Click here Page 1 of How to Raise Ducks
They lay all year long, no winters off, and lay up to 2 years longer than chickens. Find out where to order below and the best tips for keeping them happy, which means fresh eggs daily!
Listen to this post (just push play below) and all our episodes of the
Pioneering Today Podcast while you’re on the go, scrubbing the house, cooking up dinner (can I get an invite?), or mucking out stalls! I post new episodes Friday mornings. You can subscribe via RSS and receive every episode for free.
Or subscribe via Itunes
L: Domestic ducks can’t fly, if they’re going to go for a walk to find a lake it’ll take a while for them forever to get there. They do need a water tub. Those nipple waterers or traditional gravity waterers for chickens can’t be used for ducks.
I use those black tubs that you probably use for your other animals, like the feed tubs. I use those for the water for our ducks so they can dunk their whole head in, they need to keep their sinuses and nostrils clear.
And honestly a tub of water is enough. They’ll take the water an splash it down their backs and preen with that so they don’t need a kiddie pool but they really like it. They like to splash around, not necessarily swim. They have a blast every time you fill the pool. As far as having happy ducks you’ll want something that they can get in and splash around.
M: I’m really interested in ducks now. I’m going to look into that to see who has them around here.
Can you order ducks like you can chickens through the mail?
L: Yeah, in fact you’re in the Pacific Northwest which if you get a bunch of rain ducks are perfect because they love the rain. And Metzer Farms is in CA. So you could order ducklings from them. They have a bunch of different breeds.
M: I will look into that. I have a question here,
“I heard that when you’re duck is an adult it’s dangerous to introduce more. Probably the same as with chickens, or is that not true?”
L: Not really. Ducks, if they have a pecking order, in 7 years I’ve never figured it out. There doesn’t seem to be one leader. When they go walking around during the day they’re always in a line and it’s not always the first one that’s first and they don’t keep the same order. The ducks don’t really adhere to a strict pecking order so newcomers they’re not nearly as worried about; they’re just like, “Hey you want to go swimming?” And they’ll jump in the pool.
Adding ducks is super easy. You don’t have to worry about quarantine because they don’t carry a lot diseases that chickens do so I find adding new ducks (adult or duckling) easy. You don’t want to add small ducklings because they could get trampled or drown in the water but if you add a good size; I’ve never had trouble adding new ducks.
M: I’m telling you, ducks sound like they have a few advantages. They seem like an easier keeper and better return if you’re comparing the two: ducks and chickens. I’m thinking ducks are something to definitely introduce in.
Jeanine asked about the ducks migrating. But you’re saying the domestic ducks don’t fly.
Is that domesticated breeds or do they clip the wings so that they can’t fly?
L: No, I assume that when farmers started keeping ducks on their farm for the slug and grub control and for the eggs and that if the ducks kept flying away that wasn’t very practical. So they bred the breeds to be heavier so they can’t fly so you don’t need to clip their wings.
My younger ducks, say under a year old or so, they can get a little air get a few feet or so, but they don’t fly away. Mallard and some call breeds can fly but all the other domestic breeds can’t fly. It’s been bred out of them. They’re wings are too small and their bodies too heavy. So that makes it pretty convenient.
If you have a garden chickens can get over fences pretty easily. Ducks can’t get over fences. You can have a two foot fence and your ducks can’t get over it. As far as gardening goes ducks are a lot easier on the garden too. And they don’t scratch up roots like chickens do.
M: I think I’m going to go for some ducks. They just sound better and better and better! I have to net my blueberry plants because blueberries have shallow roots and the chickens pull back all of my mulch and they expose the roots in the summer time.
This is fine because it prevents birds from eating all the berries but I do have to net them to keep them from scratching all the stuff away when they’re free ranging. Because of the webbed feet ducks can’t do that.
L: Yeah, it’s not their nature; they don’t scratch for food. They will drill little holes in your lawn looking for bug larva but its good aeration. If they find a water source like where your gutters drain or where your air conditioning drips they’ll turn that into a mud puddle.
M: That’s awesome. We have a question from Kim,
“Have you tried or thought about trying quail? I would like a few hens but I can’t digest eggs well. I’ve thought about ducks but heard their eggs may be the same. Then someone said to try quail.”
You’re wondering if you can tolerate a really fresh hen egg. I’m assuming you mean really fresh eggs compared eggs from the store. I think as far as toleration it would depend on if you have sensitivity to eggs or an actual allergy. I don’t know about the difference between the quail eggs as far as allergies go.
L: I don’t know about quail eggs but I do a lot of people have said that they are allergic to chicken eggs but they can’t eat duck eggs or vice versa. Chicken eggs are an acidic food and duck eggs are an alkaline food.
So duck eggs are often recommended for cancer patients because it makes the body more alkaline which is less of an environment for cancer to thrive. I’ve never found a scientific study to back this up but I keep reading about people who have said that they are allergic to chicken eggs but can eat duck eggs. Maybe Kim can find some duck eggs at a farmers market to try the duck eggs. I don’t know about the quail though.
M: A friend of ours had gotten some quail this past summer with the incubator and everything. He let them free range so I’m not sure if he ever got any quail eggs. I don’t know how his experience was; I’ll have to check. I believe the quail eggs are smaller too. I didn’t know that the duck eggs are alkaline. I’m very excited to look more into ducks.
Disclosure: Some of the below links are affiliate links.
I want to share how we met. Lisa emailed me because she saw my book on Amazon, The Made from Scratch Life and she had ordered. Then she found my website and found we had so much in common. So this is my first time officially meeting her; seeing and hearing although we’ve been communicating via email. Lisa is also an author. I’m going to let Lisa talk about her book.
L: My blog is about raising chickens naturally, not necessarily like the pioneers did it but it’s as naturally as possible. I wrote a book in 2013 Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Healthy Happy Chickens Naturally. Then followed that up with Duck Eggs Daily; Raising Ducks Naturally.
If you have any interest in either chickens or ducks, if you already raise them or learn a little bit more about how Melissa and I both raise them; doing them more naturally. Using more herbs and natural remedies then you might want to pick up a copy.
M: You do talk about; unfortunately we don’t have much time to talk about it, natural treatments in treating your flock using herbs for those kinds of things like worms or illnesses that chickens or ducks get. That’s covered in your book then?
M: I see a lot of people asking, not only do we want to treat ourselves naturally, but people want to carry that into their animal treatment and care. Which I think is fantastic. I have to say that we have never had to call a vet. I hope I don’t need to knock on wood or something! We’ve been very fortunate with our animals with the cattle or pigs but I like to know the natural treatments that are available and things to look out for. I’m excited because I didn’t know that was in your books because I haven’t had a chance to read them yet. I’m going to check that out.
L: It’s a lot of preventive also because if you can’t find a vet; you don’t want to wait until something goes wrong. I talk a lot about building the immune system and the same things you do with your own health and own family. You want to keep yourself as healthy and strong as possible when your body is bombarded you can fight it off. And that has been invaluable to me with caring for my chickens because they just don’t get sick.
M: I agree preventative is much better than trying to treat something that is acute. My book The Made From Scratch Life book has several free bonuses including the Amish Canning sampler, 5 day Fast Track free e-course. There’s over $20 of bonuses.
Lisa can be found under Fresh Eggs daily on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
You don’t have to live on huge acreage or quit your job in order to live the simple life, grow your own food, and become more self-sufficient. I’ve created a step by step guide to help you, click here–> Yes, I want simple and I want it now!
Did I mention there were bonuses? Yeah, I’m cool like that.
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.