Every since we lost most of our flock to a bobcat, we’ve been wanting to get ducks again. They are so much fun to watch and act very differently from chickens. Weather doesn’t really phase them and they mostly forage for food when there isn’t snow on the ground. Plus you get eggs, although our last group was fairly sporadic.
It’s difficult when you only have room for a small flock as most hatcheries like to ship at least six or seven and we don’t have room for that many. However, we found that Metzer Farms will ship fewer, but there are extra shipping costs for a heat bag and some other things. It’s pretty pricey, so we went back and forth for awhile. Ultimately decided it was worth it since we wanted to choose the breed and the expense over time really isn’t that bad if they all survive.
We now have the fenced-in pasture, so we think they will fare better against predation this time around. Unfortunately the little mini-pond we created is outside the fence boundaries, but maybe we’ll dig that out again and let them free-range a bit in the summer. The field that is fenced also gets pretty wet in the spring, so perhaps there is an opportunity to create a swale or small ditch as well.
Given the recent troubles with the post office, we were a bit concerned about delays. The ducks ship from California. However, they actually arrived sooner than expected, shipped on a Monday and arrived early Wednesday morning. They were in great shape and very active in the shipping container. They all look great so far and are growing like crazy. We’ve already had to take them out of the initial brooder (a stock tank) and put them in our old chicken tractor inside the garage. They still need a bit of heat, but I think even that won’t last much longer. It has been a bit cooler at night here going into fall, so they still need a bit of help to stay warm. They seem to find cuddling together works most of the time though.