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close this bookBetter Farming Series 39 - Raising Ducks 1: How to Begin (FAO, 1990, 73 p.)
close this folderLearning about ducks
View the documentWhere can you raise ducks?
View the documentWhat kind of ducks can you raise?
View the documentWhat can ducks eat?
View the documentHow many ducks should you raise?
View the documentHow to keep ducks safe and well
View the documentNow you must decide

Where can you raise ducks?

9. Ducks live very well outside by themselves.

10. They are water birds and live best on or near water, such as a lake, pond or stream where they can spend part of each day swimming.

On or near water

11. However, if you live in a place where there is no water you can still raise ducks. You can raise them on land.

Ducks must always have fresh drinking water

12. Here are some places where you can raise ducks.

13. You can raise ducks in low wet land such as swamps or in low areas around ponds or streams.

Swamp or low areas

14. You can raise ducks on sloping land or in places that have soil too poor to be used for planting.

Land with poor soil

15. You can raise ducks near the sea where there is salt water. However, if you do this you will need to give them fresh water to drink.

Near the sea

16. If you do not have too many ducks you can raise them around your house.

Around your house

17. You can also raise ducks your farm fields if you are growing crops that the ducks cannot hurt, (see items 31 to 39).

What kind of ducks can you raise?

18. There are several kinds of ducks that you can use. You must find out what kinds of ducks you can get where you live.

19. Usually, you can get local ducks. Local ducks are strong and hardy and used to living in your area. So, they grow very well and do not get sick easily.

20. However, local ducks are often small, give little meat and few eggs.

Local ducks

21. Sometimes, you can get improved ducks that have been brought from another place. Improved ducks have been carefully mated over many years and they are bigger and better than local ducks.

22. Improved ducks cost more money but they give more meat and more eggs.

Improved ducks

23. Perhaps you can buy ducks at the local village market or there may be another farmer near where you live who will sell you some ducks from his own flock.

Village market; another farmer

24. Perhaps you can buy ducks from a nearby duck hatchery or from a government farm.

Duck hatchery

25. If you need help your extension agent will be able to give you good advice on the kinds of ducks you should get and where to get them.

What can ducks eat?

26. Ducks eat just about everything. So, it is not hard for them to find enough food for themselves, even if you feed them nothing.

Ducks eat

· insects, worms, slugs, snails, frogs
· grass, weeds, roots
· most water plants
· seeds, grain, plant materials
· materials left on the ground after harvest
· damaged or overripe fruits and vegetables

What ducks eat

27. You can also give ducks stale bread and food that is left after you have eaten.

28. However always remember that ducks must have fresh water with their food.

29. So, when you look for a place to raise your ducks, be sure to choose one with a lot of natural food and with enough water for them to eat and drink.

Natural food and enough water

30. If you are raising your ducks where there is no fresh water, see that they have plenty of fresh drinking water.

Fresh water is needed

31. Ducks can also find food to eat in home gardens and farm fields.

32. However, keep the ducks out of your gardens and fields when the plants are young and tender or the ducks may eat them.

Keep ducks far from young plants

33. After most plants are big, you can let your ducks feed between the rows.

Let ducks in big plants

34. When your crops are fully grown and you have harvested them, be sure to let your ducks look for food there.

35. After you have harvested your gardens or fields, your ducks will find a lot of food that is very good for them to eat which would otherwise be wasted.

Let ducks in harvested gardens or fields

36. However, when ducks are in your home garden it is a good idea to watch them.

37. Ducks may eat snails, slugs, worms and other things on the ground such as seeds or fallen leaves. However, be sure that they do not eat the smaller plants as well.

38. You must also be very careful if you have low- growing berries or fruits for the ducks may eat them too.

Ducks eat berries

How many ducks should you raise?

39. If you are going to raise ducks that live by themselves and find their own food, with very little help from you, you can raise up to 24 ducks.

You can raise up to 24 ducks that live outside by themselves

40. However, until you know more about ducks and how to take care of them, it is best to start with a small flock.

41. Start with a flock of 6 ducks, 5 female ducks, and 1 male duck. With a flock of 6 ducks you will get 5 to 10 eggs each week.

5 female ducks, 1 male duck

42. In addition, with a male in your flock the eggs you get will be fertile. This means that you can raise your own baby ducks.

43. After you have raised a small flock, you may find that you could use more eggs and more meat.

44. Later in this booklet you will learn how to use some of your eggs to raise baby ducks to make your flock bigger.

You can raise your own baby ducks

How to keep ducks safe and well

45. Although ducks can live outside by themselves, they will live much better if they have a shelter.

Ducks can live outside by themselves

46. The main reason for building a shelter for your ducks is to keep them safe from enemies at night when they are sleeping.

A simple duck shelter

47. Ducks, especially young ducks, have many enemies. You must be careful to protect them from

· dogs, cats, foxes
· rats, snakes
· meat- eating birds
· thieves

Duck enemies

8. There are also other reasons for building a shelter. Here are a few.

49. Ducks sleep on the ground. If the ground is cold or wet or dirty, they may get sick.

Ducks sleep on the ground

50. If you build them a shelter, you can keep it dry and clean so your ducks will not get sick.

51. Strong sunlight is bad for ducks. They need protection from the sun in very hot weather.

Strong sunlight is bad for ducks

52. If you build a shelter for your ducks, they can go inside when it is very hot.

53. Ducks lay eggs mostly at night or early in the morning.

Ducks lay eggs at night

54. If you build a shelter with nests and keep your ducks inside at night, you will be able to collect the eggs more easily.

55. You will learn how to build several simple duck shelters in the next section of this booklet.

Now you must decide

56. You have already been told a number of things about ducks and about raising them.

57. You reamed that by raising ducks you can have fresh meat and eggs for you and your family.

58. You learned that you can keep as many as 24 ducks that live outside by themselves and find their own food.

59. You may have found that you can get healthy ducks to start your own flock where you live.

60. So, now you must decide if raising a flock of ducks would be a good thing for you and your family to do.

Decide if raising ducks is good

61. If you decide to begin, you will learn how in the rest of this booklet.