Starting a Duck Farm

Starting a Duck Farm

Six things to know before starting a duck farm- guidance and tips to keep in mind when keeping ducks on your farm to keep your ducks the happiest and healthiest they can be:

Ducks are Waterfowl

If you want your ducks to be the happiest and healthiest they can be, you will need to setup pools and provide an adequate source of water for your ducks. This means, you will need at least 5 gallons of water per adult duck per day. Ducks require water for drinking and bathing, and several ducks will require multiple duck baths in your backyard, or access to a natural water source such as a pond or a lake. Also, when the seasons change to the winter months you may need to purchase a water defroster to prevent their water source from freezing.

Ducklings Need Extra Attention

Ducklings need to be able to dunk their heads in water and clear their eyes, however, you will need to make sure your ducklings water supply is very shallow, otherwise your ducklings could submerge if they aren’t old enough to swim. Young ducklings will not have their adult feathers, so you should use caution when introducing them to their water supply until they are young juveniles, making sure their water supply is shallow.

Ducks are Hardy

Ducks are considered to be hardy because they generally tolerate a variety of climates, from very cold to fairly warm. Their behavior may change based on the weather, but in general, ducks can survive in colder temperatures because of their coat of feathers, and they will be fine in warmer weather as well, provided they have access to a cool source of water.

Ratio of Males to Females

Generally you want to limit the number of drakes (males) in your flock as they will compete for females. In general you should have five females for every male, this will keep your flock calm and generally easier to manage.

Ducks for Egg Production

If may take seven to eight months for your ducklings to grow large enough to start laying eggs, with the first eggs starting the lay at five months of age. However, once your ducks reach egg laying age, they will typically lay one egg per day, depending on the breed and variety. Ducks eggs are slightly larger than a chicken egg, have more yolk, and have been referred to as the “baker’s secret”! If your goal is to lay quality duck eggs, we highly recommend the khaki campbell duck breed. The average khaki campbell duck will lay about three hundred (300) eggs per year . Khaki campbells start laying eggs at seventeen weeks of age. The other popular egg laying duck breed most highly sought after is the golden 300 hybrid layer duck, which can lay up to three hundred fifty (350) eggs per year. 

Ducks Have Personalities

Ducks are very open to human connection when they are young, and if you raise them as ducklings they will form a bond with their owners. This is especially helpful for keeping them as backyard ducks, since they will not leave your property once you form a bond with them. However, not all ducks are the same, and each will have a unique personality! Ducks will also respond to verbal commands, and you can train them with word associations using food as a reward. Ducks tend to stick together in flocks, so you can often times train them to move together. While all duck breeds will form bonds with their owners, some duck breeds will bond faster than others, such as the runner duck breed and pekin duck breed, which are also known to be extremely friendly.

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Incubator Temperature Guidelines for Hatching Eggs

Incubator Temperature Guidelines for Hatching Eggs

Hatching your own eggs can be an exciting and satisfying experience as you watch young chicks arrive after careful planning and preparation. However, in order to have the best chance at successfully hatching your chicken hatching eggs or duck hatching eggs, you may consider some tips such as proper incubator temperature guidelines, egg incubation duration, and quality of your hatching eggs. Chicken hatching eggs will usually hatch twenty-one (21) days after incubation, depending on the breed variety, while duck hatching eggs will take at least twenty-eight (28) days to hatch after incubation. 

Incubator Temperature, Humidity, and Ventilation
First, allow your hatching eggs to set to room temperature before placing them in your incubator. Next, slowly raise your incubator temperature to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature change will need to occur slowly over the course of a few hours, as immediate change in temperature can cause humidity problems that will reduce hatch-ability. It will help if your incubator is setup in a well insulated area, so that short changes in temperature won't affect the viability of your hatching eggs. Even small fluctuations in temperature can decrease your chances for successfully hatching your eggs. Additionally, you will need to ensure adequate humidity within your egg incubator, roughly fifty (50) percent humidity for the first seventeen (17) days, and about seventy (70) percent humidity the last three (3) days before hatching.Humidity set too high during the first seventeen (17) days, and set too low during the last three (3) days is one of the most common causes of a poor hatch rate. Your hatching eggs will also need to be setup in an incubator that has adequate ventilation, as the embryos will need fresh air circulation at all times. Many incubators have a built in fan to maintain ventilation, and depending on your incubation settings your may opt to purchase an incubator with this feature. 

Turning Hatching Eggs
You will need to turn your hatching eggs two to five times daily for optimal hatch-ability, however, you will need to be delicate when turning them, as the embryos are developing blood vessels and are sensitive to movement. Do not turn your eggs the final three days of incubation as your embryos are getting ready to hatch. If you are planning to turn your hatching eggs by hand, it may be helpful to the top and bottom of each egg to keep track of them. Alternatively, your can purchase an egg turner to automatically turn your eggs for you, just make sure to turn off this feature the final three days before hatching. 
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Indian Runner Ducks- A Favorite Backyard Duck Breed!

Indian Runner Ducks- A Favorite Backyard Duck Breed!

Most Popular Duck Breed

With so many different duck breeds to choose from, you may be wondering which breed will be the best for your property. If you're looking for our most popular backyard duck breed, we highly recommend the Indian Runner Duck, which comes in a variety of colors including: Fawn and White Indian Runner Ducks, Blue Indian Runner Ducks, Black Indian Runner Ducks, and Chocolate Indian Runner Ducks

Indian Runner Duck Basics
The Indian Runner Duck breed are well known for their friendly personalities and their excellent backyard foraging abilities. Also, they stand upright and tall, with figures that are unique and majestic. Runner ducks are unique as they do not have flight capability, making them excellent backyard and garden ducks. The runner duckling breed are well known for their excellent egg laying and gardening aesthetics, as they are light on their feet and their step will be gentle to gardens and backyard environments. The runner duck is true to it's name, as they will run or walk instead of waddling. This is due to their upright posture allowing them to move gracefully and quickly. Indeed, male runner ducks will grow to nearly 30 inches in height, and females will grow to nearly 25 inches in height. A mature female runner duck will lay nearly 200 eggs per year, typically between February and September.

Feeding Runner Ducks
Runner ducks will naturally search for bugs to eat in your backyard, and they are one of the quieter breeds of ducks, occasionally quacking at low volume. The runner duck will typically live up to ten years, and generally require approximately a quarter pound of feed per day, with females preferring duck maintainer feed on a regular basis. 

If you're interested in purchasing runner ducklings, we offer them from Spring to Winter seasons. Feel free to order your backyard runner ducks or our Runner Duck Assortment directly through our website!

Happy quacking!

-Californiahatchery.com
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How are Chicks and Ducklings Shipped?

How are Chicks and Ducklings Shipped?

Many customers want to know, how are baby chicks and ducklings shipped?

The answer: Chicks purchased from Californiahatchery.com will ship through the US postal system using either express or priority delivery, depending on the quantity of chicks in your order. All chicks will ship the day they hatch. Typically, your chicks will arrive within 2-3 days after they ship. We include instructions for the post office to call the customer as soon as their order arrives at their local post office. We advise our customers to contact their local post office and let them know they are expecting a delivery of live poultry, which will help to facilitate our safe arrival guarantee.

- Californiahatchery.com
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