How hard is it to raise ducks.
It's not very hard to raise ducks. Despite what books and websites would lead you to believe, ducks are actually very easy and fun to care for. Every day you feed them and water them and about every week or so, clean their coop. They are slightly more difficult as chicks as they make big messes but that can be fixed with a large brooder and 2 or so cleanings a day. As for living with chickens and geese, I'd say they might be able to live together, but for the most part it's usually a good idea to house waterfowl (ducks & geese) separately from land fowl )chickens & turkeys & guinea fowl etc). I was only just 12 when I got my ducks and I've only lost 2 out of the 13 I started with. One was from a natural death, he was a runt, and the other got decapitated by a rat. Even now, in Winter we're doing fine. Ducks don't need a ton of care and in return will give you eggs, chicks, love, and entertainment. My dog gets along with my ducks and practically tried to raise them and ducks will keep you laughing with their hilarious antics.
P.S. Just a word of advice, don't go nuts researching, for all the research I did, when it came down to it I just trusted my gut and did what I thought was right. Don't get worked up about little things either, ducks are very resilient and heal quickly.Just remember, if you love and care for your ducks, you'll always do the right thing for them.
Edited by Bailey1204 - 1/4/16 at 7:25pm
Its not a question of hard or not, its a question of planning and dedication. As Bailey said as long as you water, feed them and keep them safe its not hard. That said, there is a lot of planning that goes into it. I personally believe that ducks thrive with a body of water, something as simple as a kiddie pool will do. For that you need to plan on how you will drain and refill it and know that its going to be dirty and messy etc.
Ducks live for many many years so its important to understand that you are in this for the long run. Definitely get a pair, but three may be better as if you happen to lose one, for any reason, the remaining duck will be very sad. I don't know your circumstances but just keep all that in mind that undertaking ducks is a huge responsibility, but not that hard. I took the precaution of finding a vet that specializes in poultry so that is another consideration as well, understanding that not only do you have to find a duck doctor but they are fairly pricey.
All of that said, as long as you know and understand what you are getting into, ducks are a wonderful source of eggs, great pets and awesome to be around. Now you get to move on to the bestest part, choosing a breed!!!
Well it really depends on what your intent is. If you want good egg layers but don't care much about personality then Golden 300, White Layers, Khaki Campbells, and Welsh Harlequins are great choices, Muscovy's too.
If you want some personality then Pekin's and Cayugas are your pick. All duck personalities and egg laying range from bird to bird but that's been my experience. Here is a link to Metzer farms site that briefly lists out the differences between ducks.
Me personally, I wanted Mallards, Pekins and Cayugas because I think they are beautiful and do silly things. I got Khaki's for the egg production. Admittedly the Pekins lay a good amount of eggs too. I did not manage to get a Cayuga in the last hatch but I still want one.
I have both ducks and chickens, and have had pekins, cayugas, and are currently only raising muscovies with some rescued polish hens. Between chickens and ducks, I like ducks better. They don't smell as much (to me) and are not as nervous or flighty as chickens. Between all the ducks, I like my muscovies the most. When I had the pekins and cayugas, they were loud and obnoxious and made a mess out of the water I provided for them and ate a ridiculous amount of feed. The muscovies are quiet, pretty much mute, and don't seem to enjoy dabbling in the water I give them so everything remains relatively dry (even if I move their water into their coop for a day), they prefer to forage and if let out into my yard, would leave the feed untouched. They're also really easy to herd around, unlike the chickens which run every which way. The only thing is that they don't scratch as much as chickens so their run can get a bit mucky with their watery poop. However, raking out some old straw from their coop when I'm turning it over usually solves it so I don't slip.