4 Ways to Raise Ducks from Each Stage of Their Lives

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4 Ways to Raise Ducks from Each Stage of Their Lives
4 Ways to Raise Ducks from Each Stage of Their Lives

Once you have decided to raise ducks, you need to devote yourself to their care and welfare and this is not necessarily a simple task. They tend to be easier to care for than other types of birds, however, and many find them rewarding to watch and care for. Read on for more information if you're considering raising a duck from egg, chick, or adult.


Method 1 of 4: Hatching duck eggs

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Step 1. Plan ahead

Duck eggs usually take 28 days to hatch, but some breeds can take up to 35 days. You need to make sure your incubator is set up in advance before you buy the eggs and try to hatch them.

Paw eggs are larger than chicken eggs, so many chicken egg incubators will not accommodate the right paw eggs. Make sure the tray used in the incubator is large enough

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Step 2. Allow the incubator to stabilize before placing the eggs in it

Set the temperature to 37.5 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity to 55 percent or 29.0 degrees Celsius on the wet bulb thermometer.

  • Ventilation must be adjusted in accordance with the producer's instructions.
  • Allow the incubator to stabilize for a full day or two before placing the eggs there.
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Step 3. Carefully select the eggs you will be using

Eggs must be in good condition to be hatched.

  • Avoid eggs that are broken, double yolked, misshapen, too big, too small, or dirty.
  • Preferably, eggs should be placed in the incubator one to three days after being laid.
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Step 4. Check the incubator four times a day

After placing the eggs in the incubator, you should check them at least four times a day. When doing this, turn them upside down so that they can receive heat from all sides equally.

On the first day, you should check the eggs more or less every hour

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Step 5. Remove unfit eggs after the first week

If there are some eggs with a clear shell, it means those eggs are infertile. Eggs with cloudy shells are dead inside. Remove both types of eggs from the incubator and leave the other ones alone.

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Step 6. Transfer eggs to hatcher trays after 25 days

You can move them to a separate setter machine or change the setter settings to accommodate the eggs as they hatch.

  • The temperature should be at 37, 2 degrees Celsius with a humidity of 65 percent.
  • Increase humidity to 80 percent and increase vents by 50 percent as eggs begin to crack or shift considerably.
  • Within the next 6 to 12 hours, just before the end of incubation, lower the temperature to 36.1 degrees Celsius and the humidity to 70 percent. Open all vents.
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Step 7. Remove hatched ducks from the hatching machine

Once 90 to 95 percent of the ducks have hatched and dried, you should remove them from the hatching machine and transfer them to a nest.

Method 2 of 4: Taking Care of Ducklings

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Step 1. Buy only two ducklings

If you are buying ducklings instead of raising them from eggs, buy only two to four.

  • You will be able to take better care of a smaller number, especially if raising ducks is a new experience for you, but you must have more than one duckling to prevent the duckling from feeling lonely. Ducks need to socialize with other ducks.
  • Often, if you buy from a brooder, at least 10 to 15 ducklings will be sold. That amount can be devastating, so consider donating some of the ducklings to responsible relatives and friends.
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Step 2. Soak the nozzle in shallow water at room temperature

If you bought ducklings instead of hatching them. You should dip the tip of their beaks in shallow or fresh water to hydrate them.

If using fresh water, add 1/3 of a teacup (80 ml) of sugar to every gallon (1 L) of water

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Step 3. Always supply the ducklings with plenty of water

The water makes it easier for ducklings to swallow their food and clean their beak entrances. You should give the ducklings access to water for at least an hour before and after feeding.

  • Chick fountains and shallow bowls are recommended for ducklings. Be prepared to clean the site frequently however, as ducklings love to splash around in the water.
  • A one-week-old duckling will drink about 1/2 gallon (2 L) of water per week. By age seven weeks, ducklings drink 1/2 gallon (2 L) of water a day.
  • Make sure the water is not deeper than 6.35 mm to prevent the ducklings from drowning.
  • Be aware of the fact that ducklings do not produce waterproofing oil until they are four weeks old. In the wild, mother ducks apply this to ducklings before they swim, but domestic ducks cannot be allowed to bathe before that age, as they have not yet developed any oils of their own.
  • Until ducklings are one month old, they should only be allowed to enjoy short baths and under close supervision. You can do this by filling a small plastic tub with warm water and letting them slosh for 2-5 minutes. Dry them before taking them back to the nest.
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Step 4. Build a nest for your ducklings

Keep your ducklings safe and warm in a nest to protect them from predators, drafts and disease.

  • You don't need anything fancy. A spare bathtub, plastic bag, crate, or plastic-lined cardboard box will do.
  • Keep the water pot in one corner of the nest and spread a few sheets of newspaper under it to absorb the excess water the ducklings will inevitably spill around.
  • When the ducklings are old enough to recognize what is and isn't food, line the nest with sawdust.
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Step 5. Keep the nest warm

Place a bell in the nest on top of the ducklings until they are 7-9 weeks old. Before this step, they are unable to regulate their own body temperature and need external heat sources.

  • Ducklings that are feeling very cold will flock together. if they are too hot, they will stay as far away from the heat as possible.
  • During the first week, the temperature should be 32, 2 degrees Celsius. Decrease the temperature one degree a day after the first week until the temperature is around the same temperature outside the nest.
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Step 6. Provide shelter for your ducklings

Once the ducklings are fully feathered and adapted to the outside temperature, move them to a protective shelter rather than a nest. The shelter must be able to protect them from predators and others, and it also needs to grant some kind of calm and tranquility to them.

The shelter must be properly ventilated and spacious enough for the ducklings to spread their wings once they become adult ducks

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Step 7. Supply the ducklings with a regular supply of food

You can buy special food for ducklings or you can buy non-medicated natural chick food. If using chick food, you should sprinkle brewer's yeast on top to provide extra niacin.

  • Gradually, you can add whole oats to your food as additional protein. At most, you should only have one part of oats to three of feed.
  • Add chick beans to the food to make it better digested.
  • You can also offer healthy treats like dandelion grass, grass, raw weeds, earthworms, peas and moistened oats every other day.
  • Change food every day as it tends to get wet and can develop mold and bacteria if allowed to settle.
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Step 8. Play with your ducklings often

If you plan on keeping your ducklings as pets, you should play with them often when they become adults. This socializes them and makes them bond with you.

For this reason, it is preferable to raise ducks from eggs or from chicks, as social patterns and behaviors are learned when they are hatchlings

Method 3 of 4: Taking Care of Adult Ducks

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Step 1. Get a couple of ducks

If you are buying adult ducks rather than raising them from egg or from chicks, you should buy two ducks to start with, especially if you want to raise ducks only as pets.

If you have more than four ducks, you cannot keep them in a small area as it will quickly become a mess

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Step 2. Provide plenty of water for the adult ducks

Like chicks, adult ducks need access to water while eating in order for them to be able to swallow water and clean their beak inlets.

  • You don't need to provide a pond for the ducks. In fact, if your pond is difficult to clean, it can even be a health threat to your ducks.
  • Leave a small pot of water near the ducks' food source. Ducks need to drink water while eating to avoid choking.
  • Plastic wading pools are great ways to give your ducks a place to bathe. They are cheap, easy to clean and easy to move around.
  • Spread gravel, sand and sawdust in and under the pool to limit the amount of sludge created. Change places once or twice a year.
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Step 3. Feed adult ducks a balanced feed

Although adult ducks will look for slugs, herbs and other foods on their own, you need to supplement this food with a balanced, nutritious food.

  • Waterfowl food is recommended, but if you cannot find it, you can use game bird food or non-medicated chick food.
  • You may need to add grain or calcium supplements as well to aid digestion and bone strengthening, respectively.
  • As an adult, your nutritional needs will vary. For the most part, young ducks do not need high levels of calcium, unless you are planning to raise them for consumption.
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Step 4. Keep adequate shelter for your ducks

Adult ducks can fall prey to wild predators and bad weather and the main purpose of a shelter is to protect them from these threats.

  • Shelters also provide ducks with a quiet place to rest.
  • Make sure the shelter is ventilated and large enough for the ducks to clean up.
  • An isolated house, cage, or enclosure will work well, but it doesn't have to be perfectly comfortable.
  • If you can spend your time and energy on this, you should also consider getting a sheepdog that you can train to look after the ducks at all times.
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Step 5. Keep the ducks surrounded

Even when you allow your ducks to roam, you should fenced off their grazing area with a protective fence. The fence only needs to be about 61 to 67 cm and most ducks will never try to climb over it as long as they are well taken care of.

If you have a flying race, trim the first wing feathers once a year to keep them on the ground

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Step 6. Take care of the ducks' health

Ducks are reasonably resistant to the worms and diseases that often affect chickens, but you need to make sure their basic health needs are being met.

  • Healthier ducks can be released to get plenty of exercise in wide open spaces.
  • Keep at least three legs for each duck to prevent excessive stress on the females.
  • Watch for signs of illness, including ruffled feathers, changes in the amount of food and water taken, lethargy and bloody diarrhea.
  • If a duck gets sick, quarantine it and treat it right away.

Method 4 of 4: Reasons to Raise Ducks

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Step 1. Keep ducks as pets

The main reason for raising ducks is simply because of companionship. Ducks are fun to watch, as long as they like to play with water and can bond with the humans who care for them.

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Step 2. Eat the duck eggs

Duck eggs are bigger and richer in protein, calcium, iron and potassium than chicken eggs. Many duck breeds also lay more eggs than hens on a one-year basis.

  • Note that if you have any allergies to chicken eggs, you will probably be able to tolerate duck eggs well. However, check with your doctor before consuming duck eggs.
  • Duck eggs can be used in just about anything chicken eggs are used in, but the fact is that they tend to be larger, so you need to take this difference into account when adding them to recipes.
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Step 3. Use ducks for food

If you end up raising a large number of ducks, you might consider using some of them for food. Duck meat contains a vast amount of protein, iron, zinc and selenium.

  • A roasted duck leg has 217 calories with 11 grams of fat, which is comparable to the amount of calories and fat of a grilled chicken leg.
  • Likewise, a roasted duck breast has 140 calories with 2.5 g of fat, whereas a roast chicken has 165 calories with 3.6 g of fat.
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Step 4. Sell duck eggs, baby ducklings and adult ducks

If you have live ducks, baby ducklings and duck eggs to sell, you may be able to find a buyer at a farm or rural area nearby. When you only need to sell a small amount, it is usually not necessary to obtain a license, but you should check the laws in your country before doing so.

  • If you plan to set up a duck sales business, you will need to obtain a license from the government. You will also have to strictly follow health surveillance regulations.
  • If you plan to sell eggs or duck meat, you will also need to strictly follow health surveillance regulations regarding health in food processing.


  • Ducks are cheaper to raise than chickens because they scratch for a higher percentage of food than chickens. They also take up less space overall.
  • Choose the best breed according to your purposes. If you need a cheap breed or plan to use ducks for food or for profit, stick to the standard mallard. If you are interested in having ducks as pets, try a breed with good pedigree like Ancona, Cayuga, Campbell, Welsh Harlequin or Appleyard Silver.
  • Ducks are also good for your garden as they hunt slugs, snails and other pests. Better yet, they rarely get in the way of the plants when they scratch, unless they come across lettuce and strawberries they love to nibble on.


  • Buy duck eggs, baby ducklings, and adult ducks from trusted breeders to make sure the ducks you'll be bringing are healthy.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching ducks or anything else in their environment. Even though they look healthy, ducks can carry Salmonella bacteria in their feces and body.
  • Make sure any seedlings you have in the garden are protected in case you let your ducks roam free. Delicate seedlings can be crushed by the flat feet of ducks.

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