A few newbie duck questions....


11 Years
Feb 28, 2010
I am determined to raise ducks, the only problem is I live on about a quarter acre in the middle of town, which I am already sharing with 3 large dogs. So far I've designed and started building a 14x14ft duck run in the back corner of the yard where it's furthest from mine and my neighbors houses, and I'm planing on adding a raised duck house and an old bathtub or a stock tank to use as a pond that I can drain to irrigate my lawn/trees/garden/etc. I'll probably also be letting the ducks out into the rest of my yard and my vegetable garden (about 2800sqft) for a few hours every day. After lots a research and changing my mind about five times, I think I've decided on getting welsh harlequins, but if some other duck would suit my needs better, I'm sure I could still be swayed again. I'm hoping to raise them for eggs and eventually meat.

So...Does this sound reasonable? How many ducks can I keep with this set up? I'm planing on ordering the minimum 10 ducklings from holderread and culling them back to 4-6 females and 1 or maybe 2 drakes once they mature. Will this be too many or would I be able to get a few more?

Will the ducks get used to my dogs or will they always view them as predators? I'm pretty sure the dogs will get used to and ignore the ducks after a while, and I figure the ducks will do the same, but if not I might need to change some of my plans (right now the duck and dog runs border each other).

I know I had other questions that I can't remember right now, but I mostly just wanted to run my plans by some with more experience. Sorry if I'm rambling, I'm just so excited about ducks I can't stop (I've already driven all my friends and family crazy with all the duck talk
). Thanks for the help!
I wouldn't bother getting ducks from holderreads if you are looking for egg and meat production. No point in getting higher quality birds (quality measured by how close the physical characteristics are to the "standard") when a lesser "quality" is likely to provide more eggs or meat. Even within a given breed, different lineages will lay more or less eggs or growth to different maximum sizes. A duck that is too big is doesn't meet the "standard" and egg production isn't part of the standard so it's not selected for in breeding.

Also, if you buy from a different hatchery, you can buy them sexed so you do not need to cull extra males or hope that you get enough females.

If you plan on raising for meat, you should double check the laws in your town. Many cities prohibit raising animals for slaughter and often do not allow the slaughter of animals without a permit (facilities would have to pass a health inspection).

As far as dogs, our runners aren't afraid of dogs at all (and runners have a reputation for being more skittish than other ducks). They weren't raised around dogs so their fearlessness isn't conditioned.
Thanks, I couldn't find any reports about the laying and meat quality of different hatcheries welsh harlequins, so I figured I'd just go with holderreads, but I'd love to hear suggestions for where to get good laying WH. Ideally it would be nice to find some locally, I haven't yet, but maybe I don't know where to look?

I'm pretty sure meat birds are legal here, but I might be wrong. That's more of a "down the road" thing anyways, for now I just want eggs.

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