New to raising ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jnicholes, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. jnicholes

    jnicholes Songster

    Feb 16, 2017

    So I have multiple questions I want to ask, because I want to raise ducks. I used to raise chickens, but now I want to switch over to ducks. I want to raise ducks for meat and possibly for eggs. I have multiple questions.

    First, how many square feet of space per duck? I plan on raising Pekins.

    Second, I know Ducks need to drink, but is a water supply needed for them to get wet in?

    Third, what do you feed ducks? What kind of feed do you give them when they are ducklings, and what kind of feed you give them when they are grown?

    Fourth, I heard that duck eggs are healthier than chicken eggs. Is this correct?

    Finally, I heard that Pekin ducks are ready to be butchered around 7 weeks. Is this accurate?

    Is there anything else I need to know about raising ducks?

    Any help will be appreciated,

    CayugaJana likes this.
  2. MagpieDucks

    MagpieDucks Death By Cookies

    Oct 26, 2015
    My Coop
    1. Around 4-5 sq ft per duck is adequate.

    2. Waterfowl should have a water source to dunk their heads in at least as far as their eyes. A swimming area is not necessary but is greatly appreciated by all ducks.

    3. I feed Purina Flock Raider as ducklings then switch to Nutrena All Flock at 8 weeks old. They should have anything higher than protein than 20%. Also, ducks require a higher niacin content than chickens, so (especially in Pekins) they may have leg issues if you just use a chick starter.

    4. Duck eggs do have some superior benefits over chicken eggs, whether or not they are healthier, I don’t think that is correct. Good feed is greatly beneficial to get good quality eggs, especially free ranging.

    5. No. I believe it is usually around 4 months before they can be butchered.

    Hope this helps! :jumpy
    Cayuga momma and sylviethecochin like this.
  3. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Songster

    Aug 11, 2016
    Watching the incubators
    Welcome to the exciting world of raising ducks! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. :D

    If you haven't already perused the duck-specific articles in the Learning Center, I think you'll find it to be a valuable resource in your duck-rearing journey. Best wishes!
  4. DuckyBabies

    DuckyBabies Songster

    Oct 15, 2018
    When you get your ducklings make sure you have a source of niacin. Pekins especially are prone to leg problems because they grow so fast.

    Also, it’s not an absolute need, but my ducks LOVE to have a pool. When it’s not out, they always get in their water bowl and try to swim in it and end up splashing all the water out. I just have a basic baby pool that I fill up every couple days in the summer and on days where it is warm enough in the winter. If I know it is going to rain, I flip the pool over and let it collect (free water!) It makes for some very happy ducks!
    MagpieDucks and sylviethecochin like this.
  5. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    Whether pekins can be butchered at seven weeks depends greatly on the line of stock. Many Pekin lines are quite a bit smaller than the breed description calls for.
    CayugaJana and MagpieDucks like this.
  6. DuckyBabies

    DuckyBabies Songster

    Oct 15, 2018
    48AAEC3D-DDA7-4D43-82AE-9491C1FBB2EB.jpeg This is my pekins at 7 weeks. They were still pretty small compared to now at almost a year.
  7. DuckyBabies

    DuckyBabies Songster

    Oct 15, 2018
    5098AF94-8560-462F-9800-BF02F0330D31.jpeg Here is the size at 4 months.
  8. jnicholes

    jnicholes Songster

    Feb 16, 2017
    Thank you all so much for the replies! I'm going to be building a run first, and then I'm going to be purchasing the ducklings when the time comes. Thanks so much for answering all my questions. I also called Dunlap Hatchery, a hatchery near where I live, and they gave me some great advice too.

    The Hatchery told me 7 weeks, but if what you guys say is true, then I may wait 4 months before butchering.

    Truth be told, I am a duck and Goose Hunter. I've grown to like the taste of duck and geese, which is why I want to try to raise meat ducks and egg ducks. Something to do while the seasons closed, I guess.

    Thank you all so much,

  9. CayugaJana

    CayugaJana Free Ranging

    Sep 2, 2017
    You should do some trial and error with when to butcher. I would get a scale to weigh them then butcher a few to see if the carcass is as big as you want.

    And I second Niacin. I buy liquid b complex (has a lot of Niacin in it) for my Pekins. If I were you I would keep it in their water all the time if you were butchering at 7 weeks.
    MagpieDucks and sylviethecochin like this.
  10. Texag87

    Texag87 Songster

    Sep 22, 2018
    The reason you have read about butchering at 7 weeks is that is when they have the least pinfeathers . After that, it will take twice as long to clean them than any wild duck.

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