We currently have 10 ducks living on our farm – 5 pekins, 1 khaki campbell, 1 rouen, 2 welsh harlequin/ pekin mixes, and 1 swedish mix. Click here to read about the various characteristics of each breed. Our ducks are hormone and antibiotic free; they free range in the garden and we supplement with Purina Layena Plus Omega 3 poultry feed and cracked corn from Hilander Feed in downtown Georgetown.
Why do we raise ducks instead of chickens?
We purchased our first ducks from a farm in Harrodsburg, KY, Glory Hills Duck Ranch. I highly recommend visiting Glory Hills if you’re interested in raising ducks! Unfortunately we were not prepared for the onslaught of raccoon attacks; you can read about our set up below.
Our duck pen is 24’x24’x9′ with bird netting over the top to protect the ducks from a variety of predators. We used cut cedar trees as posts every 12′, cemented into the ground, with T posts in between for extra strength. The fencing is 2×4″ welded wire. The duck “run in” was build from cedar posts and reclaimed cedar fencing – don’t forget, ducks get HOT in the summer and need shade! Ducks also need a lot of water, so the roof of the shelter collects rain water which drains into a 275 gallon IBC tote. Since our farm is “off the grid,” we had to come up with a renewable water source. If the rain doesn’t fill the tank fast enough, we use a pump to bring in creek water. The pond water gets changed out every other day and during the summer we will use it to water the garden – kind of like compost soup! The ducks also spend 2-3 hours a day in the creek where they eat algae and bugs.
For assistance with poultry predators… here is some helpful info!
Some of the hard lessons we learned early on in the process is how difficult it can be to deal with predators – especially, raccoons. We finally electrified the entire duck pen and garden and that has worked so far. Below you will see an eerie picture from our trail camera as well as the hole the coon got through after being unable to dig under… note that hole is maybe a 6″ opening, 7 FEET off the ground! Coons are smart, have good eyes, dexterous hands, and can climb!! Be prepared to go extra lengths to protect your ducks. I now understand the meaning of the phrase “sitting duck.” Coons have also climbed trees behind the pen, jumped down to the netting, and chewed through. So, we have cleared out many of the larger trees behind the pen.
In case you’re wondering how we kept the ducks warm and the pond water from freezing over winter, here are some cold-season pictures of the pen set up (I bought the greenhouse for 75% off in October!) Our young ducks never stopped laying – we still got 1-3 eggs a day even with 8 inches of snow on the ground!