Raising pet ducks
Q. My children very much want a duck for a pet. They are 6 and 8 and so far have only beta fish as pets which are very low maintenance. I'm wanting to get an idea about how high maintenance a duck is. This is our first attempt at hatching/raising a suburban duck, so, I'd appreciate any advice you think important. Also, a local ( L.A. area) resource for purchasing fertile duck eggs would be great!
A. Ducks make great pets. And as for maintenance, they require different maintenance than your average pet cat but just about the same lack of difficulty. Of course you would want to have at least two ducks so your ducky will have a pal. I always think three ducks is better than two simply because they love company and if something ever happened to one, it won't be lonely and depressed. There is no real difference in maintenance from one duck to two or three.
Do you have a particular breed in mind? Some breeds need a lot of water to be happy and some, like my Khaki Campbells, hardly need any swimming water.
How much space will you be willing to give a duck? Will it be in a coop?
Ducks are one of the least problem-prone of the poultry to take care of. If provided with clean sleeping quarters, good food and general care, they do extremely well. Although, like anything, they can get diseases but they are not as susceptible.
They do have predators. Neighborhood dogs are the #1 killers of ducks. Cats hardly bother ducks and always appear to be afraid of them, but most dogs love killing ducks so you need to make sure your backyard is pretty impenetrable. Hungry possums or raccoons and hawks can be predators but I haven't had a problem. The primary thing you want to do is make sure they have a lockable home at night.
I lock them at night to prevent anything from getting at them then let them out in the morning.
Generally care involves: Letting them out in the morning and feeding them. At this time I'll collect the eggs and tidy up the place a little: raking their enclosure and refilling their "pond." After picking them some greens in the garden, I'll leave them alone for the rest of the day until the evening. If I am busy, I'll just go out later in the night and lock them up. If I have time, I'll go out when it's still light and let them out to run around the yard. When dusk comes, they'll return to their home on their own and I just have to lock them.
Feed is usually purchased by the 50lbs. I get organic, unmedicated feed. This is about $20.00 for 50 lbs and lasts for quite awhile.
If I know what kind of breeds you are interested in, I can direct you to a breeder. In April, I will be offering baby ducklings for sale like I am offering baby chicks now. If you are interested in obtaining hatching eggs for Khaki Campbells, I can provide that to you because I have a male duck and two females.
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