Raising Ducklings and Goslings


raising ducks and geese

Ducks In The City


In May of 2001 my son Jimmy decided he wanted pet ducks. He finally settled on two gray indian runner hens. Two so they would keep each other company, and hens for their temperament. We placed our order and picked up our ducklings at the farm. Jimmy was so proud to pay for his two ducklings and the Metzer office folk were very patient as he counted out his money in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I also purchased one Golden Hybrid 300 for a friend who later changed his mind.

We brought the babies home with much excitement, and a little trepidation on my part. You see, we live in downtown San Jose. Our yard, while a decent size by city standards, is not commodious. And we have two dogs: a Golden Retriever and a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Oh my.

We raised the ducklings in the house until they were well feathered, then placed them outside in a coop built especially for them. we called the girls Speedy, DeeDee, and Doris. For the first few months I made sure that the dogs and the ducks were never loose together. Then, I let one dog at a time loose with the ducks. here was a lot of sniffing, chasing, and honking but we took our time and the dogs got a handful of treats each time they walked past a duck without harassing it. The first dog conquered was our aged Golden Retriever.

DeeDee is the most outgoing of the ducks. One day she took offense at the way he was sniffing her sisters and gave him a peck on his behind. He was startled and completely in awe of all the ducks from that day on. When he sees the girls coming, he clears out.

The Toller was a bit harder for the ducks to best. He was only two years old at the time and full of spunk. Again, DeeDee came to the rescue. She gave him two good pecks on the nose and that was the end of the harassment. Now all five critters coexist if not peacefully, at least with a good understanding of the pecking order. (As the girls have been gently handled by people since they were small, they don't peck people.)

As for ducks in the city, they only make noise in the morning when they want to be let out and none of the neighbors have complained. One even said their chatter reminds her of growing up in the Netherlands. The girls have also denuded all my tender flowering plants. I had to gate in a "no duck zone" in my garden. They produce a sizable amount of "compost" that is a bit stinky. We have already filled our compost bin and have spread some around the yard. This may be a management issue in the future. The big surprise is the eggs. We read that ducks need a calm environment in which to lay. Good thing they can't read! Doris, the Golden 300, was the first to lay and reliably produces one very large egg a day, even during the short days of winter without artificial light. Speedy and DeeDee kept up with Doris for a while, but have slacked off as the days have shortened. Their eggs are about the size of a chicken egg and surprisingly enough, one lays white eggs and one lays eggs the most beautiful shade of celadon. (Jimmy blew and decorated the green eggs as Christmas ornaments.)

Would I recommend ducks in the city? Yes!! They are entertaining, low maintenance, and fun for children. Thank you Metzer Farms!!

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