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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or I guess it'd be chicken, chicken, duck. :D

I live in NW Washington and we have a SLUG problem like you wouldnt believe. My issues largely subsided after I started keeping chickens. I let them into my garden area from fall through early spring and they eat the slug eggs and young slugs. This stops a good portion of the slug population. By the time their numbers increase enough to do damage, the cold weather sets in and takes care of it.

HOWEVER... this year, for whatever reason... the slugs regathered their troops by mid summer. My gorgeous pond garden (mostly hostas, a slug favorite) was not so gorgeous by early August. I'd pick the small slugs by hand and toss to the chickens... who looked at me like "uh, how bout YOU eat it". :rolleyes:

I've heard that ducks LOVE slugs... but also that they're a lot messier than chickens. I have a small backyard farm setup and have managed to keep it tidy thus far. I'm fine with throwing a kiddie pool out there... but I dont want piles of poo everywhere. So... my question is... would a single duck be happy living with a small flock of chickens? Sort of the ugly duckling? LOL Or would I need at least a pair? Will female ducks lay eggs without a male, like chickens do? I dont particularly care for duck eggs... so I'd almost rather they didnt. But I guess it's a good supplement for the dogs, if they do. Are there breeds of ducks that dont fly? I only have 4' fencing - actually only 3' in some spots, including the fence that would keep them out of my patio & small (50gal) pond.

Any advice from those who've had ducks would be much appreciated!
 

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I have 5 white pekings and 3 mallards. They do great with chickens. The eggs aren't bad in my opinion and make a bigger omelet. They will also lay without a male. However the males help hormonally and generally keep themselves cleaner.
The pekings can't fly up like a chicken but you can clip their wings if you want.
They are messy. They love water and will splash it on the ground no mater how small of a waterer you have. Then they proceed to root in the resulting mud. Within a year or two the entire pen will be dirt and mud even in the heat of summer. One or two ducks may not be so bad. Free ranging or a movable chicken tractor for them will definetly cut down on the mess.
They do love slugs.
 

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Turkeys also love slugs and aren't as messy as ducks. A female does well alone, the eggs are better, and they also eat mice. No slugs here since getting a turkey.
 

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We have had slug problems in our organic gardens, well...forever. A super gardener friend said to place little saucers of beer out in the gardens or wherever we saw the slime trails and believe it or not, we had no plant damage from them and pile of drunk, dead slugs in and around the beer. Apparently they really like their brew :D
 

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In my opinion, duck eggs taste no different. I remember I was all paranoid when my dad made me try one, and I wouldn't do it. So the next time we had eggs, he gave me a duck egg, and didn't tell me what it was. I ate it, and he just looked at me and started laughing! He told me it was a duck egg and I laughed too, so maybe the surprise is why I can't tell then difference???

Oh well. Anyway, females will lay eggs with or without males. I agree on turkeys though, they're much easier to clean, and the will eat mice and moles (found this out the gross way).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm Turkey huh? Are they noisier tho? I live in town, so noise is a big concern for me.

I was excited to try duck eggs, but they seemed a little tougher than chicken eggs. Not horrible, but I prefer chicken.

My interest is now piqued by the thought of a turkey tho... Hmm...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh, and yes, I've done the beer thing and it does work. But around here it requires a lot of beer and a lot of cleaning out slimy containers.
 

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As for noise for turkeys- if you get a hen, she won't be quite as loud, at least in the "gobble gobble gobble" sense. She'll make higher pitched "chirps."Toms will have lower "gobbles".

If you get lots of turkeys, then noise might be a factor, but if you only have one or two, you should be fine. They only "speak" every now and then.
 

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Turkeys also love slugs and aren't as messy as ducks. A female does well alone, the eggs are better, and they also eat mice. No slugs here since getting a turkey.
So can you house the turkey with the chickens? Do you have to clip wings or anything?

I really really want to get ducks but I'm not sure about the mess and my husband is really really NOT interested in having ducks around. He also doesn't want any Guineas.

I was looking up turkeys and found the Jersey Buff Turkeys which is a smaller breed of turkey. They are actually kind of cute too!
 

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Duck are pretty noisy. They also foul any water you have out, even if you have a kiddie pool for them they will still get in everyone else's water. They do LOVE slugs and I have even seen them slurp up snakes like spaghetti. There are several varieties that are really too large to fly effectively. Rouens are a pretty duck that look like a mallard only huger and fatter. Mine couldn't fly at all. The turkey hen might be a much better option.
 

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My 3 turkeys are housed with my chickens, they all get along very well together. They are just heritage bronze, their wings are not clipped they can't fly like wild turkeys. They are very tame and easy to deal with. They are not very smart though and do need some help remembering to go in at night sometimes.
They like to roost about 4 feet off the ground, mine have a 2x4 with the wide side up to sleep on.
They are delicate as chicks and we have found that they do much better if they are raised with a small group of chicken chicks. The chickens will show them where the food and water is and help keep them warm.
There is a white midget turkey that is about half the size of a normal turkey as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Housing is my concern too. I'm reading that REALLY you shouldn't keep turkeys with chickens, as there is a parasite chickens can carry with no effects, but can be deadly in turkeys. They say IF you do keep them together, to worm everyone regularly. Being of the "all natural" mindset, I've never wormed my chickens. I would, if I saw that they needed it (though I'm not even sure if that's "see"able). I just dont agree with worming anything on a schedule - I do it as needed. But I'm wondering if it's kinda like the chickens/goats thing. I read that's not a great idea either, given all the chicken poo... but with only a small number of birds, I'm finding that's not an issue at all. They are semi-separated, but some of my hens seem to prefer the company of goats over chickens and will climb my fence even with their wings clipped, to get in with the goats. Two of them regularly roost in with the goats, but I've seen no accumulation of poo. Wondering if since it's just 8 hens and would be one turkey... if maybe it's not that big of a deal (though the coop would need a larger door).

Also read that YOUNG turkeys need more protein than chicks/hens... but it didn't specify if older birds need this as well. I'd rather not have to bring in a third type of feed - so hoping either layer pellets or goat feed will do.

Appreciate any more input from those "in the know". :)

Oh... and Karen... you mentioned Guineas? Do they eat slugs more effectively than chickens? That might be an option too, if they do. I just want SOMEONE to come runnin' when I toss those big slimy creatures over the fence!!
 

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It is my understanding that Guineas are great for ticks. But not sure about slugs. We had a huge tick problem this year and that was why I was considering Guineas.
 

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Blackhead only occurs in the Midwest and eastern states. Definitely not something you are going to have to worry about. I've never wormed a chicken ever.
Food wise, my turkey eats layer pellets and scratch with the hens. When we raised the group, they ate Purina Flock Raiser instead of chick starter. I put them on layer pellets at 12 weeks old. Plus they free range.

My Guineas are great watchdogs but, they eat bugs and grass, not a lot of big things. They can be very loud telling on every other animal on the place. If you get guineas, keeping their wings clipped until their adult feathers come in will keep them from learning to fly. They are a little different from domestic birds. Raise them where you want them, they don't change housing easily.
 

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I love Guineas!!! But they are LOUD. They pot rack and are great watch dogs (guineas) they do eat ticks. When I had guineas I NEVER saw a tick.
 

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Housing is my concern too. I'm reading that REALLY you shouldn't keep turkeys with chickens, as there is a parasite chickens can carry with no effects, but can be deadly in turkeys.
Really? I wouldn't worry too much, we have turkeys and chickens together almost every year, and we've never had a problem. And I've never wormed a bird of any kind in my life! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok... thanks everyone. Good info. Glad to know blackhead isn't an issue here too. Of course I've figured all this out right as winter is coming in... so likely have to wait till spring anyway, unless I find someone rehoming one. Maybe by then I'll come to my senses. Lol Or maybe I'll finally decide I don't need fewer critters, I just need more property. :)
 

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We are in PA and haven't had an issue with blackhead (knock on wood) with our turkeys and we start and grow out our turkeys with our chickens until the turkeys get to big. We love our turkeys, they are friendly and curious. We do keep a lid on our turkeys, but some folks do free-range them, but they usually start training them early on to stay with the chickens and not to fly. All heritage breed turkeys can fly. The younger ones are more likely then the older ones and older hens are more likely then older toms. Turkeys are no more noisy then some breeds of ducks and some breeds of ducks are just down right loud. We got rid of our Pekins because they would never shut up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My CHICKENS get pretty darn loud sometimes. WHY they have to argue over a single nestbox when there are 5 IDENTICAL nestboxes... I will never understand! :rolleyes: And it's not that one is flawed... as they will USE different boxes... they just ALL have to use the SAME box in any given day. Crazy birds!
 
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