Before our move to Prineville, we rehomed all of our ducks except for the Snowy and Grey Call
ducks. Transportation and several weeks in cages before aviaries would be ready, would have been stressful and dangerous for them. We have now added our new ducks that will do well with long cold winters. Unfortunately, we have not been able to keep some of our most favorite types such as White Faced Tree Ducks and Silver Bahama Pintails. The frigid weeks of sub zero weather would be too much for them. Currently we have a select number of cold hardy ducks that are delightful and beautiful.
Be sure to provide continuous fresh water for your ducks. Although a pond is not necessary, some type of swimming area should be provided for the maintenance of their mental and physical health. Some folks use children's firm swimming pools. Diving ducks, such as Mergansers and Ruddys need deep pools because of their need to dive, and for their natural desire to live most of their life on the water. They are both very clumsy on land and are most comfortable floating their hearts away! So if you desire such ducks, please be thoughtful and provide them with a deep pond.
**Our ducks receive mealworms, all purpose crumbles, wheat, and other grain goodies. In particular, they relish their mealworms. Diving ducks need a fish based pellet because of their special dietary needs.
**Be diligent to clean pools daily as it is unhealthy for your ducks to ingest soiled water. In addition to their pools, provide an extra container for clean water.
**Overall caring for ducks is relatively labor free. They are happiest when offered large areas for play, clean water is always relished which sends them into a frenzy of frothy play, proper cover for protection from predators and disagreeable weather, and a proper diet for their own species.
**This is my experience, so please do your own research : Pinioned ducks do not do well on deep open ponds. I have noticed consistently that they have a hard time getting up out of the water. But I want to also note here that not everyone has had my experience. Just be aware that pinioned birds may experience trouble on open deep ponds. At this time I will no longer keep pinioned ducks. This is not only for their safety (and my peace of mind), but also because of how much ducks love to swim. I consider this a mental health thing!
Colored Mandarins:Mandarin ducks are native to eastern Asia and can be found year-round in Japan and Taiwan, with their summer range extending to include eastern Russia and Mongolia. In winter, migratory populations of mandarin ducks can be found in eastern China. Mandarins are related to the Wood Duck and are often confused with them. Mandarins were originally colored, but several mutations are now available: White, Apricot, Silver,Black, and other mutations. White is sometimes referred to as Blonde. The White Mandarin is most commonly bred in the United States and is fast becoming extremely popular with duck enthusiasts. One characteristic that is different on Mandarins from other ducks are the two “sail” wings that rise from the back. Hens are quite plain compared to her colorful mate. However, after breeding season, a male will go through what is called an "eclipse" at which time he loses his sail fins and all color only to then become the same color as the hen. After a few months, the coloring returns along with those adorable fins! Mandarins also like to perch, so be sure to offer wide flat perches for their preening amusement. I place mine about 4 feet up off the ground. Mandarins are very easy to care for, but do require a covered aviary. They nest in raised boxes and often raise young during their first year. Clutches may have 8-12 eggs and hatch between 28-30 days. Fully feathered in 8 weeks, Mandarin chicks are easy to raise. Care should be given to placing a white breeding pair with a colored pair as the whites can sometimes try and “steal” a colored’s mate. Male Mandarins are also very hard on Call duck hens through trying to over breed these poor clumsy little birds.
Ringed Teals: Personally, I just adore our little Ringed Teals. The color of the males though greyish, is handsome with his black spots on his chest , and color in his wings. Native to South America, they appreciate warm weather, but adapt well to the wetter cooler climate of the Northwest. One characteristic of the Ringed Teal is that the males retain their beautiful plumage year around unlike other waterfowl that go through an annual eclipse. Ringed Teals are prone to frostbite, so a covered area is a must during icy and windy weather. These little birds tend to be easily bullied by larger ducks, so be sure to offer not only plenty of hiding spaces, but nest box sites. The males have an adorable call that sounds like a low whistle that starts high then winds down. I have never heard any other type of duck make this sound. Hens are excellent brooders and can even be used as surrogate moms for other types of ducks that find a motherly role difficult. Clutches consist of 6-8 eggs. Breeding season is long from as early as March to as late as May.
Cinnamon Teals : Ahhh, what can I say about our handsome Cinnamon Teals. Certainly, they are among one of my favorites. The cinnamon color of the male is quite striking and very unique. especially when contrasted with their yellow eyes! The males do go through an eclipse, but even in female coloring, I think they are enchanting and entertaining to watch feed. Cinnamon Teals are found in ponds throughout the American West. They dabble their beak on the top of the water for food, or will tip upside down. The majority of Cinnamons breed in the western United States. Hens nest in shallow depressions lined with down under grasses, twigs, and protective covering on all sides. She is known to tunnel through the covering into her nests. Females lay an average of 8-10 eggs. Nearly all Cinnamon teals winter in Mexico and Central America. They are often associated with Blue Winged Teals where the two breeds share mutual breeding grounds. Hens are very good mothers and will fake an injury to lure predators away from her nest.
Lesser Scaups: There are two types of Scaups found in America that are often confused with each other. The Greater Scaup lives mostly in the northern range along saltwater habitats and large bodies of water. Lesser Scaups are more common along freshwater areas and around smaller bodies of water and extend down in to the south. Another important difference is that Greaters are found in Europe and Asia, but our Lessers are found only in North America. It is true that both types share similar plumage, but the the Lessers are indeed smaller and have subtle marking differences than their Greater relatives. So what do I like about Scaups? They are quiet unassuming birds that get along well with everyone. They rarely if ever mingle with the other ducks and I can always find all three of them swimming together. I find this interesting as our other ducks frequently mingle among each other. Scaups prefer to nest in protected areas on the ground along marshy areas where aquatic insects are plentiful. Both Scaups have declined in numbers over the past 20 years, and research programs are working to understand why this happening.
Linda Rose Forney 503.460.7908
Mandarin and Snowy Call Ducks
Lesser Scaup and American Ruddy Duck
Ringed Teal males and Lesser Scaup male
American Ruddy Duck
Ducks at Gramma Roses
American Ruddy Ducks
American Ruddy Ducks and Wood Ducks under construction...