Raising Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by eltejano, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. eltejano

    eltejano New Egg

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    Dec 5, 2011
    Greetings

    I am a market gardener in East Texas. I have 22 acres, including a four-acre irrigation lake, and I am thinking about raising some ducks on the lake for eggs. I need information sources on how to do this - harvesting the eggs, varieties of ducks for laying, feeding, etc. I remember some old, half-wild Muscovite ducks we had as a kid, but other than that I know nothing about ducks. So what's a good starting point? I need some study resources and do not want to depend on local advice only.

    Thanks - Jack in Tyler County, Texas -- Agriculture Zone 8a
     
  2. DUCKGIRL89

    DUCKGIRL89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2011
    TN
    feeding: I feed my adult ducks chicken scratch. Half a pound each every day, and they seem completley healthy [​IMG]

    Watering: ducks must have at leased water deep enough to dunk their heads into to clean out their bills [​IMG]

    gathering of eggs: all you need to do is lock them up is a shelter at night so you can collect eggs. Otherwise the eggs will be everywhere!

    Shelter: ducks MUST have a safe shelter to be put in at night to avoid being picked off by predators. We dont hqve that problem here though.

    Fence: ducks need to have a safe fence also to avoid predators.

    As for good laying duck breeds, I hqve had "khaki campbells" and they are fantastic layers! But I dont have them anymore. I have rouens and welsh harlequins now [​IMG] welsh harlequins are suppost to be better then the campbell. But I have yet to find out. I also have a ancona hen, she is my best layers so far. But stopped a while ago. Should start again in a month or two [​IMG]

    Also [​IMG]
     
  3. newbyduckmom

    newbyduckmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Snohomish County, WA
    Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks by Dave Holderead is an excellent source of information as is BYC! Local library may very well have a copy. There is a table in there comparing breeds. Also, Metzer farms has a comparison of breeds they sell as well.

    http://www.metzerfarms.com/DuckBreedComparison.cfm?CustID=534607


    I have Khaki Campbells and Magpies. Both are good layers. Magpies are a bit more laid back and dare I say seem a tad bit smarter than my Khakis. My Khakis are rather high strung.
     
  4. eltejano

    eltejano New Egg

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    Dec 5, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. I was considering ducks because I figured they would be less trouble than chickens. I didn't realize you had to put them up at night in a shelter. I thought you could just let them run wild - but I see your point about gathering the eggs. They would build nests in the woods! My idea may be dead before it even starts! I don't have time to fool with them like that with 6 acres of vegetable garden.

    Thanks again, Jack
     
  5. donnajeanne

    donnajeanne Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 10, 2012
    I have two beautiful ducks. I want to be sure I am feeding them properly. Can anyone tell me? Is there food different than the chickens they live with ? Thank you!
     
  6. Marty1876

    Marty1876 Hi Everyone!

    I have a book called raising poultry successfully that I picked up a few years ago. It has been a solid source of information for me, when I've needed it. It covers raising ducks, geese, and chickens. Also diesease and housing.

    My mom had and continues to keep ducks on water. Now, they do need to be put in at night, but to be honest, she eventually just had dad build a floating anchored thing out in the middle that they slept on when they didn't bother to come in. She fed them only in the evenings in a pen nearby, and they'd all come running most of the time. She'd then lock them up for the night in order to gather eggs the next day. They lay in the morning. She'd keep them in until about 9, then free them for the day. Sometimes a hen would go broody, but that's the risk you take is one will hide a nest, and if your lucky she'll hide from predators too. If you find her, its prudent to put a cage over her at night.

    Good luck, and I think there would be a lot to enjoy about this set up. They will love foraging for snails and other foods. I keep a duck laying flock that I sell eggs from, so keep Khaki Campbell's (which are also excellent foragers) as my main layers. They outlay chickens all year long. I also have Anconas (OK foragers) for the colored eggs, and Pekings for the large white eggs. IN your case, I'd go with Khakis and Cayugas. Both are still possessing some wild instincts, which are useful. Cayugas are pretty good layers, and make larger eating ducks, if you want. They are native to North America, and still live wild up north. Both of these ducks and fly if pressed to save their lives. (like only to the pond, not south for the winter flying)

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012

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