Raising Ducks


Harper SlusherI started raising ducks about a year ago.  A few days after they hatched, I already started to regret getting them. I had never seen something drink so much water and eat so much food in just a few minutes. Not to mention, their brooder became a wet mess as they spilled their water, knocked down the heat lamp and wasted piles of grain. I simply couldn't believe how different they were from chickens that never wasted even the smallest bit of feed.

After a year, I have finally gotten a grip on how to raise and care for them.

Start out your ducks in a kiddy pool lined with paper towels. I originally started my ducks in a cardboard box, but with how messy they were with water, the cardboard was soaked in seconds. As bedding, I first used wood shavings, but they continuously tried to eat the wood. Also, in my area, there weren't many wood mills so the only place I could find wood shavings was at the store. Since I cleaned out their coop every day, the cost of the wood shavings quickly added up. That was when I realized lining the brooder with paper towels proved more absorbent and inexpensive. Using paper towels was also handy because they compost down more quickly than wood shavings. This usually works through the duration of time spent in the brooder, but once they are moved to a coop, it may be more practical to use straw although it is not nearly as absorbent.

Use a white heat lamp that is out of their reach and properly secured.  At first, I used a red heat lamp, but I got frustrated when they began shattering bulb after bulb. I then realized that they were attracted to the color and were pecking at it until it broke. I switched to a while bulb and I never had a problem since.

When moving them out of the brooder, be sure that you have a movable coop and run. This is certainly my most valuable advice. Whether you have a duck tractor or a rolling coop that you can attach a run to, this will certainly make your life easier. Ducks are extremely messy, but they usually prefer to spend most of their time outside during the day. If you aren't able to move their run, it will turn into a sloppy pit of mud in less than a week.

Keep their water outside of their coop during the day. This has certainly helped me out. When I was unaware of this, the coop was always soaked through, no matter how often I cleaned it. This at least kept out excess water during the day.

6/7/2013 1:20:08 AM

Harper, welcome to the GRIT blogging community. We laugh together, cry together, learn together, and talk about failures together. It's a great bunch of bloggers who hang out here. I'm sure you will fit right in the group. From Chicago to the South, huh. That's quite a switch. It already sounds like you have had many experiences with duck raising. Ducks as you have found out are water fowls and enjoy being messy with water. They splash it; they dump it; they drink it; they jump in it; and if they can they swim in it. However, you just have to love them because they are the most comical bird on the homestead. Have a great duck raising day.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters