How to Raise Ducks and Ducklings
Many people like to raise ducks and ducklings for many reasons. Some like them as pets, others like their eggs, other people might enjoy duck’s meat, and other simple raise them to sell them to other people. Since they produce more eggs than hens, and the eggs are bigger, many people choose to raise ducks. However, they might be more expensive to raise than chickens, they eat more. The breed of the duck will influence the meat quality and the production of eggs; several breeds are more suitable than others are.
If you are planning to breed ducks, select young ducks when you purchase them, as well as good characteristics such as good weight, bright beaks and legs, good feathers, and good body shape. Ducks should be mate way after they reach six months of age. A male duck is called a drake. You can start with one drake and two females. The number of female ducks to a male duck will depend on the type of breed, but can range from five to ten.
It is very important to keep the environment and housing clean to avoid health issues with these animals. A clean environment and proper housing as well as good quality feed will promote healthy ducks and ducklings.
Housing can consist of a well-sheltered structure with proper ventilation. You can choose to let the ducks out during the day or completely housed and enclosed. The house should not have moisture issues and should be kept as dry and clean as possible. Use wood shavings on the floor to absorb moisture or any other natural material, which will also prevent the eggs from breaking if they fall.
Make sure to have the shed or house positioned in a place where there is enough shade as these birds cannot handle the heat as well. There should be some degree of slopping on the floor so moisture does not accumulate and for easy drainage. It is important that nests are built with suitable material such as wood shavings, or any other type of nesting material. The recommended size is 12 x12 inches by 16 inches deep for one duck. Cover it with wood shavings up to 3 inches in depth. Build as many as you need. You can line them up in the shed.
Feeding can mimic chicken feeders, as long as there is enough space to allow each duck to feed comfortably. Clean water is important as well. Bowls of water need to be placed away from their housing to prevent moisture. In addition, they need to be placed in a cool shaded area. Bowls that are flat and wide work well with the shape of the ducks beak.
Ducks like to swim and you can build a concrete pond that will be easy to clean or hose down and refill with fresh clean water. There is a variety of feed brands available for adult ducks as well as suitable feeds for ducklings to start them up. You can also let them feed from greens by letting them outside.
Whether you raise ducks and ducklings for your enjoyment or as a business, proper maintenance of their housing is important, as well as good feeding, proper ventilation, good roaming space, and cleanliness in order to raise healthy and happy birds. Healthy birds will show good disposition, nice feathers, bright eyes, and good posture.