Best way to manage my ducks

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by sun burn, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I've got four ducks and a drake. I've had them for about 2 months. They are 10-11 months old now. I've got a pen for them which i put them in at night. Its about 3m squared. I let them out in the day to go where they want.

    This was fine for a while but now they are starting to wonder further afield and are finding some plants that i wish they would leave alone. They also have had a chew in my vegetables.

    It looks like i am going to have to build a pen to keep them locked up in almost all the time. I need to figure out how big should this be, and where to put it. I'd like to make them a nice pond inside the pen.

    How do i figure out where is the best place to locate this pen. Our place is 1.1 hectares. The block is rectangular. It has a slope. The house is at the top of the block and at the bottom, in about a whole third of it there is a rainforest plot.

    Next to this forest patch we have what we call a nursery. Its not anymore but part of it might be a suitable location and the posts are still in. This whole area is 35 metres long by 16m wide. In the southern end which is about 8.5 metres long, i was thinking i could put a pond and maybe the ducks there. I put in some bananas and until now have been using it as my propagation nursery and growing some veges. There's a tap in there. But this part of the block gets soggy during the wet season.

    This patch is next to a large workshop.

    I would love to keep my ducks free roaming but soon i will be planting lots of legumes and cover crops and i don't think they will be able to compete with the ducks during establishment.

    I wouldn't mind being able to continue using this area as my nursery for a while. Its got benches that i can put my seedlings up on. I dont know if the ducks would jump up on there.

    I am also getting chickens soon. I need to figure out this whole dilemma.

    Has anyone got any feedback, ideas, further questions?
     
  2. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I could have made this question simpler by asking is there are good way to keep the ducks from ravaging the garden, or is the only answer a separate pen. Is there a list of plants that ducks like to devour and destroy? I've found two so far that are not even food plants for us but i don't know their names.

    Correction: the section above i am thinking might be good is 14 x 16m.
     
  3. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    Sunburn,

    Went thru the same sorta thing about 6 months ago.

    I just fenced in my single row banana patch. Bananas, once established, and ducks are an excellent guild.

    Ducks are very easy to restrain. I used sheep/pig mesh and star pickets with a view to be able to relocate or reshape the pen. The star pickets are just loosely pushed/woven down thru the mesh and hammered in. A metre high is enough to keep most sorts of ducks in place. I put a tiny portable shed in there too but the ducks have never used it not even in the heaviest tropical storms. I have 3 ducks and 2 Pekin bantams in an area that is about 6m x 25m. The bantams can escape but again dont bother so they must be comfy living in there. They roost in the shed at about 1.5m high which is higher than the fence. Bananas, once established, and ducks are an excellent guild.

    Our duck pond is one of those blue shell thingies originally designed to be a sandpit. We just up-end it most days and the bananas love it. I recently picked a 35kg bunch of bananas and some of them were .5kg in weight. I am using the pen to clean up and fertilise an area to expand my banana patch [I want to get a pig]. I also have arrowroot and cassava in there. The ducks will eat every cassava leaf they can get hold of so I plant cuttings that are at least a metre plus. Bananas are safe once they reach that height too.


    I would be tempted to put it against your rainforest plot as the nutrients will flow downhill and be gratefully recieved.

    My point is that for ducks, unlike chooks, you dont really need anything permanent as they can and do make a 'mess' and are probably best relocated on an occasional basis.

    Whilst I have had ducks and chooks in the same pen [maybe 6x7m] before but I was never happy about it. The ducks ruin the water quality for the chickens and are real guts' when it comes to grain and they also make a mess of any table scraps or prunings you put in by stomping on it with their normally shitty feet. I will kick off another thread about a 'duck tractor'.

    Cheers,
     
  4. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Hi floot, i have read and enjoyed a few of your posts in recent days so I thank you for answering mine.

    I am not sure my bananas are sufficiently established as yet. They are not that high but they should be after the wet. Perhaps i will have to fence them off for their own protection too. Thanks for the warning.

    Yes I was hoping to keep the ducks and chooks apart with a barrier but i think the chooks are more delicate than the ducks. If i put them in this pen sometimes there is a place higher up for them to perch but i'd have to make a shelter over it. But as yet the chickens are only small so they are better kept right away from the ducks. The ducks grew up being shut in a roofed room for the night so perhaps they prefer to have shelter at night. I don't know but as yet i've relied on a tarp to keep the rain off at night. With this rain we've been having in the last few days, the ducks seem to be having a lovely time. They evidently prefer this sort of weather than the dry couple of weeks we've just had so i can't wait until i give them their own very big puddle. Come the wet and they might want a break sometimes.

    Do you know if they eat mint? We've got a big mint plant down there which i'd rather like to keep in tact.
     
  5. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    sunburn,

    Dunno if ducks eat mint but puppies do. Little sods demolished my mint plants, I am not sure if they ate them or just pulled them out and ran round the garden with them... They also pulled 2 pineapple plants out and did the run around thing with them too. Oh, the joys of having 8 sheepdog pups at once.

    I would cover the mint because of its soft nature they are likely to trample it anyway.

    cheers,
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Perhaps before i do too much work in this section, i should send the ducks down there and see what mischief they get up to.
     

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