Duck Production and Goose Production at Home

This excerpt from Jack Widmer's Practical Animal Husbandry provides practical advice on the process of managing duck production and goose production at home.


| March/April 1973



020-055-01b

Ducks have a strong constitution and grow quickly, making them an easy bird to raise compared to chickens or turkeys.


ILLUSTRATION: KIM ZARNEY

Back in 1949 — before factory farming and the "pump 'em full of chemicals" school of agriculture blitzed the country — a fellow named Jack Widmer wrote a little book called PRACTICAL ANIMAL HUSBANDRY. Now that manual wasn't what you'd call completely exhaustive, the writing style wasn't the best, and a few of the ideas it advanced — such as confining laying hens in cages — were later refined into the kind of automated farming that so many of us are fighting against these days.

Still, PRACTICAL ANIMAL HUSBANDRY contained a good deal of basic information that today's "homesteaders" all too often need and don't know where to find. I'm pleased, then, that the publisher of the book, Charles Scribner's Sons, has granted me permission to reprint excerpts from this out-of-print manual. I think that many of my readers will find the following information both interesting and informative. — MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Excerpts from PRACTICAL ANIMAL HUSBANDRY by Jack Widmer are reprinted by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright 1949 by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Duck Production

Ducks are much easier to raise than chickens or turkeys. They are subject to few diseases, are sturdy enough to live through a more variable brooding temperature than other fowl, and if given half a chance will weigh from five to six pounds at eleven weeks, an ideal butchering age for that delicacy of delicacies, Roast Long Island Duckling. Their feeding is a simple matter, their feeds easily mixed, and the amateur agriculturist will have more encouraging results from ducks than he will from most members of the home barnyard.

True, it is almost essential for breeding ducks to have access to some sort of water in which they may swim during the breeding season, for egg fertility is tremendously increased if they have a good swimming hole; but this can be supplied by either streams, lakes, or man-made pools that need not be very large to accommodate all the ducks that the average family will require for home consumption. In the event that a swimming hole is not practical, then the country dweller may purchase day-old ducklings and fatten them without swimming facilities.

Ducks do not require elaborate housing arrangements (four square feet per breeding duck is sufficient . . . three square feet for fattening birds) and barrels, packing crates, or other waste material make excellent nesting boxes. In moderate climates ducks will not require any but natural shelter and the ducks themselves, beyond being a bit on the noisy side, are interesting and intelligent birds and give little worry in relation to their many advantages.

asherah
5/2/2007 4:21:08 PM

I found this website to be very informative on both goslings and ducklings. About a week ago we purchased 3 goslings and one duckling... unfortunatly the duckling didn't make it. I'm looking for the best way to house the geese here in the high desert where the weather can be just aweful sometimes. do you have any tips that can help us make a small brooding coop that can adjust for when they get bigger? we live on an acre of land, so utalizing space is a must!


bandrash1
2/27/2007 12:07:18 PM

i was rais on a farm, and after growing up. and haveing a family of my own, im stell raising ducks, & geess, but i in joyed reading , your story on the gees,& ducks, and finding out, some thing, i didnt know, but keep it up, , meny people out there, are stell learning, what we all dont know about farm anemals. thank you. for sharing it, 2/27/07






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