The ducks we raise are Welsh Harlequin and Pekins. Welsh Harlequins are calm, and beautiful ducks, who produce a lot of eggs, compared to other breeds. We have them on the farm to sell their eggs, and sometimes sell some extra drakes for meat.
Our Pekins are also calm, and beautiful. They show well at the 4H Fair. We primarily raise them for meat.
In 2023, we are switching over to Silver Appleyard ducks. They are the coloration of Welsh Harlequin, but the size of a Pekin, and are good layers. They are the best of both world!
I let my duck flock live together on our pond, and let them mate naturally. We remove some of the drakes, because too many causes competition and fighting. I gather most of the eggs to sell, but do collect some that I incubate inside to hatch more ducklings. They are provided a house to lay eggs in, but tend to prefer laying them by the pond where they spend most of their time. So egg collecting can be fun!
I have hatched several of my own ducklings in our incubator. They stay inside in a brooder box until they are feathered enough to go outside. It takes ducks much longer to get fully feathered, compared to chickens, that I don't let them onto the pond until they are big enough to stay warm, and climb the edge of the pond. Ducks are very social animals who form strong bonds. My ducklings don't get put on the pond, unless they have formed a bond with at least one other duckling that has hatched, so that they can stay together until they make friends with the adult flock. They are given extra exercise in the sink or bathtub to practice their swimming before they are put on the pond.
Growth and Feeding
Our ducks tend to sleep in our barn, and have access to our irrigation pond. They are supplemented with poultry feed if they desire it. They also eat algae, insects and grass from around the pond. They are great at eliminating mosquito larvae! Their feed consumption is very low in the spring, summer and fall, as they get most of their nutrition from bugs and grass and algae on the pond. In the winter, they require the grain supplements. Our ducks are all hormone-free, and none of them are ever fed medicated feed. Our birds are also antibiotic-free. We only feed medicine if a bird is ill. We have never had an illness in our duck flock. We never spray any chemicals anywhere on our land, so they are not exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.
We feed 28% Game Bird feed to our turkeys and quails, and baby chicks
We feed a 20% layer pellet to adult birds.
A Few Duck Statistics
In 2016, we hatched 87 of our own ducklings
in 2017, we hatched 167 ducklings!
Our ducks seem to prefer laying eggs in cold weather and take the summer off to splash in the pond
Our resident 4H show birds are Paddles and Becky.
Last year, we had 2 hens raise a clutch of 4 ducklings together