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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 2 of 40

Please Read This First

Terms of Use

No alteration by anyone to the appearance, format or content of this

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Disclaimer

The advice contained in this material might be suitable for everyone. The

author got information from sources believed to be reliable and from personal experience, but does not imply nor offer any guarantee of accuracy.

The author, publisher and distributors never give legal, accounting, medical

or any other type of professional advice. The reader must always seek those

services from competent professionals that can review their own particular

circumstances.

The author, publisher and distributors particularly disclaim any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals who act on the information here. All readers must accept full responsibility for their use of this material.

All pictures used in this book are for illustration only. No link or endorsement between the people pictured and the book, author or publisher is implied and

should not be assumed. All pictures must not be used for anything else

without the rights holder’s prior written permission.

Images © 2012 Jupiterimages Corporation, a Getty Images company.

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 3 of 40

Contents

Please Read This First........................................................................................2

Terms of Use ...........................................................................................................................2

Disclaimer................................................................................................................................2

Contents ..............................................................................................................3

About the Author ................................................................................................5

Introduction .........................................................................................................6

Can Your Ducks Save You Money? ......................................................................................6

What Age should Your First Ducks Be? ...........................................................7

Where to Get Your Ducks...................................................................................8

A Couple of Ducks ............................................................................................11

Ducks are not Good House-Pets .....................................................................12

Choosing Your Vet............................................................................................13

Housing Your Ducks.........................................................................................14

The Duck House........................................................................................................................15

Where to get Help .............................................................................................17

Keep Safe and Legal.........................................................................................18

Protecting Your Ducks .....................................................................................19

Birds.......................................................................................................................................20

Wild Animals .........................................................................................................................20

Controlling Predators...........................................................................................................21

Water..................................................................................................................23

Choosing Your Ducks ......................................................................................24

Which Breeds are Best?...................................................................................25

Meat............................................................................................................................................25

Muscovy ................................................................................................................................25

Peking ....................................................................................................................................25

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 4 of 40

Eggs ...........................................................................................................................................26

Orpington ..............................................................................................................................26

Campbell................................................................................................................................26

Pets ............................................................................................................................................27

Call Ducks .............................................................................................................................27

Basic Health Checks.........................................................................................28

What to Look For ..................................................................................................................29

Don’t Delay ............................................................................................................................30

Handling Your Ducks........................................................................................31

Take Care for Yourself and the Duck..................................................................................31

Travelling with Ducks .......................................................................................33

Take Care in Vehicles...........................................................................................................33

Processing Your Ducks....................................................................................34

Resources .........................................................................................................37

Organizations for Duck Owners..............................................................................................37

United Kingdom ....................................................................................................................37

U.S.A. .....................................................................................................................................37

Information ................................................................................................................................38

Killing Ducks for Food .........................................................................................................38

Farewell from Ken Smythe ...............................................................................39

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 5 of 40

About the Author

Ken Smythe was introduced to ducks at an early age, when he stayed at a

farm belonging to a relative.

Ken said, “They had a variety of animals as well as chickens and ducks.”

“I enjoyed being around all of them. But, the ducks were a firm favorite for

me right from the first time I saw them up close.”

Ken wrote his book for people that want to keep ducks to provide food for

their table or as pets.

Ducks have other benefits apart from their eggs and meat.

They are fun to watch and can also be a great help keeping down the bugs

and some other pests in gardens and orchards.

Ken said that many people think that ducks are more difficult to look after

than chickens and need a great deal more room.

“I believe that my book will help my readers become successful duck

owners.”

“They will learn that ducks have different requirements to chickens, for

example, but they are not as hard to keep as many believe.”

“This ebook will help you to save time, money and avoid stress by giving you

the information you need and the best tips for successful duck keeping.”

“It has all the information that you need to keep your ducks happy and

productive!”

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 6 of 40

Introduction

Ducks are fascinating to watch, but they are also of great value to their

owners as a source of eggs and meat.

They can assist keeping your garden almost slug and snail free. You must

carefully protect plants like lettuces which they are partial to nibbling on

whenever they get the chance. But, the benefits of their presence probably

far outweigh the small amount of your garden which they take in return.

Can Your Ducks Save You Money?

Many people are surprised and disappointed when they check into the costs

of raising ducks to provide meat and/or eggs for their table.

Unless it's done on a professional basis with a flock,

your eggs and duck burgers will cost more than if you

just buy some from the local store.

But, there are benefits which most people might

consider more valuable which out-weigh the extra

costs involved.

There are many people who are starting to keep

ducks because they want to have more control over

what they feed their family.

Many people have reservations about how some meat

products and eggs are produced commercially. Feeding your family from your

own livestock is appealing. You know what the birds eat, that they are kept

in clean conditions and treated humanely through all stages of their lives.

The good news is that it is not as hard or costly as you might imagine. I

believe that my book will guide you through all the steps you need to become

a successful duck owner. We’ll start with the information you need to know

before you actually get any ducks and take you through to where you should

be eating your first eggs. I envy you the enjoyment and satisfaction you

have ahead of you! Ken Smythe

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 7 of 40

What Age should Your First Ducks Be?

This question is important. The best answer will vary according to the

purpose which you are buying your ducks for and your own experience and

environment.

Buying young ducklings will save you money initially. But,

you will have to pay more for their special feed and also

invest more time in the first couple of months than if you

bought older birds.

Advanced birds will have been cared for through the most risky time of their

lives, when they are developing and subject to many perils simply because of

their inexperience.

I suggest that you get birds which are about twenty weeks old or more for

your first stock. They will be young enough to adapt to the routine which you devise for them, but will probably require less intense supervision than very young ducklings would.

When you have had the experience of caring for your first ducks, you will be

more confident and capable to decide for yourself the type of stock you buy

and raise in the future.

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 8 of 40

Where to Get Your Ducks

There are a number of ways to get your new ducks.

Don’t be in a hurry to get your ducks – that can cause you to make serious

mistakes.

Reading this section of the ebook will give you a good idea of the sort of

stock which will be most suitable for you and the area you have available.

You also will know what questions to ask and be able to judge from the

answers and the attitude of the seller whether you should proceed with

buying from them.

Some people are better at selling ducks than they are at producing good

quality birds.

A good tip whenever you want to buy something, especially in a one to one

situation, is to keep your knowledge to yourself. Just ask questions that will help you increase your knowledge and decide if what’s offered is really

suitable for your requirements.

But, don’t volunteer information which may be more help to the seller than to you. Telling the seller that the breed they are offering is just what you having been looking for will mean you pay more than you probably need to.

Casual advertisements can be a source of good bargains but you should be wary. If you don’t know the seller and can get no information about them

from other duck owners, you have to check everything you see and are told

before you agree to buy.

The reason offered for selling their birds may be true but you should inspect everything and follow your instincts if anything does not seem right.

You should view any casual sales as final because it would be hard, if not

impossible, to get your money back. The time and cost involved might be

worth more than the amount involved.

Also, you should always get only stock which you are very satisfied with. If

there seems to be any question about their health, actual breed or other

qualities, politely decline the offer and walk away.

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 9 of 40

Breeders are a wise choice when you are starting your venture with ducks.

Most experienced duck owners prefer to always get their stock from them,

even when there are other, probably cheaper options available.

If you are likely to be buying more stock on a regular basis, you may develop a business relationship with a particular breeder. But, when you are deciding where to buy your first few ducks, don’t settle on the first lot you see. Check what is available from as many breeders of suitable birds in your area. You

want to find the best ducks and one or, preferably two, reliable sources of

future birds.

The breeders are, of course, a great source of reliable information about

ducks. Good breeders don’t mind a couple of questions but always respect

their time.

Always contact them as soon as you have made a firm decision to get some

ducks because they will be able to tell you whether they have the type you

want and, if so, when the next lot will be ready for sale.

I suggest that you never buy anything but good quality stock. But, if you are buying ducks for food rather than to breed or exhibit, you may sometimes be

able to get healthy birds that are not completely true to the breed standards from breeders.

The Internet is a great source of information about every aspect of keeping ducks, though there is also a lot of misinformation available there as well.

More ducks and other livestock are now being sold that way too. This should

be okay if you are able to verify the reputation and standards of a particular seller.

But, you have more risk when you are dealing with sellers who are not

located near you.

It’s much better, especially when you are just starting out, to buy only birds which you can see and even smell.

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 10 of 40

If you order from a distant source and there is a problem with the birds you

get, or if you don’t get them, you will have to invest more time and money in getting the matter sorted.

Also, you may need to get special permits or follow specific procedures if you are getting birds from outside your own State. Regulations are much stricter

since the outbreaks of Avian flu became more common and widespread.

Farm sales and markets are often the source of someone’s first ducks or other stock. You can sometimes get a bargain if you have a solid knowled e

g

of the type of bird you want to buy.

But, there can be traps if your enthusiasm is greater than your knowledge.

Some sellers will misrepresent the age, productivity, quality or even the

breed of the birds they offer. This may be deliberately deceptive or they may have been misinformed themselves when they bought the birds.

There is also probably a greater risk of getting stock which has health

problems in the form of disease or parasites from one-off markets and sales.

Never make any exceptions to this rule: Whatever the source you get

your new birds from, keep them isolated and watch them carefully for two

weeks before putting them with any other birds you already have.

That will help to protect your established flock.

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by Ken Smythe

Page 11 of 40

A Couple of Ducks

If you want to just have a small number of ducks, two is much better than

one.

Ducks are very social birds and they

also have a need to establish who is

the “boss” duck. So, a single duck is

unlikely be as comfortable without at

least one other duck with it.

Don’t get a male duck unless you

intend to breed ducks. Then you should have at least six ducks and one

drake. Less will cause the ducks to be harassed a lot by the drake during the season.

A small group of females will be fine without the attentions of a drake. They will also be easier to look after and, yes, they will probably lay just as many eggs.

The eggs will be infertile but that will not affect their nutrition value or taste to any noticeable degree.

If you have more birds and get a male that has not been de-sexed, you will

need to put more effort into maintaining the health and welfare of your birds.

One drake (male duck) can happily tend to the needs of up to ten females.

Having a higher ratio of drakes will probably cause the females stress

because of the competing and frequent attentions of the drakes.

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“Your Duck Keeping Guide” by