I know that it has been a while since I wrote anything about my plans for the ducks.  Allow me to address that error and provide an update.  As you can tell in the title the name “Just Ducky Ranch” has been batted around for an idea of what to call the future little plot of duck town.  (It clearly has to be a town and not a burg…for copyright reasons).  So let’s take a look at what I’m planning on doing.

 

Breed Selection

Khaki CampbellI’ve been looking over a number of different breeds of duck and think that I have made my choice in what I’ll be looking to get.  First out of the gate will be some Khaki Campbells.  After looking over things and planning, I think that the first goal for these ducks will be egg production.  Objective 1 will be enough eggs for my family and when we surpass that objective 2 will be looking into the sale of duck eggs.  It seems that these ducks are a high egg producer and look to not be overly complicated.

Cayuga DuckDuck breed number two right now looks to be the Cayuga. Of course this will still be quite a ways off, as I’m going to work with the Khakis to get my duck legs so to speak and then we’ll move on from there.  I think that they look rather cool.  Also they seem to be listed as dual use birds, meaning I can still get some eggs but will also be able to process them as meat birds as well.  However don’t expect them to be showing up at the homestead anytime soon.

Runner DucksLastly, my wife has informed me that we will be getting a couple Runner Ducks.  I’ve read about them and it seems like they are good egg layers, but she wants them more because they look cute.  I won’t argue too much, but they will be part of duck wave number two.

Time Frame

Pirate DuckAt first I was considering waiting until the spring to see about ordering the ducks, but then I read an article about brooding chicks in the winter.  After that it hit me that I can just as easily brood the ducks in the winter as well.  They tend to be more cold hard than chicks, so once I get them up to the point they have full feathers I would think that they would be able to go out and survive.  I am still doing some research into if this is going to work, but there is rather little duck information on the web.

Living Quarters

DucklingsI am debating exactly what brooding arrangements to use, since I’m looking at starting with 10 ducks through the winter, I might need something larger than just a Rubbermaid tote to brood them in.  But I have a spot in a basement room with a title floor.  It stays around the 60’s, so that plus heat lamp should work well for the little ducklings.

Then when they are ready to move outside I am starting on making a duck pen.  My wife is still a bit iffy on letting them free range, so a fenced pen may need to be the solution to begin with.  I plan to take them out of the pen now and then when I’m with them at least to give them a bit more of a chance to wander.  Then I will be looking at having their coop be in the pen area.

duck vs chickenIn doing my research it seems that a number of people have said that you can raise ducks without access to water if needed, but it looks to be better if they do have some access.  I think that after looking everything over they will be getting a little plastic pool to splash and play in.  Since the pen will be near the garden I’ll be able to use the water from the pool to water plants when it is time to change out the pool water.

Mess

Duck vs ChickenMy in laws have talked to a few people that have had ducks and have been told that they are a mess.  So now they are convinced that ducks will poop all over the front deck and be nothing but a mess and stink to high heaven.  I know that ducks can be a mess, and I’m expecting them to make various mud holes in their pen.  I also know that I have to take care of their bedding in their coop, but I don’t think that these little feathered friends will be quite the disgusting smelly mess that my in laws are envisioning.  But if anyone has any tips or pointers, that would be appreciated.

Wrap Up

Well, in the next few months you can look for updates as I begin my second livestock venture.  (In case you were curious the government classifies bees as livestock since they can produce foodstuffs).  I’ll put some updates as they happen and will probably have a few pictures of my own ducks to go with them.