Ducks are very easy domestic animals to take care of. They integrate themselves very well in a farm yard as they can get along well with for example chickens and geese. They can even create affectionate links with people that take care of them. You can have ducks just as pets, to lay eggs or for meat. They are also known for their great weeding abilities.
Living conditions of ducks
It is best to bring up multiple ducks at the same time. Either as a couple (male and female), or as a small group of 4 minimum. It is also possible to mix different breeds of duck together like the Mandarin duck, and Mallard. These farmyard animals don’t require much attention as long as they can stretch their legs and have a patch of grass to eat from and somewhere for them to swim. However, they do need quite a large area to exercise themselves. As a rule, make sure they get at least around 2 to 5 m2 of space per animal. Their space has to be fenced off to protect them from predators and to stop the animals from escaping. A fence about 1,5 metres tall will keep the ducks from getting into your garden and eating your salad and strawberries and trampling the crops.
These domestic animals need water nearby, firstly to drink from but also to swim and maintain their feathers. A simple basin would do. Remember to put gravel and sand around the water to avoid creating mud.
Ducks also need a shelter to sleep and lay their eggs. However, they can also sleep outside if they are properly protected. They need a form of litter on the ground made up of wood shavings, straw and sand. Make sure their shelter is separate from that of the other farmyard animals.
If you have breeds of duck capable of flying, cut their wings by cutting the main feathers of one wing once a year to keep them from escaping.
Ducks are omnivores and have a large appetite (twice as much as chickens for example). Adult ducks manage to find their own food (worms) or eat grass. They will need something to complete their diet though like grain from wheat, mais or oats. You could give them some salad as well. These additional foods are especially important for diving ducks that feed on fish and aquatic animals instead of grass.
Be careful not to give ducks mais for too long though as it could lead to them becoming overweight in later life. Ducks also feed off vegetables and small insects. They will efficiently get rid of slugs and snails that may threaten your garden.
Ducks are massive water drinkers at around half a litre per day. Drinking is essential not just for hydration but also to help them swallow their food. Make sure the water they drink s always clean and fresh.
Ducks are some of the strongest farmyard animals. Unlike other animals they are quite resistant to illnesses and parasites. None the less, you should still keep an eye out for any signs that something may be wrong like tousled feathers, fatigue, or bloody diarrhoea. A sick duck has to be put under quarantine and tended to as soon as possible.
Rules and laws to bringing up ducks
Some breeds of duck require special paperwork and certificates to be bred. Your local council and farming association can give you all the information you need about this and how to go about getting the necessary certificate