The following 101, on raising ducks, comes from HOMEGROWN member Lauren, of Honest Desires Farm. Talk about organized: Lauren has broken each section below into two parts: First come the nuts and bolts that any prospective duck keeper needs to know (“the basics”), followed by insights Lauren has gleaned herself (“our experience”). All together, it’s a pretty righteous checklist of things to consider when considering ducks. Thanks, Lauren, for sharing your top-shelf advice, and to everyone else: Good luck!
WHY RAISE DUCKS?
The basics: Why do you want to keep ducks: for minor pest control? For adorable pets? (Just a note that fuzzy ducklings grow up and have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years.) Do you want duck eggs for cooking and eating? Do you want to start the family tradition of dining on a Christmas duck? You don’t have to settle for just one goal; some breeds satisfy all of the above. Pinpointing your priorities will help you plan accordingly and pick a duck breed or breeds that meet your criteria.
As with chickens, there are bantam, light, and heavy breeds of ducks, all bred for various purposes. One of my favorite ways of exploring breeds is by visiting hatchery websites, including:
This last one offers sex-linked ducklings (more on sex-linking below). Unless you’re looking for a specific breed, I would recommend ordering from a hatchery as close to you as possible. Whatever breed you choose, one thing’s for certain: The ducklings will be adorable.