Duck farming has become a way of life for us. We have been successful at both falling in love with these crazy birds and taking care of them effectively in order to maximize egg production.
With grocery stores mostly sold out of eggs right now, we are truly grateful for getting our duck house and flock set up late last summer. We have been able to get 3-4 duck eggs every day out of 4 female ducks. That’s a pretty good number, and it can be attributed to how we care for them.
In my personal experience, ducks are more emotional than chickens. They like being around us, and we made sure our kids handled them frequently when they were ducklings so they wouldn’t be afraid of people. If you are raising meat birds, this isn’t necessary, but we are not. These ducks are all named and are pets on top of egg producers.
We were even recently asked how it’s possible to get 3-4 eggs per day every day by our neighbor who has been raising ducks since last summer as well. We have 2 male ducks and 4 female ducks. They are getting 2 duck eggs per week out of 3 females. It all comes down to a few simple things:
- Space – ducks need space. Even inside at night, they love to forage in the hay and wander around. They need to be able to move a bit and not be on top of each other.
- Food – the ducks’ food needs to be of good quality. Don’t feed them ONLY cracked corn. It’s not the best and they won’t get as much nutrition as they would from a poultry feed. We use organic poultry feed that you can get on Amazon or at Tractor Supply. We also let them roam our property too so they can forage in the few places where the snow has melted off.
- Outside Time – ducks like being outside and given some freedom. This goes back to space. Once our automatic duck door opens for the day, they stay outside all day regardless of the temperature and the weather. They like to have room to roam and forage pretty much all day. We put them inside before it gets dark to keep them safe from predators.
- Standing water – you don’t have to have a pool for ducks to swim in, although they love having that option available. However, you must provide them with at least some unfrozen standing water, even in the winter. Ducks must be able to rinse out their eyes and beaks in water. Giving them access to some kind of pool they can swim in will also improve their “happiness.”
Because we have had so much success, we decided to put together a YouTube video showing how we take care of these guys. This will include a tour of the duck yard and duck house, and show how I muck out their house to keep it clean and the set up we have for a winter pool. It’ll also show you how we keep their water liquid even when it’s -20 outside. We hope this will help give you some ideas if you’re looking to get a few ducks.
Budget Tip: Mealworms can get pricey. A great budget-friendly solution to them is frozen peas from the grocery store. Ducks love these and they are good for them. If we run out of mealworms, we give the ducks frozen peas. Just thaw them out first, then toss a handful or two to the ducks. Don’t cook the peas first, there’s no need.
Please bear with me, this was one of my first YouTube videos and I’m still learning.
Basically, it all comes down to giving them the right conditions to keep them happy. It may seem strange to apply an emotional response to a bird, but it has really helped us to understand them better and in turn, we get excellent egg production from our ducks most days. It’s rare that we only get 2 eggs a day.
If you’re considering a flock of ducks (and we would suggest that to any homesteader) we like using Metzer Farms out of California. They can send day old ducklings already sexed to your post office for pick up. Tractor Supply’s ducklings are fine (our male Mallard Pekin hybrid came from there) but you may get a whole flock of males and no females. This is not ideal if you want eggs, obviously. Ordering your ducks online is the best way to make sure you get ducklings in the gender you want. Our son wanted a male Cayuga (the black one named Moose he picks up in the video) and our daughter wanted a female white Pekin (named Giggles). We have both of those because we were able to choose them from Metzer Farms.
We put a lot of careful consideration and research into ducks late last summer and did our best to do right by our flock. They have been rewarding us for our efforts ever since, and we are truly grateful for all six of these birds.