In the past we’ve talked about raising chickens, goats, sheep, and even cows. However, there is one fowl that we haven’t talked about yet, but is a common occurrence on many farms. Of course I’m talking about ducks. Now, raising ducks is not necessarily a simple task, however, they tent to be easier to care for than other fowl and can be enjoyable to watch and tend to. So read on for our collection of tips and to-do’s when raising ducks.
One thing that is important to remember is health safety when it comes to raising ducks. Like chickens, ducks may have Salmonella germs in their dropping and on their bodies, even if they appear healthy and clean. These germs can also get on anything the duck interacts with within their habitat. Of course, this can pass on to the caretakers if they’re not careful. Always make sure that you wash your hands immediately after handling the ducks or anything in the area that they live in.
Feeding Baby Ducks
When taking care of baby ducks make sure to never feed them without water. Water helps get the food down and clean their beak vents. Always give baby ducks access to water for at least an hour before feeding and an hour after. Also, when providing them with water make sure to use a chick fountain or shallow bowl, and be prepared to clean the area often. Ducklings love to splash around in the water, which can be adorable, but also a pain in the rear once they’re done. Also when providing water make sure that it is no deeper than a quarter inch so that the ducks don’t drown.
When you have ducklings, you can’t put them into a normal shelter to protect them from predators and weather. There is a special cage you will need called a brooder. These help keep the ducklings safe and warm and can be made in the home or out of easy to get materials. For the base you can use a spare bathtub, plastic tote, dog crate, or even a sturdy cardboard box lined with plastic. Additionally, until they reach 7 to 9 weeks, you’re going to want to keep a heat lamp on the brooder to keep the ducklings warm. The reason being, before they reach that 7 to 9 week point, ducklings can’t regulate their internal temperature and need outside sources of heat to keep them alive. For the first week that the ducklings are in the brooder the temperature should be 90 degrees Fahrenheit. After that first week you will want to lower the temperature by a degree a day until the temperature is equal with the temperature outside the brooder.
What Came First? The Duck Or The Egg?
Once the ducks are old enough, and the females begin producing eggs, they can actually be used as a good replacement for chicken eggs. They’re the same as chicken eggs but are much larger and contain higher levels of protein, calcium, iron and potassium. Additionally, they’re can be useful when baking cakes, as the extra protein helps the cake to rise, and the fat content can add more richness and flavor to the bakery treat.
What are some of your tips and tricks when it comes to raising ducks? Let us know in the comments below!