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Learn more about raising Ducks on my blog
Ducklings are a great animal to start with. Whereas chicks grow into chickens quite quickly, ducklings take their time to mature. Which gives the kids a longer time to play and handle them. They greet you when you come by and will follow behind you. They are a friendly animal.
White Pekin: A large all white breed that are disease and stress resistant. Originally in China in ancient times. The drakes get to be 10 pounds and hens 9 pounds. They are not a foraging duck, and the females can be noisy. They are a good layer, and will lay 125 - 175 eggs a year.!
Blue Swedish: These attractive ducks are known for their blue color, and have a white bib that runs down the breast. Drakes 8 pounds, and the hens are 7 pounds. Will lay mostly white eggs with an occasional blue tint. They are very hardy ducks and good foragers.
Khaki-Campbell: Strictly an egg-laying duck. They will lay 300 - 325 eggs a year! They continue through the winter. They will be good layers for 3 to 4 years. The females are seal-brown and the males are the same with touches of darker brown. They are excellent forages and withstand cool climates very well. They weigh about 4 1/2 pounds
Rouen: These ducks are similar to the wild Mallard duck in looks. With the beautiful green head. They are larger and unlike the Mallard, cannot fly.
Muscovey: These are the ducks with the mask of red skin on their beaks. They are the only breed of duck that did not originate from the Mallard. Muscoveys make great pets, they socialize well with people as well as other pets such as dogs and cats. They are great for pest control as they love to eat bugs and slugs.
Muscoveys are not great swimmers, so do not need a pond or large body of water. They are content with a pan.
The meat of the Muscovy is unlike that of the other domestic ducks. It is not greasy and is much more like white meat than like poultry. The males are large, weighing up to twelve pounds, with the smaller females reaching only seven. Their feet have strong sharp claws and are built to grasp, so that they can perch on branches. They have large red warty caruncles above the beak and around the eyes. They will often fly up and roost, and are known more for flying around than flying away!
Cayuga: Takes it's name from Cayuga Lake in NY. One of the few ducks with a US origin. Very quiet, hardy and has a brilliant "beetle green" plumage.
Indian Runners: These ducks are shaped differently than the other breeds. They stand tall and slim... their necks look like "bottle necks". They do not waddle, but move with a very quick step. They are smaller and are good foragers, and lay white eggs. They come in different colors: chocolate, black, blue, and fawn & white.
By age 8 weeks, ducklings can do without shelter, except for shade from the sun, or from chilling rains and freezing weather. By the time they are adults, no housing is necessary at all! Some owners like to provide either a 3 sided shelter, or a totally enclosed shack. They will adapt to this, and enjoy being our of the wind, which they dislike. They do not lie to be confined in a building all the time.
They will lay their eggs before 9 am and are a very habitual animal. If you lock them up every night they will return to their shelter on their own.
If they are to be confined, they need 8" of floor space and plenty of water.
Ducks need water to eat and not choke. Keep a water dish handy, large enough to dip their entire heads into.
For young ducklings, a trough about 2" deep and 1" wide will work.
They are VERY MESSY! and enjoy splashing around. Put a thick layer of wood shavings (never cedar as they can cause respiratory problems) on the floor.
DO NOT let the ducklings get totally wet and chilled. THIS COULD KILL THEM! If your duckling gets soaked, dry them with a towel and hair dryer.
Ducklings do not have their mother to coat their feathers with a special secretions to help keep them water-proof. When the ducklings are fully feathered, you should not have any trouble.
Ducklings should not be given medicated chick starter feed. Some medications for coccidiosis can cause death
Commercial Feeds: Ducks do best on crumbles, rather than mash. You can feed them ducking starter, turkey poult starter or gamebird starter.
Homegrown Starter: This can make the duckling very messy and cause their feathers to matte.
Breakfast: cooked oatmeal covered with a little water
Lunch: Scrambled eggs covered with a little water
Dinner: homemade whole wheat bread with water covering it. Chop up some tender greens such as onion tops, dandelion greens, and sprinkle on top of the water.
Month-old: By 4 weeks, ducklings can forage for tender grass, clover, green leafy plants, insects, slugs, snails, weeds, berries, and seed. You can add to this: housescraps, milk, and hardboiled eggs.
Ducklings are fed all they will clean up three or four times daily for the first four weeks and then may be cut down to two feeds daily. Sand or grit, or both, must be kept before them at all times
Ducks do eat some green feed and farm flocks are usually allowed to run at large. Cut green feed can be supplied to the birds when they must be kept inside in bad weather.
DO NOT feed cracked or whole grains until they are at least 4 weeks old. Feed once in the evening, unless they are not able to forage, then feed twice a day.
SWIMMING: Adult ducks do not need a pond to swim in, but a little baby pool with clean water will be readily enjoyed. We have raised ducks for many years without a pond to swim in. They get wet and splash about in troughs, muck buckets, and rain puddles!
PLEASE HELP PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF WV ANIMAL OWNERS It is our duty as citizens (local, WV and U.S.) to know the laws. It's time to spread the word to the WV animal owning population that there are people out there trying to create laws that have the potential to affect every aspect of all animal ownership. Please join our group, and help preserve your right to keep animals!
For those of you that raise any type of animal, be sure to arm yourself with the facts against the proposed NAIS program that the government has in mind... websites to review Please remember that the Animal Rights activists are not your friend.