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Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about the health of your chickens, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.

Does anyone here keep ducks?
10

ElizaDoLots · 09/05/2013 22:53

Would we be crazy to consider it? Are they much work? I read in another post they are smellier than chickens - how often do you need to clean out? Am I right in thinking eggs are more likely to carry salmonella? Or am I being swayed by cute orphan duckling I met today?

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ElizaDoLots · 09/05/2013 22:56

Just answered my own Q re salmonella ...

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TheDeadlyDonkey · 09/05/2013 23:01

I have ducks. They are gorgeous, have loads of character and are good to waste hours by watching them.

On the downside, they are filthy and smelly! Ours free range but have a pen that they go into at night. They rootle through grass and make quite a mess. Ours have a paddling pool which needs to be cleaned and refilled every day.

We have utility khaki cambells, which lay pretty much every day. We wash the eggs in tepid water (not recommended for chicken eggs but ok for duck's). We use them within 10 days - some websites say they're ok for up to a month, others say 10 days, so we err on the side of caution, no idea which is right though, and I haven't heard about the salmonella thing.

They need space. We have 5 ducks on half an acre. I think more ducks would be too many for the space.

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ElizaDoLots · 09/05/2013 23:06

Thanks Deadly. Just read about a bad duck related salmonella outbreak which has put me off a bit.

Maybe we need to consider chickens or bantams, but they don't do it for me as much!

How smelly - smelly enough for neighbours to complain?

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TheDeadlyDonkey · 10/05/2013 12:32

That would depend how much room they have. If they are fairly cooped up, then yes, neighbours would probably not be happy!
Female ducks tend to be quite chatty too I've found, which could potentially be a neighbour issue.

Chickens are lovely too, but with less comic value perhaps, but they are easier to keep clean :)

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Pixel · 12/05/2013 19:12

We had Khaki Campbells when I was growing up, they were such funny little characters Smile. We only had a small garden so we had to keep them away from the lawn when it was wet (they turned it to mud) or if we wanted to sunbathe without smelly poo, but the neighbours loved them, never had a complaint. Yes they were pretty messy but they were prolific layers. We only had 2 ducks but were getting 4 eggs a day for a long time. I can't remember when they stopped laying but we got them when I was at junior school (my mum was caretaker and I remember her taking them to show the children. They escaped from their box on the way home and went the rest of the way on the parcel shelf, much to mum's embarrassment Grin), and when I was at sixth form I had a saturday job in a shop and an elderly customer used to come and buy eggs from me every week, so they were still laying then.

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mummymeister · 13/05/2013 14:10

my ducks are lovely but they have destroyed all the grass in their enclosure and really do smell particularly in the summer. they might need wings clipping regularly (we do ours twice a year) and you need to feel confident to do this (or vets bills are high) also need to bear in mind that they need plenty of space and a pond with fox proof fencing around it and you need to put them away before they are got even in town areas. This means always being there at the beginning and the end of the day unlike chickens which you can have in an eglu or ark and it doesnt matter if you forget to put the door down. plus rats can be an issue because of the way they feed from a bowl rather than scattered as with chickens. would say that if you have near neighbours try chickens first then ducks in a few years if you are still keen.

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BinarySolo · 14/05/2013 22:38

I have 3 Indian runner ducks. They're fab. Not that smelly and although they're kept on mud and a bit of sawdust, the keep thenselves very clean. They have a kids paddling pool and a tub trug for water which is brown with mud as soon as the water gets changed!

I've had then since just before Xmas and they're interested in me and come to see what treats I've got for them (they love peas and bananas) but they aren't tame. We get 3 eggs a day, but the youngest isn't laying yet.

Housing wise we have a plastic shed and heras fencing with slabs and chicken wire round the bottom for fox proofing. The set up cost is quite high even when doing a cheapish DIY job like us.

Runner ducks are ace. Fun to watch and easy to heard at bed time. No need to clip their wings and they just need a paddling pool. They can be noisy, but our neighbours have hens with a cockerel and it's no worse than that. We're planning on getting more, but it's best to start with small numbers. Drakes are very randy so unless you're desperate to breed the I would avoid. Duck eggs are delicious!

Let us know what you decide.

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VerySmallSqueak · 14/05/2013 22:55

We had Khakis Campbells.I believe they are considered to be very reliable layers.
Messy,smelly,quite noisy, and you do have to be more careful with the eggs.
Drakes are fine so long as you keep the right male:female ratio.
We put ours away at night in a separate house to the chickens.
They need fresh water available at all times - at least enough to immerse their whole beak,but I personally think they are happier if they can get on the water.

I think ducks are a bit more effort to keep than chickens but they are such fun.And ducklings are the cutest things on the planet.They stay gorgeous for ages!

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TataClaire · 18/05/2013 00:05

We have three male Rouens which are a heavy breed that can't fly, so they free range a pond with an island in about half an acre garden, which is plenty of room for them, and although they sometimes trash patches of grass when they're soggy and they dibble in it too much, and l they leave the odd poo here and there, they're the best entertainment ever! They spend the nights in an old stable on a straw bed which we deep litter and clean out when we have time, but it stays dry and not really smelly. I prefer their poo than chicken poo - one day, when we move I may get some girls too as I eat duck eggs everyday so it'd seem silly not to! Grin

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ElizaDoLots · 22/05/2013 22:51

Thanks all - didn't realise this thread was still getting posts.

I think we have decided against it as we may go away for a bit this summer, and although neighbours aren't that close, we don't want to cause problems.

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