Urban Backyard Ducks
I’m considering getting a few ducks (3 - 5) for our backyard in the next year or two. We are mostly interested in eggs, but I've heard they can be very beneficial in eating pests from the garden and in providing high-nitrogen fertilizer as well. I live in Colorado Springs, and city ordinances allow home owners to keep up to 10 chickens or ducks, excluding roosters.
From what I've read so far, ducks lay best when they are calm and happy. My worry is that I live in an urban neighborhood with a very large number of dogs. About 3 out of 4 people in my neighborhood have dogs -- in fact, my neighbors to the right, left, and behind me have dogs and I do not. I’m not too concerned about the ducks' physical safety: I have a six foot solid wooden fence surrounding the area I plan to keep them, which will be inspected and reinforced before I bring any ducks in, and they will be herded into a very sturdy hutch at night. (I'm still very early in the planning stages, but plan to either purchase or build a 20 - 25 sq ft hutch for them, and then allow them free to roam an approximately 200 sq ft fenced area during the day.)
However, the dogs are not exactly quiet around here. My immediate neighbors on the left in particular have 2 or 3 large dogs that bark fairly often. Will their barking disturb the ducks to an unhealthy degree, or will the birds become accustomed to the sounds in the area? There will be dogs on the other side of the fence on one side of the area I plan to let the ducks free in during the day. Will having dogs close by, if on the other side of a solid fence, unduly stress the ducks out, or cause them to panic often enough that their ability to lay will be affected? I do not want to get ducks if I will not be able to provide them with an environment in which they can thrive.
El Paso County Colorado
I would not be too concerned, especially if you get some ducklings and they are raised from the beginning in that environment. Ducks are very hardy and seem to adapt well to their environment. We have dogs and Muscovy ducks and they get along fine in the same yard. As long as you give them a place of their own at night so the racoons, foxes, coyotes, owls cannot get to them, it should be fine. Good luck.