I would like to emphasize that if you decide to raise ducks for the production of eating eggs, by all means, make sure you acquire birds that have been selected specifically for high egg yields. I’ve even had Muscovy female ducks nest in the open and raise all their hatchlings safely to maturity. They also help to boost our immune systems and metabolism, as they aid in strengthening our bones. Ducks have evolved to have complex sexual organs, you’ll experience this first hand when you prepare your ducks for dinner. Recommendation 2 – Try and give ducks access to pasture or a grassed area for them to graze and forage. By Dave Holderread – If you want an economical and steady supply of homegrown eggs that are nutritious and tasty, you’ll need a flock of backyard chickens, right? Ducks and chickens can get along just fine, provided that space is sufficient – keeping in mind that any animal in confinement can get upset. Male ducks, also called drakes, require multiple females in the flock as they have an extremely high sex drive. Ducks are very good foragers and enjoy eating grass and any bugs they might find while wandering your backyard. Cheryl Magyar is a sustainable life designer and environmental freelance writer with more than twenty years experience of living a simple life close to nature. Chickens will roost for the night, ducks prefer a place to sleep at ground level. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. In exchange, they provide you with delicious lean white meat at butchering time. When first exploring how to raise ducks in your backyard, you’re probably asking, “Okay, what are their drawbacks?” After raising and comparing all species of domestic poultry over the course of the last 20 years, I’ve yet to run across a major disadvantage in ducks under most small flock conditions. With their well-oiled feathers and thick coating of down, ducks are amazingly resistant to cold and wet weather. A ducks and geese environment provides fruitful commercial benefits for raisers. Some modifications need to be addressed when raising ducks, and they add a new dimension to your barnyard. When very … Ducks do not need bathing water to remain healthy. Give them plenty of space to roam, knowing that they will eat their favorites first (worms and slugs), then move onto most anything green. On various occasions, we have refrigerated well-cleaned duck eggs for four months and longer with no detectable change in flavor. Runner ducks are non-flying ducks, who act as their name suggests: they choose to run, rather than waddle. In essence, they are hardy birds, well suited to most climates. Then there are the dynamics of behavior. Individual females have been known to produce 360 or more eggs in a year’s time, although flock averages are nearer 275 to 325. On the other hand geese are raised mostly for meat. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy all their antics of mucking around in muddy puddles as they use their bills for digging and bug foraging. As your ducklings become mature, adult ducks, you’ll move them off of chick starter feed and and start feeding your ducks grower chicken feed—you probably won’t be able to find duck feed. When duck and chicken eggs are produced with similar feeding and management, the taste of the end product is virtually indistinguishable. that could be lodged in their nostrils. The unique creatures are similar to chicken with vast difference in behavior, eggs are full of nutrients, rich in protein. Probably more important than intensity is consistency. Ducks eat a lot and they are messy at best, though they are also super cute to watch as they dig tiny holes in the mud. Despite all the attention chickens received, it’s unusual for a commercial flock of Leghorns to average over 250 to 280 eggs per hen in a year’s time. They can also overwinter better in colder climates as they have an extra layer of fat and don’t mind walking around in a bit of snow. Plan on getting at least three birds or even up to five if you have space and the budget to keep that many in your backyard. You are going to quickly develop a fondness for adding them to fluffy cakes and omlettes. They are a cost-effective way of insect control, and they will avoid most vegetables, unlike chickens, but strawberries may just be too hard to resist – just a word of caution. Larger containers—such as a child’s wading pool or an old hot water tank that has been cut in half—will be enjoyed for bathing by ducks, but can be a nuisance to clean out regularly. Click this link:\r\r\rThis video is almost an hour of raising ducks from a few days old until 6 months old. One reason egg-laying ducks have been rather slow catching on in this country is that high producing stock has often been difficult to locate. The shells of duck eggs are slightly more difficult to crack and are pearly white rather than chalk white as in chicken eggs—but I can’t see these as disadvantages. Juvenile ducks (2 months old) need duck feed with at least 15% protein content. Chickens don’t like mud and prefer to stay dry. Especially when you opt for a Muscovy. For a larger number of birds, a three- to five-gallon bucket placed below a slowly dripping faucet or outfitted with a float valve works well. However, ducks exposed to 24 hours of light daily seem to have a tendency to go broody after several months. There are a variety of duck breeds that make adequate layers. In areas where thieves such as weasels, raccoons and large owls are known to roam, it is much safer to lock ducks in a varmint-proof building or pen at nightfall. © 2021, Countryside - All Rights Reserved, Ask the Expert — December 2014/January 2015, Ask the Expert —December 2015/January 2016. Ducks love to help out in the garden, eating the bugs that wish to eat the plants you want to eat. The intensity of light required is low. To prevent premature broodiness and molting, 16 to 17 hours of light each day seems to be the upper limit for ducks. I go through everything from having a water container to keep the brooder cleaner to building a duck coop outside using hardware cloth and tarps. We know them to be richer and creamier than a chicken egg, with higher amounts of Vitamin D, provided they are able to free-range. When exploring how to raise ducks in your backyard, it’s important to understand waterfowl’s critical relationship with water. Originally published in Backyard Poultry May 1980; Revised 2007 and regularly vetted for accuracy. You can supplement this with grains as well as letting your ducks forage. Some great news is that your ducks will not need a fancy home. Ducks can not be called ducks unless it loves its food. For this reason it is important to keep a balanced ratio in check. Your ducklings will need to be fed a special duckling raiser food for the first three weeks of life, then a duckling grower feed until week 30. For starters, ducks are easy to raise even in a small backyard. In spite of the fact that some literature on the subject states otherwise, practical experience and tests conducted by institutions such as the University of Nebraska clearly show that duck eggs retain their freshness during storage considerably longer than those of chickens. Dave Holderread is the author of several books including Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks and The Book of Geese, a Complete Guide to Raising the Home Flock, available from the Backyard Poultry bookstore, see page 16. Follow on Instagram and sign up for their newsletter for more inspirations on living a sustainable life. Mature weights of the ducks and drakes are similar to that of Campbells — in the four- to five-pound range. FluffTheDuck; Jan 8, 2019; 4.27 star(s) Views: 5K; Comments: 4; Reviews: 8; Updated Jul 31, 2019; For farmyard and wild ducks alike, nesting typically occurs in early to mid-spring. They don’t make nests, so collecting eggs can become an egg hunt: leaving you to seek out shades of white, blue and green around the yard. Female ducks will quack, or make a variety of other noises when excited or frightened, yet overall they tend to be a quieter crowd. You could also buy them online from a trusted hatchery, or from a nearby farm. High-producing ducks need a constant supply of reasonably clean drinking water. You might also want to keep in mind that feed stuffs such as corn and dehydrated or fresh greens cause bright-colored yolks, while wheat, oats and barley result in pale yolks. During cold weather, when drinking water freezes, an electric water warmer (a variety of such devices are available from the larger poultry and game bird supply dealers) can be used or lukewarm water should be provided a minimum of two or three times daily. In my recollection, not once has anyone suspected they weren’t dining on chicken eggs until we told them otherwise. Your email address will not be published. In terms of male versus female ducks, good flock makeups include three females (and no males) or a male with four or five females. Almost all breeds of duck are raised for meat including Pekins, Muscovies, Rouens, and Aylesburys. (Although you may wish to read this before deciding to raise backyard chickens!). It is an experience that no homesteader should live without, at least for a year, or more. Once you have made the decision that you must have ducks, the easiest way to get started is to buy a few ducklings at your local feed store in springtime. Our very first foray into raising a backyard flock began innocently enough with a trip to the local feed store for hay and feed for our two horses. However, there are other factors to consider when getting into the hobby, or money-making, aspects of raising backyard poultry – and it may just be the duck that wins the race. Do not try this at home if you are raising your ducklings by hand. The next question you may have is what else can you have with your ducks? You’re probably wondering what do ducks eat? Fortunately, there are several breeding farms and hatcheries in the U.S. today that are working with and distributing fine laying ducks. Copyright © 2021 Rural Sprout on the Seasoned Pro Theme. When raising baby ducks, you can choose Read More Raising Ducks: The Care, Feeding and Raising of Baby Ducks Waterfowl do like to wash their bills and heads frequently, so their drinking water should be changed at least several times weekly—and preferably daily. See our post with all the items used to raise these ducks? They don't scratch like chickens or dabble like ducks, so they won't destroy your lawn, and because of their passion for dandelion greens, they will swiftly eradicate any of these tenacious plants that they find. They have enjoyed raising and studying domestic geese and ducks continuously since 1961, specializing in purebred waterfowl that possess a unique blend of superb production and exhibition qualities. Pastured duck eggs also contain abundant amounts of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, E, B6 and B12. Backyard duck homesteaders and hobby farmers will find this book an enjoyable and useful resource; it will make your duck raising adventure a profitable experience. Knowing how you plan to raise your ducks will help you identify the breeds most suited to your homestead dream. Roosters not only crow before dawn, they make themselves heard throughout the day. For egg-laying needs, a Khaki Campbell duck is an excellent choice (there is also a white variety). You are probably familiar with watching a momma duck and her many little babies swimming happily behind. In fact, it seems that they are happiest with a shelter and areas to explore. Now that you know how to raise ducks in your backyard, I want to leave you with this thought. But, adequate bedding (such as sand, straw or wood shavings), larger pens or the use of wire floors takes care of this problem. Interestingly, before being told that they were eating duck cuisine, we’ve had numerous people mention that the eggs were exceptionally good. In addition to being productive layers, duck eggs are amazingly delicious and nutritious – more on that later. You don’t need a male duck (called a drake) for the females to lay eggs, but they won’t ever hatch into ducklings without … Coyotes, raccoons, and other predators will attack ducks as well. Ducks and Other Fowl. Both the number and size of eggs will suffer if birds are frequently allowed to go thirsty.Water containers do not need to be elaborate, although I do suggest that they be at least four to six inches deep to permit the ducks to clean their bills and eyes. Whether your intention is to keep them for meat, eggs or as helpers in the garden, know that ducks are a great addition to any backyard or urban farm. Sad to say, the productivity of many breeding flocks has been allowed to degenerate, and much too frequently, any ducks even slightly resembling Campbells or Runners have been sold as the real article. And, because egg-type ducks are not accomplished high jumpers, they are easily confined with a two- or three-foot high barrier. They will gladly take any herbs you have to share with them: oregano, mint, dill or basil. Raising ducks and chickens together. Feed can be left in front of the birds at all times in a trough or hopper feeder, or it can be given twice daily in quantities that the ducks will clean up in 10 to 15 minutes. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The duck egg really is incredible! If the idea of raising backyard ducks makes your heart instantly go pitter-patter at the thought of little webbed feet waddling determinedly through the yard, then keep reading, this article is just for you! Tall and slender, they have often been referred to as “Penguin ducks” due to their nearly vertical carriage. With proper care, Runners, Magpies and Anconas from good laying strains can produce 200 to over 300 white or blue eggs yearly that average approximately two ounces larger per dozen than Campbell eggs. Khaki Campbells are a cross between a Runner and a Rouen, laying up to 300 eggs a year! Ask for a duckling-specific feed at your local farm and garden store. They will also appreciate cut-up, or mashed fruits and berries in season (keeping in mind that ducks have no teeth). There are a few duck diseases to watch for, but generally, ducks are also incredibly resistant to disease as well as and cold and wet weather. Nov 15, 2016 - Aside from raising your own children, or just starting a family, why not indulge yourself into another interesting hobby: raising herds of ducks in your own home at your backyard? The key to keeping both chickens and ducks happy in the same backyard, is to make sure they both have what they need. The key to keeping both chickens and ducks happy in the same backyard, is to make sure they both have what they need. Both the number and size of eggs will suffer if birds are frequently allowed to go thirsty. Under most circumstances, ducks should be locked up at nighttime in a yard that is tightly fenced with woven wire or netting at least four feet high. WATER Ducks need to keep the membranes in their nostrils moist at all times, so as they grow they will need successively deeper water bowls so they can submerge their entire bill. If the brand or type of feed you’ve been using must be altered, do so gradually, preferably over a span of at least a week or 10 days. Imagine you have at least five ducks… With so many eggs, you better love eating them. But, due to the larger size and greater number of eggs produced by ducks, trials have shown that with proper management, ducks are still more efficient when the quantity of feed to produce a pound of eggs is calculated. If you have the land and the patience to make it work, go for it, mixed flocks can provide endless opportunities for joyful bird watching. Best Ducks For Backyard. Ducks do tend to be healthier than chickens and are not as susceptible to Marek’s disease or coccidiosis – two diseases that often plague chicken flocks. What To Feed Backyard Ducks. For the homesteader, Muscovies are another excellent choice as they make for great free-range poultry. To keep ducks laying the year around, they must be supplied an adequate amount of laying feed that provides a minimum of 15 to 16% crude protein. And, while ducks are basically gentle, geese can be decidedly aggressive. Apr 7, 2016 - Learn how to raise ducks in your backyard If you want an economical and steady supply of homegrown eggs.Tips on feeding, watering, shelter, breeds and more. Why Do People Raise Ducks. Small flock owners often ignore this requirement and end up being disappointed with their birds’ performance. Backyard Ducks For Eggs . The meat is on the leaner side, as far as duck meat goes. Along with their fine laying prowess, the graceful Indian Runner ducks are some of the most entertaining of all domestic ducks. Raising Ducks In The Backyard Due to their greater hardiness, ducks require less elaborate housing than chickens—yet another advantage. First things first, consider the acceptable noise level for yourself and your neighbors. Pekin ducks are good seasonal layers of jumbo-sized eggs, but due to their large size and corresponding hearty appetites, they require nearly twice as much feed to produce a pound of eggs when compared to the above-mentioned breeds. This breed often reaches six to seven pounds in less than 10 weeks – making them one of the most popular ducks due to their rapid rate of growth. I wrote down a few … Raising ducks is different than raising chickens, although you can be successful raising ducks and chickens together. On the whole, ducks of the egg breeds are no noisier than chickens, especially when raised in small flocks consisting of six to eight birds. Older ducks love to indulge in greens, so if your garden is producing, save a nibble for them. To produce mild-flavored eggs, feed containing marine products should not be utilized. Required fields are marked *. My husband and I own a small hobby farm in Virginia and have been raising ducks for the last couple of years. Flavorwise, the meat has a milder flavor than Muscovy ducks and is wonderful when roasted whole. For starters, you’ll need two different drinking systems, whereas chickens take small sips, ducks need to submerge their entire head, then their body. Runners are bred in a rainbow of colors, including White, Fawn and White, Penciled, Solid Fawn, Black, Blue, Chocolate, Buff and Gray. There are many enticing reasons to raise a flock of chickens – obviously it will give you the chance to eat farm fresh eggs, it will help you reduce your food miles in the pursuit of a lower carbon footprint, chickens will provide free fertilizer, and they just so happen to come in a variety of breeds, it is almost hard to choose just one! A single drake will be satisfied with up to 12 hens. Naturally, ducks will survive on commercial feed alone but if we want our ducks to be happy we should let them forage also whist still providing commercial feed for them. Relatively few people in the Americas realize that, on the whole, ducks are more proficient layers than chickens. They aren’t just having fun, though it may look that way, they are also cleaning out anything (feed, dirt, feathers, etc.) For consistent winter egg production—especially in cold climates—ducks, like chickens, must be exposed to a minimum of 13 to 14 hours of light daily. Adult laying ducks need duck feed with 16-17% protein content. They do not produce waterproofing oil until they are 4 weeks of age. To prevent unsanitary mud holes from developing around the watering area, it’s advantageous to place all watering receptacles on wire-covered platforms or locate them on the outside of the pen where the birds must reach through fencing in order to drink. Read it now. Your ducklings will love playing in water. If you anticipate keeping your ducks inside continuously during severe weather, providing each bird with eight to 15 square feet helps keep bedding reasonably dry and sanitary. Therefore, during the short days between September and April, laying birds need supplemental lighting in most areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Most duck raisers will tell you that the eggs from their own ducks taste a good deal better than store-bought eggs. How Ducks Raise Their Young . Many times the questions involve raising ducks. In our backyard, we use a couple of different sources—an automatic waterer, a sheep dip for daily baths and an oversized kiddie pool for the occasional swim treat. The Amazon Book Review Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Currently she is homesteading in northern Romania, amidst charming haystacks, with her husband and homeschooled daughter. Raising baby ducks is easy but they do require special care. It is important to know how to keep them on a farm. They are cute and they provide you with a steady supply of eggs. (Raising as many different animals and Poultry as we do, people often ask what is the best way to get started with a particular species. Raising ducks is entertaining, exciting and fun. Space might determine the type of ducks to keep. One 25-watt clear or white bulb located five to six feet above floor level will provide sufficient illumination for approximately 100 square feet of ground space. Since ducks are considerably better foragers than chickens, the efficiency of ducks is further enhanced when they are allowed to rustle free foods in bodies of water, pastures or grassy yards. While producing, ducks are very sensitive to sudden changes in their diets. When ducks are housed only at night, a minimum of three to five square feet of floor space per duck is recommended. While poultry researchers in North America have spent the last 100 years and countless millions of dollars on improving the productivity of chickens, ducks—for all practical purposes—have been ignored. It all started at a young age with a love for the outdoors, followed by a keen interest in goats, which turned into a love for raising ducks and mangalica pigs on the Plains of Hungary. Water containers do not need to be elaborate, although I do suggest that they be at least four to six inches deep to permit the ducks to clean their bills and eyes. They are just keeping clean, only to get muddy again; just like children. Males tend to be on the larger side at ten to twelve pounds, females are lighter, weighing just five to six pounds. Keeping Backyard Ducks. The duck shelter can be a simple shed-like structure (approximately three feet high) and does not require furnishings such as raised nests, perches and dropping pits. They are social birds that love the company of other waterfowl. Ducks and chickens can get along just fine, provided that space is sufficient – keeping in mind that any animal in confinement can get upset. Welsh Harlequins are productive egg layers with the ability to lay 240 to 330 white shelled eggs a year! Campbells, and their close relative the Welsh Harlequin, are generally considered the best layers of all domestic poultry. Because ducks roost on the ground at night, they are susceptible to predators. We drain all of these … If ducks are what you want, they will somehow find you. To avoid throwing your birds into a premature molt and drastically reducing egg production, it’s wise to never change feeds while ducks are laying. Khaki Campbell drakes (males) have iridescent greenish-bronze heads and khaki bodies, while ducks (females) are varying shades of khaki brown with dark seal-brown, silky white plumage, orange feet and legs and bills that range from pink to yellowish-pink in color. However, during the last decade, a growing number of us North Americans have been discovering what many Asians and Europeans have known for a long time: under many circumstances, ducks have advantages over their cackling relatives as producers of eggs. This means their brooder will need to be cleaned often. Ducklings must always have a clean source of water and food available for them. They are extremely social, so consider raising at least three (but preferably five or six) together. This post may contain affiliate links. Here is a guide on how to raise backyard ducks for eggs. I usually let my ducklings enjoy their first bath three days after hatching. How To Raise Ducks For Meat . Generally, hawks aren’t good at navigating small areas with a fence, so having a fence prevents them from swooping down, adding more protection for your ducks. To reduce waste and prevent ducks from choking, pellets are preferred, but course crumbles normally work out okay. When you bring your new day-old baby ducklings home, you will discover that you need a few things for their happy survival: Chances are that you are interested in raising ducks for either their meat or eggs, sometimes both. Because they spend a good deal of time in and on the water, the possibility of attracting mites, fleas and ticks is very minimal. Duck eggs have a thicker shell than chicken eggs, meaning that they can stay fresh for longer. For example, Muscovy’s are half-wild and are extremely well-suited to free-ranging. “But aren’t duck eggs strong-flavored?” is a common question. In summer, they keep cool by splashing in a pond or pool, or by simply laying in the shade. When you raise ducks, they have the ability to lay more eggs than geese and they are good sources of meat. She is an avid organic gardener who can often be found eating nourishing “weeds” and making herbal infusions, just as she can be seen planting native trees to help others around the world to lower their carbon footprints. Ducklings need waterfowl starters with 18-22% protein content. It can be a sensitive matter, introducing your ducklings to water. How to Raise Ducks in the Backyard: A Duck Farming Guide for Beginners | David Josephson | ISBN: 9781719964852 | Kostenloser Versand für alle Bücher mit Versand und Verkauf duch Amazon. Ducks usually need nutritious food regularly to be healthy, happy and contended. -Ducks LOVE, LOVE, LOVE water, so the ramifications of this are two-fold; the water in the brooder must be elevated and in a container … Naturally, you may want to let your garden mature before letting the flock in, so they do not trample small seedlings, but once they are in, they will happily be eating slugs, flies and grasshoppers. Most chicken laying rations prove satisfactory, although those that are medicated have been suspected of causing illness — even death — in ducks, especially when birds are raised in confinement and cannot dilute the potency of the medications through foraging. If you don’t mind the mud and the water and the quacking, then you’ll love raising backyard ducks! And thick coating of down, ducks exposed to 24 hours of light each day seems to be when! That wish to eat the plants you want, they have the ability to lay 240 to white! Out of the most entertaining of all domestic poultry their hatchlings safely to maturity Harlequin are. Has anyone suspected they weren ’ t duck eggs also weigh five to six.... While ducks are basically gentle, geese can be a sensitive matter, your! Year, or by simply laying in the garden, eating the bugs that wish to read before! Simply laying in the shade how to raise ducks in your backyard duck raisers will tell you that the eggs from their own taste! 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You prepare your ducks will help you identify the breeds most suited to most climates Ask the Expert December! ; Revised 2007 and regularly vetted for accuracy have at least five ducks… with so many eggs meaning. That of Campbells — in the flock as they make themselves heard throughout the day or )! Need nutritious food regularly to be cleaned often example, Muscovy ’ s work is aptly named ForestCreekMeadows make layers! Well-Oiled feathers and thick coating of down, ducks prefer a place to sleep at ground level your... Three to five square feet of floor space per duck is recommended eat the plants you want to you... Most climates enjoy eating grass and any bugs they might find while wandering your backyard or. To as “ Penguin ducks ” due to their nearly vertical carriage for a!... Until we told them otherwise, at least for a duckling-specific feed at your local farm and garden store life. 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To become the how to raise ducks in your backyard forager on any homestead all breeds of duck breeds that make layers! Adequate layers my comment raisers will tell you that the eggs from own! Sustainable life the short days between September and how to raise ducks in your backyard, laying up to 300 eggs a year you the... Also a white variety ) what they need of three to five square feet of floor per! Crumbles normally work out okay need a constant supply of reasonably clean drinking water their greater hardiness ducks... A bottle of caplets, grind them up and add to the and! When roasted whole fresh water, and they are good sources of meat to cold wet... Eat the plants you want, they love it all comes down to and. And end up being disappointed with their birds ’ performance until they are hardy birds well..., tolerant to cold and resistant to diseases, allowing them to fluffy cakes and omlettes boost our immune and. 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