Growing ducks and ducklings at home

Domestic ducks are unpretentious birds from which you can get a lot of meat, and sometimes eggs, so many landowners are trying to breed these waterfowl in their yard. But in order for the withdrawal to be successful, a number of important points must be taken into account. You need to know how to grow ducklings at home, how to make housing for birds, how to fatten ducks. It is also worth immediately deciding which particular breed will need to be bred at home on the site.

Breeding ducks at home

What breed of domestic ducks to choose

At the moment, there are many breeds of ducks that are suitable for a variety of conditions. And each poultry breeder needs to choose the bird that suits him the most. This is not an easy task, since each variety has its own advantages and disadvantages, so when choosing a breed, it is worth deciding what is required of the birds in the first place. The owner must understand why he will breed this breed and in what conditions the breeding will take place.

Breeding ducks at home will not be difficult with the right choice of variety. The first thing to understand is that there are three areas of production, which include all breeds of these birds. This is a meat, meat-and-egg and egg production line. Eggs should be ignored right away: these ducks rush no better than chickens, but are inferior in weight. You should choose from the meat and meat-egg directions. It should be understood that there are many breeds of both types.

Meat production

Most poultry farmers prefer to dwell on this type of domestic duck. They are able to quickly gain weight and with them you can get a lot of tasty meat. And some breeds differ in decent egg production. Of these varieties, it is worth noting the gray Ukrainian duck and the black white-breasted bird. Still good laying hens are obtained from representatives of the Moscow white breed. Among purely meat varieties, there are also many worthy candidates for cultivation.

Those who are interested in growing ducks for meat are usually recommended a Beijing breed or an indo-native. Representatives of the Beijing breed gain good weight, and their meat is high in fat. These birds are unpretentious and precocious. They are also used in breeding other breeds, which are also worth paying attention to. From Peking ducks, in particular, Bashkir birds and blue favorites were bred. Some poultry farmers prefer to breed precisely these waterfowl.

Musk ducks deserve special mention. They do not have as fatty meat as the Beijing variety, but they also gain weight very quickly. They have average egg production, but the uterus of this breed has a developed instinct for breeding. Among the shortcomings, it is worth mentioning the fact that the indigenous birds do not tolerate low temperatures. For them it is necessary to separately warm the room. When crossed with other breeds, they produce hybrids that are not able to reproduce, but are unpretentious, precocious and with tasty meat.

Meat production

Ducks of this type are recommended for beginner breeders who want to get not only meat, but also eggs. When breeding at home, when the egg is needed only for their own use, such birds are ideal. They are able to gain weight quite briskly, but at the same time bring a sufficient number of eggs. It is worth considering that meat-type varieties are more popular than those that belong to the meat-egg type. All because the meat type is more profitable for industrial breeding.

But for small farms, meat ducks are great. Among these breeds, it is worth noting the mirror variety, the Saxon and the kayuga. The most common in Russia and Ukraine are mirror ducks. But many poultry farmers recommend breeding a variety of cayug birds: they gain good weight, are characterized by good egg production and are able to live in cold regions. And they also have a well-developed maternal instinct, so if you make a plan to breed ducks in the north, it is worth paying attention to this particular species.

Housing for domestic ducks

It does not matter which species it was decided to breed. First you need to build a suitable home for the birds. This is necessary for growing Moscow white or Peking ducks, and even for tamed wild mallard birds (or just mallards). There are certain requirements for the construction and arrangement of a house for waterfowl. To succeed in breeding these pets, you must provide them with decent living conditions. Here's what to consider when building a duck house:

  • Although ducks are waterfowl, they do not like dampness and excessive humidity, so the room should be dry and warm properly. Even a temporary shed for them must be protected from moisture. Leaking roof or damp floor are not allowed.
  • The room, with the exception of places for hens and layers, should be well lit. Windows should not face north, best of all, east or south. In this case, the windows should be tightly closed to avoid drafts.
  • The room should be spacious enough, since ducks do not like crowding: in such conditions they feel worse and there is no way to resist infectious diseases. The minimum area allowed for these birds is one duck per 0.3 square meters. m. But it is better to provide at least 1-1.5 square meters. m for each bird.
  • If there is water nearby, then the exit from the premises should be located nearby. Many domestic varieties still love to swim and should not be denied this opportunity.
  • There should be no drafts in the room so that the ducks do not catch a cold. In particular, young animals cannot tolerate such conditions. Yes, and hens that don’t have the opportunity to leave the nest should not get sick, so it’s very important to make a house without extra gaps. All excess holes should be carefully caulked. In the northern regions, you should build a house of brick or other similar material.

The choice of materials for construction depends solely on the owner. Stone, wood, clay and various combinations of these materials are perfect, you just need to consider all the basic tips for building. There is another recommendation for beginners: do not immediately build a large room. First you need to try breeding a small number of ducks, and then, having mastered, it will be possible to increase the number and size of new housing for birds.

Construction of a temporary home for ducks

In the event that the bird house is not yet ready, you can make a temporary residence for them. Immediately we must make a reservation: in winter, you can not resort to such a method. If the house has not yet been completed or there is no opportunity to settle waterfowl in it, it is worth making an indoor corral of a net. The maintenance of ducks at home is usually not practiced, if we are not talking about ducklings, and therefore similar temporary huts are created in which the birds are lodged. All that is required is a fine-mesh metal mesh, poles and roofing material.

The pen itself is easy to do. Pillars are driven along the perimeter, a grid is fixed on them, and that's all, you can run the bird inside. A roof is needed if it rains constantly or the paddock is used for keeping weekly ducklings. In all other cases, roofing is unprofitable, and pointless. One has only to make a small canopy in the corner, under which the bird can rest in the most intense heat. In such cages, you can keep small ducklings so that they receive enough sunlight.

Duck feeding

From cereals, it is worth paying attention to corn and wheat. Corn is given whole or crushed, and wheat is given in the form of very coarse flour. Fine grinding is unacceptable for both adult birds and chicks. In addition to corn and wheat, you can still pay attention to oats and barley. Legumes are commonly used in fattening ducks for meat. Also, various meal and bran are added to the feed, which may also be useful, but their amount should not exceed 1/10 of the total mass of food.

Green juicy feed must be included in the diet of domestic waterfowl. In particular, various aquatic plants can make up a large proportion of the total diet. They are given in the amount of 500 g per 1 adult duck. They are given to chicks in minimal quantities, by two months increasing the portion to those volumes which adult birds receive. Various meadow herbs, such as clover or alfalfa, also go for food. They are also harvested in the form of a silo.

Other duck dietary supplements

To grow healthy birds, they should also add fresh vegetables to their food. They must be crushed before use. Vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, pumpkin and boiled potato tubers are useful for ducks. They are sometimes harvested together with green feed in the form of a silo, making a kind of nutritious mixture. For normal development, ducks also need protein feed. From such food, bone and fish meal, boiled eggs and low-fat cottage cheese are suitable. Many professionals write about the need for mineral additives:

“Ducks definitely need a small shell, chalk or bone meal. These are substances that contain, among other things, phosphorus and calcium. "They are needed to obtain eggs with a strong shell, and they are also required by little ducklings for normal development."

Egg production and incubation

The most important issue when breeding ducks is breeding chicks. And it begins with the selection and incubation of eggs. First you need to figure out which duck you can work with and get offspring from. For several months, selected birds are observed. Healthy, well-built and strong birds are left for breeding. The ratio of males and females is 1 drake for 5-8 ducks. When working with a duck, she needs to provide a long daylight hours: this directly affects the number of eggs received.

The feathered birds left on the tribe should be provided with decent care, feeding and protection from diseases. Eggs for incubation are taken only from healthy birds. What kind of egg is needed for hatching, you can watch the video. In general, the eggs should be intact, without cracks or dents. Sineva on the shell says that they began to deteriorate - this can be understood by the unpleasant smell. In this case, do not take too large eggs. A duck is not a goose, and even in the largest breeds the mass of one egg cannot be more than 0.1 kg.

Long-term storage negatively affects the state of the embryo, therefore, the egg can be stored for no more than 5-8 days. Ideally, it should be immediately put under the duck. These birds can fly both during the winter and during the summer months. And this period is not difficult to recognize. Very characteristic metamorphoses occur with the duck. She begins to separate from the bulk of the birds, is constantly engaged in arranging the nest. She also plucks fluff from herself and spreads it in the place chosen for masonry.

Hatching eggs

The use of brood hens is used by many poultry farmers. A similar method, with the right approach, is more effective than artificial incubation. From the first day after planting, the masonry is under the supervision of a duck. It is only necessary to ensure that the bird does not forget about food and drink. She also has to return to the nest on time. It is desirable that the nests are separated from each other, then no one will bother the hen. For bedding in nests, soft, lightweight materials are suitable.

There are also certain problems in hatching by this method. Sometimes it happens that the duck does not leave the masonry, and then she needs to be reminded of the food. It happens differently: after eating, it does not return to hatching, and it must be manually returned to the nest.

Some breeds are not good hens. For example, Peking ducks. The main problem with these white birds is that they do not seek to breed. Favorably different from them are the indochka, whom many love to keep in the country.

Hatching duck eggs in an incubator

When hatched in the incubator, pre-selected eggs are used, which are usually stored at a temperature of 10-12 ° C. Storage should not last longer than one week. When the eggs are only laid in the incubator, the temperature in it is maintained at 37-38 ° C. It must be remembered that the duck egg warms up for a long time, and when about 2/3 of the time required for hatching takes place, it is necessary to lower the temperature to 30-31 ° С.

The time required for the full development of the embryo depends on the specific breed of ducks and takes from 4 to 5 weeks. And regardless of which breed needs to be bred, the process of embryo development should be monitored. For this, ovoscopy is performed. This process allows you to observe how the incubation is going on. It is not difficult to make an ovoscope at home. A box is taken in which a hole is cut out slightly smaller than the size of the egg, and the backlight from the ordinary lamp is fixed below.

The egg is installed in the hole and highlighted from below. On the 6-7th day of incubation, you can see that the circulatory system began to form in the egg. After 15-17 days, you can see that the embryo has already formed and is moving little by little. If the development has stopped for any reason, then the insides of the egg are motionless.

Many poultry farmers do not recommend newcomers to perform ovoscopy. It still does not allow to affect the development of eggs, and if improperly carried out, it can also harm the embryos.

Growing ducklings at home

Care for ducklings determines how successful the bird breeding business will be. Indeed, the profit depends on how well the owner will be able to care for each duckling. From the first day of life, young animals should be provided with decent living conditions. Small ducklings are best kept in a brooder, a special box for recently hatched chicks. It is necessary to follow literally every duckling. At this age, many diseases are threatened by babies, and therefore it is necessary to properly care for them and feed them properly.

The brooder is made of wood, and it must be made with dense, carefully fitted walls. The scheme is simple: all that is needed is the absence of drafts. The floor is made of a fine mesh, into which the legs of the chicks will not fall through, because it is very difficult to care for the duckling with a dislocation or a fracture. The net is needed in order to facilitate cleaning in the cage. For babies who need to be kept from the first day of life, holes in the grid are made no larger than 1 cm in size.

The room must be maintained at the right temperature and light level. For small daily chicks, an artificial 22-hour day is set. The temperature is monitored using a conventional thermometer. It should be at the level of 22-23 ° C. Gradually, you should lower the temperature and reduce the artificial day. By the age of one month, a duckling needs only 14 hours of light and a temperature of 20 ° C. For light and heating, you can use infrared lamps.

Feeding ducklings in the first month of life

Growing young animals is impossible without proper nutrition, which respects all the needs of the chicks. Regardless of whether they will be raised with or without a duck, babies must be properly fed. It is important and the number of daily feedings, and the composition of the diet. After hatching and until the end of 1-2 weeks of the first month of life, young animals are fed 5-7 times during the day. With an older duckling, the number of feedings is reduced to 3 times per day. Along with the growth of chicks, the portion volumes also increase, and from the first day of life.

It should also be clarified which food is suitable for young animals. There are a lot of problems with the duckling in this matter. If you start to feed him with inappropriate food, then he may not survive. And it doesn’t matter if the babies are kept together with the duck or in a separate room. The diet for them remains the same. It must necessarily include crushed green grass. It is only important that it is not poisonous: for example, nettle treated with boiling water is suitable. It is mixed with hard-boiled eggs, which must be crushed after cooking.

You can also start feeding babies boiled compound feed mixed, for example, with milk. But all this should be given along with grass and eggs: they contain substances useful for young animals. After feeding, ducklings often strive to climb into the feeder with their paws, so the design of the drinker and feeder should be such that the chicks can not spoil their own food. What kind of design is recommended by professionals, you can watch the video.

Conclusion

Ducks are not the most difficult birds to breed. They are unpretentious, quickly gain weight and are tasty and healthy meat. They are perfect for many beginner poultry farmers.

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