Ducks are often reared as pet birds. Most breeds of ducks that are domestically raised usually are unable to fly. And the reason is that breeders have created pet ducks with specific characteristics. They are breeding the ducks in such a way that ability to fly is diminished in many types of bird fowls that they reproduce by crossing different ducks to produce the ducks with no ability to fly.
For example, breeders want to produce breeds of duck that provide a better meat duck. And thus, they will breed selectively with the birds to be larger, which makes them larger to the point that they are not able to fly.
This is the case for domesticated ducks like domesticated Pekins, pet Rouens and even medium-sized ducks like Cayugas. Other breeds of ducks such as Runner ducks can fly for short distances, but cannot achieve sustained flight. Thus for all these types of domesticated ducks, it is not necessary to clip their wings to keep them from flying away.
However, some small breeds of ducks can still fly, and wing clipping may be necessary if they are not explicitly trained to stay around their home. This is particularly true for domesticated mallards and call ducks.
Quality of Flying
Quality of flying is an important consideration when selecting a pet duck. Most people prefer flightless ducks, as clipping of wings can be a complicated process. If you choose a breed capable of flying, it does not necessarily mean it will fly away. Often sometimes, when someone has a
pet mallard, for example, the bird will bond with its owner and never leave, despite being able to. Clipping wings is usually a precaution people will take when dealing with a large flock of birds, rather than just a few waterfowl as pet ducks.
Recommendations for Keeping the Ducks in the Backyard
These are the recommendations for keeping the ducks in the backyard are regarding the following requirements.
- Eating and drinking needs
- Habitat requirements
- Sociability and
- General care
Some people may not realize that ducks are as easy to keep as chickens,
but to ensure this particular breed of poultry is kept happy in the backyard, a few measures need to be taken and maintained.
‘’Have a bucket, yes, but go further and install a larger water source big enough to enable your ducks to swim.’’
All the research and people having reared ducks to say that they only need a bucket of water to survive. But keeping in mind that duck is a water bird, it is confusing that it can live happily in only a bucket of water to dunk a bill.
It is true duck will survive with just a bucket of water for drinking, washing of food, and dunking their heads, but would they be happy with this arrangement? Observations of ducks show that they are not satisfied with just a bucket of water and need at least a tub for them to get in and play, clean themselves, or even mate.
Now, this water source does not need to be big and complex. It could be as simple as a blow-up kiddies’ pool, a small poly tank, a small purpose-built pond or a dam depending on the size and type of property.
And if you situate a giant water bucket near the duck feed, they will use the bucket to help eat and wash their bills instead of a pond. The ducks will love the lake but would not spend all day in it and mainly use this water source for washing, playing, mating, and cooling off in hot weather.
Small ponds of ducks require regular cleaning, so be prepared to drain the pond and clean it out- it may be prudent to install a smooth drainage system or pump. Abundant water sources like a small dam or large lake will probably not need cleaning out. The buckets your ducks need also need washing because they are murky the water up as they clean their bills and wash food down.
‘’Try and give access to pasture or grassed area for them to graze and forage.’’
Ducks eat quite a lot of feed, and they also like to eat a lot of grass, so having access to pasture is essential. Naturally, ducks will survive on commercial feed alone, but if we want our ducks to be happy, we should let them also forage whilst still providing commercial feed for them.
Foraging is an instinct for ducks as they hunt for small frogs, slugs, and worms. Ducks do not dig like chickens, so they are less destructive in the garden and can be particularly helpful in and around orchards.
Ducklings require a high protein feed, so if you buy young ducklings, ensure you get an appropriate duck grower feed. Adult ducks can eat the same feed as chicken as long as it is not medicated because medicated feed is harmful to ducks.
Like chickens, ducks love chicken scraps like lettuce, and bread as long as they are fresh and help if the wastes are diced up to make it easier for the ducks to eat.
‘’Try to collect the duck eggs as early as possible otherwise, they might start mysteriously disappearing.’’
Some breeds of duck are amazing egg layers; for instance, khaki Campbell ducks can lay up to 300 eggs a year.
Ducks eggs are more abundant in protein contents than chicken eggs, which makes them excellent for cake-making and are often desired by people into their fitness. diets.
Ducks egg is more expensive to buy than chicken eggs because they are harder to manage commercially, and the ratio for feed consumed to eggs produced is high, which makes it less economical compared to with chickens.
Ducks will usually lay eggs very early in the morning or sometimes through the night.
They do not always put in the nest, which can be annoying when collecting the eggs and leave the eggs vulnerable to scavenging crows or other animals. The best way to encourage ducks to lay in one spot is by providing an easy to get to a secluded place or close to the ground lined with litter for the ducks to nest.
‘’ Incubate your duck eggs and raise a few ducklings. If you do this just once in your life, then it is a great experience for both kids and adults.’’
Domestic ducks are not the best parents and would not usually sit on their eggs. Duck eggs are incubated the same as any other poultry and can be quickly done at home with trendy small egg incubators taking between 28 to 33 days to hatch out.
Brooding the ducks from hatching until they are ready to be released without artificial heat takes about three weeks, depending on the ambient temperatures.
Ducklings are incredibly cute, and they are robust, so growing them is not difficult at all as long as the correct non-medicated feed is supplied.
Domestic Duck Breeds
White or cream color, yellow bill, can get to 9 lbs, 4.5 kg, and my personal favorite usually kept for meat and eggs.
Several colors, including black, the big bird can get over 10 lbs, 5 kg, makes a hissing sound instead of quack, can fly and perch, and usually kept for meat.
Beautiful flashy colors beautiful can get to 10 lbs, 5 kg, originally from France, and is usually kept for looks and meat.
Usually, brown or grey and can weigh up to 4.5 lb, 2 kg and deep egg layers and kept for eggs.
Light brown or white, upright stance 4.5 lbs, 2kg, originally from Malaysia, and is kept for eggs.
‘’Keep more than just one duck, have at least two, so they can keep each other in the company.’’
Ducks are very sociable creatures, and keeping at least two will ensure that they stay happy. Most ducks will get along with other poultry and usually stay out of the way keeping to themselves.
Unless ducks are hand raised and given lots of human attention, they will remain mostly quite flighty and afraid of people. You should spend a fair amount of time with your ducks, and your duck will become adjusted to you.
Some breeds of ducks are more interesting than others, though, and I remember a certain Muscovy that would visit our local tennis center from a nearby lake and allow people to pat him.
‘’ Do not rely on ducks to always put themselves to bed before dark like chickens as they do sometimes need to be rounded up.’’
Ducks are pretty weatherproof, and nothing much phases them apart for the heat and sun. Nevertheless, a shelter should be provided for them, so they have a beautiful dry, safe place to rest and sleep at night.
Ducks usually find a spot on the ground to sit – they do not perch- so if the enclosure housing the ducks has a hard surface, then lining the floor with a thick litter such as straw will make it more comfortable.
Most domestic ducks cannot fly, well they sort of can, to jump off obstacles, but they cannot fly over the fence. However, Muscovy ducks can fly well, so keep that in mind.
Often my ducks will seek a shady tree and some grass to lay on during the heat of the day and in the late afternoon. If there is not a lot of shade around them, it is imperative that the ducks have a shelter like a barn, cover, or shed to escape the elements.
Also, as the saying goes, ‘a sitting duck’ they are entirely vulnerable to predators, especially from dogs and foxes. It is essential to ensure that ducks have a safe area to roam and a fox or dog proof pen or enclosure to be locked up at night; otherwise, the consequences will be devastating.
Ducks should put themselves to bed as chickens do in the evening ( in their pen ) safety. Still, they do not always and may develop a false sense of security son decide to sleep outside the enclosure in the open pasture.
Therefore, if you have a free-ranging area secure throughout the day but open to possible fox attacks by night, ensure the ducks have followed the chickens to bed and not missed the automatic chicken door closing for the night.
Ducks Nesting in Your Backyard
Every apartment complex pond, golf course, park, and even some swimming pools can become targeted nesting areas.
After courtship flights and rituals are complete, the result, of course, is nesting ducks. Every apartment complex pond, golf course, park, and even some swimming pools can become targeted areas for ducks looking to raise ducklings.
Ducks and geese have been known to think outside the box when it comes to finding a safe place for a nest, while others seem not to be thinking at all. Soon, all people all over the world will start thinking and finding homes for nesting the birds. Knowing what to do and what not to do, with and around the nest, is very important.
Many laws and treaties protect migratory birds. It is illegal to take or possess eggs of nesting migratory birds without the necessary permits.
Things to know about the nest
- The nest bowl is 7 to 8 inches in diameter and 1 to 2 inches high
- After nest egg-laying starts in 1 to 3 days.
- They will lay nine eggs that will hatch in 28 days.
- Nest can be any type of vegetation available in that area.