I made the mistake of taking my girls to TSC today and they are having chick days. My oldest has in her head that she wants a baby duck. I said "no" and will probably stick to it, but I'm just wondering what all is involved in keeping ducks as pet. What do they need as chicks and then as adults? How much room do they need? Do they need a heat lamp to stay warm in the winter? Umm, anything else I'm not thinking of? Thanks!
HI Jen, I've had my 3 Peking ducks for over a year now and get the biggest kick out of them. The do a good job on bugs and I love their antics. I have tow identical black ones and a white one - aptly named Larry, Daryl and Daryl.
I got them in March of last year when they were a few weeks old and kept them in the garage in a very large dog cage and a light on them. I changed their litter daily and when they had all their feathers, I moved the cage outside, then after a week I opened the cage and let them wonder. The cats didn't bother them at all. Every night I herd them into their cage. (I have since built a "house" around their cage to protect them from fox and coyotes and let them out each morning when I go to feed the horses.
They absolutely love the rain and love being around people but will only let you get to within ~2 or 3'. We have 25 acres but they stay within an acre or so to their house. They have a lake they can get to but hate it (I tried putting them in once). They do love to get in their water tub which is an old tray that is about 1' x 2' x 6" deep.
A great way to brood ducklings is in a kiddie pool or old water trough with a heat light on them. When they are mostly feathered out you can start transitioning them to the outdoors. After a while you can completely turn them out. In the winter they do pretty well without a heat lamp but you should provide some shelter for them.
The best way to gain a ducks trust is through food but they generally don't like to be handled. Some spinach or leaf lettuce are great treats to give. If you treat them they will look to you for food but that is all they are interested in. They also enjoy being sprayed with a hose.
It is better to get 3 or 4 ducks rather than one or two. Absolutely do not only buy only one duck, it will be miserable. If you get two and lose one, again you will end up with one lonely duck.
Thanks for the info guys! Okay, I have more questions. Could ducks be companions for a goat, as in live in the same pen/shelter? The whole notion of having to use a heat lamp doesn't appeal to me, but I guess if it didn't need to be used all winter I could handle it. Laura, you mentioned spinach and lettuce. Do they require greens or other things other than...what do they eat, duck feed? What kind of illnesses can they get? The fact that they don't like to be handled would not be favorable to my daughter as she would want to hold them and pet them. :roll: Another thing is I have no idea what kind of ducks they were. How many kinds are there? I really do like that green one pictured!
Well, I guess there's still a lot to think about. Thanks again...
Ducks can be around a goat unless the goat tries to hurt them. I friend of mine pastures ducks and goats together without a problem. You will def. Need to use the heatlamp when they are ducklings. They don't need the spinach and lettuce as duckling but that is the best way to get them tame. When you let them outside they will eat a lot of grass and bugs. Ducks do not get many diseases. Most health problems are caused by living conditions. There are a lot of different breeds of ducks but TSC only has the most common ones. What was the color of the ducklings at the store? Were they pure white, tan, black and yellow, brown with stripes, white with little top hats? Your daughter will learn to enjoy watching the ducks rather than petting them. They really do some funny things!
Jen, I was against them too. One of the dentists at the office my wife manages raises them had us come over to pick them up. Truthfully? I get the biggest kick out of them and just enjoy watching them waddle around and "talk" to each other. In the summer we put on the sprinkler for them and when we're on the deck they come over and quack until we turn it on.
They are all males and are getting rammie right now - it is hysterical to see them "fight" then go off together and hang out.
Bill, they are awfully cute! Were they talking to you or each other in that picture? You said they're all males, is it best to have all males, females? They seem pretty low maintenance. I would expect my almost 11 year old to care for them, is that unreasonable? She does a good job handling all the care for her two rabbits.
Hi Jen, they are talking to each other - they do that a lot! They are very low maintenance requiring only feed once or twice a day and changing their bedding every few days. I use hay for bedding. NOT NOT USE CEDAR! I almost lost them when they were young because of the red cedar I used for bedding. Cedar, especially red cedar is toxic.
It should be really easy for your 11 year old to take care of them and they are just fun to watch. They wonder all over but never far and do a great job on bugs. When they were young, you couldn't tell the males from the females. I would love to have had a female in the mix for the eggs but that was the luck of the draw.
I just did some research on the black ones and they are really a cross between a Peking and a Blue Swedish!!! Very cool. We were told they were all Peking and I always wondered why Pekings were always considered white yet tow of mine were black.