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Introduction to Raising Ducks on Pasture Ruth McDaniel Forty Days Farm.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Raising Ducks on Pasture Ruth McDaniel Forty Days Farm."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Raising Ducks on Pasture Ruth McDaniel Forty Days Farm

2 Why Ducks Control of aquatic weeds Ease of containment Eggs and meat Pest control Manure provides nutrients for garden areas

3 If it Quacks Like a Duck… Egg type ducks Meat type ducks Dual purpose ducks Wide variation in foraging ability

4 Egg Type Ducks Smaller Better flight ability

5 Meat Type Ducks Larger Very little flight ability Genetics and nutrition affect size

6 Practical Issues Odor Noise Proximity to water supply

7 Odor Ducks will produce a lot of wet manure Use deep bedding in holding areas Manure will build up around watering and feeding areas, so make these mobile or use deep bedding

8 Holding Pen With Deep Bedding

9 Quack Quack Ducks are noisy! Do not locate ducks where they will disturb you or your neighbors

10 Like a Duck to Water… Ducks use water to: Groom, preen, and bathe Drink Help swallow food, especially dry food Breed

11 Water Ducks consume a lot of water Change water frequently Locate watering areas close to a source of water

12 Water Swimming area not required, but helpful Bathing helps a duck maintain the oil coating on their feathers Ice on ponds need to be broken if pond is the main source of water

13 Welcome Home Ducklings Locate brooder away from flock in a protected area Brooder needs to be preheated Consider odor when deciding on brooder placement

14 Access to Water Ducks scoop water with their bill Watering device must have opening larger than a duck’s bill Water should be located close to food

15 Water Basics for Ducklings Make sure the ducklings can get their bills in the water, but nothing else! Change water often to protect against harmful bacteria and reduce spread of disease

16 Water Hazards Young ducklings can drown, especially those not naturally brooded Wet ducklings can get too cold and die Shallow pools of water can get very hot in the summer and breed harmful bacteria

17 Brooding Brooder temperature suggested is 95 F for first 5-10 days At 5-10 days switch to a brooder with DEEP LITTER and a heat lamp I have used “chicken tractor” type structure with a heat lamp in warm weather

18 Outdoor Brooding Pen With Duck Impostor

19 Going To Pasture Begin by providing access to pasture as well as sheltered area with heat source Age for starting on pasture will depend upon weather Heavy ducks need a much lower fence than lighter ducks

20 Moving The Flock Don’t expect ducks to want to go everywhere you want them to go A border collie may become your new best friend!

21 Big Duck Water Rules Consider excluding ducks from ponds during very cold weather Small pools will freeze quickly and need refilling often, so locate them where you have easy access to water Rinse small pools often, especially in the summer

22 Feeding MEDICATED POULTRY FEED WILL KILL DUCKS AND GEESE Use a crumble or mash for ducklings, I have been very happy with a gamebird starter/grower crumble Adults can use a crumble, pellet, or mash Whole grains should be cracked or rolled

23 Foraging Ducks will eat land and aquatic plants, small insects, larva, slugs, etc. Prefer to forage when the ground is wet— ideal to put them in pasture areas which are too wet to be grazed Ducks will sift through horse and cow manure, consuming bugs and larva and helping spread manure

24 Lame Duck Thorns, brambles, and burrs can puncture foot and lead to infection Pasture areas should be free of thorny plants if possible Holding areas MUST be free of thorny plants

25 Predators Crows, raccoons and rats will eat duck eggs Hawks will eat duckling and small ducks –Have overhead protection Fox and coyote will prey on ducks –House near a dog at night if possible

26 Harvest For eggs, ducks will begin laying at 16-24 weeks, depending upon genetics, diet, and season For meat, I have used ducks from 14 weeks to 18 months. For planning purposes, I’d suggest looking at a window from 12-18 weeks.

27 Biosecurity Maintain isolation area for all incoming animals Remove and isolate any animal that appears to be sick Use footbaths at entry and exit areas Assume that any visitor could carry contaminants

28 Duckling Sources “Chick Days” at local feed stores Mail order

29 Checklist for duckling arrival Brooder is clean, disinfected and heated to 95 F NONMEDICATED crumble or mash feed is ready Ducklings can get entire bill in water Ducklings cannot get their bodies in the water Someone can check the brooder a few hours after ducklings have arrived

30 Resource List Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks by David Holderread

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