2 Things You Need To Know If You're Planning To Keep Ducks

For many Australians, escaping the stress and busy lifestyle of the city to escape to a rural property is highly appealing. It's an opportunity to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life and the quiet environment of the country. Becoming more self-sufficient and producing your own food supply may also be one of the most exciting aspects of your new country lifestyle.

As well as planting orchards and developing vegetable gardens, you may hope to keep some animals to supplement your food supply. Egg production is something you might like to achieve, and for most people, the automatic assumption is keeping chickens. However, an increasing number of people are also acquiring ducks for egg production.

Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs, and they're prized for their richness and flavour. Ducks are also curious, sociable and entertaining birds who have a lot more character than chickens. If you like the idea of keeping ducks instead of or alongside chickens, then there are two things you need to know.

1. Ducks need special food

Like chickens, ducks will eat virtually everything you feed them, including vegetable scraps. They also like to eat grubs and insects from garden bed and grassy areas. However, to remain healthy, ducks need to have proper duck food that provides all of their nutritional needs.

You can buy duck food pellets from a local stock feed store like Mirco Bros. Ducklings and pullets will need pellets that are appropriate for young ducks before moving on to adult pellets as they mature. Ducks also need access to shell grit, which is also available from feed stores. This supplies them with their calcium needs and ensures that their eggs have strong shells.

2. Ducks need water

While an enormous duck pond isn't essential, your ducks will need access to water. This is important for both their physical and mental health. Ducks use water to keep themselves clean and keep their eyes, bills, feet and feathers in good condition. They also need at least a litre of water to drink every day, which is a lot more than chickens require.

If you don't have a pond or a dam, an old bathtub or a child's blow-up paddling pool will make your ducks more than happy. As well as making sure they can easily enter and exit the water, you'll need to make sure that the water is changed regularly to prevent the build-up of mould or bacteria.