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Summary
Raising ducks may seem like all fun and games thanks to the adorable and silly birds, but what most people don’t realize is just how much work it takes to successfully keep them healthy and happy. The truth is that it’s not difficult, but it does require time, effort, and knowledge. Through her social media channels, Kristine shares many different aspects of her experience with raising ducks. She shows the good, the bad, and everything in between. In Raising Ducks for Beginners and Beyond, Kristine takes the same honest approach and covers it all:

  • When and how to start: When is the best time to start raising your ducks? What are the pros and cons? Are there any specific requirements in your state regarding keeping ducks?
  • How should you set up when bringing your ducks home? And everything you should know before welcoming your ducks.
  • How to choose your ducks: Different types of ducks, male-to-female ratio, size of the ducks, and more. There are many considerations when it comes to picking which ducks you want to raise.
  • ...and what about chickens? Kristine covers the key differences between raising ducks and chickens.
  • Ducklings to ducks: Learn how to raise ducklings, let your ducks hatch their own eggs, transition your ducklings to the outdoors, and more.
  • Nutrition and feeding: Make sure they’re receiving the right nutrient ratios and that they’re surrounded by duck-safe plants, flowers, and more.
  • Keeping your ducks healthy (and happy!): What is the right bedding to keep your ducks comfortable? What about coop and/or pen size? What are common illnesses among ducks?
  • And more on how to keep your ducks in good shape and content.
  • Pools and ponds: One of the key differences from chicken-keeping, ponds are absolutely vital for ducks. This chapter helps you make sure your ducks’ pools and/or ponds are the correct size and that they are kept nice and clean.
  • Ducks through the seasons: Learn how to treat your ducks according to season. What seasons affect ducks, and why?
  • Predators: One of the most important parts of keeping ducks is keeping them safe. Know what their predators are and how to keep them at bay.
  • Duck eggs: What’s the difference between a duck egg and a chicken egg? Is one better than the other? What can you use duck eggs for? Learn all you need to know about the nutritional value of duck eggs and how you can use them.


  • Through tutorials, instructions, and tips, this essential guide will have you feeling confident through every step of the process of raising and keeping ducks.



    Reviews:

    This comprehensive guide is as entertaining as it is enlightening—it’s a celebration of ducks and the joy they bring. If you're diving into the world of ducks, it’s your go-to manual.


    Morgan Gold, creator of Gold Shaw Farm and author of Toby Dog of Gold Shaw Farm

    It was such a joy to read Krissy's book. The information she provides is very thorough, which is perfect for someone like me who has never raised ducks…hmm, now I might have to add ducks to my collection of animals!


    Nikki Husted, creator of Purely Chickens and author of Chicken Keeping Pure and Simple

    As someone who has owned ducks for years, Krissy’s insights still taught me lots of new stuff! If you are even thinking about getting started with some of these feathered friends, read this book first.


    Savannah Etheridge, creator of The Hot Mess Homestead and author of Love Between Shadows



    About the author:

    Kristine Ellis received her first duck as a birthday gift when she turned five years old. In her freshman year of high school, she joined a local 4-H poultry club where her love of ducks flourished. In 2017, she purchased her first miniature duck from a member of the club. That duck, Munchkin, became the star of Dunkin Ducks the next year! The Dunkin Ducks Instagram page was initially created to connect with others who raise ducks and share duck pictures for fun. To this day, education and community remain important parts of all Dunkin Ducks pages, where millions of followers subscribe to follow along. Dunkin Ducks has been featured in dozens of media outlets including the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Boston Globe. Krissy also remains involved in 4-H, where she now teaches kids about raising poultry.



    Where to get it?

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    COMMENTS:
     
    gardener & author
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    I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.

    This is a well presented book with so many cute colour pictures of ducks. While I was reading it, I kept finding my children reading over my shoulder, and I think they will love this book once I put it on the shelf.

    It is an excellent book for anyone looking at raising ducks as pets, with also some helpful information for people interested in raising them for eggs. The author is really enthusiastic about ducks, and her love for ducks shows throughout the book.

    The first chapter looks at getting started with ducks: the best times of years to get started, the pros and cons of keeping ducks, local rules and regulations that might need to be considered, along with comparing ducks with chickens.

    The second chapter is all about choosing ducks: the different sizes and breeds of ducks, along with information about mixing different breeds or different sizes of ducks together. Important information about the male to female ratio of your flock is covered, along with how to tell males and females apart.

    The third chapter is “from ducklings to ducks” and covers what you would expect it to: where to source ducks and ducklings, how to hatch ducklings in an incubator and how to brood them (which includes helpful information about setting up the brooder so that they don’t spill water everywhere). A helpful chart of brooder temperatures is included, along with instructions about how to transition your ducklings from the brooder to the outdoors, and how to encourage a bond between you and your ducks. Also included is information about working with broody ducks.

    Chapter four is about feeding ducks. The author focuses on complete pellet feeds rather than DIY feed mixes, and gives her reasoning for doing this. I don’t share this approach to animal feed, so I didn’t find this chapter very helpful, other than the information about the amount of niacin a duck needs, which is good to read for anyone mixing up their own homemade feed, as niacin deficiency can be a problem for ducks.

    The fifth chapter is about duck health, and includes information about what to have in your duck first aid kit, and some common ailments you might encounter, along with advice about finding a good duck vet, how to deal with losing a duck, and how to integrate new ducks into your flock without introducing diseases.

    Chapter six covers housing, pens, pools, and predator proofing. The space needs and general requirements for ducks in a coop and in an outdoor pen are covered. The information on predator proofing is very thorough, including information on the types of duck predators you’re likely to encounter, and ways to ensure that they don’t get into your duck coop or duck pen. She also covers the pros and cons of free ranging. The section on pools has helpful ideas for small backyard pools and how to keep them clean, and that if you have a natural pond that is big enough for your flock, it won’t need cleaning out. Also in this chapter is information about keeping the coop and pen clean (and the best kinds of bedding to use).

    The final chapter is all about the seasonal needs of ducks: mating season, egg laying season, molting seasons, winter, and summer. Ducks can handle cold weather well, but when there is a sudden change from warm weather into freezing cold, they can have trouble, and the author covers how to work around this, along with many other tips for keeping ducks happy, well watered, and well fed through the whole year.

    The book is completed with a selection of helpful websites and duck supply places.

    I really enjoyed the duck photos, and seeing the author’s love of ducks shine throughout this book. This is a perfect book for beginners, and especially for children, because it balances the lovely photos of ducks with the reality of dealing with their water needs, their mess, predators, and so on.
     
    gardener
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    I've ordered mine!
     
    master steward
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    I give this book 8 out of 10 acorns.

    I've had an expression for a while so far as backyard livestock is concerned: Pets with benefits! Kristine Ellis clearly loves her pet ducks, and equally clearly wants the rest of the world to try it too! To help with that, she's written an excellent beginners guide. I was truly impressed with how she managed to cover the critical concepts that if followed, will save new duck owners a lot of grief.

    Some examples: How critical safe housing is, and how important it is to build it *before* the ducks arrive.
    Planning for drainage and cleaning of the coop, run and "pond".
    The importance of checking the rules up front.
    Predators that might show up when you give them a target!

    She even pretty much lists the benefits pet ducks provide: companionship, entertainment, eggs, compost, and enriched plant water. The only one she wasn't as clear on, is feathers. The feathers ducks loose during moulting can be a useful resource depending on the breed.

    In writing a guide like this, it is very difficult to give enough information that beginners can avoid the potholes, but not so much information, that you scare people off. I feel the author kept that balance quite well. However, she made a few assumptions that won't apply to many permie members. A specialist bird veterinarian? Not where I live! If I was a beginner and needed a veterinarian, including drawings of external and internal anatomy would have been helpful.

    However, we all write based on our own experiences and on the things that matter most to us. Kristine's care for her duck friends shines through any changes I would have considered if I were to attempt to write such a book. If any of you are thinking about dabbling in duckies, this is a good book to start with.  
     
    pollinator
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    So I gather this book would be helpful for homesteaders who have no experience with ducks?
    But it's not exactly geared to homesteading?
     
    Jay Angler
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    Karen Lee Mack wrote:So I gather this book would be helpful for homesteaders who have no experience with ducks?
    But it's not exactly geared to homesteading?

    Some of the bits I would consider important for homesteading animals is not covered in the book. But enough important points that include pros and cons of different housing/fencing/bedding etc are included that even people with only some experience with ducks would likely find parts of the book quite useful (for example the dog ponds she's using I'd never heard of). This would be a great book to buy and after you've read it, donate it to a local middle school or public library (or 4H group if they maintain a library).  I do think ducks can very much be either farm animals (which doesn't mean they aren't treated well - I consider my farm animals my employees and do my best to treat them respectfully and Permies SKiP program reflects that attitude) or pets with benefits.

    We have lots of permies that are Urban Homesteading. Many urban areas still ban "farm animals". This book would be a good one to read if you're in the position of wanting to educate a town or city counsel about why backyard ducks can be handled as responsibly as backyard dogs. (With appropriate bedding, duck poop is good fertilizer and easy to compost - dog poop is stinkier and generally lands in the landfill, as one example.)
     
    Karen Lee Mack
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    Jay Angler wrote:

    Karen Lee Mack wrote:So I gather this book would be helpful for homesteaders who have no experience with ducks?
    But it's not exactly geared to homesteading?

    Some of the bits I would consider important for homesteading animals is not covered in the book. But enough important points that include pros and cons of different housing/fencing/bedding etc are included that even people with only some experience with ducks would likely find parts of the book quite useful (for example the dog ponds she's using I'd never heard of). This would be a great book to buy and after you've read it, donate it to a local middle school or public library (or 4H group if they maintain a library).  I do think ducks can very much be either farm animals (which doesn't mean they aren't treated well - I consider my farm animals my employees and do my best to treat them respectfully and Permies SKiP program reflects that attitude) or pets with benefits.

    We have lots of permies that are Urban Homesteading. Many urban areas still ban "farm animals". This book would be a good one to read if you're in the position of wanting to educate a town or city counsel about why backyard ducks can be handled as responsibly as backyard dogs. (With appropriate bedding, duck poop is good fertilizer and easy to compost - dog poop is stinkier and generally lands in the landfill, as one example.)



    Thank you so much for that thorough answer.
     
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    “ I really enjoyed the duck photos, and seeing the author’s love of ducks shine throughout this book. This is a perfect book for beginners, and especially for children”
    I plan to order khakis. My reasons for my choice are many, but I absolutely love the egg size. They are close to chicken eggs size and I think they are cute.
     
    Tina Wolf
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    I just received my book and also love the photos! I'm glad you mention the co-habitation of ducks and chickens. The paver pool is charming!
     
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