What Ducks Make the Best Pets?
Q: I live in the city in about a five hundred square block, what’s the right duck for me?
If you have been trying to work out what ducks make the best pets… there are a bunch of different breeds you can look at. If you are looking at something that’s great for the kids, then there’s a couple of ducks that come to mind. The Mallards are great little ducks and the most common Mallard ducks have a similar look to the Rouen duck breed, with the Drakes having a deep green neck and head with a blue/grey body as well as a browny coloured breast. The female ducks are brown all over with black markings. You could have 4, or 5 Mallards on that size block. A few little females, and a drake. They’ll breed, hatch and rare their ducklings up, and as long as you don’t keep them for too long and get too many ducks running around it will be ok. You don’t want to get damp areas that will get a bit smelly.
Colour is another thing to consider. During moulting season if you have white ducks running around your lawn it will almost look like it’s been snowing white feathers. Your lawn will be covered in them, where you have natural colour ducks, which in mallards would be brown, it won’t be anywhere near as noticeable. So if you’re a bit of a clean freak you may want to look at the more natural coloured birds. It’s really only an issue though during the moulting season. The rest of the year they’re fine. You won’t notice them about the yard. If you’re happy with white ducks though – 2, or 3 Indian Runner females, and a drake would be great as well. They’re a nice light small bird that constantly busy themselves, hurriedly trotting around the yard… If you’re just starting to learn about the different breeds, the best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you get in touch with an established breeder. If you give them an idea of your home situation they can recommend some ducks for you as there’s unlimited ducks to choose from in the small ones.
You would probably want to avoid something like a call duck in suburban areas. They are generally pretty noisy, they do a lot of quacking.
One of the most quiet ducks you will find are the Muscovy ducks. You wont know you’ve got them. They are nice and quiet. They are a lot bigger, but have a beautiful nature and are great mothers to their ducklings as well. As long as you keep your pens clean and tidy… you will have a happy quiet duck.
Q: And what about the Pekins?
Pekins are a great little duck for the kiddies. They’re the most common ones about and are easy to get hold of. They mainly only come in the white colour, and are a bit meatier and heavy, so if you like the heavier looking ducks… then they might be good. They only grow just under a foot high, but they are a good duck for kids too.
Q: What are the advantages of having a duck around?
All right, then it comes down to what duck is suitable for you. If you like cooking, it’s a bird that’s going to produce quite a few eggs for baking. The duck eggs are one of the best eggs to use in cakes, and most of the people that win at the shows will be using duck eggs for their cake cooking. The Indian Runners are a great egg layer. They’ll lay more eggs again than the Pekin, but both of those duck breeds lay well https://newzpharmacy.com/. So if you want something to keep the snails out of the garden, and for the kids to feed to teach them a little bit of responsibility, plus plenty of eggs… then they are great. They aren’t the best breeders though if you’re looking at hatching baby ducklings.
Q: We’re not breeding them though because we’re in the city, so if I just want a couple of ducks around that are going to produce a lot of eggs, then they’d be the…?
The Indian Runner and the Pekin duck. If you want a dark coloured bird that’s going to produce you a lot of eggs, and are still a nice light little bird and easy to handle, then the Khaki Campbell. They’re great little egg laying machines, that are a khaki colour… and you won’t see the feathers around the yard when they’re moulting. They’re good-natured birds with the Indian Runners being probably the most highly strung of the bunch.
Q: So they’re quite friendly are they?
Yeah the Khaki’s are very friendly. If you want a real gentle one of course, then you can’t go past the Rouens. They just move around slowly and quietly. They wont lay as many eggs, but are a great slow moving bird that just potters around the yard. Doesn’t stress out with the kids, and they’ll lay you thirty or more eggs a year. Especially if you’re feeding them the right feed.
Q: And so how many eggs would the Indian Runner and the Peking lay?
Those birds wouldn’t have too much trouble… and it all comes down to how you look after the bird. If they’ve got good healthy conditions, you’d certainly have not much trouble getting 200-250 eggs out of those birds if they’re fed well.
Q: A year?
Q: What would I need to set up the yard for them?
First of all you want to check with your local council for their rules and regulations. Then dog proof the yard. You don’t want animals that are going to get in and kill your birds, so you’ll want a paling fence, or colour bond fencing that goes right to the ground. If you’ve got a dog, you’ve got to see what the dog is like with ducks as well, otherwise you’re going to have problems. There are some great little cages already made that you can get from your local produce store, or Petbarn. They have little hutches they can get in. You can move them around the yard if it gets a bit soiled. Some of them are on wheels. Otherwise you can build something yourself.
With your ducks… instead of having them on the ground, if you’re going to get a whole lot of wet weather it’s probably preferable to put a bit of a slated plastic floor down so you can get them off the ground to avoid it bogging up, and every now and then you can just pop that flooring up and just clean out under it.
Q: And do they need something to swim in?
If you’re going to have ducks, I mean… what’s a duck without a pond? They don’t need it, but as long as you’ve got something they can submerse their heads in to wash their eyes and their nostrils it should be ok. But if you want your birds looking beautiful all the time, you should have a pond. They won’t have to have the pond there all the time… You can go along to Big W, or the like, and get a kiddy pool, or toy clam shell used as little sand pits for kids. Fill it up with water and the ducks will have a great time. That way when you finish you can just empty it out on to the lawn and they just need a good little trough near the coop, or house they live in where they can get fresh water day and night.
Q: Do they need much sun and shade?
All animals need sun and shade in really hot weather. They would prefer a nice shady tree where they wander in the yard, or a grape vine, or passion-fruit vine. A good shaded area in the heat of the day if you’re in a hot climate, and a bit of sun, so they can get the vitamins.
Ducks can be a great addition to almost any yard, and can become part of the family faster than you think. You need to remember that just like you they like fresh food, fresh water and plenty of sun/shaded areas. As long as you do this you should have a happy, healthy duck… and those ducks make the best pets.