KW Homestead

Pasture Raised Poultry from Our Family to Yours

Tag: ducklings

Pekin & Runner Ducklings Join the Homestead

The first batch of these cute duck babes arrived here this week! They spent the first few days inside (since the outside temperatures dropped to 20 with lots of wind) and they’ve been growing steadily!

The Pekin breed is the breed we raise for meat, and we decided on a few Runner ducks as well, a hilarious breed that stands super tall and looks like they might just fall over at all times! There’s not much cuter than a baby duck!

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Pekin Ducks: Pasture Raised and Having Fun!

We started raising animals for our family, and have since expanded to be able to offer meats to your family, too! But you can be confident that we still raise our animals the same way we did in the beginning; with our family and the highest health and nutrition standards in mind. When you eat one of our Pekin ducks, you should know that your product is the best of each batch! We eat our duck, chicken, turkey, and eggs right along side you, and we keep the funny looking (pin feathers or a funny packaging job) for ourselves. We feed ourselves and our most beloved family the meat we raise, and name you part of our farm family! Thanks for supporting our poultry-raising endeavors… We’ll be proud to offer you meat for many years to come!

This video shows you how we raise our Pekin ducks. Raised the right way, on pasture and in the free air (with a couple guard geese as allies!).

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Ducklings and Goslings Tour the Yard

This video shows you typical duckling and gosling behavior!

Sometimes we let the little buggers (literally, bug hunters!) out for a chance to roam free. We still have to keep an eye on them because they are small enough to be hurt by a larger chicken or taken by a hawk (especially the ducklings). Today they got a solid 2 hours of freedom out in the yard, where they enjoyed chasing bugs, sun bathing, chowing down on seed heads, and drinking from random puddles of water!

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Kids and Farm Animals: A Great Time!

Nothing makes our day more than having kids come visit us at the homestead. Beginning some time next month, we will be hosting a homestead tour so all interested kids and adults can come see the animals for themselves. But in the meantime, let these videos of our friend Meredith and her lovely kids, Emi and Teddy, make you smile.





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Baby Ducks On An Outdoor Adventure!

Our newest addition to the homestead, our Hybrid Layer and Cayuga ducklings, finally got to explore the outside world for the first time! When they are a little bit older, we plan to keep them in their newly finished shed/house during the night, and every morning usher them out to a pen so they can enjoy the world and the sun!

We tried our hand at herding them for the first time the other day, to see if they would be easier to herd than our Khaki Campbell ducks. They did super well, and were so excited to leave their cage and find new bugs to eat and rocks to peck at!

We herded them to a small, exposed space with one of the kiddie pools inside. It was filled with water, and the ones that could figure out how to get inside had a great time… Diving under and splashing water everywhere.

Check out this video for the full experience… Beginning with their first glimpse of beyond the cage and ending with wet and sloppy babies!

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How Much Feed and Water do Ducklings Need?

Now that you have your day old ducklings  in their brooder(seriously, aren’t they cute?)it’s time to feed and water them.

feed ducklings

baby ducks!

What to feed them?

We feed Non-GMO Starter, a 22% protein mash that provides all the nutrients and energy for fast growing baby ducks. We also like to throw in a chunk of sod from the pasture, to give them some exposure to soil microorganisms, grit, grass and bugs.

ducklings grass

learning how to graze pasture!

How much do they eat?

The rule of thumb for ducklings, and most other baby animals, is to give them free choice access to their feed for the first days/week. After this point, ducks that are being raised to breed, or for egg production, are best off being fed a restricted diet based on age. This helps to control excessive weight gain, which can lead to lower fertility and decreased egg production.

ducklings water

ducklings are very messy, the paper towels help somewhat to keep their bedding dry

Metzer farms has a great article on the daily feed/water consumption and manure output for ducklings based on age. According to this chart, our 67 ducklings should have eaten .5 lb of feed each over their first week of life, or about 33.5 lbs. total. Judging by whats left in the 50 lb. bag of starter, I don’t think they have eaten quite that much, but they were traveling in a box for 2 days, so that might have skewed the figures.

The chart also shows that each duckling will drink almost 1/2 gallon of water during their first week of life, and up to 2 gallons of water per week as they get older. I think that our duck nipple waterers help them drink more efficiently though.

ducklings funny

you talking to me?

As for manure output, after 1 week, ducklings deposit almost 1 pound each, and by 7 weeks they are dropping 7 pounds each per week! That’s a lot of fertility! Now, these numbers are “wet” numbers and are mostly water,but still, that’s pretty impressive.

 

*Tired of feeding chemical genetically modified chicken feed to your flock? Check out our freshly milled, non gmo layer feed!

Duckling House and Bedding

This video features our ducklings again!

Also included is an explanation of their house and bedding…

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Non GMO Duck Starter

What do you feed 67 day old ducklings?

Non GMO Duck Starter!

In this video our new ducklings give their opinion on our 22% protein Chick Starter feed. It’s high in protein and nutrients for rapid growth and development of goslings, ducklings, and chicks and made from 100% GMO free ingredients with no antibiotics or hormones.

If you are in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Stokes or Rockingham county make sure to pick up a bag of the freshest Non GMO feed in the Triad. It’s duckling approved!

We also have layer, broiler/grower, pig, and any other livestock feed you can think of, as well as organic fertilizers and mineral supplements. Find out how to order here.

Welcome to Heaven: Meet the New Ducklings!

Today the new ducklings arrived at the post office, and we went to get them!

They were fantastic when they emerged from the box and very quickly started eating and drinking. They are very relaxed and literally the cutest things I have ever seen!

This video explains a little bit about them and the breeds we have…

Holy Duck: A Home for the Babies

Spring is here and you might already know about our first batch of Spring babies… Our 30 Khaki Campbell ducks!

We kept them inside for a little while and after the weather became consistently warmer we decided that it was high time they got kicked out (they were smelly and so messy!).

We wanted to be sure to build them a space that was near the house so they would be safer and easier to feed and watch. We also needed their space to be sheltered and secure, so a perfect spot seemed like the carport! Mind you, once we finish the poultry brood house (posts about this forthcoming) most ducks and other babies will grow up in there!

We need a bigger space than before so they would have room to run and spead out, but we were limited by the carport space, which actually worked out well… 2 cattle panels (oh, how we love to use cattle panels!), folded in the middle at right angles made a great 8′ x 8′ space for them. These panels were covered with chicken wire to keep ducks in and sneaky bad guys out (foxes, raccoons, possums…).

cage

The carport pen!

The dog crate that was their only home before, became the space where they could escape the wind and bask under the heat lamp.

crate

Inside their cozy dog crate.

We learned quickly that they really didn’t care much about the heat lamp beginning around 3 weeks old and for the past week or two we haven’t been turning it on very often! The dog crate was surrounded with plywood and cardboard which act as walls, and covered with a blanket to keep in their warmth.

crate

Not beautiful, but very functional!

The first few days they were outside we locked them in the dog crate at night to be sure they were warm and safe, but we’ve since realized that leaving the carport light on makes them safe enough and they really enjoy spreading out!

The entirety of the 8′ x 8′ pen  was lined with large cardboard pieces to keep the floor of the carport from becoming too stained and gross, and the cardboard was covered with leaves, straw, and pine chips to absorb their pooping and bathing shenanigans.

In one corner of their pen their 5 gallon water bucket hangs, suspended by an old metal pipe. Nipples (plastic ones, folks!) hang from the bucket and we refill their supply by pouring in water from the top. Pretty easy! Underneath the bucket is a large metal pan with hardware cloth attached on top. This collects any stray water droplets (and there are a lot!) and keeps the rest of the pen from getting totally soaked. We have to dump this pan out every few days so it doesn’t overflow.

water bucket

Water for the ducklings!

 

ducklings

The flock, keeping as far away from me as possible!

We finished the cage off with bird netting on top, just in case. We doubted that any hawk would be audacious enough to fly into the carport to snatch baby ducks, but stranger things have happened and we wanted to be safe.

The ducks are 5 weeks old now, and they are really starting to get adult feathers. Soon they’ll be big enough to move out into the real world–just in time for ducklings-batch-2 to arrive in about a week-and-a-half!

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