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Residential Duck Management

 
Gregory Silling
Posts: 86
Location: Northeast - 5B
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NOOB ... we want to have ducks and we are limited to 12.

If we buy 12 females we will have great egg production (for our needs) but they would age out together.

Should we get the 12 and start sending 3 to the kettle every year

Should I run 10 ducks for eggs and two males for meat. and stiil slaughter three females a year as well as the three males as the hit full weight.

Should I try to generate my own ducks or just buy ducklings as needed.

Thanks for your response!

Greg
 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1250
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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With those restrictions I would run it like this:

buy in 10 hens and 2 drakes.

raise them out and watch closely for the best birds. Big, calm, broody hens with good instincts for protecting the ducklings and tough, strong drakes with good body form and fast growth.

Keep hens that perform mothering tasks well and consider culling the rest. Eat them or sell them as you see fit.

Raise up new ducklings by allowing hens to go broody. this makes it way easier to replace the culled birds. Keep a few extra in case there are losses. Limiting to 12 is tough to do when you're trying to keep a stable flock of layers.

Keep the best drake of the original two and eat the other one.

Because hatching eggs will be 50% male and 50% female, you'll have to raise many more ducklings than you'll intend to keep just to get the number of females you need to go forward each year. That's the hard part of it really.

If you keep this cycle going through the years, you should have a constantly improving and dynamic flock of birds.


If the reason for the limitations is that you have noise ordinances and such, let me suggest Cayuga ducks. They are big, calm, quiet and friendly. They lay nice eggs and sit well. Drakes are nearly silent and hens only really make noise if you're late with the feed or if the drake is trying to mate with them at an inopportune time. Also, they are black which is a good trait in northern climates where cold can be brutal. Being able to absorb just a little more of that solar energy is a season extender for egg production.


This is how I've managed my chicken and duck flocks for the past few years. It's working out good so far.

Best of luck
 
Gregory Silling
Posts: 86
Location: Northeast - 5B
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thanks Craig... I m in the Farmington river valley in Ct . So I appreciate your input... it makes sense...I think I will call the town and run this scenario by them, The town has been accomadating in the past. It's funny that I can have two horses, 6 dogs, 12 ducks at the same time but only 12 ducks with no horses and just 1 dog. as you suggest it must be a noise ordinance.

Greg
 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1250
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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I'd probably just get the operation up and running and wait for a complaint. If nobody complains then you don't have a problem. If somebody does, just explain that "most" are temporary residents awaiting sale or butchery. usually that's enough to keep the town off your back.
 
Gregory Silling
Posts: 86
Location: Northeast - 5B
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the town basically stated that they only respond to complaints... so I think that running an operation similar to yours would be fine. My neighbors would complain directly to me, if there was an issue.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Go bigger and turn the neighbours into egg customers. A guy in Victoria does that with chickens. Neighbours throw all of their kitchen scraps to the chickens. People passing by, stop to let kids feed the chickens.
 
Ann Torrence
steward
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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A flock of ducks on the move is hard to count. Just saying. And babies usually don't count, like puppies or kittens, unless the enforcement officer is being a jerk. And of course you will gift your neighbors with eggs on occasion .
 
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