they have a harder time to keep warm and therefor also consume more food/energi. They need a pond, stream or damm not just a plastic "bowl" to play around in.
So unless you are willing to give them a big pond or such I would recomend to keep chickens.
Janett
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 21, 2006
11:01 PM

Post #2645623

I understand. guess since I have no real source for water chicks it should be, huh. I will start studying the care and raising of chickens.
phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 21, 2006
11:29 PM

Post #2645701

Janet are you native to Sweden?
kmom246
Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

August 21, 2006
11:34 PM

Post #2645712

Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens (Ducks, Pigs or anything of their other books, for that matter) is an invaluable source. Or you might get Storey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance and that will give you a little overview of ducks and chickens (and a whole bunch of other stuff). If you really like ducks, there may be a way - you just gotta get creative. There are a number of reasons you might want a pond to begin with - raise a few catfish, water for the wild life, emergency water in case of fire (you'll need a floating pump for that), and maybe a few ducks to boot. Since you're in the planning stage, you have time to get creative about it and see where you can shave off costs and still maintain quality for your flock. I'm not a duck person, myself, preferring chickens, but if we ever turn the hole we dug into a pond, I'm thinking geese...
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

August 22, 2006
2:33 AM

Post #2646389

I purchased Story's raising ducks. Saw the book for chickens but really wanted to know about ducks. I really am in the planning stage. I live in the city on about 1/5 of an acre. when I get the land I plan on having both. I was just wanting to get used to care of them now, starting with 2 (company for each other) and then progressively add to that. A pond is not a good idea in my little back yard (30' wide x 60' long and a 6' high fence). I think the chicks are a better option. Will have to go and buy Story's book for chickens.

Thanks so much everyone for the advice and helping me understand and pointing me in a good direction.

calvin
Janett_D
Gamleby
Sweden
(Zone 7a)

August 22, 2006
7:38 AM

Post #2647030

Yes I am born in Stockholm the Capitol of Sweden, but my heart have always been to country living. Homesteading have been a lifetime dream of mine. I do live out in the countryside now but i do look for a more suiteble place to rent so I really can grow more food and have more animals.
During a couple of years I did live in the countryside in a house containing just 2 apartment and I had the possibility to have animals. Had a dog, two horses, 120 chickens (sold eggs) I raised 5 slaughterpigs (in two years). A friend there slaughter them for me but circumstances due to my horrible X force me to leave that place. Now he is dead(good riddens) I hopefully can persue(sp) my dream.
I have always had dogs and I now have a huge (220 lb) rescue dog from Lanzarote Spain. I bought 2 chickens a couple of weeks ago and I want more chicks. I havent given them a proper pen yet and I dont know if I am going to "overwinter" them in my huge garage since I dont have a car. I also have a tame dove that moved in this spring. Someone got spooked of the avian flue and tossed him out.
I want to raise pigs again, there is a huge differense in that meat compared to the storebought meat where the pigs are so stressed out and have been raised in those small pens.

Calvin...another downside with having ducks is that you can loose some when the birds move south or you have to wing clipp them a cople of times a year if you dont have all they need and want regarding space and pond and you can still looose some to the wild.
Janett
phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 22, 2006
4:32 PM

Post #2648042

I grew up on a big farm in MA. ive grown things all my life i use to raise chickens turkeys. i go to europe every few years i have family in Germany. they have a big farm there Regards Paul
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

September 22, 2006
5:02 AM

Post #2748019

well I guess I will ad an update,

It might upset some to know that I have added 6 chickens and yes 2 ducks to my family. Though I really do not know how I will keep them all. the Ducks are are 15-16 weeks old now and I have had them for 1 week come this Saturday. It was an opportunity I ( my heart) could not resist. they were sitting there, no one wanting to buy them and at the end of the dy going back to their home where they were fed and watered but not wanted. So. I gave them a home where they are wanted. My wife is loving them as much if not more than me. Though they are not given all the naturalness that they would have received in the wild they are loved, wanted, and cared for. I plan on adding a pond later. I just could not bare seeing them go to their old home. I received 6 chickens from the same seller. He prefered chickens over ducks. Stating he received them from someone who dropped them off at his place in exchange for chicks... at least that is what I understand him saying. They are living with me and family and 6 chickens.

they can not fly yet and appear happy and content.
calvin
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

September 22, 2006
7:09 PM

Post #2749528

If they are domestic and roaming your backyard, you better hurry up and clip one wing or the neighbor's dogs will have them. Also don't ever feed them close to the house or they will hang around your back door making the worst mess you can imagine. They are bottomless pits for food but are affectionate and appreciative. I've learned these things the hard way.
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

October 5, 2006
2:30 AM

Post #2786944

LOL

you say this to late..jhehehehehehehehe. I have lost one to the dogs, but not because they flew over the fence. The dogs came under the fence. The one remaining still roams free and measures have been put into play to keep the dogs where they belong.
mmistyrose
Benton, KS
(Zone 6a)

October 5, 2006
8:50 PM

Post #2788930

I was glad to see Story's book refered to. I purchased the one that included chickens, ducks, turkeys...wild birds - basically anything to do with fowl. It is extremely informative. I'm planning on waiting til next spring before getting chickens. I admit, I've been around them and gathered eggs and such but have not had the day to day care for them and there are times it seems a little - well...intimidating for lack of a better word. Any good advise would be welcomed hahaha
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

October 8, 2006
2:37 AM

Post #2795523

Nivlac,

The only opinion I can post is about the flavor of the meat. Perhaps I am just conditioned to liking chicken more but we did duck one year for Thanksgiving and I had NO IDEA that it was all dark meat AND VERY greasy. DH liked it but I did not care for it. So it's all a matter of preference on that.
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 17, 2006
10:23 PM

Post #2923171

A month later and the dogs are at it again. i lost four chickens to those dogs three days ago. I started a big chicken pin and am almost finished. I will replace the chickens I lost. I am determined to have my birds. hehehehehe. I am being really light hearted here. I was really LIVID with the dogs. I now have 1 chicken buff orpington and 1 duck. Both are put up in Kennels now. Safe and sound. A little cramped but Safe.

I got a surprise today fromm the duck. She layed an egg. I found 2 eggs half-buried in the hay. She must haee layed the first yesterday or the day before. I cleaned up bth eggs and theyare beautiful. The kiddos really were interested and happy. I , myself, an beyond Over-Joyed! WOOOOOHOOOOO.!

just an update and thanks you for reading,

calvin

garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

November 20, 2006
5:30 AM

Post #2929927

Calvin, are these dogs yours or do they belong to a neighbour? What type of dogs are they? Dogs can be trained to guard the poultry, not eat them.

My dog and duck were great pals (see photo). Hadji the duck laid so many eggs that I just know that she thought she was going to have puppies.

We had a fiberglass children's wading pool setup in the garden to provide water for her. It did need to be cleaned and refreshed regularly, but the duck "pond" water was great for the veggies and landscaping. She would dive under the shallow water and swim in fast circles as soon as we cleaned & refreshed the water. Ducks can be very companionable. Not to mention the great work they do in keeping snails and slugs out of the garden.

Thumbnail by garden_mermaid
Click the image for an enlarged view.

nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 23, 2006
4:55 PM

Post #2939165

garden_mermaid,

The dogs belong to my neighbor. They are rat terriers. When I had my dogs the terriers stayed out of the backyard. Now that I have the birds, they dig a new hole under the fence after I block a hole. The birds are not eaten, just torn up like the dogs are just trying to play and get over zelous and kill the birds.

I finished the big pin and put the ducks and chickens in together. They co-habitat nicely, or at least mine are. They are very leery of me and others but are safe now. The dogs can not get in the pin. The pin sits about a foot of the ground and half of it has a floor and hay for bedding and the other half is 1/2" wire mesh. the dogs can not get through the wire mesh. One of my ducks started laying and I am getting 1 egg a day. When all the birds are laying I expect about 4-5 eggs a day. This is such an exciting time for me.


calvin
AYankeeCat
Fairfield County, CT
(Zone 6b)

November 24, 2006
12:50 PM

Post #2940249

garden_mermaid -do you live in an area that is "free range" or has a leash law. If you live in a "leash law" area - your neighbors are responsible for the behavior of their dogs and owe you for the death of your "livestock". Dogs kill for the fun of it.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

November 24, 2006
7:25 PM

Post #2941158

YankeeCat, calvin is the one who lost his birds to the neighbors dogs. I agree with you that his neighbors owe him for the cost of the lost chickens and the damage to his fence and lanscaping.

I have to disagree with your statement that dogs kill for the fun of it. That really depends on the breed and how they were raised. Calvin said the dogs in question were rat terriers. As a breed class, terriers are rodent and small animal hunters. That will be a very strong instinct within them. Our duck flew into the neighbor's yard once to check out his jacuzzi. The neighbor had three adult Gordon Setters in his back yard who were trying very hard to "retrieve" our duck. They were having a very difficult time of it because she wouldn't stay still. The Gordon Setters were trained as duck hunting dogs. Like retrievers, they are supposed to bring the duck back unharmed (no puncture wounds). The three setters were following the duck around the yard trying to gently pick her up. Our duck wasn't cooperating with them and kept walking away. The three dogs made no attempt to harm her.

edited for grammar

This message was edited Nov 24, 2006 1:02 PM
horsewoman
Aberdeen, NC

November 24, 2006
7:51 PM

Post #2941215

Just thought I would add my experience to the thread. I love chickens and ducks. I have dogs and cats that recognize the birds as pets and don't bother them. I kept the chicks protected until they were good size. Then they free ranged. I to have lost many birds to neighbor dogs and my ducks recently to coyotes. I have never clipped the duck wings hoping they would be able to get away if anything tried to get them. Raising them from chicks, they seemed to understand where their home was. Many days they would fly over to the neighbors ponds but always return home. I have a wading size pool for them to splash around in and keep it washed out daily. The fun of ducks seeing new babies hatched. I have had more luck getting ducks hatched then chickens. My chickens free range also. I found I could not keep them in a pen unless I clipped their wings. Two of my chickens are over 4 yrs. old and roost in the barn eaves at night. I am waiting until spring to get more. Both the chickens and ducks are very tame and will eat out of my hand and I can pick them up without any problem. They are a lot of fun and nothing is as good as a fresh egg. I had a cat that was raised on fresh eggs. She would turn her nose up at store bought ones! LOL

CARAT

CARAT
Vegas,NV Filbert, SC
(Zone 7b)

November 25, 2006
1:50 AM

Post #2942001

Is there a difference in the taste of chicken eggs and duck eggs???????

I think I also read that ducks don't destroy a garden quite a quickly or as bad as a chicken will. Any truth to this????
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 25, 2006
1:56 AM

Post #2942016

Well, I am happy to be reading everyone's posts.

The ducks are domestic breeds and have not tried to fly away or over the 6 foot fence. The man who sold them to me kept them in a 2 foot high fence and they did not try to go beyond those boundries either. For now though, i keep them in the pin until my days off from work and school. Then I let them out , all the birds, to romp and play for awhile. Then put them up inthe pin again.

Unitl the neighbors dogs understand that the birds are off limits and not food and they, the dogs, are not supposed to be in my yard, I will continue to house them this way. I have not sought payment from my neighbor for the loss. She has offered, but I will not take it. The dogs , I believe are doing what dogs do. Upsetting and outraging as it is, they are Dogs. Holding the responsibilty of the dogs to my neighbor, I am. She has offered repayment or replacement. She could pin the dogs or put up chain ffencing on her side to show more responsibility, but how would I feel if I were in her shoes? I wander. Dogs are more accepted in the city than chickens and ducks. the city folk norm, though I think I fall short of this, is that birds, rabbits, and such are pinned and dogs and cats roam free. Me being the exception to the norm puts me in a different light than the city norm. Hence I pin my little ones and take further measures to keep unwanteds out of my space.

All this just adds to my desire to get out of the city and off the grid. Then I can do want is the country folk norm. hehehehehehe. wish me luck on getting freedom. In the city you really are tied down and have little freedom. course some would say I am wrong about that. But, I geuss it is all in how you look at it. With blinders on or without. LOL.

take care everyone and keep writing,

calvin
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 25, 2006
2:00 AM

Post #2942032

Carat,

I don't know about the egg diference yet. We are saving the eggs till we get enough for a family breakfast.
But, the garden bit. Well... My chickens go crazy over fresh green leaves and my plants have really suffered because of it. the ducks though really sem to go after the fallen leaves and half decaying ones. they forage in the dirt for food too. I see it as free aeration. hehehehe/

Since pinning, the plants are returning but winter is coming and nights are cooling off. they may not make it to full health. I can live with it. knowing I have free fertilizer now and aerated soil for next spring. I will watch the birds more closely then.

calvin
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

November 25, 2006
4:34 AM

Post #2942325

Calvin, I don't know about San Antonio, but most cities I have lived in require dogs and cats to be on leash when they are outside of their own property. It is a violation of our county animal control ordinances and a sign of an irresponsible pet owner to allow your dogs and cats to roam free. Your neighbors dogs sound like they need obedience training. They are not just doing as dogs do, they are behaving like canine deliquents!!! Your neighbor has failed to raise them as good canine citizens. I have owned or lived with the following dog breeds:
Dachshund
German Shepard
Poodle
Golden Retriever
Doberman Pinscher
Malamute
Siberian Husky
Samoyed
America Pit Bull
Welsh Corgis
West Highland Terrier
Chihauhau
Irish Setter

As you can see, this is a wide mix of canine class and personality. NONE of our dogs would ever behave as your neighbors dogs have done. She needs to fence her yard if she is going to let them out without a leash. I hate to sound harsh, but if your neighbor allows her dogs to continue to behave as they have done, she is an irresponsible pet owner who gives a bad reputation to those of us who ARE responsible for our pets. She is also doing a great disservice to her dogs by keeping them among humans without teachng them the skills to needed to live comfortably in our society. If anything were to happen to her, her ill behaved dogs would be more difficult to adopt out to a new home.
I'll get off my soapbox now and return to the garden element here.

Chickens like to eat sprouts and lettuces. They will quickly pluck and eat many of your veggie garden plants if you let them in it while the plants are small. Ducks on the other hand, are less likely to eat your plants, although they may pull our a sprout in the process of trying to get to the slug on it.

The flavour of the eggs depends in large part on what they eat. Duck eggs can have something of a fishy taste if they are snacking on a lot of pond fish. This doesn't usually happen with farm raised ducks.

Here is a link to a site with information about some difference types of eggs.
http://tinyurl.com/y23hc5

horsewoman
Aberdeen, NC

November 25, 2006
12:10 PM

Post #2942572

Country life is no guarantee that your birds will be safe. Besides dogs that roam loose, fox and coyote can also get your birds. My chickens can make a mess out of a flowerbed or garden. The ducks like to uproot plants trying to get at the slugs or bugs in the soil. They also like the freshly turned soil because it is easier to dig through.
To me, duck eggs have a richer taste then chicken eggs--it might be the extra protein they get from the slugs! LOL .

Years ago, I had a black lab that would bring a neighbors chickens home. The chickens wouldn't even have any feather ruffled. The neighbors thought it was funny, too, because I constantly had to bring their chickens back to them. Eventually my dog got tired of it. One of the dogs that has recently gotten my chickens is a brown lab.

mmistyrose
Benton, KS
(Zone 6a)

November 25, 2006
9:15 PM

Post #2943548

A few days ago we had to put our brown lab to sleep but he would try to "play" with the chickens. He never hurt any but they got pretty wet and eventually he didn't do it so much.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

November 25, 2006
10:53 PM

Post #2943704

mistyrose, I am so sorry to hear that you had to put your lab down. I really feel for you. Our prayers will be will you.
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

November 26, 2006
3:28 AM

Post #2944318

To me the duck eggs have a much stronger egg taste. I'm a nut I guess because even when I had a bunch of chickens and sold eggs, I would get my breakfast eggs from the store. I fed the family the homegrown and used them for baking. I couldn't eat one of my chickens either after going to the trouble of dressing them.

Nivlac I have a surefire way to cure the neighbors dogs of bothering your birds. If it ever happens again, save the dead bird until you neighbor is not home. Tie up the dog(s) and beat him with the dead chicken until your arm is tired. It has worked for me more than once.
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 27, 2006
2:29 AM

Post #2946672

twiggybuds,

Hilarious, LOL... what a picture that paints in my mind.

love it

calvin
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

November 27, 2006
7:17 AM

Post #2946964

So, nivlac, are you going to keep us in suspense or are you going to post some photos of your brood and those duck eggs?
:D
sylvi74
East Bethel, MN
(Zone 4a)

November 27, 2006
3:21 PM

Post #2947666

I have to agree with the cure-the-dog method. It seems really traumatic but it really does work. BUT the sight of my future father-in-law running around the yard hitting the dog with a dead rooster and yelling at the top of his lungs almost made me reconsider marrying into that family!
I would love some duck photos!
horsewoman
Aberdeen, NC

November 28, 2006
12:10 AM

Post #2949027

That image of hitting a dog with a dead rooster is something else!! LOL Believe me, when the dogs got my birds I would have gladly beat the dogs but not sure I could have with my birds. I was just to attached to them. I wonder what the neighbors thought or anyone passing by, to see someone chasing a dog with a dead bird!! LOL I know I would sure have second thoughts if I saw something like that...
nivlac
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 30, 2006
4:16 PM

Post #2956116

Pictures? I will have to work on that. please wait a little longer. Khaki, my surviving duck has been laying eggs now daily. on the 11 th day we collected her egg and made omlets with homegrown tomatoes and onions. What a treat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will get pics in soon

calvin
PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

February 1, 2007
5:58 AM

Post #3144651


I once heard of a guy that broke his dogs from killing chickens by putting the dead chicken in the dog's mouth and duct-taping around his mouth to keep it there. He made him wear it all day.
By the time he had that chicken taped in his mouth all day, he wouldn't even look in the direction of the other chickens once they took it out. He didn't want any more chicken. LOL That poor dog must have pawed, rolled, ran, and did miserable acrobatics all day trying to get rid of that chicken. I can just visualize how it must have driven him crazy. Poor dog, some lessons come hard learned.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

February 1, 2007
5:26 PM

Post #3145944

Duct taping the mouth of a dog can land a person in jail for animal abuse, and deservedly so. There are much kinder ways to train a dog not to attack the chickens.
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

February 5, 2007
7:04 PM

Post #3160439

In the early 80s my house was about 1500 feet back from the street and the front yard dropped sharply. My neighbor had 30 white geese in a well fenced area with a little stream that I loved to look "down on". It was such a peaceful scene. I saw 2 hounds slip under the fence which was normally under water at the stream. I immediately started phoning with no luck. In 5 mins. or so, they killed 29 of them.

The neighbor tracked down the owner and he told her he just very rarely let them out for a treat. You can't blame the dogs for going wild in their joy at freedom and never having been taught. I hate to see a dog constantly penned and chaining is worse. I don't have the answers but there will always be an irresponsible neighbor somewhere in the mix and seemingly getting worse.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

February 16, 2007
4:23 PM

Post #3195440

Calvin, I agree that raising chickens and/or ducks in the country is no safer. If I can scratch up the money to build a chicken tractor this summer, I'll get chicks then. If not, then the following year.

If you aren't familiar with chicken tractors, go to Google and do a search. I only plan on a few layers so a moveable chicken tractor will work great for me. Plus, it will be great for the yard... get rid of bugs, fertilize and help the chickens be healthier.

There have been chickens and ducks here before. The barn still has a nesting box area and a fenced-in outside pen (even the top was fenced). However, it became quite nasty over the years and I don't think it's healthy so I'm cleaning the area slowly but surely.
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

February 16, 2007
4:28 PM

Post #3195454

garden mermaid mentioned that chickens like to eat sprouts and lettuce...i read in a book recently that if fed a diet of this type they will produce better eggs and be bigger chickens sooner with less fat on them! so interesting!
soulgardenlove
Marietta, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 24, 2007
7:23 AM

Post #3314713

Happy birthday Nivlac :)

Susan
rushme
Muskogee, OK
(Zone 7b)

June 19, 2009
11:07 PM

Post #6712337

It would depend what you intend on raising them for - duck is much drier than chicken and there is no white meat on a duck. I grew up on a huge mixed farm on the Canadian prairies, and my grandmother did raise chickens but we always had a couple dozen or so geese, turkeys and ducks. Invariably the ducks would disappear one late summer day - they would just swim away. While a little ethereal (here today and gone tomorrow) ducks have a charm all of their own; and duck eggs are wonderful.
Cherokeeman777
Ellensburg, WA

February 23, 2010
4:35 PM

Post #7581524

I would lik eto know if you can raise like 4 hens and a duck together?
Thanks,
Jim
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

February 24, 2010
11:06 AM

Post #7583689

If their ages are similar, as in all chicks or all adults, they would probably all get along. Ducks seem more people friendly to me and for sure it would be happier with one more of it's own kind for company. I know the seed and feed store sells different stuff for ducks so I'm not sure if they have real different needs. My ducks and chickens both were happy and healthy free ranging with some cracked corn for supper. I didn't have both at the same time though.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

February 24, 2010
4:02 PM

Post #7584208

We kept ducks and chickens together. They did well, ate the same feeds, free ranged peacefully, but they did go into separate coops at night. The chickens seemed to think the ducks were rather nerdy.
kdroper
Mount Pleasant, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 28, 2010
10:20 PM

Post #7747360

I don't know if I will get a response because this thread has slowed down considerably but here goes.

I am considering raising either ducks, chickens or guineas. But I have a choc lab that I am concerned about. Not sure how to train him not to mess with the birds. I intend to start with chicks so I'm thinking gradually introducing him to them and making sure he knows they are "pets" might work. Any guidance you can give on training a dog to accept and protect the fowl would be much appreciated. thanks! ~Karen
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 29, 2010
4:47 AM

Post #7747581

If your lab has the basic obedience training, you should be able to start with allowing the birds their freedom while you are present to control his interest. Then when comfortable, observe his behavior from a distance or indoors when he is not aware of your presence. Like most, he will respect your wishes.

I know there is an occasional dog that will behave normally and when you least expect it, the damage will be done. I would be more wary of a lab that is under two years old as that puppy stage can kick in. We've had many labs over the years with no problem but took on a golden retriever one time that we could not break from chicken killing. Found him a good chickenless home. Good luck.
temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 17, 2010
4:41 PM

Post #7801918

Hello All,
I typed in "ducks' for a forum search and was just facinated with the dialog here. I especially wanted to know about the garden aspect because I'm debating on a purchase of Muscovy ducklings, and I'd like to put them in my 1250 sq ft garden as a natural pest control when they are old enough to be out and about. The garden is fenced and our Black Lab has been trained to know he doesn't belong in there under any circumstances.
As for training him to leave birds alone, I am planning to use the same technique I used in getting him to realize my cat isn't a toy. I held Kavyk on my lap and had Rocky in a 'down' about 10' away. Then, when the excitement level dropped, I called him to a 'down' by my feet and had him stay there until boredom set in on his part and the big sigh and roll over to doze occurred. Many, many repetitions, but it works. If he was on his blanket and Kavyk sauntered through, he was reminded to stay put. Praise EACH time the instinct is controlled. Now, two years later, he doesn't even bother to raise his head as the cat meanders by tail-in-air trying to start stuff. I still tell him what a good lad he is to reinforce the idea not to give to temptation. And I'll have a sharp word for the cat as well to knock off growling. It goes both ways!
If your mutt is just as eager to please as my mongrel is, he'll realize that earning a good word and a pet from you is far more desirable that a wap on the butt and a sharp 'NO!'.
Give him a good long walk or perhaps 20 minutes of hard play to wear him out. The for a rest, have him in a 'down' with you in a lawnchair having a lemonade perhaps 15' from the pen. Watching is fine, moving is not. Have him stay there for a while. If he seems OK, pick up chair and glass to try closing the distance by half. Everything good? Give him a rubbing and end the session for the day. Next day to a week or better, repeat the drill untill he's bored with the idea. Next start at the 7' mark, then ask him to lay right next to pen. By now the bitties won't be so facinating, and the birds should be just as accustomed to him. Repeat for as long as needed. When this is old hat, start at the fence in a 'down', then ask him to walk next to you around the pen and down/stay on the other side. Start asking him to lay at differnet points along the fence so the idea that the birds are inviolate from EVERYWHERE, not just in one or two places. I learned this while training Rocky to stay out of my flowerbeds. The whole question on his face was 'I can come in this way, right?'
The scent of your dog hanging around may also keep some predators like coons and feral cats away from the pen at night, and will slowly accustom the peeps to it so they're not frantically running around exciting the chase instinct during the more intense parts of the exercise.
Has anyone else had ducks in their garden with good results? I've read the above posts, and was hoping that by the time the ducks were old enough to be released into the garden, the plants would be big enough to tolerate them. I am growing several varieties of squash, beans, tomatoes and root crops. I can always move things around and make a wall o' squash that they'd not want to travel through, or put all the more vulnerable plants on one area and cordon it off with a low fence. Other ideas? Suggestions?

...the lolloping goof...

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greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

May 17, 2010
5:04 PM

Post #7801971

We have a labradoodle who just turned three, and I've used her to help me corner chickens that got out of their pen. However, this past winter we were going to be spending the day at a friend's, cutting up and packing lamb for the freezer. I didn't want to leave her home all day, but in the past she had been fascinated by the chickens that roamed around our friend's barn, where we would be working, and had gone after them a few times. So the morning of the visit I took her out to our chicken yard on a leash. She was very surprised when I brought her inside the fence. As soon as she made a move toward a chicken I gave the leash a light tug and said, "Don't chase the chickens!" We did this several times, and I praised her each time she backed off. Afterward when we were at our friend's, I just reminded her, "Don't chase the chickens!" and she was fine. Since my friend thinks labradoodles are silly it was very satisfying!

Years ago we were raising ducks in an area that had a lot of slugs. We made a duck run around the garden so that they could pick off the slugs before they attacked our veggies. We never let the ducks in the garden, though. Later, when we had Muscovys, they sometimes got into the garden because they flew, and they would definitely do some damage to the tender shoots and tips of my plants.
temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 21, 2010
5:23 PM

Post #7814962

Hello All,
In further researching the keeping of ducklings, I've discovered that it's ridiculously hard to locate waterfowl starter crumb and pellets in the U.S. - they're all in the U.K. and I really don't feel like paying overseas shipping dues. Anyone in Wisconsin or surrounding areas got a good supplier?
porkpal
Richmond, TX

May 21, 2010
7:47 PM

Post #7815490

We've brought all our ducklings up on chick starter - preferably unmedicated - not optimal I know, but they seem to do fine.
temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 21, 2010
8:04 PM

Post #7815547

Do you give a niacin supplement? Powder or liquid? I read that ducklings have a higher need of it than what is usually provided in crumbs meant for chicks and the lack can cause leg problems. May I ask what brand/supplier you have?
Thank you in advance for all your help!
porkpal
Richmond, TX

May 21, 2010
8:11 PM

Post #7815578

No supplements, except fresh greens for treats, and we've never had any leg problems. We did have a Muscovey with "angel wing" (repaired by wrapping) and have since moved on to an adult feed earlier with them.
temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 21, 2010
10:20 PM

Post #7815821

What brand are you feeding? Right now (literally) I'm checking into Purina and Mazuri.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

May 22, 2010
5:44 AM

Post #7816216

Purina makes only medicated chick starter. Dumor is probably better - not medicated. But I have also fed the medicated Purina without a problem except the overfed Muscoveys.
temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 22, 2010
8:43 AM

Post #7816594

I did my research last night, and spoke to the local feed mill, and found that the 'Flock Raiser' isn't medicated. Also, on the Back Yard Chickens Forum, there was one person who cut the protein content by cutting the feed with oats on a 5:1 ratio.
Since I'm looking at only a trio of ducks for the table, (and maybe some late eggs if I get a female), if I get a 50# bag of pellets, do the grinding myself for baby crumbs and mix in the oats later, I should be able to keep them healthy without overdoing things. I can get Duck Starter and Grower, but only in 50# bags; 3 ducks won't need that much food, and since the vitamins would deteriorate in storage, it wouldn't be worth overwintering feed.
As for veggies, I grow beans, carrots, red and green leaf lettuces, spinach, tomatoes, ect and the hosta bed should provide plenty of slugs and worms.
I don't suppose in Texas you've an issue with heating the youngsters, and as our nights are barely in the 50's yet, I was thinking of using a 40 gal breeder tank for the first few weeks. I can safely clamp a heat lamp to it, and can line the bottom with corrugated cardboard with one side pulled off to expose the wrinkles for traction. An egg carton feeder and a bowl of water with a rock to prevent impromptu bathing. Just throwing ideas around - am I missing anything?
porkpal
Richmond, TX

May 22, 2010
11:24 AM

Post #7817073

Sounds good. It may be easier to bed them on shavings or better yet pelleted bedding that you can stir to keep it fresh - ducks are MESSY. They also eat a lot; that 50# sack may not be too much after all.
temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 22, 2010
2:15 PM

Post #7817440

I've read that very young ducks may eat shavings which is why I came up with the cardboard idea. Plus bitty legs won't have to struggle through it and some of the waste will lay in the grooves, too.
I know I'll be changing the flooring daily or better, but how cheap is cardboard? Free if you shop at Aldi's! And I'll be certain that the tank is completely clean during the first critical weeks. A washable towel can serve as a 'nest'.
Muscovy's feathers start growing in about 2-3 weeks, right? Hopefully by then the nights will be warm enough for them to be permanently housed outside, and duck poo can be raked up and spread in my garden.
Have you ever imprinted a duckling? On purpose or no? Pros and cons? I was thinking it might be useful if there was anything that needed to be done medically, and with a flock of three, there shouldn't be an issue of separation anxiety. It would be kind of neat to have a trail of little waddlers following me through the gardens picking off slugs and ants as we went! Thoughts?
porkpal
Richmond, TX

May 22, 2010
3:51 PM

Post #7817716

Give it a try! Ducks are very personable anyway and tend to gather around to see what the people are doing. However, if you're planning to eat your three, it might be easier if you don't make them into pets.
temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 22, 2010
4:36 PM

Post #7817808

Yes, I know, and my husband has the same concerns, but you'll agree that it's far less stressful for all concerned to treat a wound when the animal trusts you. We have many Spruce trees around so a needle in a foot or nostril is always possible.
My horse tore the backside of her ear open in a two inch-long gash, and her previous handling allowed for much easier cleaning and salving. She was only 2, but still a good 850 lbs - that's a BIG 'I don't wanna!'
And I would feel better that when they're at liberty I can watch them; especially when under 5 lbs. We live in enough in the country that there are all manner of diurnal hunting birds, and if the ducklings feel threatened they'll come to 'mom' instead of scattering everywhere. That's the theory, anyway.
Reading up on the subject I found that it occurs within the first two days, so it will depend on how old they are when I go to look at them. I plan to possibly buy the ducklings tomorrow. (kind of excited, here!)
Have you raised any of your own? I'd be interested to know what color the brown and yellow fluff will be in feathers. I'm assuming black and white, respectively. If I do purchase tomorrow, I plan on choosing different patterns so I can tell them apart.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

May 22, 2010
8:34 PM

Post #7818534

These are the only Muscoveys I've raised. Three ended up solid white - the spots on their heads vanished. The third was a mix of black, white and green with a "tweed" neck.

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temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 22, 2010
9:24 PM

Post #7818658

They're adorable! Thank you for the pic and the before-and-after description. I think then that I will see if I can get ones with the most dark colouring - better camouflage!
Have you seen what's called a 'ripple' pattern? It's really striking in chocolates - it looks like beaten copper (but darker) under water on the breast feathers. Cottage_Rose has great pics on the Poultry Forum under the subject 'Self-Blue & Chocolate Ripple Muscovies'.
Wish me luck on bringing home bitties!
Baa

June 21, 2010
4:33 AM

Post #7906833

I bought some 2 week old 'Muscovy' ducklings from the auction last October, 3 were yellow with brown markings and one was a chocolate with creamy bib. I didn't think the listing was right, nor did other bidders, I certainly didn't need to have to raise any more ducklings and I'd already bought the ducks I'd gone to buy. However, I didn't like one of the men bidding on the ducklings, he was knowledgeable but he spoke about them as though they were 'things' and not sentient creatures.

Anyway I was going to pay practically anything to keep him from buying them, fortunately I got them fairly cheaply and took them home. The chocolate duckling turned out to look like a wild strain Muscovy and is a very handsome and personable chap. The other 3, equally handsome birds, are mules and rather large, this 3 all have the ripple pattern, they are a lavender/bronzy colour but the ripple doesn't last longer than their first year to my knowledge and their feathers are changing right now and the ripple effect is going.

May I ask, what are 'bitties'?
porkpal
Richmond, TX

June 21, 2010
12:22 PM

Post #7907996

Do you have pictures?
Baa

June 22, 2010
6:02 AM

Post #7909690

The images of when they were younger are on another computer so I went out and grabbed some images today. The ripple is almost gone but you can see vestiges of the pattern on some of the older feathers. At one point their bellies were covered in the ripple. Considering these are not a year old until September time, it didn't stay long.

The newer feathers are laced.


This message was edited Jun 22, 2010 1:06 PM

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Baa

June 22, 2010
6:09 AM

Post #7909698

This is the wild strain type, having a drink, he's quite difficult to photograph as he's ether showing you the inside of his bill or facing away because you haven't popped some lettuce in there.

Thumbnail by Baa
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Baa

June 22, 2010
6:13 AM

Post #7909712

This is the visit to the dentist view

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Baa

June 22, 2010
6:21 AM

Post #7909730

And this last but not least is a Muscovy hybrid drake, he's feeling the heat somewhat today poor chap, him being in his first moult as well. You can see he's definitely turning to the laced pattern previously his belly and chest was mostly rippled.

This message was edited Jun 22, 2010 1:23 PM

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porkpal
Richmond, TX

June 22, 2010
6:32 AM

Post #7909760

I had one Muscovy that had what I think you call the ripple pattern. It was only on his chest and only occurred during the first molt. I thought it was really pretty. I called it tweed.
Baa

June 22, 2010
7:17 AM

Post #7909912

I always think of it as barring myself. I agree it's a very pretty patterning.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

June 22, 2010
2:46 PM

Post #7911023

Do any of them ever keep it into adulthood?
Baa

June 23, 2010
3:11 AM

Post #7912550

I don't rightly know, I've never seen any older Muscovys with a ripple but that doesn't mean there can't be. :D
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

July 2, 2010
6:20 AM

Post #7937460

What became of the law to stop folks from breeding muscovies? I have 1 ancona hen and would love to find a drake to pair her with. She is a very good layer.
temafilly
Oconomowoc, WI
(Zone 4b)

July 2, 2010
11:46 AM

Post #7938202

HI all,
@ Baa - I call anything tiny a 'bitty' - as in 'itty-bitty'. Love the dentist pic!
Baa

August 11, 2010
4:00 AM

Post #8032919

Thanks Temafilly.

Just a quick update re. ripple effect feathering, the hybrid drake in my image above has almost completed his moult into adult feathers. His body is mainly laced but his head is rippled! One of his clutch mates also has rippling on his face and head but not so pronounced.

If I can catch a pic of him I will post it but it's been raining for a few days.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

December 6, 2010
1:33 PM

Post #8247234

I wonder how difficult it would be to start a new country, one where like minded people who care more about being independent than being "rich" could co-exist.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

December 6, 2010
1:44 PM

Post #8247256

Where are you going to put you new country? If it's somewhere warm, I'm in!
porkpal
Richmond, TX

December 6, 2010
1:44 PM

Post #8247257

Where are you going to put your new country? If it's somewhere warm, I'm in!

Ooops! I guess I sound really enthusiastic now.

This message was edited Dec 6, 2010 3:45 PM
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

December 6, 2010
1:56 PM

Post #8247290

My guess is that we will need to buy an island or find one not yet inhabited !
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

December 6, 2010
2:11 PM

Post #8247316

Has to be warm all the time.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

December 6, 2010
2:48 PM

Post #8247389

This is the island I was stationed on for a year in the Pacific

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamitorishima

not suitable but it was warm (hot) all the time.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

December 6, 2010
6:10 PM

Post #8247669

Yep, looks like the airstrip takes up about half the island, and it's probably not for sale - keep looking.
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

December 8, 2010
5:18 PM

Post #8250778

We have to have good soil for gardening.
freedomfarmer
Boynton Beach, FL

April 19, 2013
1:19 PM

Post #9489797

nivlac wrote:garden_mermaid,

The dogs belong to my neighbor. They are rat terriers. When I had my dogs the terriers stayed out of the backyard. Now that I have the birds, they dig a new hole under the fence after I block a hole. The birds are not eaten, just torn up like the dogs are just trying to play and get over zelous and kill the birds.

I finished the big pin and put the ducks and chickens in together. They co-habitat nicely, or at least mine are. They are very leery of me and others but are safe now. The dogs can not get in the pin. The pin sits about a foot of the ground and half of it has a floor and hay for bedding and the other half is 1/2" wire mesh. the dogs can not get through the wire mesh. One of my ducks started laying and I am getting 1 egg a day. When all the birds are laying I expect about 4-5 eggs a day. This is such an exciting time for me.


calvin


my neighbor would have woken up to dead dogs that morning
CajuninKy
Biggs, KY
(Zone 6a)

April 23, 2013
6:45 AM

Post #9494222

Somebody put out a skinny, and I do mean SKINNY, boxer around here one time. It tore into my chicken yard and killed 5 chickens before it got full. I wanted to shoot it but didn't have the heart to. It didn't know it had done a thing wrong. Didn't even run from me. I tied it up and brought it to the pound. If I could have caught the person who put it out, they'd not have gotten off as easy as the dog did.

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