Backyard Fowl: Keeping Ducks & Chickens At Home
By Tom Seest
At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.
There are many benefits to keeping chickens or ducks, and many people prefer the meat of chickens. Although duck meat is a delicacy in many cultures, it is more difficult to obtain commercially and is more expensive. While chickens are more familiar to many people, ducks are often larger, which means they produce more meat.
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Before you can have chickens and ducks in your backyard, you must get a permit. It costs about $100, and you must provide a scaled site plan and side view drawing of the coop you plan to build. Additionally, you must provide proof that you have taken a course on backyard poultry keeping. It is also important to get the approval of your housing association.
While raising chickens and ducks share many similarities, there are also important differences. For example, chickens require a clean water source for drinking. Ducks, on the other hand, require deeper water sources so that their eyes and nostrils are always clean. In addition, ducks need to regularly bathe.
One major difference between chickens and ducks is how they feed. Unlike chickens, ducks eat by grabbing a mouthful of food and then dunking it into water. This practice is risky for chickens as predators will try to grab them as free food. Additionally, chickens don’t have waterproof feathers.
Another difference between chickens and ducks is how much work they do. Although both are popular as pets, chickens are more difficult to pasture raise. As a result, chickens will destroy the roots of the pasture, turning it into barren waste. This requires a more rigorous pasture rotation system. Ducks, on the other hand, prefer to roam the yard. They are noisy and can even damage the roots of your garden if free-ranged.
One major difference between chickens and ducks is that chickens lay eggs earlier. Although ducks don’t lay as early as chickens, some types will lay eggs at two months of age. However, if you want a more sociable animal, a duck will be better. A duck’s neck-hugging tendencies and its ability to survive the colder weather make them excellent companions.
When keeping chickens and ducks, it’s important to provide adequate floor space. Overcrowding them can lead to problems with egg production and health. However, undercrowding isn’t usually a problem. The best time to stock ducks at recommended density is during cold weather when body heat helps keep the coop warm.
Chickens and ducks require about three to five square feet of floor space per bird. For a group of five ducks, you’ll need approximately 20 square feet. However, if you plan on keeping 100 ducks, you’ll need 350 square feet.
As your ducklings grow, you’ll have to provide more floor space. Ducklings need approximately 4 square feet of floor space per duck. For the first two weeks, you’ll need a heat lamp that provides 250 watts. Make sure the heat lamp is mounted at least three feet above the ground. Make sure to place ventilation vents near the roof to prevent mold and frostbite from occurring.
Aside from providing extra floor space, ducks need a decent entrance and exit. Their door should be at least 14 inches wide, although bigger breeds may require a larger entrance. You should also place wire mesh to keep predators out.
One of the most important requirements for raising a healthy flock of chickens or ducks is clean drinking water. Although chickens don’t need more than a glass of clean water to stay hydrated, ducks need more. They also need to have access to clean water for daily bathing.
Chickens can suffer from a variety of diseases. On the other hand, ducks have a higher body temperature and are less likely to contract diseases. They need gradual building of their immune systems to remain disease-free. As with any type of animal, cleanliness is essential.
If you’re new to raising poultry, consider starting with ducks. These are easy to raise and require little maintenance. They are also much easier to keep clean and don’t mind rain or snow. They are also more tolerant of heat than chickens. Furthermore, ducks are less likely to have pecking order problems, which can be a major issue with chickens.
Aside from keeping chickens or ducks clean, it’s also important to keep them safe from predators. Chickens and ducks are vulnerable to attacks by raptors. It’s best to keep your poultry protected from raptors by using a wire canopy or netting. In addition, you should provide hiding areas for the birds, such as shrubbery bushes or half barrels. You can also provide overhead shelter using wooden pallets or cinder blocks.
Another important requirement is to provide water for the birds. Ducks prefer water because it softens their feed and makes it easier to digest. In addition, ducks also need water to drink and clean themselves.
Keeping chickens and ducks in your backyard can have a number of health benefits, from reducing your cholesterol to keeping the animals in good physical condition. Ducks are less prone to illness than chickens, and they have higher immune systems. This means that they’re less likely to get illnesses like Marek’s disease, coccidiosis, and avian flu. Chickens, on the other hand, usually die when exposed to these illnesses.
While chickens eat grass and grain, ducks feed on more greens. Even if your chickens don’t eat grass, ducks will eat it, and they can also eat table scraps. Just make sure that the grass is no longer than four inches. Both chickens and ducks enjoy wetlands and can eat a variety of plants, but chickens and ducks have different eating habits and diets.
Because ducks spend the majority of their time in water, they are less likely to contract external parasites and diseases. In addition, ducks are less susceptible to parasites than chickens. Aside from being an excellent source of protein, duck meat can be sold for a profit or used for your own family. You’ll need to ensure that you follow health compliance laws in your area, however.
Chickens need less water than ducks, so raising a flock of chickens is easier. It’s also easier to keep a healthy flock of chickens when you don’t let them get too much water. Standing water can harbor harmful bacteria and create conditions where disease-causing organisms flourish. On the other hand, ducks can be kept in a much wetter environment because they prefer water, and their immune systems are stronger than those of chickens.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.