Awe Ducks, I can’t really picture my farm without ducks, we moved here in very early spring (snow on the ground) and the first farm animal that arrived was ducks, followed shortly by chickens, goats and sheep.

I tried to find a few local adult ducks at the time but as I didn’t know where to find the local bird sales, I was having no luck, but was a able to find a small farmer that had day old ducklings available in 2 laying breeds, I bought 12, six of each.. turns out, I didn’t need to do that as it became clear when they grew up that six of ‘Purebreeds” were in fact half an half. Didn’t matter much to me, other then I would need to bring in new genes a little faster then I had planned. I had gotten Indian Runner and Black and Blue Swedish Ducks, DH calls them his little nuns with their white bibs or his dude’s in tux..

The laying breeds are just that, as long as you are feeding them well, and collecting the eggs, they are wonderful at laying for good long time. They don’t often go broody and if they do, its the rare female that will sit the whole time.

My duck hens lay in their prime about 200-250 eggs per year, the Indian runners are considered a light weight breed, and I would have to agree, they don’t have alot of meat on them at all, but boy can they lay, I crossed them out to the swedish (which are also layers) but have a much better body type with butcher day comes along.

I also added in Appleyards which is considered a heavy breed as I wanted a few hens that had really good mothering and crossed with the swedish give me a nice eating bird. They don’t lay nearly as well but they go broody and are excellent mothers.

Last but not least, I have Muscovy’s, the heavy weights of the yard, they are not of the same family as the other ducks and will if breed create mules of the duck world. Good for eating but not good for reproduction.

The Muscovy’s rock at being mom’s and the number of little ones they can have in a year is staggering.. One Drake and two hens (averaging 12 to 16 babies per clutch) and they can have up to three clutches per year, can suddenly have you playing host to 60 to 80 plus ducklings.. the good news is the day old sell well for 5 dollars locally, adults for 15 to 30 depending on color and sex, and their meat is wonderful, more like beef then duck to me.. and there is alot of it, the average Muscovy will give you up to two or three times the meat per bird as the laying ducks will depending on sex and age.

Extra Reason’s I like my ducks, Bug Patrol, they do a wonderful job of keeping all kinds of bugs under control, many folks have a few muscovy’s hanging around the barns to help keep them clean of flies, but I also use the ducks in my gardens, in the spring, while I work, I have them in on bug patrol, once I start planting they are locked out with very good fencing, after the garden is going well, the lightweights can be used for bug patrol again, got a problem with slugs, the ducks will give a BIG helping hand, lay out boards in the garden, and then let your flock out and flip all the boards over and they will have a slug, snail feast.. They help me greatly in terms of keeping the garden stay “without sprays etc”

They are good for scapes of the veggie kind if you have extra to give. Their needs are very simple, they have a place to go in with straw bedding but they will still come outside in the worst of winter and the rest of the year, they tend to be outside more then in, they need fresh water (which they will make dirty as soon as possable) so I would recommend a drinking set up as well as a bathing pan that gets filled and dumped daily.

The laying ducks like ground height nest box’s and they need them bigger then the average chicken, but the Moscovy hens like to roost and will fly up into a box to sit and lay, (in the wild they lay in tree hollows) and I do find the girls perfer to be up, raither then down.

Overall, I find them a very worthwhile member of the critter crew and there is nothing quite as fun to watch as a flock of happy ducks heading from their pen to the pond to have a good bath and splash.

This entry was posted in Critters, Food Production and Recipes, frugal and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ducks-Overview

  1. 40 Pounds By June says:

    Adorable quacks! I’ve never had a duck egg – do they taste different than the hen eggs?

  2. mom says:

    Chloe says the ducks look so colourfull.And very pretty to I bet its fun being there at the Chloe,xoxo

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