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wellington womble

Do I want ducks?

I have eleventy billion slugs. I'm sick of standing on them, and although I haven't really got started with veg properly here, I'm getting there and I'm sure they will wreak their usual havoc next year. I've two acres, so nematodes and so on are not really viable. So I was vaguely thinking of ducks.

But I keep reading that they are messy, smelly, noisy, refuse to go to bed and turn everything to mud. I don't much like duck eggs, but I'm happy to give them away. I like roast duck now and again and can get them killed and processed locally for good prices.

I am thinking of a trio of Aylesbury ducks, and raising a dozen or so ducklings to slaughter weight. They would have permanent largish pond, at least eventually, and house. I'd rotate them round the veg beds and other problem areas as needed. The long grass under the solar panels seems to be especially problematic. The chickens spend a lot of time under there, but have no interest in the slugs. Local hedgehogs are not able to keep up with demand, it seems.
Nick

No.
Chez

What about Muscovies? They'll sit on their own eggs then.

(Ignore Nick. He's a spoilsport).
Treacodactyl

We had Aylesbury ducks when I was a lad, nice ducks. We'll hopefully get ducks in our new place in a year or two, however:

We like the noise of ducks and love duck eggs. They will be protected from foxes otherwise you'll just be raising fox fodder. They will help with the slugs but they also eat mice, frogs, toads, lizards etc so I'm not sure they'll do much good. We also have free water for them and will possibly have a couple of ponds for them as they will wreck a small pen.
Nick

What about Muscovies? They'll sit on their own eggs then.

(Ignore Nick. He's a spoilsport).


I just got tired of the shit, the destruction, being tied and feeding the fox.
Woo

I have muscovies. they are entertaining... described as animated teapots once on here! very accurate.
yes they crap everywhere and march mud about. in my experience they don't need more than a washing up bowl of water. we built ours a pond the first year. only the babies used it then they trashed the liner with their claws, ate the plants and chewed through the cable to the solar water pump. Rolling Eyes
they are hard to kill but do produce some nice meat. the eggs are good for baking.
wellington womble

What about Muscovies? They'll sit on their own eggs then.

(Ignore Nick. He's a spoilsport).


I think muscovies are really ugly though. I don't like the whole red faces thing. It's creepy. Also, they will fly into the neighbours gardens and antagonise them (this is not hard) I have a couple of silkies, so I'm not bothered about sitting especially.

I think Nick has a point, although I already have the fox-feeding and being tied with the other birds. It's the mess and destruction I was wondering about. There's quite enough of that here with slovenly housekeeping and a small child around. The slug control aspect is appealing though. I really do have millions of the things.
sean

Pay attention to Nick. He's not the one trying to make an addiction to poultry look normal. Wink Shan

What about Muscovies? They'll sit on their own eggs then.

(Ignore Nick. He's a spoilsport).

I just got tired of the shit, the destruction, being tied and feeding the fox.

+ 1
Ty Gwyn

If its clearing up slugs you want,its Khaki Campbells you want,the other breeds are lazy compared. Nick

Pay attention to Nick. He's not the one trying to make an addiction to poultry look normal. Wink

And I was able to make that decision and post after drinking a pub dry. It's such an easy decision.
Bodger

I once bought a trio of Muscovy's way back in the 80's. With trepidation I let them out of the cardboard box that I'd used to carry them home in. They ventured forth, had a look to see what was happening and then the two females launched themselves into the air, flew three times around the house to got their bearings and then pissed off never to be seen again. I was left with a hideously ugly drake that was way too heavy to fly. Laughing

What you need are some of these. Welsh Harlequins. They're lovely ducks that don't fly.









Chez

Pay attention to Nick. He's not the one trying to make an addiction to poultry look normal. Wink

And I was able to make that decision and post after drinking a pub dry. It's such an easy decision.

Pshaw Smile
Marionb

I once bought a trio of Muscovy's way back in the 80's. With trepidation I let them out of the cardboard box that I'd used to carry them home in. They ventured forth, had a look to see what was happening and then the two females launched themselves into the air, flew three times around the house to got their bearings and then pissed off never to be seen again. I was left with a hideously ugly drake that was way too heavy to fly. Laughing

What you need are some of these. Welsh Harlequins. They're lovely ducks that don't fly.











I'm not a duck person but those *do* look nice ☺
NorthernMonkeyGirl

I'm inclined to suggest encouraging slug-munching wildlife - birds, toads, hedgehogs, etc Nick

Pay attention to Nick. He's not the one trying to make an addiction to poultry look normal. Wink

And I was able to make that decision and post after drinking a pub dry. It's such an easy decision.

Pshaw Smile

Actually, this time not an idle boast. Landlord of 'our' pub retired after 35 years. By three am we'd drunk all the beer, lager, cider and wine in the place. I feel a bit rum.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

I feel a bit rum.

...and coke. And whisky. And that third bottle from the right.

Laughing
dpack

another vote for tiggy and chums. a pond is far better used as a breeding habitat for amphibians than as a duck amenity or larder as radjel thinks of it. wellington womble

Got 'em all. Frogs, toads, songthrushes, I'm even a rehoming centre for the local hedgehog hospital. They aren't making a dent. onemanband

I've never been too bothered by the level of slug damage. But this year after a batch of seedlings disappeared on their first night out, I went to war with beer and cider traps. A couple of weeks of beerological warfare reduced the population to acceptable levels and subsequent seedlings all survived. Shan

Got 'em all. Frogs, toads, songthrushes, I'm even a rehoming centre for the local hedgehog hospital. They aren't making a dent.

I never really found when we had ducks that there was a noticeable reduction in slugs. I think you would be better off with Onemanband's beerological warfare.
Chez

beerological warfare.

Love this!
wellington womble

It's not really practical over such a larger area, and with such numbers. Also, the chickens get into everything and make a mess of it.

What on earth would I do with a couple of thousands and inebriated slugs?! (We are talking thousands, they litter the ground like a plague)
Chez

Can you sell the eggs, do you think? Coz KCs or Cherry Valleys will lay the most and therefore be the most cost effective, if that was an issue.

I'd probably go for Cayugas though, if you wanted a dual purpose type breed. They are gorgeous.

http://www.waterfowl.org.uk/hvducks.html
Nick

Pellets. Must be some chicken friendly ones out there. NorthernMonkeyGirl

The effective (metaldehyde) pellets are a) toxic if eaten and b) currently appearing in water sources, not good. http://www.getpelletwise.co.uk/
I have never been able to tell if the "wildlife friendly" pellets make a damn difference.

Is anyone selling those predator slugs that only eat other slugs? Very Happy
Treacodactyl

I think the only way to beat slugs organically is to grow susceptible plants in a small area and try to keep that as slug free as possible (sharp sticks work well). I can't see keeping a wide area slug free is that possible as once the numbers reduce natural predators will go elsewhere. Free ranging ducks will just be fox fodder. Ty Gwyn

A margin of sand around the growing area works,if it gets wet,sprinkle some lime on it,that curtails their movement. Shan

Can you sell the eggs, do you think? Coz KCs or Cherry Valleys will lay the most and therefore be the most cost effective, if that was an issue.

I'd probably go for Cayugas though, if you wanted a dual purpose type breed. They are gorgeous.

http://www.waterfowl.org.uk/hvducks.html

I still think getting ducks is a BAD BAD BAD idea but Cayugas are also my favourite. Very comical.
Jam Lady

Bird safe slug trap with metaldehyde slug pellets:

1) Take clean, empty 2 liter plastic soda bottle.
2) Cut apart at top of cylinder.
3) Invert top piece (sort of like a funnel) into cylinder and staple together.
4) Toss slug bait into trap and lay it down in shady area popular with slugs.
5) Slugs, attracted by bait, squelch their way inside. Not being terrible bright they cannot find their way back out.
6) When device has served its purpose - wrap in newspaper and dispose of in trash.
7) Make more traps, as needed.

Of course none of us drink soda, let alone 2 liter bottles worth. But we all know poor benighted souls who do, who would no doubt be glad to put their empties to such a useful purpose.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Bird safe slug trap with metaldehyde slug pellets:

1) Take clean, empty 2 liter plastic soda bottle.
2) Cut apart at top of cylinder.
3) Invert top piece (sort of like a funnel) into cylinder and staple together.
4) Toss slug bait into trap and lay it down in shady area popular with slugs.
5) Slugs, attracted by bait, squelch their way inside. Not being terrible bright they cannot find their way back out.
6) When device has served its purpose - wrap in newspaper and dispose of in trash.
7) Make more traps, as needed.

Of course none of us drink soda, let alone 2 liter bottles worth. But we all know poor benighted souls who do, who would no doubt be glad to put their empties to such a useful purpose.

I do that sort of thing for wasps, slugs never occurred to me! And presumably it stops the slugs getting out and into the wild food chain?
wellington womble

I will definitely try that in the veg beds. The best thing for me is to cut sections of plastic milk bottle (I switch to two pint bottles especially in the spring!) over the young plants. I put copper tape round them if I have any, but just the plastic collar works well. I'd imagine you could make traps with the milk bottles as well.

Still might get some Aylesbury ducks, though. I rather like those green ones, too. I need to rethink foxes again, as I lost most of my large fowl about 10am this morning.
chickenlady

That's a brilliant idea, Jam Lady. Thank you. wellington womble

I appear to have found myself at a poultry auction. Ducks abound. Naturally, I'm after some hens! Chez

You're worse than I am Smile wellington womble

The fox has just taken a load of hens, so I needed some layers for eggs. The next village has a pet and poultry auction every Wednesday, but I can only go when mum's here to put J to bed, so it was a last minute decision.

I didn't buy any ducks, despite a pair of Appleyards and a some mixed ones. All going for not much. And oodles of ducklings, going for less than a quid each.

I didn't buy any small furry things either, despite there being mum and baby guinea pig groups and eleventy billion baby mini lop rabbits which were extra fluffily cute. Or half a dozen chinchillas, which we're going for about 8.

I didn't buy any quails, which were going for 50p each. And I didn't buy the Lavender Pekins, which went for 14 for a pair of hens (I slightly regret this, as I liked them a lot, and I think it was an ok deal. I'm not a natural at auctions, though and I can't process fast enough whether I want things at what they are going for. They were earlier than the other lots I really wanted, and I wanted to save my cash for grown up hens. There were loads of silkies, too.

I did buy four Warren pullets for six pounds each, and two Welsummer hens for eight pounds each. Although I only wanted three Warrens, the last one didn't go, so I had it for a fiver, and the Welsummers weren't going at reserve, and were the last lot I was interested in, so I daringly made a snap decision. I quite enjoy the auction, but it's probably a good job I can't go more often.
wellington womble

Oops. I seem to have ducks. I didn't mean to, but I was offered some to rehome. chickenlady

Some things are just meant to be. Very Happy
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