Just because you don’t have a pond or stream in your garden, doesn’t mean you can’t keep ducks. Obviously it’s great if you can provide them with something that is big enough for them to swim in but all you really need is something which holds enough water so that they can completely submerge their heads. This is so that they can keep their eyes clean but it’s also important that the water is changed regularly to avoid infection.
Ducks don’t necessarily take to chicken houses with nesting boxes so something simpler is probably better. Large duck breeds, like Aylesburys, need a minimum of 2 square feet per bird in a duck house which should, naturally, be rat and fox proof. Cover the floor with plenty of bedding, straw or shavings are ideal, and you can deep litter it by adding a regular fresh layer then clearing it out once a month. Apart from obvious hygiene reasons, keeping the surface of the bed clean should keep their eggs cleaner as they will lay them where they sit.
Pellets rather than mash are preferable for ducks as mash can get stuck round their bills and clog their nostrils. Layers’ pellets are perfectly acceptable but a specially formulated waterfowl feed (Fancy Feed Waterfowl Pellets
) will meet their increased requirement for quality protein, as well as oil which is necessary for the waterproofing of their feathers. Feeds containing a prebiotic are also a good idea as these optimise gut health and support the immune response, of particular importance with waterfowl who, by their very nature, are exposed to a plethora of bacteria when dabbling in muddy water.
Ducks love to forage but, for those kept in a more confined space, extra “greens” are a good idea, adding variety as well as supplying natural vitamins and minerals. You can also feed mixed corn as a treat in the afternoons, having been given their pellets in the morning, and ducks will enjoy dabbling for it in a shallow tray of water! Waterers and feeders will need regular emptying and cleaning and insoluble grit should be made available to those who are not free range, to aid digestion.
For advice on feeding your domestic waterfowl, contact The Fancy Feed Company on 01371 850247.