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How to Start a Duck Farm

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Poultry doesn't refer only to chicken-raising but also to duck-raising as well. Ducks' eggs are of high demand most especially to those health-conscious people.

They prefer duck's eggs rather than the chicken for it contains more nutrients than the later.

To have a productive and successful duck farm you need to know the proper way of rearing ducks. You must know the basics of proper feeding, duck breeding, etc.

Start them Young

It is advisable to start rearing a duckling as it is easier to handle than to have them as grown-up ducks. Grown-up ducks are noticeably resistant than the ducklings.

Build a Coop that is Conducive to Growth

Make your coop not smaller than 3.5 to 4 sq. ft for every duck as this will give enough space for the ducks to move freely. As they grow, they need more space, so better plan to build a shelter that will not hinder their movement as they are growing. Maintain enough number of ducks in a coop as this will reflect good output during the harvest time.

Feeding the Ducks

Have their foods wet rather than dry to make them eat more. Ducks love wet foodand this affect their eggs, making it bigger and even heavier. Seafood like shrimps, fishes, clamps, shells etc. are the common and very nutritious food for ducks, however if these are not available, you may give them a combination of feeds and chicken laying mass. To increase their egg production, give your egg laying ducks with supplementary feed.

Some alternative feeds for ducks:

  • Banana Peelings – Instead of throwing it, have it dried under the sun and powder it by crushing as this is the best source of protein to help your ducks grow faster than the usual. Based on researches, banana peelings contain more fibers, fats and calcium but less phosphorus compare to rice bran.
  • Sweet Potatoes and Cassava – If your farm has plenty of these, feed it to your ducks! Have it dried under the sun and pulverized it. As researches show that ducks fed with this food are laying eggs more compared to those ducks which are only fed by corn.
  • Seaweeds – This may cost you little if your farm is near the sea. Researches show that ducks fed with half rice bran and half seaweeds laid more eggs than those ducks which are fed by pure rice bran.

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Muscovey- Some think this breed is a choice duck because the meat isn't very fat. The meat has an appealing look as the skin is creamy yellow and the meat is the firmest. The flesh has a wild flavor, very little fat, has a plump body with dimpled breasts and a distinct skin pattern that will complement your meals. The drake weights about 8 pounds and the hen about 3 1/2 pounds. These ducks will lay a good amount of eggs and are very prolific, but they are also very broody and seem in be most interested in just setting and hatching their young. The white Muscovey is the most popular variety for meat.

Pekin- For commercial growers this is the pick as they have a fast growth rate and also yellow skin and will reach a live market weight of about 8 pounds in 8 weeks. Their white plumage is easily plucked and the carcass is clean. They will lay a fair amount of white eggs, usually about 160 a season, some are good setters, while others are not. They are very nervous ducks and if disturbed they will leave their nests.

Aylesbury- This is a 7-9 pound pure white duck that has a white skinned carcass. This duck will lay up to 300 eggs per year, but they don't sit on eggs very well. Their pale and flesh-colored bill is preferred for showing so care should be taken to keep them away from grass and rations that will color the bill and the skin yellow.

Buff- These come in various colors: reddish fawn, black with a white bib, chocolate with a white bib, blue or bluish-slate with a white bib. They have blue pupils in their eyes. They are smaller than the Aylesburies and Pekins, will lay very well if not allowed to get too heavy. They will dress as a white duck and a are considered a good, all-purpose duck.

Cayuga- This duck is all black and very attractive, takes about 12 to 16 weeks to finish as a market bird, has black feather and dark gray to bluish-green eggs. It is not very popular as a utility bird and is raised mostly for exhibition.

Rouen- This is a very decorative bird, is colored like the wild Mallard but weighs too much to fly away. The bulk gain on this bird is reached after 12 weeks. It can lay an egg every other day and the egg has a blue tine. They are known for just dropping their eggs and don't care to sit on a nest.

Crested- This duck has a puffball on top of its head, doesn't really have a true bred. These are raised for the most part for ornamental or exhibition purposes only. They actually lay very well and are also good setters. The young drake will reach 6 pounds and the hens about 5 pounds.

Swedish- These ducks are of two varieties, the Blue Swedish and the Black Swedish. Most of these will hatch as blues but there will be some blacks with white plumage. It will reach a medium size of 6 1/2 pounds for the young drakes are sold for the meat. They lay well and will sometimes sit on their nest, the eggs are bluish-green.

Egg Breeds- The Khaki Campbells and the Indian Runners and two main breeds of ducks that are mainly for egg laying and/or exhibition. They are very unique as they are known for an exaggerated upright stance.

Khaki Campbell- There are three varieties of this duck, Khaki, Dark Campbell and the White Campbell. A young drake will weight about 4 pounds, other strains will weight 5 pounds in 10 weeks with wide bodies and these are excellent for meat. The Campbell lays an off white colored egg and is a good breed duck. They are very nervous and flighty and the females rarely will set on eggs.

Runner- There are eight varieties of this duck:

Fawn, White, Black, Buff, Chocolate, Gray and the Cumberland Blue. The weight of a young drake is 4 pounds and 3 1/2 for a young duck. Runners can run extremely fast and often herding dogs are trained with a group of these Runners. They will take to flight very quickly so will need to be fenced or confined and even clipping their wings does little to slow them down.

Bantam and Ornamental Breeds- These consist of the East India, Mallard and the Calls. The oriental ones are often 24 ounces Mandarins and the 20-24 ounces ducks nest in trees. These are hard to tame birds but are some of the most colorful of all ducks found wild.

Call- These are small ducks and are considered to be miniature breeds of ducks, also are the smallest of domesticated ducks. The Gray Call and the White Call were used long ago to lure hunters.

These ducks are very loud when calling their mates. Be careful with just-hatched Calls as they are quite dedicated. Calls are good setters but like to be left alone.

East India- This is an older breed with a lustrous, greenish-black appearance. It is linked only to the Mallard, has the same sex-feathers as the Mallard and the domestic breeds that originated from the wild Mallard. This is a very good egg layer. It will molt twice a year.

Mallard- This is the most common of ducks, especially for ponds, and weighs about 36 ounces for a young drake and is classified as a bantam. This is a duck that has provided meat, eggs, feathers and domestic breeds of ducks for many years. It is very adaptable to grass, water plants, nuts, acorns, etc. The Mallard will eat crayfish and in some areas is considered useful for this reason.

They are very prolific, lay greenish-buff-colored eggs.

Mandarin- This is a colorful little duck and is one of the most beautiful of the fancy breeds. You can determine colors on these ducks by the feed you give them in rations. This is a duck that was kept in the Orient for a long time. These ducks can readily defend themselves. Mandarin ducks do not cross with other ducks.

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Things to be Considered Before Starting a Duck Farm

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If you are planning a duck farm then you must consider certain things in advance. Ducks are sociable birds and hence if you are planning to buy ducks then buy them in pairs or in group. Ducks will provide you with protein rich eggs and they will eat the bugs in your garden. If ducks are provided with sufficient space and care then it is easy to raise them. So you must have to make a good plan before purchasing ducks.

1.    Space

First of all you have to consider whether you have enough space to raise the ducks in your home or not. As ducks are sociable birds you have to raise them in groups and each adult duck requires at least 10 feet space. So you have to consider how much duck your house can accommodate. Also find a good place in your yard that has enough shade and you must have a pond or something like that for your ducks to swim. If you don’t have enough space at your home then finds another suitable place to start your farm which you can take on rent or on lease.

2.    Safety

There are many predators which may attack the ducks. Some of them are dogs, owls, foxes, hawks, snapping turtles etc. So you have to take necessary precautions to protect them. The ducks should be provided with a pond. Pond will act as a source of food for the duck also the ducks will use pond to protect itself from the predators during day time. At night you must lock them in a safe place that can protect them from their predators.

3 .  Money

Young ducks up to three weeks of age require starter feed that contains around 20 % of protein. Adult duck while laying eggs should require 16-18 % protein and 14 to 16 % when they are not laying eggs. For maintaining a healthy farm you must feed your duck properly. So should have enough money to start the business and to maintain it very well till your ducks reach the stage of laying eggs or can be sold for meat purpose.

4.     Vet care

Ducks are sociable birds and hence they are prone to get infections. You have to take them to veterinarian for proper vaccination and check up. You have to find time and money for their treatment.


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