There’s a lot about ducks that can be interesting to read. If you are here, I am sure you are not only going to just read but also practically raise ducks.
As a beginner, ducks can be a little tiring to take care of. If you have experience in handling chicken, ducks wouldn’t be that big deal.
Being a part of poultry farming, ducks are considered to be another source of egg production after Chickens in most parts of the world.
In terms of raising ducks for commercial use, it requires some basic understanding of breeds and the process involved in caring for them.
Ducks are good layers. They can give you a good start to the production of eggs if treated well. However, it depends upon how efficiently you raise them, and for what purpose.
The different stages from raising ducklings to their mature stage is a step by step process which is similar to any kind of poultry farming. In fact, ducks have proven to be a good option than chickens.
Raising Ducks for beginners:
It simply requires good attention and care to raise a flock of ducklings.
If you have set your mind to raise ducks commercially or already have started, the below-mentioned points would definitely boost your confidence to go ahead.
Where to settle your ducks:
Well, like chickens even ducks do not need a large space as shelter.
However, an ample space for them to waddle around a bit or even spread their wings is very important. it could be around 4 square feet per duck.
The housing should be kept dry and clean. As ducks are claimed to be messy birds, try not to leave the shelter with more than the required feed.
Do ensure that there’s proper availability of water to consume. At the same time make sure proper ventilation and heat are acquired within the housing.
What exactly to feed them:
It’s better to feed ducks regularly by having time to time visits in their shelter. this will ensure they get ample food for growth.
serve them an omnivorous diet including grains, pellets, and corn. Also supplementing this food with insects and worms will be beneficial.
For baby ducks, make sure to feed them with mash for the first eight weeks. Serve them freshwater snails or unhulled rice.
Remember ducks don’t chew, they need enough water to swallow the food. Therefore, offer food in bites that can be easily swallowed and digested.
Avoid serving them food with less nutritional values like bread, chips, and leftovers.
Once the ducks have passed 20 weeks or older, you can start offering high-quality breeder feed. They also need a daily routine of shell grit for calcium consumption.
How to care for your ducklings:
As we have discussed above, handling ducks are much easier than other poultry birds. Once the housing and the food requirements are done accurately, it means you have already made your flock happy.
Now to continue with it, a good bedding system must be developed that can provide them warmth and enough sleep. It doesn’t cost much to give bedding comfort to ducks as you can make it with raw materials available.
Prepare a bed using rice hulls, sawdust, or wooden shaves. You can even use a bean bag as a pillow. Chopped straw is another alternative to spread on a shelf liner, which can give enough comfort for the ducks to snuggle.
Do Keep in mind that the raw materials used must not be consumed by the ducks.
How to maintain their health:
It’s not that often that ducks get affected by a severe disease. They are hardy and highly disease resistant.
In fact, a duck can live up to 10 to 12 years if basic caring is maintained.
However, good health can be ensured from the stage of them being baby ducks. This is the stage where their immunity can be threatened. To ensure that germs or parasites not take over their body, do regular checking by yourself. Ducks can help themselves from getting affected by such germs through regular preening.
Do ensure a proper veterinarian service is accessible whenever needed.
How to meet the demand:
Once setting up of the duck, the farm is completed, the business aspect comes in. It depends upon you which you more prefer to choose when it comes to meat or eggs.
To quicken your work on the farm, choose mere labor service that is not necessarily professional. Even seasonal manpower can boost the pace of handling the farm. It will not only help you reach the market efficiently but also provide employment.
Analyze and understand the regions known for the demand for duck meat and eggs. it should mostly include the major rural areas. There’s no doubt that you can easily regain more amount than you spent in raising ducks.
Do keep in mind that you regularly wash your hands after serving or offering food to the ducks. As it’s often seen that they can have germs in their plumage which can easily spread.
The process of raising your baby ducks for high productivity in the commercial market, let’s understand some basic characteristics and behavior of Ducks as poultry birds.
Different breeds of ducks possess their own unique appearances in terms of body and color patterns.
Unlike other birds ducks are good swimmers, therefore they have distinct physical characteristics that make them fascinating to watch.
- The body shape of the duck is as such that they can swim at ease while balancing body temperature while in water. Their body shape is mostly considered to be oval.
- A major part of their physical appearance is the Plumage, which possesses various colors and qualities. It’s their feathers that help them function in keeping their body adaptable to the outside surrounding. Male ducks mostly have garish and gaudy tones of colors while the female has moreover smears or spots of colors good for camouflaging.
- The beak or the bill of ducks have Keratin which helps them recover well before it wears out. The bills are found in different shapes and sizes with regards to the type of ducks they are. They help to scoop and strain food easily.
- The feet of ducks are simply amazing. As they love to spend time on the water, much of the credits go their feet. The feet are strong and grippy, which makes it easier for them to swim smoothly as well as waddle on land freely.
Ducks are always found close to water bodies. They are found everywhere around the world except the coldest regions.
Ducks prefer to live in marshlands close to rivers, ponds, and lakes.
Several types of ducks migrate extensively for breeding purposes. The habitat is mostly warm regions where they can lay their eggs in the water.
As farms have also turned out to be a suitable place for raising ducks, it is ensured that they are settled suiting their physical characteristics.
Types of ducks
There are many birds that are misinterpreted to be a species of ducks. This happens because of their unique body types.
There are various breeds of ducks that are a part of cross-breeding. Mostly they are developed for commercial purposes to offer higher productivity.
All breeds have different conditions they look for in terms of habitat or climatic conditions. However, in general, male ducks are also called drake and female are hens
Some major duck breeds that are good egg layers include Campbell or Khaki Campbell, hybrid egg layer, Indian runner, Magpie, Buff, and Welsh harlequin.
Some prominent breeds used as meat are Aylesbury, Jumbo Pekin, Muscovy, Rouen, Mule ducks, etc.
Let’s quickly take a look at some specific behaviors that ducks are obsessed with. However, these behaviors are a necessity for their growth.
- It is believed that once when a duckling hatches out of the egg, it gives you an opportunity to be his best friend. If you are successful in interacting or creating a bond with a duckling in the first few hours of its hatching, it won’t ever hesitate to come closer to you.
- Ducks are excellent breeders. They can breed at any time of the year. They follow an interesting process of attracting females by splashing water and quaking aloud.
- Ducks keep preening their feathers as a part of cleaning themselves. Their bills are efficient enough to remove bugs and parasites residing in their plumage.
- Ducks thrive on water, whether it comes to swimming around or consuming food. With every mole of food, ducks prefer to mix with a mouthful of water.
- Ducks prepare their own nest in the ground. The female duck herself chooses a partner to fertilize her. Ducks can lay one or two eggs per day.
The above-mentioned characteristics and behaviors would help you get an understanding of ducks before planning to raise them.
About the Author
Farm Animals Guide
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