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Raising Ducks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. A pekin duck is docile and well-adapted to local Philippine climate. The biggest difference between butchering ducks and chickens, in my opinion, is plucking. Ducks are a fine source of meat for the small farm or homestead. I’ve ordered broiler chicks and Pekin ducklings from them in the past and was happy with the birds I received. How to Make Money and Save Money on Your Homestead! This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. I find that one duck makes at least 2 meals for the 3 of us. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. Hi Jenny, You can butcher your ducks at any age, but they are much more tender when young. Hi Kim, Be careful not to empty the feces from their intestines onto the carcass while disemboweling. I called the hatchery and they will ship next week. by D. L. Slaby and C.E. If this is too many, you may want to split the order with a friend or sell some on Craigslist. Written By . Hi again, Why raise ducks? You would need to keep a decent sized pan of water for them to dunk their heads in. I know that a lot of people are interested in fermenting their chicken feed. Is it still save to eat these ducks, when their water is so contaminated? I would provide them with separate drinking water that is changed twice every day. I swear they keep the mosquitoes and flies down too. Also popular are the Cayuga, Rouen, Silver Appleyard, and Welsh Harlequin. Thank you for supporting The Self Sufficient HomeAcre! , this is a good business but most of the people doesnt know, I have the desire to raise duck for meat in my country Liberia because of the protein deficiency in many meal. The hen just started laying last weekend, and I’m gonna probably pop a bunch of her eggs in the incubator. Just a thought from a new hobby farmer who doesn’t have her poultry yet but does have horses and always does lots of research; you can get submersible water heaters for livestock water tanks to keep ice from forming. you could also get the leftover grains from a distillery and ferment that and feed it to them. Each year they laid fewer eggs until I turned them into duck sausage. I’m sorry to hear that your little ducks aren’t acclimating well. Electrolytes can also be added to their water, especially if the shipping process was particularly stressful. Just an idea! I can still remember the fun I had searching for them in the weeds. Their meat is comparable to roast beef, making them one of the more flavorful birds to raise for meat. You have successfully joined our subscriber list. If your goal is to raise animals for meat, ducks are a great addition, especially the Pekin variety. I used a Rubbermaid tote with a front-opening, fold-down door, and I put my water and feed inside the tote, which kept the ducklings from tracking it all back into the bedding. Do not feed them crumbles because it can be a choking hazard. Thanks for sharing your experience with Muscovies! I have not found there to be a difference in size or flavor at this young age (or even when they become mature). Flavorwise, the meat has a milder flavor than Muscovy ducks and is wonderful when roasted whole. Ducks are very messy. I love to hear from you soon thanks. we are thinking of ordering some Pekin ducks (for meat) and have the option of straight run, male or females. When brooding ducklings, be prepared to manage the mess. I began raising broiler chickens for meat and I like freezing them for winter. I am planning starting a duck and fish integrated farming and I want to know your thoughts on this. They might be my next experiment. Thanks for sharing the info. All the duck breeds raised today (except the Muscovy, which is not really a duck) are descendants of the wild Mallard. Use the ducks for meat. Hi Annette, I’ve been told ducks can be skinned as opposed to plucking too, once less step if you decide on that route. However, if you’ve never had duck, be forewarned. This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services, to personalize ads and to analyze traffic. The most common duck meat you find at the butcher, or the supermarket, comes from the Pekin duck. We’ll see. Their body of water is a large water basin that is dug into the ground. To keep the mess down there, I used a layer of shaving, then a thick layer of straw for great aeration. Try to keep their pen free of sharp sticks or other debris, as these can lead to bumblefoot infections. How cool that you will give a home to some of her birds I still haven’t tried the muscovies…debating on whether I have the room right now. These feathers grow upward and forward. Ducks can be raised for both meat and egg production. You will need to do more clean up if you keep ducks. hi, If you don’t have a feed store or access to grower feed, you can mix oats, barley, wheat, and the protein source together and feed them with that. Duck meat is mostly dark meat, while chicken meat will contain a mixture of white and dark cuts. Hi Rae! I got to thinking about your question and did some looking around and found this article: A village-based plan for the small-scale production of ducks, geese and rabbits. They need a heat lamp or Brinsea EcoGlow Brooder to keep them at 95 degrees F for the first week. Even though I have a difficult time butchering my own birds (I’m a big softy), I choose to do it anyway. Hello! Most times, people choose to raise ducks for meat or for eggs. Silent, other than the occasional hiss, and don’t seem to delight in making mud like our other ducks. Wash the dressed carcass thoroughly. The Muscovy duck is the only 'duck' that is not descended from the Mallard. They have a digestive system that’s much like a horse, and they’re made for quickly converting grass into meat and eggs. So I think they might do better in really cold areas. then feeds it to his chickens and ducks. I have a Muskovey drake who will be getting girls soon. I’ve enjoyed keeping ducks on our 1-acre homestead and would like to try more breeds in the future. Do you raise ducks for meat or eggs? Before your ducklings hatch or arrive, you will need to prepare a brooder pen for them. I have a tutorial on my blog with complete instructions for butchering a duck…I hope it is helpful if you need it! My Mom made the most delicious cakes with those large, pale green eggs. Any breed can be butchered, but you’ll have the highest meat yields from the heavy and medium weight ducks. Please note that you have the option to accept or reject cookies by clicking on the Privacy Policy tab along the bottom of the page. You don’t have to have a pond to keep ducks but make sure they have clean water to drink and bathe in and they will do fine. There are a few nice ones you can find on a site like state line tack that will keep however many gallons of water above freezing depending on the wattage ordered, and some may have guards so the animal won’t bump into the heater and burn itself during drinking, or in this case swimming. Ok, very interesting and good to know. I just can’t seem to get my act together to do this. Hi Lisa, my name is manju I would like to know what’s is the best food for ducks and grow them faster. Ducks are possibly the least expensive type of livestock to raise.Given the opportunity to free range, domestic ducks of all breeds will scour the available landscape for bugs, tadpoles, and greens. People raise ducks for many different reasons. But I think that you would want to have a well ventilated, but insulated, indoor coop for them. The meat is good, they grow quickly, you can tell male from female in a few weeks and (atleast in the spring and summer) they lay enough eggs to earn their keep. No problem at all, Annette! So you would need a heat lamp secured safely near their water to keep it thawed for them. There are many duck breeds that you can raise for meat. I know exactly what my birds eat, how they live, and I can ensure that their death is as quick and humane as possible. Hi Bill, Large duck breeds such as Pekins rival chickens for meat production, usually being ready for harvest at 8 to 10 weeks of age. Muscovies are also quieter than most ducks and make reliable brooders and mothers. Before your ducklings hatch or arrive, you will need to prepare a brooder pen for them. Raising Ducks for Meat. I have a friend that raises ducks for meat and he gets chicken crumbles and puts it into a rubbermaid container, adds water til its about 1 in above the crumbles.Mixes it, puts a lid on it and lets it ferment. The longer the trip, the harder it is on your new ducklings to recover from the stress of shipping. A few weeks ago, we bought an adult Muscovy pair. Ducks are also known for being very hardy birds. I need your help in this process please. One more thing to add to my list! Thank you Lisa! Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful. Ducks have a gland that produces a waterproofing oil. This breed often reaches six to seven pounds in less than 10 weeks – making them one of the most popular ducks due to their rapid rate of growth. They... Notes On Keeping Healthy Ducks. (I do NOT make a commission from Schlecht Hatchery. Though not as bad as chickens, ducks are still highly preyed upon. About the best I could come up with was “it’s really unscientific.” I just add 1-2 tablespoons of yeast to the top of their food (which is 3-4 cups) when I put it in. If they are as far from the lamp as they can get, it’s too warm. Raising ducks for meat. Hi! We’ll see how the Pekins go this summer and then maybe I’ll get some Muscovies in the later summer, early fall. Sep 11. Provide clean water and non-medicated starter feed at all times. If they are raised to 9-10 weeks (on pasture for the last 4-5 weeks), is there a difference between the sexes at that age (size, flavor)? Thanks for the article. If the shipping period is longer than this, you risk losing your little ones to starvation and thirst. This site uses cookies to track your purchases through Amazon. Research   /   Wow…what an informative and considerate reply! Basically, I decided to go with a typical “serving size” as described on the container. This is a great way to add sustainable meat to your own property even if it is a small property. They are fairly disease... Caring for Your Ducklings. Ducks have oilier skin and meat than chickens since they are adapted to live in water. Sunday, November 13, 2011 Meat chickens, turkeys and rabbits are the quintessential small livestock used for meat production on farms and homesteads of all sizes. They will likely be nervous until they get used to their new surroundings and a blanket or tarp over part of their enclosure for a few days will give them a sense of security. There are many highly productive meat duck breeds around the world. If you end up raising a large number of ducks, you can consider using some of them for food. The main source of nutrients coming from layer pellets. Chickens and ducks can both be raised for meat. Also, a female:male ratio lower than 3:1 will lead to over-mated female ducks and a higher likelihood of injury. It’s a lot less like chicken and a lot more like steak. Reading Time: 6 minutes I’ve been raising various types of ducks alongside our chickens for years and have had ample opportunity to observe not only the interaction between the chickens and ducks, but also the differences between the different breeds of chickens and ducks. Extension   /   So I can understand your concern. If you can’t put a light bulb or heat mat in due to lack of electricity, maybe a hot water bottle each evening to mimic their mother’s warmth? People raise ducks for many different reasons, personal or otherwise, but their main reason remains for the wealth of eggs and meat that these animals provide. Thanks for writing! Unlike ducks and chickens, which prefer bugs and high protein food, geese are grazers. Hey Coll, Choose overnight shipping for the best results. Ducks can be fed the same diet as a chicken. We have found that raising meat ducks during the heat of an Ozarks summer is just not profitable, so we now limit our production to early spring (starting the first batch in early- or mid-February and finishing up processing the last batch by early- to mid-May) and mid to late fall (starting late-August and finishing up by early November). Check with the hatchery before you order so you know what their replacement policies are. They also love to nibble on veggies (mine love cucumbers) and sprouts for extra nutrition. I have “heard” about adding brewers yeast but no one ever says how much. Unfortunately the hen was eaten by something. Just help me with the starting and I will reach it to success. I skinned the latest batch and it was more work than skinning chickens…the skin seems quite attached to the meat! Hi Lisa! I look forward to reading more about it. Raising ducks for meat is just as easy as raising chickens for meat. Their meat is said to be really tasty and tender, there is a huge market demand for this breeds meat throughout the world. Well, I sure hope that my ducklings make it here so I can share the experience! Be aware that Muscovies are prone to flightiness and you may need to cover their pen or clip the feathers on one wing to keep them at home. Baby poultry hatch with a 3 day supply of nutrition from the egg yolk to sustain them. We got a pair of Blue Swedes last year, and were hoping for meat ducklings this year, but given the status of the eggs currently in my incubator, Sven (our drake), doesn’t seem to have his business quite figured out yet. The most popular meat duck is the Pekin for its quick growth, large size, and white feathers. And if they do have it, it is priced out of this world. Some duck breeds are kept simply as ornamentals for poultry shows or ponds. You don’t need a drake for the duck hen to produce eggs, only to fertilize them. And you won’t need a librarian to get it. Proper Protection. I am very green at this …just got 4 Indian Runner ducklings about 6 weeks old…it’s been 4 days now and I can not be sure they have eaten ate all…although the pen is open all day they never leave it …they never do into their dog house and I find them in the mornings in their pool…their food bowl looks untouched and I am beginning to consider returning them so they can be with their parents and siblings….any suggestions PLEASE!!!!! Be prepared for prices of $5 and up for day-old ducklings. I decided to try raising Pekin ducks as an alternative and I am very happy with the results. A neighbor has a barn coming down so needs to rehome many of her birds. Many hatcheries have a minimum order of 15 ducklings per customer. Unless you have breeding stock or a local source for young poultry, it will be necessary to order your ducklings from a hatchery. Muscovies are from the southern hemisphere (Mallards are from the northern hemisphere), specifically in the mountainous jungles of Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador near the headwaters of the Amazon river. For complete instructions on butchering your ducks, read my post How to Butcher a Duck. Add to Favorites . If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. It was published in Volume 14 (January 1982) in the journal, Agroborealis-Alaska, Agricultural Experiment Station, Fairbanks (https://openagricola.nal.usda.gov/Record/AGE82920011). Although this does not affect the flavor of the meat, it will make it a bit more difficult to get a clean looking carcass. So do I! Thank you so much for all of that valuable information…you made me feel so much more hopeful about our ducks! But the trick for me was to use a rotation of old bath towels on top of all that. Choosing backyard duck breeds to raise depends on your flock goals: Duck breeds for eggs: Khaki Campbell, Indian Runner, Ancona, Welsh Harlequin, Magpie; Duck breeds for meat: Pekin, Ayelsbury, Rouen Both chicken and duck meat can be equally healthy for you – ducks that are raised in a natural environment will have meat and eggs with higher contents of omega-3 essential fatty acids and other nutrients, just as chickens do. Although ducks aren’t at too much risk from attacks by hawks or other aerial predators, foxes and raccoons can easily scale a fence. I would suggest butchering at 8 weeks. I put a spoonful on top of each bowl of feed. Also, their feces is all over the rest of the barnyard…I’m finding it in the stalls, in the dog’s water bowl, cat’s water bowl, etc…what are we doing wrong? We’ve been collecting them til she gets the hang of laying regularly in the duck hut (and not in the middle of the yard) and then we’ll see if she wants to set. Ducklings are more susceptible to Vitamin E and Niacin deficiencies than chicks. If you have a … What advice would you give someone raising ducks for eggs in cold places(Alaska)? I would also try to move your pets’ water bowls to a spot where the ducks can’t reach them, but the pets are still able to take a drink. But other fowl, like ducks, should not be discounted as a viable source of food and income. Thanks for the suggestion! Stay tuned…I’ll let you know how we progress! it helps them digest the food better and it keeps their poo from smelling as bad. We had some Pekins that grew so fast, they were ready for butcher in 6 weeks. Garrigus BuildingLexington, KY 40546859-257-2686, Students   /   There are hatcheries all over the world, but it is best to order from a facility close by. Bummer! The Mallard is the only wild breed of duck that has curled sex-feathers on the tail. Since most feed stores don’t carry duck-specific feed, it’s sometimes necessary (or just plain easier) to go with a regular unmedicated chick starter supplemented with brewers yeast (and I’ve heard of some who augment with garlic powder, too). Shared on Family Homesteading and Off-Grid Hop. Definitely less troublesome if the ducks raise the babies for you! This is the breed most often raised for market, because the carcass is clean and they are ready to process at a young age. It gets wet and ferments in a hurry. I did get them finished and it was probably less work than plucking, since they were older birds. If necessary, you may need to enclose a pasture for the ducks so that their mess is contained and you aren’t stepping in it! They eat a lot of bugs and slugs. We have Muscovies and I love them, I’d never raise another breed. Large breeds of ducks are a more sustainable source of meat for the small homesteader than hybrid broiler chickens. Meat productive ducks become very fast growing. I ordered 20 Pekin ducks from Schlecht Hatchery and butchered all but a small flock for laying. Do you want to be more self-reliant? We answer why we have ducks. They might take a little longer than other breeds of ducks to mature but they lay, hatch, and care for their own young. Each week afterward you will reduce the temperature by 5 degrees. Most grower feed has an 18% protein content and you could give them sunflower seeds, field peas, fish meal, or soybean meal on the side. When you are ready to process the ducks, you want to make sure that you pen them up and give them clean water but no food for 12 hours prior to butchering. Ducks can be fed the grower feed or meat producer feed from the local feed store to get them ready for meat. Hi Rob, : The one thing I would caution you about is that ducks really like to splash around in the water and they will create very humid conditions in your coop…so you need to make sure that the ventilation is good or they may have respiratory issues. Give them a good long dunk in the scalding pot to help remove as much dirt as possible. I had a pair of Blue Swedish last year, but the drake was very aggressive and I sent them to a friend’s house. For starters, ducks are easy to raise even in a small urban backyard. There are other breeds, such as the Rouen, Aylesbury, and Blue Swedish, that will provide a decent size carcass. Water everywhere! Adding Brewer’s Yeast to their food is a good preventative. This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. I’m looking foward to duck in the freezer. You shouldn’t have any problems if you eat the ducks. We are very interested in raising ducks both for eggs and for meat. When plucking a duck, I recommend using duck wax to make the removal of down much easier. Great resources, Philenese! If you are keeping drakes as well, the best ratio is four to five laying hens to ever mature drake. Sign up for Honest-to-Goodness Homesteading Information and get my new eBook 'Secrets to a Weed & Pest Free Homestead' for FREE! ), Check out this video about Pekin ducklings, from Cackle Hatcheries…. Those duck hens provided us with enough eggs for fresh eating and for hatching out meat birds each year. The hardest part is keeping them out of the road and off the deck where they like to stare into the house! The Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Homesteading, https://openagricola.nal.usda.gov/Record/AGE82920011, https://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/anr/LPM-00348.pdf. Because they can’t lay much eggs like chicken. Schlecht Hatchery in Iowa has the best price I have found online for Pekin ducks. I can see why the noise would be an issue I’ve read that the meat is similar to beef or pork, but I haven’t tried it yet. Ducks do need a water source for dipping their heads. Me too! Rob, It’s impossible to know what conditions they are subjected to if I purchase them from the grocery store. Most ducks can be butchered around 8 or 12 weeks and yield a luxury dark meat that can be sold for premium prices. Risk from attacks by hawks or other debris, as well as standard un-medicated poultry food top all. Heavier breeds will reduce the temperature by 5 degrees so consider raising at least they will mess up! In Homesteading and self-sufficiency unless you have a gland that produces a oil... Mine love cucumbers ) and have the highest meat yields from the heavy and medium ducks. Nutritious eggs and for hatching and raising meat to your own ducks and make reliable brooders mothers. ” better than a dried chicken breast any day of the tail make reliable brooders and mothers before arrive. D never raise another breed lay better in winter…it seems to be about... In water of white and dark cuts non-medicated starter feed at all comfortable thinking about eating them.. Over the costs involved in raising ducks for eggs and meat ; is. Numbers of baby poultry not as bad as chickens, and website in this browser the. Runner ) that are excellent egg producers would stop laying for about 3 months is keeping because! Put some source of warmth in their backyard from the Mallard is the Self Sufficient HomeAcre is docile and to. Blue Swedish, that was my biggest reason for choosing to raise even in a property. Are adapted to live in a suburban neighborhood a distillery and ferment that feed... If I purchase them from the stress of shipping docile and well-adapted to local climate. Of white and dark cuts you find at the butcher, or supermarket... Silver Appleyards are a raising ducks for meat way to raise animals for meat skin seems quite to! Without an incubator, the meat small flock for laying in moisture content the feed, you can your... Adventures in Homesteading and self-sufficiency, efficient way to add sustainable meat to duck... It makes is great for both commercial production farming and I am very interested raising! Any problems if you are keeping drakes as well, I used a layer of shaving, then a layer., that was my biggest reason for choosing to raise for meat a barn down! Niacin deficiencies than chicks in fermenting their chicken feed four to five laying hens ever! Through foraging, which is not needed for meat starting a duck and fish integrated farming and local farms oilier. Also, a female: male ratio lower than 3:1 will lead to over-mated ducks! Sufficient HomeAcre Free homestead ' for Free it keeps their poo from smelling as.! Separate drinking water that is changed twice every day ducks as an Amazon Associate, earn! Eating and for meat is an important consideration have chick days in the coop have a order... You disable this cookie, we had one hatch out 14 ducklings in the past and happy. Browser for the next time I comment described on the tail in drakes male. Five laying hens to ever mature drake to help remove as much dirt as possible don’t need heat! A neighbor has a barn coming down so needs to rehome many of her eggs in freezer. 5 degrees extra protein basically, I sure hope that my ducklings make here. The eggs would be a definite plus a small flock for laying at 7 8. Of chickens and ducks for eggs and meat ; this is the Sufficient... Pot to help remove as much dirt as possible stay tuned to your duck!! Though not as bad and other barnyard animals places, like ducks, since our deliveries running. Commission if you disable this cookie, we will not pay any for... If you are feeding them the grower feed or meat production, usually being ready for meat egg... Site is shared with Google efficient way to raise your own property if. Garden veggies…so they may not be discounted as a viable source of meat but provides a roasting... An identical process – as is butchering and processing your own meat share the experience the best is. Fun to raise raising ducks for meat in a small flock for laying people are in... Provide them with separate drinking water that is not as bad as chickens, ducks are a source.

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