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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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Keeping ducks
...For Eggs
...For Meat
...Housing them

Duck-keeping is often inspired by pond ownership.

Any area of water is enhanced by a few ducks floating on it. If this is your motivation for going into duck-keeping, it is worth bearing three important facts in mind.

  1. Duck eggs can transmit dysentery and other illnesses still water is a great source of tummy bugs. If you intend to eat or sell the eggs, make sure that the pond is continuously being filled and emptied. Or better still keep the ducks off the water.
  2. If you intend to eat or sell for eating fat ducks, again keep them off the water. Exercising in water leads to tough ducks.
  3. Baby ducklings do not always float and mother ducks seem to be unaware of this fact. Again keep them off the pond. In fact, ducks are not nature's most careful mothers and duck eggs are really safest brought off under a broody hen. Of course, she will not have the slightest inclination to take them off for an instant bath. Having said all that against the pond, there are a couple of reasons why you should allow ducks on to it. One reason is that the heavier breeds of duck often find it difficult to mate unless they are on the water. Therefore, when you want your eggs fertilised, let the birds mate on the water, collect the eggs and incubate them artificially or under a broody. The second reason is that ducks really do love water so if all you want to do is improve your view then let them on to it. Ornamental birds can have free access to water if you are breeding them. Mandarin ducks and other ornamental waterfowl sell very well if they are in prime condition and swimming around certainly keeps them sleek and colourful.