The key to keeping both chickens and ducks happy in the same backyard, is to make sure they both have what they need. This post may contain affiliate links. Ducks usually need nutritious food regularly to be healthy, happy and contended. Relatively few people in the Americas realize that, on the whole, ducks are more proficient layers than chickens. Khaki Campbells are a cross between a Runner and a Rouen, laying up to 300 eggs a year! Fine, powdery feeds should be avoided. On the other hand, Campbell ducks of good strains often average 300 or more eggs per bird during the course of 12 months. It is important to know how to keep them on a farm. 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. In fact, it seems that they are happiest with a shelter and areas to explore. For this reason it is important to keep a balanced ratio in check. 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. 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. Over the years, we have served thousands of scrambled, fried, poached, deviled, soft boiled, souffleed and creped duck eggs to meal guests and at potlucks, picnics, wedding buffets and youth camps. Adult laying ducks need duck feed with 16-17% protein content. 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. If you are on a small/urban homestead, a dual purpose breed should suit all your needs. 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. 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? Raising baby ducks is easy but they do require special care. But, adequate bedding (such as sand, straw or wood shavings), larger pens or the use of wire floors takes care of this problem. 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. 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. When exploring how to raise ducks in your backyard, it’s important to understand waterfowl’s critical relationship with water. Ducks do not need bathing water to remain healthy. Backyard Ducks For Eggs . 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. Coyotes, raccoons, and other predators will attack ducks as well. I usually let my ducklings enjoy their first bath three days after hatching. However, day length is extremely important since it is the photoperiod that automatically turns the reproductive organs of poultry on and off. 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. 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. The albumen of duck eggs is somewhat firmer and usually takes slightly longer to whip up for meringues and angel food cakes than the white of chicken eggs. 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. In terms of male versus female ducks, good flock makeups include three females (and no males) or a male with four or five females. It can be a sensitive matter, introducing your ducklings to water. Required fields are marked *. Broiler ducks need duck feed with at least 20% protein content. Your email address will not be published. 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. Then there are the dynamics of behavior. Female ducks: With their babies. 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. For ducks in general, a windbreak that is bedded on the protected side with dry litter usually provides sufficient protection in areas where temperatures occasionally drop to 0º F. However, for laying ducks, feed conversion and egg yields can be improved if ducks are housed at nighttime whenever temperatures regularly fall more than 5º to 10º F below the freezing level. You can supplement this with grains as well as letting your ducks forage. There are a variety of duck breeds that make adequate layers. Runners are bred in a rainbow of colors, including White, Fawn and White, Penciled, Solid Fawn, Black, Blue, Chocolate, Buff and Gray. Female ducks will quack, or make a variety of other noises when excited or frightened, yet overall they tend to be a quieter crowd. 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. Interestingly, before being told that they were eating duck cuisine, we’ve had numerous people mention that the eggs were exceptionally good. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. A diet that is high in energy, low in fiber and supplemented with ample of protein is considered ideal and wholesome to ensure the upward and steady growth of Ducks. 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. 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. The unique creatures are similar to chicken with vast difference in behavior, eggs are full of nutrients, rich in protein. Ducks can not be called ducks unless it loves its food. On the other hand geese are raised mostly for meat. Chickens don’t like mud and prefer to stay dry. Keeping Backyard Ducks. You are probably familiar with watching a momma duck and her many little babies swimming happily behind. The persons should provide shelter, clean water and food. Especially when you opt for a Muscovy. Copyright © 2021 Rural Sprout on the Seasoned Pro Theme. It all comes down to space and housing availability. When you raise ducks, they have the ability to lay more eggs than geese and they are good sources of meat. 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. Proper Housing Ducks. No doubt about it, chickens have proven their worth as fine producers of savory eggs and should not be discredited. Ducklings need a constant source of fresh water, food, and a heat lamp for additional warmth. 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. Best Ducks For Backyard. Ducklings must always have a clean source of water and food available for them. 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. 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! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 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. On various occasions, we have refrigerated well-cleaned duck eggs for four months and longer with no detectable change in flavor. When raising baby ducks, you can choose Read More Raising Ducks: The Care, Feeding and Raising of Baby 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. Do not try this at home if you are raising your ducklings by hand. Two breeds of ducks are known for outlaying chickens in the course of a year – Runners and Campbells. Now that you know how to raise ducks in your backyard, I want to leave you with this thought. 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. The duck egg really is incredible! Space might determine the type of ducks to keep. © 2021, Countryside - All Rights Reserved, Ask the Expert — December 2014/January 2015, Ask the Expert —December 2015/January 2016. Until that essential month passes, you must be careful to give your ducklings space to dry out if they get too wet, otherwise they may die from the cold. In my recollection, not once has anyone suspected they weren’t dining on chicken eggs until we told them otherwise. To prevent premature broodiness and molting, 16 to 17 hours of light each day seems to be the upper limit for ducks. You will need a brooder for them to live in, a heat lamp, a source of food and water, and bedding. Welsh Harlequins are productive egg layers with the ability to lay 240 to 330 white shelled eggs a year! 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