Learning how to raise ducks is simple. Plus, ducks are cute! They can bring you a lot of entertainment on your homestead. If you want to learn some quick tips and tricks, read on. We have listed ten tips for you to help you get started.
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How To Raise Ducks For Beginners
Raising Ducks in Your Homestead
Ducks are very unique animals. People usually think that raising chickens and ducks are the same process. In some ways, they are. But, there are also a lot of differences in how to handle these two animals, respectively.
Before you begin raising ducks, you first have to understand their needs so you can nurture them better.
To help you, we prepared some tips that you can note down.
1. Pick the Recommended Duck Breeds
Pekin ducks are usually the most recommended among all duck breeds for raising. They are the perfect breed to raise for a lot of reasons.
First, they are heavy, which means you don’t have to worry that they will suddenly fly to escape. In fact, on average, Pekin ducks are around 10 pounds. So, you can just leave them to roam around your homestead.
Next, Pekin ducks are very friendly. They’re also good food scavengers and can feed themselves a lot. And because of their big size, they’re an excellent source of meat. Their eggs are also a lot bigger than chicken eggs.
Another recommended breed of ducks is Khaki Campbells. They are smaller than Pekin ducks, weighing only around 3 pounds. As their name implies, their feathers are Khaki. Male Campbells have orange feet, while the females’ feet are brown.
Khaki Campbells can fly, but only for a limited range. So, you don’t have to worry if they will fly to escape, either.
Similar to the Pekins, Khaki Campbells are also great food hunters. They also produce eggs bigger than chickens.
2. Build a Proper Duck Fence and Housing
As a beginner, you should know that ducks are greatly preyed upon by other animals. A lot of dogs and hawks are very fond of chasing down ducklings.
To protect your ducks, give them a home where they can keep a bit of moisture and feel a lot of airflow. And, keep them fenced as well. By doing this, hawks won’t be able to just swoop down and chase away your lovely ducks.
Pallets are a perfect option for duck housing. These allow for some moisture and a lot of airflow. You can also give them a nesting box for their eggs.
Just remember, the most important part of building duck housings is making sure that the ducks can enter the house with just a small ramp. Otherwise, they will be afraid to go inside it and will not use it.
3. Familiarize Yourself with Ducks’ Laying Habits
Unlike chickens, egg-laying duck breeds can produce eggs for years. Their eggs are also much larger than that of chickens.
Ducks are also early risers. They usually lay eggs inside their coops between four and eight am every day. So, better wake up extra early during laying season.
4. Give Them a Small Swimming Pool
A lot of people assume that ducks need to live beside a river to survive. Don’t worry, they love water, but they don’t need a whole lake.
Ducks don’t require you to give them water aside from drinking purposes. Just fill up a five-gallon bucket of water every day, and let them play in it.
If you want to show them a bit more love, you can give them a $5 kiddie pool. They will definitely swim and hang out there all day long.
5. Feed Them a Lot of Food
Ducks also love eating. They usually make a mess with their food waste especially if their coops are not properly organized.
The most important tip is to keep their food and water separate from each other. Since they love to play with water and eating, they will try mixing the two.
As previously mentioned, ducks are great food hunters. They can feed on slugs, snails, weeds, and any other plants. They also love eating corn which makes them much fatter.
6. Allow Them to Guard Your Garden
As a homesteader, you should know that ducks can be your best friend. Since they are great foragers, they will willingly patrol your garden. They will eat all the bugs that try to ruin your plants.
Just a word of caution though, don’t let your ducks in your garden if your seedlings are tiny. They might step on the seeds and kill them.
7. Learn the Differences in Duck Genders
You should also familiarize yourself with the differences in the characteristics of male and female ducks. This will help you avoid buying two males or two females.
A Female duck looks like regular ducks. But, she is louder and her quacks sound like honks. On the other hand, a male duck or a drake has a little tail feather. He is usually the quiet one and just trails behind the female.
8. Know When the Ducks Are Mating
It is also important for you to know that male ducks have an extremely high sex drive. They can mate up to 12 duck hens.
And, if you ever stumble upon your ducks mating, don’t panic! There are a lot of times that during mating, ducks will look like they’re playing in the water. Then suddenly, the male duck will push the female’s head like he’s drowning her.
He isn’t. During mating, the male duck will pull on the hen’s neck. And if it’s hurting her, you will know because she will honk really loudly.
9. Keep the Ducks Away From Chickens
Some homesteaders say that it’s fine to keep ducks and chickens inside the same housing. While both can coexist just fine, there are still a few risks.
As an example, a drake can try to mate a chicken hen. A rooster can also try to mate a duck hen. This can cause a risk of prolapse in the chickens which can kill them.
10. Remember that Ducks are Hardier Birds
One fun fact about ducks is that they have a strong immune system. A lot of chickens easily catch viral respiratory infections. But, ducks rarely get sick.
So, ducks will definitely save you from lots of headaches. You can even find them hanging outside their coop in the snow or during a storm.
Want to learn more about raising ducks for eggs? Check out this video by Iowa Ingredient:
As you can see, learning how to raise ducks is easy even for beginners. Ducks are very friendly and low maintenance. They are excellent food hunters and even have a strong immune system. As long as you give them proper housing, food, and water, they are good go.
Have you ever tried taking care of ducks? If not, what duck breed do you want to try? Share your thoughts with everyone in the comments below!
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