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What Don't I Know About Hatching and Keeping Ducklings, Naturally?

 
Posts: 72
Location: Kansas City, MO
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So I've kept chickens in a pretty self-sufficient way for two years.  This spring some ducks took to visiting our property, laying duck eggs in our chicken coop (which is only sparsely occupied at the moment).  One of the ducks has gone broody, and is on day 26 on a clutch of 12 duck eggs in the chicken coop.  

My open-ended question is:  

Is it possible to keep the hatching ducklings as a domesticated flock?  

What don't I know about keeping ducks?

I have several structures I can provide for them if needed, and they have a nice pond and plenty of forage.  

Will they wander away if the mama leaves?

Can I encourage her to stay with portable electric poultry netting?

What don't I know?  

Thanks in advance!!
 
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What kind of ducks?  Call your county extension and find out whether you will be breaking the law by keeping them.  Everyone breaks a law here and there, but why do it for something you don't have a passion about doing?

They poop more than chicks.

They need higher protein food than chicks.  Ask for game bird/duck mash.

If you are going to be around them, be around them from day one.  If you are not, don't spend a lot of time admiring their cuteness.  Ducks imprint.

 
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Location: Lewis County, WA USDA Zone 8b
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:-) The ducks have approved of your shelter, but that doesn't mean they want to stay.

Wild ducks know what their ducklings need, and in domesticating ducks, humans have done their best to imitate those conditions while tweaking breeding here and there so that the flock stays with us if we plan to use them in some fashion (pets, food, etc.).

The wild momma approves of your setup.

I think it's fine to raise domesticated duck breeds because we've altered them to the extent that they cannot survive in the wild. But I think it would be frustrating/nearly impossible to try to entice wild ducks to stay on your property if they don't want to.

I'd take their visit as a huge compliment. They like the habitat you provide. Chances are they'll be on their way pretty soon. The ducklings will be able to swim almost immediately, and they are waterproofed by their momma's oil gland under her tail until they feather out and have their own functioning oils glands.

Protect any unestablished plants you don't want them to eat or trample, and they will probably be on their way soon. And then they might come back to say hi...

Enjoy!

 
Beau Davidson
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Location: Kansas City, MO
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Very fun, and helpful Terri and Beth! Thank you!

I was talking to our land owner and she thinks the broody duck may belong to a neighbor’s domesticated flock. I may ask around to investigate possibilities as well as alert them to the whereabouts of their missing duck.

I know nothing about duck breeds, but they don’t look like the variety I have seen in the wild around the Midwest.

At any rate, giving them a wide berth and welcoming a longer stay or repeat visits in an open-handed sort of way sounds like a peaceable attitude.
 
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