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Author Topic: Land Ducks  (Read 1125 times)

R.R. Book

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Land Ducks
« on: April 11, 2017, 03:26:18 AM »
Hi all,

I thought maybe some folks might be interested in a little info about land ducks, specifically Khaki Campbells.

We have chickens too, but here are some advantages and disadvantages of land ducks:


-cold hardy and need less insulation in their house than the chickens need
-can also thrive easily in high heat and humidity
-few diseases
-quiet, including males
-lay nearly an egg per day per hen at maturity
-eggs are larger and more nutritious
-can quietly produce offspring without drawing unwanted attention
-can get along with chickens
-adorable, as they wag their tails like puppies when happy
-don't need a pond to be happy
-won't fly away, and will stay close to home even if foraging
-male goes into mating mode in spring, leaving all summer for babies to mature before winter
-don't destroy ground cover like chickens do
-will gladly eat mostly whatever the chickens (if any) are fed, with few additional needs
-are comparable in size to a small (but not bantam / miniature) hen, so eat less feed
-males are extremely protective of the flock

-gamey meat (are kept mostly for eggs)
-shy around humans unless imprinting before 3 weeks of age
-need daily greens
-need to mate in at least a small tub of water
-make a splashy mess when they drink water and bathe
-often lay their eggs in odd places other than the nest box
-have excrement that is more liquid due to all the water they drink
-like to eat and play in mud
-don't brood (sit on their eggs) well

For us the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, and here are some coping stragies:
1. Do without meat and give thanks for the rich eggs
2. Appreciate that their aloofness (unless they imprinted on you) is a sign of their ability to defend themselves
3. Greens are easy to grow and to store long-term in powdered or freeze-dried form
4. Coop can be kept cleaner and dryer by placing a splash pan (like a cement mixing tray) under their water bucket, and by feeding them in the tray space around the bucket
5. Can provide either a tiny pond or tub if offspring are desired
6. Enjoy the egg hunt as part of the challenge; can also place a dummy egg in their nest box
7. The frequency with which their litter needs changing means more mulch and compost for the garden
8. Can prevent acquisition of parasites from mud-eating easily by adding a pinch of diatomaceous earth and French clay to their feed (i.e. Geobond)
9. Can either confine a female to encourage brooding, or incubate eggs (which can be done in a furry cap without electricity

More here a the Livestock Conservancy:



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Re: Ducks
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2017, 08:53:31 AM »
I have collected some info and links on ducks and other fowl, i invite all to visit

meta query: why animals are under Divine Feminine is beyond me; they are as much a part of 'agriculture' as any plant.

Mr. Book, i'll see your ducks and raise you a scobie...  ;D
So many fowl to choose from and they all have their niches, both in nature as well as on a farm-/homestead:
Jungle Fowl

Just another reason for a community; imagine you have ducks but your neighbors focus on turkey or quail or whatever... Having a few fowl is something altogether different than being caretaker of a petting zoo...!

When i learned about scobies [i.e. Muscovy 'Ducks'] i fell in love with them [much like i fell in love with the Rhodesian Ridgeback once i started reading about them]. And as much as chickens are popular, scobies are my favorite fowl. Having said that, i've never had any fowl, so...
Ducks [scobies, btw, are not ducks, but rather somewhere in between ducks and geese, genetically speaking] have some advantages over chickens but they are not (as) omnivorous as chickens or scobies and in 'survival situations' that can be a drawback.
In a community, however, as long as some people keep chickens, it might even be considered foolish for no one to be keeping ducks (and/or scobies).
Survival is also about redundancies and not putting all your eggs in one basket [pun intended...]
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R.R. Book

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2017, 06:44:48 PM »
Survival is also about redundancies and not putting all your eggs in one basket [pun intended...]

 :D Ha ha!  Thanks for the informative link Socrates.  I always heard that Scovies couldn't be bred with other ducks, and now you've explained why.  It's interesting that your source mentions that they don't quack.  I had mentioned that Campbells are quiet - must modify that to say that they are "mostly" quiet - I cleaned a bunch of black bananas out of the freezer today and threw them on the compost pile, and the Campbells had a wild party on top of the heap.  Young adults these days, you know...


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Re: Land Ducks
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2017, 06:53:38 PM »
R.R. Book and Socrates, thanks for the great info on land ducks!
Learn something new every day! :)

R.R. Book

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Re: Land Ducks
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 12:47:21 PM »

I must correct my first post: Khaki Campbells, contrary to the opinions of some, do *not* need a tub of water in which to mate...our drake has been very happy to engage the duck hens on land.  It has been interesting to note the duck hens' responses have ranged from agreeable to evasively side-stepping the drake's amorous attentions, which should settle down as the season changes and we leave spring behind. :)
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 06:24:54 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Land Ducks: Small pond without electricity
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 02:17:11 PM »
When we first embarked upon the tiny pond project, I was unsure about how to make it work in the Aftertime without mechanical filtration.  Turns out we didn't need it after all.  Here's what worked:

First of all, we found a level spot that would drain down a gradual slope in case of run-off from rain.  We planted the backdrop for the pond against a tall fence in the henyard, moving Carefree rose bushes from elsewhere in the yard that were thorny enough to withstand poultry grazing pressures.  The critters do enjoy eating the flowers, which re-bloom quickly.  Next we found a 50 gallon heavy-duty black plastic pond form, not likely to be subject to puncturing, for $85 including tax.  It measured about 3 x 5' and 18" deep, perfect for a few swimming land ducks.  Then my son and I spent half a day digging rocks out of the ground, and a sledgehammer had to be used in one rocky spot to get the hole to conform to our insert shape. 

Finally we reached the magical moment of dropping the pond form into the hole for about the 100th time, and finding at last that it was an exact fit. Of the dozens of rocks that had been dug up, many were nice and flat, so we stacked them all around the pond, covering up the plastic edge and making it look as if it belonged in the landscape.  Daylilies were divided from elsewhere in the yard and added between rose bushes, and small stones were placed around and between those to protect them from being ripped out of the ground with chicken beaks and claws. 

Maintence for the tiny pond, if any at all, only requires two simple pieces of equipment and 20 minutes per week.  A collapsible long-handled pond-skimmer (for the occasional dead mouse or spider floating on top) cost $9, and an old bucket was scavenged at no cost.  Total materials cost: $94.  Of the 20 minutes labor each week, 10 minutes are spent carrying pails of algae-rich pond water to adjacent crops, and the other 10 minutes are spent refilling the pond with fresh well water. I should mention, however, that there is no smell to the algae water other than something akin to freshly juiced greens.  The simple system is fairly self-sustaining, in that ducks drink up much-needed greens in the algae water between cleanings, as well as eating mosquito larvae and eggs.

At one point, we had a salamander take up residence in the pond and lay her eggs, which the ducks found very savory (salamanders could also be scavenged from under rocks for Aftertime feed).

Wikipedia lists blue-green algae nutrients here under "Spirulina":

Moving photo from the chickens thread:

« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:28:06 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Land Ducks: What their little pond attracted
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2017, 09:18:04 AM »
I woke up this morning to an extended family in and around the little duck pond.  Right now my instinct is to protect them; however, will be looking for recipes for later... :)


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