Frequently asked Questions
For all questions pertaining to shipping please visit our "shipping info" page.
Is their a phone # that I can call?
At this time all communication with our customers is done via e-mail. Using e-mail allows us to keep an easily accessible record of all conversations, which helps us to better serve all of our customers. E-mails are answered promptly most within 24 hrs. Many customers are surprised and pleased to get answers in only a few minutes. Please email any questions that you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to help you with them. For questions that are already answered on our website, we will often copy and paste relevant info from our website or provide you with a link to that page.
How should I care for my new birds once I receive them?
As soon as you arrive home with them your birds should be removed from their shipping box and placed in a quite and as stress free environment as possible. Do avoid excessive handling, loud noises and sudden movements. They should be given food and access to clean swimming water that is easy for them to get in and out of. If possible offer them a food that is similar to what they are used to (which is listed in the paragraph below) It is helpful if their enclosure has a hiding spot where they can get completely out of site if they wish to. Some site barriers on the sides of the enclosure are also very helpful as they will keep the birds from seeing things outside the pen that they may find stressful. It is best if they can be kept in an enclosure that is separate from other birds that you may already have, until they have had time to adjust to their new home. But being held in a small cage such as a rabbit hutch or bird cage is not recommended. If they must be put into an enclosure that already contains other birds make sure that your new birds are not being bullied and /or kept away from the water and food. If this problem occurs a good solution is to remove all the old birds from the aviary for a few days to allow the new birds some time to settle in. Then begin adding the old birds back at a rate of 1 bird per day until you have all the birds together in the same pen. For birds being placed on open water we strongly recommend pinioning or at least wing clipping. For large ponds or lakes it is best if the birds can held for a few days in a suitable enclosure that has the same specifications as mentioned above. This enclosure should be very close to pond or lake that you plan to release your birds onto and it is best if they can see the water from the enclosure. Holding the birds in a small cage or unsuitable enclosure before release is not recommended. If no suitable structure is available we recommend releasing strait onto your water, rather than holding them in unsuitable conditions.
What should I feed my new ducks?
All of our waterfowl are fed a 17% duck breeder pellet. If a feed similar to this is not available in your area, a chicken layer pellet is a good substitute. This can be mixed with grain or fed on it's own. Grains that we have used are wheat, corn and milo, however there may be others that are suitable. Divers are also given some cat fish or trout pellets. All of our ducklings are started on Maruzi Waterfowl Starter. Pictured to the right is the tag from one of our feed bags , so you may compare the ingredients with other feeds you may have available.
How much feed should my birds be given daily?
Since all of our birds have access to feed 24/7 we do not know how much food each individual bird consumes each day. If you do not plan to leave feed available at all times for your birds we recommend the following. Feed twice a day once in morning and once in the evening. At first put out a fairly large portion of food ,if the birds do not eat almost all of it cut back until they are eating almost all the feed in about 30 minutes. We do not recommend having the birds to completely finish the feed since that would make it more possibly that a less dominant bird may not have gotten enough to eat. Keep in mind that your birds will need more food at certain times. In general birds eat more in colder weather and less in the summer. Also remember that feeding areas should be kept clean and leftover feed that has gotten wet should be disposed of.
Will my ducks be pinioned or full winged? Can you pinion them for me?
All of our waterfowl (excluding swans) are full winged unless otherwise noted. We do offer pinioning for a fee of $15 per bird. Pinioned birds will require 1-4 weeks healing time before being shipped. We reserve to right to hold birds until they are healed enough to travel. Orders for pinioned birds can not be changed and are nonrefundable should the buyer back out of the sale. Alternately birds can be wing clipped for no charge. Wing clipping will keep them flightless until their next molt. Most of the birds we ship will already be wingclipped.
I didn't order pinioned birds but my birds can't fly, why is this?
For the safety of the birds we try to keep most of the birds we have for sale wing clipped. Keeping these birds from flying greatly reduces the chances of injury to that bird and other birds in the enclosure during catching. Furthermore wing clipping can also reduce the risk of the bird injuring itself in the unfamiliar surroundings of its new home. Unlike pinioning, wing clipping makes the bird flightless only temporarily. The bird will shed the cut feathers and grow new ones during the its next molt. If you would like your bird to be able to fly sooner simply pull out the cut wing feathers, it then takes amount a month for them to fully grow back. If you do not want your birds to be wing clipped you can request this at the time you place your order and we will do our best to full fill that request, but we will not guarantee that we will be able to send birds that are not clipped.
How old will my birds be when I receive them?
Unlike domestics, most ornamental waterfowl only reproduce at a certain time of the year. The majority of our ducks hatch May- July. Ornamental waterfowl are commonly referred to with the year they hatched in front of the species name. For example, an 09 pair of Wood Ducks hatched sometime between May- July of 09. Therefore the later in the year you are receiving them the older your birds will be. Most ducks that we sell will be between 2-6 months old. Normally we do not keep any birds more than 1 year. We do not record the actual hatch date of every duck we sell, however all birds will be fully feathered, and are adult sized at the time you receive them. We Do not sell ducklings.
Do I need a permit to own any of these birds?
In most states you do not need a permit to keep any of the species that we have. For some species you do have to buy a permit if you wish to sell them. This normally pertains to birds that are native to North America. As an example, you may need a permit to sell Wood Ducks as they are a native species, but not for Mandarins since they are native to China. The permits are normally easy to obtain however there will be a fee involved. We currently hold both State and Federal permits for all waterfowl that require them. For more information on this subject please visit our "Permits and Regulations" page.
If I place my birds on open water, instead of in an enclosure will they fly away?
In our experience most fullwinged wild waterfowl will eventually leave if placed on open water. If you want to keep your birds on open water, we recommend purchasing pinioned birds. Domestic ducks such as calls often will stay on open water and can usually be kept fullwinged.
Should I put my new birds in an aviary or on open water?
Whether birds are placed in an aviary or on open water is mostly preference of the owner of the birds. Both ways of keeping birds have their own benefits and also their own disadvantages. You should carefully weight these advantages and disadvantageous along with any limitations or special circumstances that may be relevant to your personal situation before making this decision.
Keeping birds on open water usually means you will have to have pinioned birds, the birds will be at greater risk from predators, and if you ever need to catching the birds may be difficult. However open water provides the most natural habitat for your birds and is where they most likely will be the happiest and also breed and reproduce the best. It is also augruebaly the most enjoyable setting to view your birds from. You also will not incur the cost of building and maintaining an aviary.
Keeping your birds in an aviary can keep them safer from predators as long as your aviary is secure. If a predator does break into the enclosure the birds housed there usually have less of a chance to get away than they would if they had been on open water. The cost , and also time and effort of building and maintaining a suitable enclosure for your birds is probably the biggest disadvantage to keeping birds in an aviary rather than open water. Types and quality of enclosures for housing birds can vary widely. If housed in a well designed aviary that includes the basic requirements outlined in the question below on aviary size, those birds may be just as happy and breed as well as birds on open water. However if kept in an unsuitable enclosure the birds may not do well and may even eventually die.
What can I do to keep my birds safe on open water?
We keep all of our ornamental type ducks in aviaries. Most info listed below will be second hand knowledge, things that we have know other breeders to do that keep ornamental birds on open water.
Keep edges of the water free from brush , predators may use the brush as cover to hunt your birds. However in some cases cover that is actually in the water such as cattails or reeds my be beneficial to the duck as they can hide there.
Any type of fencing around the pond can be helpful for keeping out some predators.
In the wild birds often flock together for protection. The more birds you have on our pond the more eyes that can help watch for danger, keeping all of them a little safer.
Some predators may be discouraged if you have a few large birds on your pond such as a pair of swans or some large geese. Often at least during breeding seasons these type birds become aggressive and will defend their territory thus also giving the smaller ducks some extra protection.
Learn what predators are in your area and learn how to trap them then relocate or dispose of them to help keep your predator population low. We keep traps out year round that catch possum, raccoon, and skunk on occasion we have also caught fox, bobcat and coyote. For more info on trapping you may find this site helpful http://www.jlordvideos.com/apps/webstore/products Other things that I have heard of other breeders doing include, installing red flashing lights around the pond, this to keep away owls and playing a radio at night, the noise and talking may scare away some predators. Installing a floating platform in your pond or having and island.
Can I leaave my birds on open water during the day then lock them in a small pen at night?
This in not something that we have ever tried so we have no first hand knowledge of this to offer. While it might be possible it is not something that I personality think would be very easy to do with ornamental ducks. I do think that this can be accomplished with mallards, calls and other domestic ducks.
Which species of birds do you recommend for beginners?
The Wood Duck and or the Mandarin are most often the first birds the beginner will acquire. However both these species generally are very nervous and stress out very easily and there are many other species that have better dispositions. But then arguably there are none quite as beautiful as the wood duck and mandarin. I would recommend that if you are interested in these two species go ahead and get a pair, but instead of getting 2 pair of them or a pair of each consider instead getting a second species that has a bit more laid back personality. Having a calmer bird in the aviary will actually help your wood ducks or mandarins be a little calmer themselves. Some of the calmer species are listed the in next question below. Species that we would not recommend for beginners would include most species in which the male doesn't get his color until his second year, some of these would be hoodie, smew, NA ruddie and golden eye.
Can I get birds that are tame? How can I make my birds tame?
While some species of wild waterfowl are less wild and nervous than others, none of them should be expected to be as tame as domestic ducks such as calls. Some of the species that generally have a more laid back personality are the following: ring teal, marble teal, cape teal ,and any species of tree duck. (Gadwal, bahama and northern pintail, rosey bills and red creasted would be my second picks of less nervous species) The Wood duck which is one of the most popular aviary birds is also one of the most nervous wild species. Mandarins which are also very popular are not a bird that you should expect to tame easily For further reading on domestic verses wild waterfowl please check out our article here. While most species of wild waterfowl will never be as tame as a domestic bird there are things you can do to make your birds more comfortable around you and thus appear less wild. This will require much time and patience. Sitting quietly in their aviary for some time every day perhaps after you feed them will help them view you as less threatening. In time you may be able to move their feeder closer to you and birds may eventually learn to approach you for food. Handling your birds to make them tame is not recommended and such actions as catching them just to hold and pet them is strongly discouraged as this can have a negative effect on the health of your birds.
Can I keep ornamental species of duck (these would include but are not limited to mandarins, wood ducks, teals, etc) with domestic ducks (these would include but are not limited to Mallards, call ducks, pekins, east indies, rouens etc).?
In the aviary or any type of enclosure we recommend that ornamental ducks be housed separate from domestic ducks. Domestic males will often try to breed with any females available and may injure or even drown the often smaller and more delicate ornamental females. Most ornamental ducks are shy and skiddish and most domestics are not. Although most domestic ducks are not aggressive , ornamental ducks may be fearful of the usually larger and more outgoing domestic ducks. Having domestics duck housed with them may cause a high level of stress to the easily stressed ornamental ducks which could have negative effects on their health. Mixing ornamental and domestic ducks while still not ideal can be done without as much negative effect if you are putting the birds onto open water or you have a very large enclosure (100X100 or more) this helps ensure that the ornamental ducks can get away from the domestics and have their own area.
How large of an aviary do I need to keep X amount of birds?
As far as aviaries go bigger is almost always better but with that said many ornamental ducks and be kept and even thrive in limited space as long as a few considerations are met. You must be able to keep the water clean and of a good quality, floor of the aviary should be free of mud and any build up of feces or food and birds should appear comfortable in the aviary no pacing of walls or hiding all the time etc. The exact amount of birds that you can keep in an aviary while still meeting these basic requirements will depend a lot on how your aviary is constructed , what type of water source you have, what type of floor you have and also on how you plan to keep the water and the floor of the aviary clean and finally on the amount of and combination of birds that you want it to accommodate.
We once had a aviary that was only 20"x 18" this space had a sand and gavel floor that was planted with shrubs. This aviary had 2 small concrete ponds that had fresh well water flowing thru them continuously. Additionally there were many perches and also a 3ft metal site barrier on all sides. This pen commonly housed 10 mandarins 8 greening teal and a trio or quad of pheasants. Notice that none of the birds in this enclosure compete for the same nesting space. Furthermore the mandarins and pheasants spend much time on the many perches wile the teal mostly stay on the ground. The sand and gravel floor in this aviary drained water well which helped the floor stay cleaner and practically eliminated any problems with mud. Although the ponds were small the continual follow of fresh water though the them provided ample clean water with minimal cleaning draining and cleaning required. While this is a lot of birds for a relatively small space, all birds in the enclosure did well and reproduced just as well as ours in larger areas. For more info on our aviaries please click here.
Please keep in mind no matter the size of your enclosure most ornamental birds will not do well put into a sterile environment (,wire walls ,water source and nothing else in the enclosure, like pens typically used for chickens), while it need not be fancy or expensive ornamental birds do require more of an environment to thrive.
Will my birds breed and produce offspring their first spring?
Species of which the male duck acquires his color in his first year are normally capable of breeding and producing offspring their first spring. This group includes Mandarins, Wood Ducks and most species of Pintail and Teal. Species that do not color out until their second fall often will not breed until they are 2 or 3 years of age. This group of ducks would include most of the divers such as Hoodies, and Goldeneyes. Although birds may be physically capable of breeding at a certain age this does not ensure that offspring will be raised or even that eggs will be laid. There are many factors that determine breeding success other than age. Some of these include but are not limited to- whether or not the birds have had time to properly settle in to their enclosure before mating season, size of the birds enclosure, availability of nesting space, temperament of other birds in the enclosure, amount of other birds in the enclosure, availability of a suitable mate, availability of clean water of the proper depth for mating, availability of a stress free environment. For more info please click on the article here.
If my birds reproduce should I leave the ducklings with the mother? If I take them away how do you recommend I care for them?
We typically hatch and brood all of our ducklings ourselves. For info on how we raise our ducklings please click on our article here. Most hens can be good mothers if given the proper environment. If you choose to leave the ducklings with mom here is a list of a few things that will improve their survival chances.
Make sure pen is escape proof for the ducklings. Remember most species can climb well and fit through very small spaces. Most can fit through chicken wire and small gaps under gates are often a problem.
Make sure you have enough space in your pen for mom and the ducklings, in a crowded pen other birds may attack and kill the ducklings. Often attacks come from other hens. Males typically will not bother ducklings.
Make sure ducklings can get in and out of the water easily. A pond with steep or slick sides is not advisable.
Place some feed in low shallow pan, and close to waters edge if possible.
Watch out for dangers such as drain lines, where ducklings may become trapped and drown.
How do I care for my birds in cold winter weather?
We keep all our birds outside year round, they are provided with open water and we also have metal on the sides of our aviaries which gives some protection from the wind. Our average winter temperatures are highs in the 40's lows in the 20's. We do get a few nights each winter that get into singles usually not colder than 0 and our wind chills can get into the -teens. Since we have only kept birds at our current location we can not give first hand advise on how to care for your birds in winter weather conditions that are more serve than ours. As a general rule species in which the male and female look alike, and also species in which the males stay in color year round (this would include all the tree ducks, and several teals such as ring teal) are more sensitive to the cold and particularly to frost bite. In winter weather colder than ours these species may need extra protection, precautions that we have know other breeder to use are, wrapping the sides of the aviaries in thick plastic, keeping a layer of hay bedding on the aviary floor, using bales of hay as additional wind blocks, and in the some cases bringing cold sensitive species indoors for all of or part of the winter. We know of all species that we have to have been kept as far north as Canada with the proper set up. Alternately most all of the north America species along with the very popular mandarin are very cold hardy and these birds are commonly kept in winters more serve than ours with little or no extra protection from the weather needed. For more information on the cold hardiness of certain species please refer to the page for that species. If you still have questions please email us at email@example.com and we will be glad to help.
What happens if I change my mind and want to cancel my order?
Any orders cancelled by customer will be charged a 25% cancellation fee. This applies to orders only, their is no fee for being on or taken off our waiting list. All deposits are non refundable in the event the order is cancelled by the customer. Please note orders for pinioned birds can not be changed or cancelled and no refund will be given should the customer choose to cancel an order for pinioned birds.
Will my birds look just like the birds pictured on your website?
Most photos used on our website show males in full color which is their winter/spring plumage. Your birds may or may not be in full color depending the particular species and the time of year in which you are ordering.
Can I pay for birds in the fall and have them shipped to me in the spring?
Oct-March birds are normally shipped USPS the first Monday after payment is received. Swans and other birds using airline cargo shipping normally ship within 10 days. Reasonable exceptions such as a 1 week delay in shipping can be made without any extra cost to customer. If you would like us to board your birds for and extended period of time we can do so for the price of $5.00 per bird per week. Since this can become costly, we recommend ordering birds when you will be ready to receive them shortly. No birds will be held past April 1st.
Can I purchase eggs or ducklings ?
At this time we do not sell any eggs or ducklings. Below is the contact info of a friend of ours who does sell hatching eggs in some ornamental waterfowl if you are interested in purchasing hatching eggs we recommend contacting him. Jim Demoss Russell Springs KY- 270-585-9777
Can I pick up birds from your farm and do you give tours of your farm?
Customers that choose to do so may pick birds up from our farm (by appointment only). When picking up birds please remember to bring something to put your birds in. Pet taxis work well.
For the safety of our customers and our birds we do not give any type of tour or allow visitors into any of our aviaries. All transactions will take place in an area away from our other birds and aviaries.
Can I get a picture of the actual pair of birds that I will be receiving?
New for 2015- If you would like a picture of a particular bird that is for sale, we will band the bird with a metal numbered leg band, photograph the bird, email you a picture of the bird along with the band number. Should you choose to purchase the bird, we will guarantee that the pictured bird will be the bird that you receive. The fee for this service is $20 per bird. While you are not obligated to buy the bird pictured the fee is non refundable. This fee must be paid prior to receiving your photo.
Please consider these things before requesting photos :
Unlike domestic ducks and chickens, where there may be differences in quality due to things such as better foot feathering in silkies or shorter bills in call ducks; with wild waterfowl, once they acquire their adult plumage, there is virtually no difference between individuals of the same species and color.
We typically have many birds that are identical.
We often have group pictures of the years hatch on our "pictures of 20** birds" page.
The enclosures that house our for sale birds are quite large and often contain hundreds of birds.
Despite our best efforts, every year we have injuries and fatalities that occur while catching and handling our birds. To reduce these occurrences we try to limit the direct contact that we have with the birds as much as possible.
In summer weather heat stroke is a serious problem for ornamental ducks, we do not like to chase , catch or handle any birds when the temperature is above 80.
We will provide pictures free of charge for any show quality calls that we have for sale.
Breeder to pet quality calls will not have photos taken with out fee.
Can you provide references?
We invite you to please check out our reviews on our facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/mallardlanefarms/?ref=hl
Furthermore you might want to google our farm name (Mallard Lane Farms) or ask questions about us on one of the talk forums such as backyard chicken. We pride ourselves in taking great care of our customers, providing them with a smooth transaction and with great birds.