Raising chickens in your backyard is a popular hobby for many. The benefits of having eggs readily available have made it a popular choice for not only hobby farmers but also many homeowners who have the space for the livestock. While chickens are great, here are the many benefits to adding ducks to your flock of animals. And, it is not just for the eggs, though they are nutritious and delicious.
New Heritage Feed Company offers a holistic way to feed livestock with no chemicals. They provide a natural approach with traditional and holistic benefits. New Heritage Feeding Company has a range of feed available, including for ducks and other layer birds such as chickens, turkey, and pheasants. All products are locally sourced with the community, consumer, and animal in mind.
The Benefits of Adding Ducks to Your Flock
Adding ducks to your flock of chickens or other birds is usually a smooth transition. Ducks and chickens naturally live well in the same environment. Ducks and chickens are about the same size, eat similar food, have the same protection needs against predators, and need similar climates.
If you live in a colder environment adding ducks to your flock has the added benefit of keeping your chicken coop warmer through body heat.
Ducks usually require less maintenance compared to chickens when it comes to environmental needs. Unlike chickens, their feathers make them waterproof.
They are tolerant of cold temperatures and also adjust better to heat so long as they have shade. They are not affected by rain and often enjoy it when it happens. Their hardiness is a benefit to adding ducks to your flock.
Production of Eggs
Ducks that are fed healthy pellets will often lay eggs that taste very similar to chicken eggs. Ducks often lay eggs year-round. Depending on the type of bird, they may lie anywhere between 150 to 350 eggs per year.
They are known to be better egg layers when compared to chickens. Duck eggs are often a better base in baked good products compared to chicken eggs, too. They have a hearty and rich flavor that many chefs prefer.
You can sell duck eggs for a profit to chefs and gourmet bakers for a nice profit once you have established your flock. Depending on market and location, eggs can be sold anywhere for $1.50 to $12 a dozen. Creating a side income for the sale of eggs can be an excellent benefit of adding ducks to your flock.
Duck Meat for Profit
Another benefit of adding ducks to your flock is that duck meat can be sold seasonally for profit. You may also want to use the meat for your own family’s enjoyment.
Meat flavor can range from mild to strong, depending on the bird. Duck meat is a delicacy across many markets, so using their meat for profit is a benefit to adding duck to your flock. There are city and state health compliance orders that must be followed when using flock for meat, so it is essential to check with local health departments for those requirements.
The profit from selling ducklings is a significant benefit of adding ducks to your flock. Some hobbyists use egg incubators and may hatch up to 30 ducklings per month using this method. The average sale for each duckling is around $5, dependent on market and location.
The profit from duckling sales can quickly pay for the cost of feed and housing for your flock.
Shelter Needs for Your Flock
Ducks are less picky compared to chickens when it comes to shelter needs. They are easily adaptable, which is a benefit to adding ducks to your flock. They enjoy sleeping outdoors and prefer to sleep on the ground. If you are going to keep them in an enclosure, they often will need to be herded into the environment.
Ducks can be messy, which is something to consider when it comes to shelter. They will often dirty their pens, dig water holes and mud puddles, and mess up their water. Because of this, an adequate drainage system is necessary for your flock.
Baby ducklings can be raised in a small pool with a heat lamp. Less heat is required when compared to baby chickens. Ducklings do need absorbent bedding, such as wood chips or straw, and bedding should be changed at least daily.
Their relatively easy maintenance is an excellent benefit to adding ducks to your flock.
Food Needs for Your Flock
Although there are benefits to adding ducks to your flock, there is special feed for ducks.
Though, they can also feed on chicken pellets once they are an adult and do well. However, one difference is that ducks do require more niacin than chickens. If missing from their diet, their legs may grow weak. If you are not going to use special duck feed, then adding brewers yeast to chicken feed can give the ducks the added niacin they require. The brewer’s yeast is not harmful to chickens; it can be beneficial for them as well.
There is no need to purchase special feeding pens for ducks. Though they do well with open tubs, they can feed on hanging chicken feeders or trough feeders without issue. The similarities in feed requirements are another benefit of adding ducks to your flock.
Ducks are very strong animals, which is a benefit to adding ducks to your flock. Their high body temperatures kill off many pathogens, bacteria, and parasites.
Because they spend so much time in the water, they are unlikely to harbor mites, ticks, fleas, or lice. As long as they are not in contact with other birds with contagions such as Avian flu, they are not at risk of contracting viruses.
With a clean environment that includes fresh bedding, clear water, and daily feeds, ducks are likely to maintain good health.
If you decide to reap the benefits of adding ducks to your flock, New Heritage Feed Company offers a unique formula feed for flocks that includes an essential oil blend. This formula has been proven, tested, and is proprietary to other blends on the market.
The chemists they have partnered with are leaders in the essential oil industry. They offer an 18% layer/ all flock pellet with essential oils that is a superior feed for ducks. With the added specialized feed, you can ensure you are giving the animals what they need so you find success and benefit in adding ducks to your flock.