Duck Hatcheries for Backyard Flocks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Oktober, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Oktober

    Oktober In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    Rhode Island
    This past summer, our family started raising a few chickens for eggs and they became a big hit with our kids (two girls under 7 years old). With the success for the chickens, my wife has grown an interest in raising a few ducks as well (again for eggs and entertainment). However, there is remarkably less information on the web about raising ducks, as compared to raising chickens.

    Allow me to ask a few generic/novice questions:

    1. What online resources to duck owners use to gather information on raising ducks / housing / species, etc?

    2. What are the preferred hatcheries that will ship small number of ducks (i.e. 4-5)?

    3. Are there any concerns with housing ducks with our chickens (both in the coop and the run)?

    4. While chickens will go into their house when it gets dark enough, I have read that ducks do not. How hard is it to round the ducks up and get them inside their house?

    5. At what age will ducks start producing eggs?

    Any other advice is more than welcome.


  2. featherfinder

    featherfinder Runner Lover

    Apr 16, 2011
    Pinallas Park, Florida
    1. This forum [​IMG] and also Other sites that you can access by googleing your question. And others just from experiance.

    2. Metzers is a good one, Ideal, And then you can probably find some on here or craigslist.

    3. Ducks poop alot more than chickens. Also if you have more drakes then girls the drakes will try to mate your chickens and it can hurt them and cause them damage. Ducks also require water deep enough to stick their head in and if you go with a pond then i have heard of chickens getting stuck in the duck pond and drowning.

    4. Most ducks do not go in on their own and it is not hard with some training and lots of treats. Use the treats to teach them where to go and at the time you want them to everyday and eventually when they see you at dusk they should start doing it will a little walk around them.

    5. Depends on the breed and season. Most will start at 6-8 months but if you get a breed that lays seasonally then you will have to wait longer till season comes around.

    Im sure others will add in!
  3. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Songster

    Aug 11, 2011
    Upshur County, Texas
    Metzer and Ideal are good choices. They have a good choice of breeds, ship small amounts, AND will sex birds so you can be certain you only have 1 boy and 3 girls. My Ideal campbells are overall good quality birds, but I had a very high mortality rate in shipping. 5 ducklings survived out of 12, and one of those 5 is very undersized (and suffered a hock injury as a duckling, but these things do happen with ducks.) She is otherwise very healthy and vivacious. Ideal runs a lot of sales too, and if you sign up for their newsletter they'll alert you to them.

    My metzer duckies always seem to fare better on the trip. I've had 3 shipments and the most I've lost is 1 or 2. One shipment was 100%.

    For information, runs a great site and blog. His life's work is waterfowl. Ideal is a well run company but it is a big company and they have their hands in most every type of bird there is.

    Between the two I would go with the one that has 1. what you want, and 2. the closest shipping.

    Cackle also supplies a lot of 4H grade show birds, but I don't know if they do small orders, will sex, and I've never seen one of their birds in person, but I liked Ideal and Metzer both enough to order from again.
  4. QuackerJackFarms

    QuackerJackFarms Songster

    Jun 26, 2011
    And I'll throw some props to Cackle Hatchery. I've never had anything but great experiences with them. [​IMG]
  5. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009

    DUCKGIRL89 Songster

    Apr 28, 2011
    I got ducklings from metzers a bit ago and would say go with them. But if your wanting better quality ducks then would be better. Both are great though. Im ordering from holderreadfarm next spring [​IMG]
  7. yoyosma

    yoyosma In the Brooder

    Oct 13, 2011
    Whidbey Island
    I would recommend buying Dave Holderread's book, "Raising Ducks", published by Storey.
    I am looking in it all the time, when I have questions about this or that.
    This forum is fabulous too- the search feature will find the answer to almost any weird thing that I wonder, "What the heck are they doing now??"
    I have only had the one order, from Metzer, and they were great- replaced my sickly-then-dead duckling, were helpful and quick to respond.
    I'll be getting chickens after the ducks, so I have had all of your questions in reverse!
  8. ducksinarow

    ducksinarow Songster

    Mar 12, 2011
    Spring is right around the corner. I got 5 ducklings at Rural King last April. They had a 5 duckling minimum and another Tractor Supply had a 2 duckling minimum. Rural King also allows you to place an order with them and get your birds when they get their supply. For a small number of ducks you cannot beat buying locally from a feed store or craigslist. I work at the post office and if I were to buy from a hatchery I would pick the closest one.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by