Fun Duck Facts:
~Ducks were once wild until they were domesticated by the Chinese many hundreds of years ago.
~Ducks keep clean by preening themselves with their beaks, which they do often. They also line their nests with feathers plucked from their chest.
~Ducks' feathers are waterproof. There is a special gland that produces oil near the tail that spreads and covers the outer coat of feathers. Beneath this waterproof layer are fluffy and soft feathers to keep the duck warm.
~Ducks provide us with eggs, meat and feathers.
~Ducks' feet have no nerves or blood vessels. This means ducks never feel the cold, even if they swim in icy cold water.
~A duck waddles instead of walking because of its webbed feet.
~Ducks have webbed feet, which act like paddles.
~Ducks can live from 2-12 years, depending on the species.
~A male duck is called a drake, a female is called a duck. Babies are called ducklings.
~All of the Peking ducks in the United States are descendents from three ducks and one drake imported to Long Island, New York in 1873.
~A duck has three eyelids.
Duck Care: What do I need to raise ducks?
While a natural water source is convienent, it is not necessary. If your ducks have a stream, pond or fairly large, clean bathing trough, you don't need to provide other drinking facilities. If they don't, you should provide a reasonably deep (4 inches anyway and at least 12 to 15 inches across) supply of water. This is because of the peculiar nasal construction of ducks. They need to be able to get most of their bill in water when drinking.
Please do not feed your ducks bread! Ducks are not designed to eat such starchy items. They love scratch grain, vegitation and their all time favorite is worms and slugs!!
Feeding: Ducks exploit a variety of food sources such as grasses, aquatic plants, fish, insects, small amphibians,bworms, and small molluscs. Along the edge of the beak there is a comb-like structure called a pecten. This strains the water squirting from the side of the beak and traps any food. The pecten is also used to preen feathers. Our ducks have the characteristic wide flat beak designed for dredging-type jobs such as pulling up waterweed, pulling worms and small molluscs out of mud, searching for insect larvae, and bulk jobs such as dredging out and holding and turning headfirst and swallowing a squirming frog. To avoid injury when digging into sediment it has no cere. but the nostrils come out through hard horn.
Predators: Worldwide, ducks have many predators. Ducklings are particularly vulnerable to predatory birds and even larger fish. Ducks' nests are raided by land-based predators, and brooding females may be caught unaware on the nest by mammals such as foxes, or large birds, such as hawks, owls or eagles. We lose the ducklings frequently and unless we hand raise them, usually ony one or two of all the hatchlings in a year will make it to adult hood. Our adult ducks seem much less volunerable to the local predetars. Occasionaly a fox may get one. Our ducks are free to raom our property at will and are watched over by our three dogs (two Ridgebacks and an Australian Cattle Dog, unfortunatly our Paryneese is no longer with us).
Housing: Our ducks do not have any specified housing of thier own. They are welcome to go in the chicken coop, but seem to have no interest. When it is really cold they tend to rest at night in the barn cuddled next to the alpacas. In the summer they sleep in the fenced pasture.