Maybe you should get yourself some ducks, if you would like a poultry breed that is quite easy to keep. They are delightful.

Ducks have been domesticated as pets and farm animals for more than 500 years. Experts say that all domestic ducks are descended from either the Mallard or the Muscovy duck.

They have a number of features in their favour:

  • Ducks are hardy birds that may live for up to 7 years.
  • They lay eggs that you can eat, just like chicken eggs.
  • They provide meat.
  • Ducks are easy to contain, but they can also be let out to roam.
  • They aren’t as prone to infectious diseases as chickens.
  • They eat slugs, worms and any other small creatures that they can catch.
  • And of course it’s nice to have them waddling around making happy quacks.

Actually, most male ducks are silent and very few ducks actually “quack.” Instead, their calls may include squeaks, grunts, groans, chirps and whistles.

They don’t need much

Get some ducks
A child’s paddling pool can be used.

Their basic requirements are simple.  They need water, food and a safe place to spend the night.

They enjoy wandering around the garden and are excellent at eating bothersome insects. However you do need to keep them safe from predators.

Before you acquire them however be sure that the facilities are in place. Ducks need water, space and infrastructure. Fences, additional food, housing and facilities for breeders and young are essential.

A duck needs water to swallow and it needs at least 10cm of water to clear its nostrils and keep its beak clean.  A natural pond is ideal and preferable. If you can’t manage that, they can be provided with a child’s wading pool. Water for swimming is not strictly necessary as long as they have tubs of water for cleaning, and the water is kept clean.

Clean drinking water must be provided separately. The ducks must not be able to climb into drinking water containers, but they must be deep enough and big enough for both adults and young to immerse their heads.

Get some ducks
Welsh Harlequin ducks are beautiful.

The most common breeds in South Africa are Welsh Harlequins, Muscovy, Aylesbury, Rouen and Pekins. We also have a number of indigenous ducks.

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