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Easy Beginner Tips For Raising Ducks in Your Backyard ft. Liz from The Cape Coop

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Show Notes

Learn some great tips for raising ducks in your backyard on this week’s Backyard Bounty podcast. We join Nicole as she chats with Liz from The Cape Coop.

What You’ll Learn

  • Common beginner mistakes and how to avoid them
  • What to feed duckings
  • Integrating new birds into the flock
  • What to consider when choosing a mixed or same-sex flock
  • What to feed ducklings
  • Tips for keep ducks in winter
  • Advantages of selling duck eggs

Our Guest

Liz is a backyard farmer in Massachusetts and began her backyard farm adventure in 2012 with 4 chickens. At the time she thought that would be the extent of the “farm”, fast forward 9 years and she now has 21 chickens, 11 ducks, 3 rabbits, 3 alpacas a large garden and has moved to a different house with more land and a huge barn!

Liz encourages everyone to give backyard farming a try, from apartment dwellers growing tomatoes on a balcony to people with a little more room that want to get into keeping livestock. Starting without any special training, just a love of animals and a desire to provide some of her food, she believes if she can grow a backyard farm, anyone can! She is also a strong advocate of finding community and support which is vital to success when you start out. Liz loves to add to that community with her farm blog, where you can find tips for raising ducks, and much more!

Liz also runs a soap business at the farm where she makes artisan soaps & spa products. Check out the links in the resources section below for more info.

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Resources & Links Mentioned

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Announcer: 0:01

Welcome to the Backyard Bounty podcast from, where each week you'll be hearing inspiring stories and educational interviews with extra guests to help your hobby farm thrive. And now, here's your host, Nicole.

Nicole 0:18

Hello, everyone. And thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Backyard Bounty. I'm your host, Nicole. And today I'm joined by Liz from the Cape Coop Farm. And today we are going to talk about raising ducks. So Liz, thank you so much for joining me today.

Liz 0:34

Thank you so much for having me.

Nicole 0:36

Absolutely. You know, I know that there's a lot of folks that would like some information on raising ducks, you know, on the smaller scale and in the backyard and maybe possibly combining them with chickens. And we did a previous episode on pasture raising ducks. But that was sort of more of a large scale, raising ducks for meat and eggs. And I'm excited to talk with you about the smaller scale backyard raising ducks. Because I've certainly had many challenges in raising ducks. And I know that there's folks out there looking for this information. So can you kind of give us a little bit of background of the Cape Coop Farm what all you have going on there?

Liz 1:19

Yeah, so we're definitely not large scale, we're definitely more catering towards people who are looking to do backyard farming, even if you only have a little bit of land. So I first started down the farming path in 2012. We just got four chickens, and I was like, that's good. That'll be great. We just only need four chickens and like, that's what everybody says. So before long, we had a whole bunch of chickens. And then in 2015, we added some angora rabbits. And they were great. They gave us fiber. And that's when I started the blog. So at that point, I was blogging just about chickens and rabbits. And I started a soap business. And that was kind of there on the side too, so we were growing our farm slowly. And then 2016, we went to the feed store. And we noticed that they had ducklings coming in. And my kids were like, "Oh, we need to get ducklings". And I'm like, "No, everything I've heard about them is that they're so messy, and they're just full of mud". And I didn't want to deal with any of that. But we ended up going back the next day. So we were like, okay, just two ducks, just like Famous Last Words with the chickens. So we got the two ducks, and we brought them home and they were great. And they were super messy, but they were adorable. And then it turned out they were straight run. So one of them ended up being a boy and one was a girl and ducks are pretty voracious maters.

Nicole 2:44


Liz 2:45

So you really have to have a lot of girls for each boy. So then of course, we had to add some more girls and we got a few more accidental boys along the way. And then before you know we just we have about 12 now, so I think 12 is a good amount. In 2020 last year, right before for the pandemic hit, we bought a farm so before we were just in a small backyard, it was I think point four acres. So it was just a typical backyard farm. And then in 2020, we found this great old farmhouse that was built in 1852 and had a 13 stall horse barn and one acre of land. So it was really like three miles away from our old house. So we packed up all of the foreign animals in all of our stuff and we moved on over and we've been able to really get more animals and have a much better setup here. So it's you could definitely still do it in a small backyard. But it's definitely been nice having a little more space to spread out here.

Nicole 3:42

Well how exciting and congratulations on your your new home and the new adventures ahead. Has it's been a lot of fun. That's certainly in our our someday dreams. We are on two acres but unfortunately we didn't know that we had some covenants so we are limited. So I envy your farmhouse.

Liz 4:04

It is definitely nice. Oh and we were able to add some alpacas to when we moved to the house because we were like we have this huge that barn is bigger than the house. It's like 2000 square feet and we were like I don't know what we're gonna put in here. The chickens and ducks weren't quite getting it so that we've got the alpacas too and they are a great addition.

Nicole 4:23

Awesome well that sounds great. So you started the ducks I assume as pets but you use them now for eggs, or for meat, or just for fun?

Liz 4:33

Yeah, they're they're really just pets. So there's 12 of them. They're all different breeds because I like to be able to tell them apart. They all have names. So they're mostly pets but we do we do sell the eggs because we also may have about two dozen check it and so we don't need that many eggs every day.

Nicole 4:48


Liz 4:49

But it's really more of a small scale. You know we have a cooler we put it out by the road. It's not certainly not a big production farm.

Nicole 4:56

Sure. Well, any way that you can offset some costs as well helps pay for it.

Liz 5:01

I'd say probably breakeven. Well, maybe.

Nicole 5:06

I know the feeling.

Liz 5:08

They're more just pets though.

Nicole 5:09

Sure. So then what are some reasons to get ducks if folks are looking for a variety of reasons? Or what problems or if you will, can raising ducks solve?

Liz 5:22

Well, so ducks are really, they're hilarious. I know, you said that you had some ducks for a while, they could live really nicely with chickens. Or you could just have them as your only poultry in the yard, they have a lot of personality, there are a lot of fun, where the chickens they just kind of like to pick around all day, the ducks, they love to make messes, and they love to splash in puddles. And they're just they're really funny to watch. So they're, they're a fun pet to have. And the duck eggs are tasty. And it's something that a lot of people don't have. Everybody's got chickens now. So the decades definitely give you a different type of egg to sell and a different path to follow on your farming journey.

Nicole 6:02

Sure, I know that when I was raising ducks, I only had about six at peak. And when I joined in a good Co-op to try and sell some of my extra chicken eggs. They said that if I wanted to sell the duck eggs, I could get significantly more for the duck eggs than the chicken eggs. And in fact, six duck eggs were selling for almost twice the price of a dozen chicken egg. So I think that if you had a co op near you or farmers market or something like that the eggs could definitely, like you said, not everybody has them, right?

Liz 6:38

Because they're there's less of them around and you can't just go and buy them at the grocery store, they are definitely higher price item, they're more of a luxury farm item, I guess, just because they're harder to find. And everybody's curious about what they're going to taste like. And they really they taste just like chicken eggs. They're bigger, and they have less water in them. So they're really good for baking. So they make your baked goods rise up nice and fluffy, and they have a nice fluffy texture. And I would say that the taste is a little bit stronger than chicken eggs just more like pure egg taste. But really, I think most people, if you scramble them up and ate them side by side, you probably wouldn't notice much of a difference. But everybody likes to try them. And certainly if you have any bakers nearby, they will definitely buy them all up.

Nicole 7:27

Sure. So I think a lot of people, you know, they they see the ducklings and they go "Oh my goodness!" And and they are not fully prepared for what's to come.

Liz 7:39

That is 100% true. And I feel like that's more true with ducklings than it is with chicks. Ducklings, they're just so adorable. But there they are a little bit harder to take care of them than chickens. So I think a lot of people get sucked in by those cute little webbed feet and that little sweet face. And then they're like, "What do I do with this duck?" So I definitely get a lot of emails and messages from people who you know, we're at the feed store and bought a duckling. And now they don't really know what to do with it. They grow really fast in the first two weeks, they gain about seven times their birth weight. So like that really cute tiny duckling stage doesn't last very long. And then they're like really kind of awkward and gangly until they grow out until their adult stage.

Nicole 8:25

So what are some of the tips that you tell folks as far as just kind of general how to raise the ducklings? And I would imagine you get a number of questions about how to deal with how messy they are.

Liz 8:40

Definitely, I think the biggest duckling questions I get, I get a lot of people who messaged me who aren't really sure how to feed them. A lot of the feed stores maybe aren't as duck savvy as they are chicken savvy because they don't have to deal with the ducklings as often. And most of them just say it's fine to feed them chick feed or a multi flock starter feed, which in theory is okay, it's a good base for it. But ducklings need like three times the amount of niacin that chicks need, which is really the biggest concern. If you're feeding them chick feed, you want to make sure you're also supplementing them with with some niacin. Most people use brewers yeast which is just a nutritional yeast, you can get it in both health stores or you can order it online from Amazon if you can't find it locally. But if you mix in about a tablespoon and a half of that with every cup of feed, that will help them reach their niacin daily levels that they need. And if they don't have nice and they can get deficient in it, and it makes their legs weak. So as they're growing, you want to make sure you keep supplementing them that until they're about 18 weeks. And if you don't, it could make their legs not grow properly and they could end up having problems for the rest of their lives with weakness not being able to move. If it gets really severe. Okay, get to the point where they can't move. To get up and get food and water, and they can actually die from it. So that's definitely one of the biggest mistakes that I hear a lot of people will contact me after their dogs are already having problems walking. If it's caught early enough, you can correct it. But if you wait until they're adults, there's really not a whole lot you can do about it.

Nicole 10:16

Sure. And do you have any tips for keeping their brooder a little cleaner in my experience, they they can empty out a waterer very fast.

Liz 10:28

They really can. Honestly, there's no magic tip to it, you really, you just when i brood ducklings, I clean the brooder three times a day, which is ridiculous. Because when I brood chicks, it's like maybe once every three days, I'll empty it out. But ducklings, it's in the morning, I will completely empty it, I usually take the brooder box, and I'll put a rubber shelf liner on the bottom of it. So that helps them get a good grip. So they're not slipping around, because they have those big floppy feet. And they're not really steady on their feet for a little while. So I'm in one corner of the box, I'll put some straw where they can bed down. And then the other corner of the box, I take a rimmed baking sheet, and I'll put their dish of water and their food, their ducklings really can't drink out of those chick waters, because they need to be able to fit their whole bill in the water. And they need to be able to clear their sinuses and their eyes out. So they really have to be able to duck their whole head in and they really can't fit their whole head and those chick waters. So unfortunately, you're left with kind of the only option of that is having an open bowl of water, which is going to be messy. So that's why I keep the rimmed baking sheet in there, it kind of helps to catch some of it. So completely empty it out and clean all the walls and clean everything. And then around lunchtime, I'll do a little mini wipe down because the problem with ducks is a part of why they're so messy is they need to have water with their feed. So they will dip their face in the food and they'll get a whole beak full of food and then they'll go over to the water while the food is still in their mouth and wash it down. And then they'll stick their head up and they'll shake their head around. And all the little fragments of mucky food feed are now like splattered all over the walls. And then they spill it while they're going in between the two bowls and and then they'll get in the bowl and they'll splash around. They kind of just get really messy really fast. So in the the afternoon, I'll wipe down the walls real quick. And then at night, I usually will change out the straw and the white the walls again. And then in the morning, do it all over again clean, completely clean everything clean out the baking dish and all of their feeder and water.

So how long does this three times a day cleaning usually last?

They're so cute, but they are pretty labor intensive. But the good thing is because they grow so fast, they don't need to be brooded in a box as long as chicks do. Usually with chicks, you're keeping them inside under heat for like five or six weeks. But three or four weeks, ducks are pretty big. And they have more feathers than chicks do at that stage. One of the stalls in my barn, I'll use for transitioning ducklings or chicks, before they're ready to join the flock, they can go live in that stall. But if you don't, if most people don't have just an empty barn style hanging around, what I used to do is I would have a small rabbit hutch, where I could put them where they could have a little more space where they wouldn't be inside my house in my kitchens smelling like ducks. And I would move them out into that little rabbit hutch where there was no ground to it. So they could pick around and get grit and eat grass and have a little more space to roam. But I would keep that inside of my chicken run so that it would be secure at night where they could sleep in there and not be worrying about predators coming in to get them so they could live out there after you so it's usually about three or four weeks depending on how cold it is outside. I would definitely not recommend starting ducks in the winter if you live somewhere where it's cold because you're gonna end up needing to keep them inside for a lot longer.

Nicole 14:16

So you mentioned that you started out with two ducks and then you ended up with a male and a female. What is a good number of ducks to start out with like if if you're just getting ducks for the first time?

Liz 14:31

If you're just getting ducks and you just want them as pets, I would just decide if you want males or females and stick with just that. Some people like to keep a just male flock because they are quieter. Ducks make a lot of noise. They like to talk to each other. They like to talk to each other from way across the yard. They like to make a lot of noise while they're swimming in their pools and I think it's adorable. I hear your neighbors might not think it's so adorable. So, females make a really, really loud cracking noise that you would traditionally associate with a duck. But males have like a quieter, raspy kind of noise that maybe isn't quite as offensive to neighbors. And as long as there's no females in the group with them, they should be okay. Living together. The only exception is if you are keeping nails in with chickens, because the, if there's no female ducks around, they might try to meet with the chickens. And that could actually end up killing the chicken because they have different anatomy. And you wouldn't want your male duck trying to mate with your female chicken. So if you have no other backyard poultry, and you just want them for pets, and you don't care about eggs, I would say get two or three male ducks. And that would be great. If you would like some eggs just get females, females can certainly live in with chickens, they're not going to bother each other, they would make a great little flock all on their own, two or three is fine, you don't need to like get a whole ton of them. But I think with ducks, it is definitely really important that you have them pre sexed. If you just buy them straight run, you could end up with problems because you really need at least three or four females for every male that you have. Otherwise, they're going to get overheated, and the females can end up getting really hurt.

Nicole 16:16

So I know sometimes when you're adding like new chickens to a flock of existing chickens, there can be so much challenge integrating those, is there any issue adding new ducks to an existing flock of ducks or even ducks to a flock of chickens?

Liz 16:34

Ducks are really, they're awesome, they love each other, they like to have more ducks around, they really are much more social creatures. So they aren't as angry when you add new ducks the exception again as if you have males, they do get territorial. If you have a male duck and you just put in a new duck, even if it's a female that he's still going to go after her, he's going to try to scare her away from the food and all that or come near the water because he wants to save those resources for his females. And he it's kind of the same process as if you were introducing new chickens. You keep them separated for a couple of weeks where they could see each other but can't get to each other. And then you let them go. And they should hopefully be okay after a couple weeks. But if you have just a flock of females, usually you can just add more female dogs and they will just be like "Yay new friends, let's go swim in the pool". So as long as you just have females, there shouldn't be a problem introducing them. And then as far as introducing them with chickens, my chickens and ducks live together, they free range in the same area. They live in the same coop. They all get locked up together at night and they basically just stick to their own species. The ducks hang out with the ducks all day and the chickens hang out with the chickens all day. And they really don't fight right now we have three male ducks. So we have two roosters, and even the boys, they don't fight with each other. They they all just kind of ignore each other. So they definitely can live in harmony.

Nicole 18:02

So obviously you couldn't have a flock of all roosters that wouldn't really work out so well. But having a flock of just male ducks they they're all okay being together?

Liz 18:13

Yes, if there aren't females there for them to fight over, they will just live together and a little bachelor flock and they'll get along okay, because in the wild, the male ducks don't have anything to do with the brooding the babies are, are raising the babies. So they'll have their mating season in the spring, the girls will chase them all the way and they'll hatch their eggs out and raise the babies without the boys around. So the boys will actually all join up with bachelor flocks and they'll all live together, you know until the girls are ready to come back in after the babies are grown.

Nicole 18:48

So they won't get aggressive during mating season or anything like that with each other?

Liz 18:53

With each other. No, not if there aren't females around. Okay, so since you have the ducks and the chickens together, what does your setup look like as far as feeders and waters and a coop and your living quarters and everything like that. The biggest problem with keeping chickens and ducks in the same space together is that chickens like things to be dry and kind of clean and the ducks would just be super happy. If you let them have a huge mud puddle and make a big mucky mess every day they they would be fine with that. So you have to try to really manage the water situation. So what we have right now is we have three horse stalls that we've combined together. So it's about 10 by 30 feet. So it's a really big space. And we've got two dozen chickens and it doesn't ducks in there. So they've got lots of space. And we don't have a run at this house. We did have a chicken run at the other place. So they just they're either in the house, they're locked into their little coop or their barn area. And they do that at night and then we let them out to free range. So out in their free range area. It is all fenced in, so they can't leave our property. But they have a pretty big swath of space where they can, you know, pick around and lounge in the shade and do their own thing. So we do have a little kiddie pool out in the paddock where they can splash around. And, of course, they jump into the water buckets for the alpacas and any bit of water, they will jump in. They don't care if it's just a little bucket, or if it's a big giant pool, or if you have a giant pond, but you don't need upon to keep them. Most domestic duck breeds actually prefer to spend more of their time on land than water. So if you give them a pool is awesome, they love it. Ours is just a standard sized kiddie pool, I usually dump it every day, they like to bring dirt in with them, they I don't know, they just love to make a mess will splash around in the pool, and they'll have a lot of fun in there. So that we keep that part outside. And then inside the coop area, I have two pallets that I put together. And then I put a piece of plywood over that. And I covered the plywood with sheet vinyl, like a vinyl flooring so that I could easily scrape up all the muck and stuff that the ducks spill everywhere. Because we do have to have the open bowl of water for them because they need to be able to clear their sinuses and they have to be able to have water with their food. So we've got two food bowls on top of the palate. And then we have an open water dish. And that's really just for them while they're locked up at night. Because if they eat food, they have to be able to have water. So actually yesterday from Tractor Supply, I was on their website and saw that they now make a duck water. It looks kind of like a chicken font. But it has these big cups that it says that the ducks can dip their heads into. So I just ordered that yesterday. So I don't know, we'll see if that works. But I would really love to be able to not have the open bowl of water, but it's really for the ducks health. So you just have to deal with the fall out of the mess of it.

Nicole 22:01

Sure. Unfortunately, that was actually what resulted in us having to rehome our ducks. I tried to make the best setup that I could for them. But we were having such a challenge with everything getting wet and then really smelly. I had my ducks separate from the chickens, and oh my gosh, I tried everything. And I just wasn't able to find something that really worked, I did end up using there's a product called First Saturday Lime and I would sprinkle that and that really helped a ton with the smell. But they were so messy. And I felt like I couldn't give them the best situation. So I was able to find somebody that had, I think like 40 acres and actual pond on their property and things. I figured that was a better home for them. It broke my heart.

Liz 22:49

The waterer situation is definitely tricky. So most of the water that they splash outside of their bowl, I put the bowl right in the very center of this piece of plywood. So it's a four by eight space. And it's just like maybe 12 to 13 inch water bowl. It's not a big huge water bowl, because it's just for nighttime use. So most of the water that they splash outside ends up staying on the palate area, so I could just kind of clean it up in the morning. But some of it definitely does spill over the palate. But because it's raised up, I could keep adding straw and shavings around the outside of it just try to absorb some of the mud. But I'm being cautiously optimistic about the new water dish that I ordered. I had some mixed reviews, but I figured it was worth trying because it would be really nice. We did we've tried the nipple water feeders with the ducks and they were honestly just too stupid to figure it out. Because I was thinking even if they could just have a little bit of water for their nighttime food, it would be good. The only other option is to take away all of the food so you don't have to give them food at night you could take the food in and then if they're not eating, they don't necessarily need access to water inside the coop, I am lucky that I have a 300 square foot area. So I can have a big huge pallet or double pallet in there where you know we can have like a splash zone around their water. But if you just had a small coop, my suggestion would be to just not give them food at night and then they just don't have food and water overnight and just keep it all outside. Especially in the winter time. You don't want there to be water around, they're gonna end up getting frostbite. And it's just it's not going to be a good situation for anybody.

Nicole 24:31

I'm surprised to hear I guess the the nipple waters didn't work for you. That's admittedly one of the main products that we sell and I've had lots of luck with duck soup. The chickens could figure it out the ducks were dumb. Oh yeah, we used it with our dogs. But the water mess came from the we had a 55 gallon like shallow stock tank for them. And so that was their their splashy, fun place but then I also kept a bucket with the nipple waters so they could have clean water.

Liz 25:04

My ducks are dumb. I don't know.

Nicole 25:06

No, no.

Liz 25:09

The chickens caught on to it. But yeah, we could not the ducks because because they also did have their splashy fun place outside. So maybe they were just like, Oh, this is way easier. I'm not mess with learning this new thing,

Nicole 25:22

Right but the dirty water tastes so much better when it has poop in it. Who wouldn't want to drink that? Right?

Liz 25:28


Nicole 25:31

So you mentioned the the winter water situation. That was one that was also a learning curve for us too, because it was a little bit different from the chickens. So do you take their splashy fun zone water away from them in the winter?

Liz 25:46

I do. Yeah. So we're in more on Cape Cod and Massachusetts, which which is like the southern southeast part of New England. So it does definitely get cold here. Usually, I can get away with like, maybe early November, they could still have their fun pool outside. But usually November to April, they don't have a pool outside. They would totally go in it. They don't care if the water is freezing. And I definitely have if there's like a nice day in January, sometimes you'll get one of those nice, like 35 degree days. I'll fill it up for them. And they are so excited to have the water back. They don't care if it's cold, they just want to splash. Sure. So as long as it doesn't get icy, once once the ice starts forming, I dumped the pool for the season.

Nicole 26:33

So what are some other common beginner mistakes or questions that you've been asked about raising ducks?

Liz 26:41

So definitely, the straight run thing is a big mistake a lot of people do. Or hatching ducklings everybody thinks it's would be so fun to hatch ducks, let's get an incubator or like a lot of schools will do it as a fun project, they'll hatch ducks out. And it is it's fun. Kids love watching it. And it's so exciting to see them hatch. But then unfortunately, you're dealt with about 50% of them are going to be boys. And if you get really unlucky, you could end up with like 80% boys. And then if you're in the position where you don't mind, processing them and eating them, that's great. And that won't be a problem. But if you are just looking to have some pets, most people don't want to process their pet sure and eat them for dinner. So then you're stuck trying to rehome male ducks, which is not easy unless you have farmers nearby who maybe would want to take them but the place where I live is pretty suburban-ish. And there are not a lot of people that raise ducks. So to in order to try to find somebody that to take all these male dogs off my hands would be really hard. So definitely, I would recommend people do not do the straight run route with ducks. The feeding issues would be another thing. I think a lot of people they think that maybe they have a pond nearby or they have a pond on their property. And they just want to get some ducks to like almost be lawn ornaments. But a lot of domestic duck breeds, they're they're not really set up like that they're some of them are good foragers and some of them aren't great. So you still need to be able to provide safety for them, you have to give them a place where they could be at night where they're locked up, because domestic ducks can't fly. If you've got some mallards or some scabies can fly. But most of the domestic breeds that you're going to get from a hatchery, they are bred to be large boned, so that they don't fly away from their firms. So they don't have a whole lot of predator production, they have very little in the way of teeth, they have little tiny claws on the ends of their feet. But for the most part, they're very slow on land. If something goes after them, it's gonna eat them. So you really want to have them locked up at night. So you can't just say I'm going to put them out on my pond, and they're going to live out there because they're not going to survive more than a year.

Nicole 28:56

And so that actually makes me think with you having the ducks and the chickens together. What do you feed them? Do you have two separate feeders? Or do you do like an all flock? Or how do you manage that?

Liz 29:08

Once they're adults, they're fine to just eat the layer feed the same as the chickens. So just by a standard layer feed, they all eat that. It's really just that first like 18 weeks when they're growing, that you want to pay extra attention to their nutrition and give them the nicest supplements. Either that or you can buy a duck food. So if you're not keeping any chickens are the kinds of poultry you can just buy a duck food, it's harder to find. I know my small feed store doesn't sell a duck food. So I really was only left with the one option of buying chicken food but it works for them when they're adults, so when they're babies, you want to make sure you get a non medicated feed because the feed that is medicated for chicks is going to overload the duct system. It's going to be way too much medicine because they grow so much fat They eat a lot more. So non medicated, you want to add the brewers yeast, and then they're good with just the grower feed from there.

Nicole 30:09

So the medicated feed for folks that aren't familiar, so it's intended for chicks to give them some medication to protect them from coccidiosis. So, do ducks have many health concerns? Or many? I mean, everything has health problems in some degree. But are they pretty healthy compared to chickens?

Liz 30:31

They're definitely a lot hardier than chickens, so they actually don't need the medication. It's not that's not a problem for ducklings. And a lot of the like, even parasites, things like that, because they spend time in water. Things like mites are not as big of a problem for ducks, because they end up coming off in the water. And because they also have like a waxy coating on their feathers to keep them waterproof. It's also not as hospitable for other parasites. Honestly, my my duck flock, I've never really had to treat them for much, maybe bumblefoot once, I think, but really, they've all been very hearty. And actually, they have not lost a single duck to a predator. But I don't know why I want to say it's because they're smarter, but it's definitely not. But they I think they spend a lot more time like under the trees and hiding more, whereas the chickens are maybe out, not paying attention as much. And I definitely lost a few chickens to Hawks. But sure. And I've definitely I've had some, you know, chicken respiratory issues, and the ducks have never had that problem. So that they're they're definitely hardier than chickens.

Nicole 31:43

Sure. Well, fortunately, you haven't had too many issues. I imagine they'd probably be too big for most toxins.

Liz 31:44

And I think that's what it is. And I live in suburban, there's neighbors all around, we definitely have things like foxes and coyotes, but they only come out at night, because there are so many people around, and all of my birds are locked up at night. So really the only daytime predators are domestic dogs and cats and hawks and eagles. But like you said, I think the ducks are maybe just too big for the birds of prey to pick up.

Nicole 32:18

Do you have any issues with getting the ducks home at night? Do they roost pretty well?

Liz 32:23

Yeah, I'm also they don't roost, they sleep down on the ground. But they do all come back at night. their preference definitely would be to sleep outside if I let them. At our other house where we had a small chicken coop and a little small duck house and connecting the two of them, we had a secured run with the buried wire and that was covered on the roof. And most of the times the ducks just wanted to sleep in the run, they didn't weren't really interested about going inside. But then when we moved to the new house, we don't have the run anymore, we just have a really big barn. So I definitely don't want them just sleeping outside. So I think they would, but they've all pretty much gotten used to the fact that they come inside. If we go out there, and it's still dusk, and the chickens will certainly all be asleep, some of the ducks might still be outside. But once it gets to be dark, dark, they would all be indoors so and they're really easy to hurt. They're not like chickens all run in different directions. So if you have all the ducks there, and you just kind of walk behind them, for the most part, they're all just gonna walk in a little line into the house, shut the door.

Nicole 33:26

It's always good to have your ducks in a row.

Liz 33:28

It is. They're really good at being in a row. So they definitely like to, you know, when they're walking across the paddock, or you know, I see them out in the yard. They are all in a little duck parade line. Just It's so cute.

Nicole 33:45

You're making me miss my ducks.

Liz 33:48

Really, they're really fun that you know, they're messy, and it can be kind of a pain, but I think they're totally worth it. It's hard to say which one I like better. But I think the ducks are a little more fun than the chickens.

Nicole 34:01

I would agree. I do enjoy them.

Liz 34:04

I like the chickens too, but the ducks are... there's just so and there's just so funny looking. Watching them waddle across the yard. It's just hilarious.

Nicole 34:12

Yes. So obviously, you have lots of information about raising ducks, and all of your other exciting farm adventures that are going on right now. And I know I've been following you actually found your website several years ago, and I've been following you on all the socials in your website since then. But can you tell us where we can find you, get some more information, follow along with your adventures?

Liz 34:38

So our blog is the so I've got it all separated out by chicken information or duck information, started adding a little bit of alpaca information and some gardening things. So just general homesteading stuff. So that's, you can find all that on the blog. And then our Instagram is the cape coop and we're on Facebook Not great about Twitter, honestly, Facebook or Instagram are probably the places to find us. And then we did just start a new website. It's called Old Yankee Farmhouse. And that one is, I've been working on renovating our 1852 farmhouse that we bought last year. So I mostly just bought it for the really awesome barn and the land. And the house that came with it is okay. It definitely has not been updated in a very long time. And so I decided to start a blog so people could follow along as I do my DIY and how we've done some bathroom renovations and a bunch of different projects around the house. So we would love if you would follow us there too. So the blog for that is old, and then we're also on Instagram and Facebook for that one as well, too.

Nicole 35:50

Okay, great. I'm sure that that will also be interesting to lots of people and see how that comes along as you work on it.

Liz 35:57


Nicole 35:58

Well, Liz I really appreciate your time today. Thank you so much for sharing all of your information about raising ducks, and I really appreciate it.

Liz 36:06

Thank you so much for having me. It was a lot of fun.

Nicole 36:09

And for those listening thank you so much for joining us for another episode and we'll see you again next week.

Announcer: 36:15

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Two White Ducks on Grass

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