Starting the Flock

If you read Planning the Flock and heeded the advice by preparing everything for your ducks, congratulations! You’re off to a great start!

So now you need to figure out what age you want your new ducks to be. Then find someone selling ducks, examine your prospects, and buy them!

Eggs, Ducklings, or Adults?

Decide whether you want to purchase fertile eggs, ducklings, or mature adults.

Eggs have the advantage of being cheaper than ducklings or adults, and you can see the ducklings as soon as they are born. However, you will need a broody duck (or chicken) or incubator to hatch them, and you won’t know how many will hatch. The eggs can be damaged easily, and you will have no idea of the quality of the young ones. You will have no idea of the sex.

Ducklings are often, but not always, the best choice. They are often quite cheap, more than eggs but less than adults. Of course, like eggs, you will also have the fun of watching them grow up, and they will be fairly easy to tame. However, you won’t know how good they will be when adults, and you will have to wait several months before getting any eggs. You might not be told what sex they are, but some breeders will offer to vent sex the ducklings for you.

Adults are often wild and difficult to tame, but you don’t have to wait long before they lay. You can see exactly what they’re like, so you don’t have the ducklings’ disadvantage of buying some ducklings only to find out, when they grow up, that they have inherited bad genes. Also, you can usually be sure of the sex.




Finding Sources

The difficulty or ease of finding someone selling ducks depends on where you live and how popular they are in your area.

First, stop by local feed stores. Anyone raising ducks (unless their ducks’ diet is completely home-raised) will come to feed stores frequently. Some feed stores will have a bulletin board with animals for sale.

Look through newspapers and classified ads, as well. Sometimes they may have ads for ducks. I found my first ducks in classified ads, and the next batch of stock I bought was found in an ad inside our local feed store.

You may find breeders in your area online, as well. BackyardChickens.com can also be a good place to find local stock.

Sometimes you can find ducks at auctions or at poultry shows, but this isn’t a recommended source. You want to be able to view where the ducks are living and talk to the owner.

If you want fertilized eggs, a breeder may be your only choice. Adult ducks can usually be found from people who don’t want their ducks anymore. Ducklings are the easiest to find.

You can also ship day-old ducklings. Ducklings do not need to eat or drink for their first 24 hours, so it’s safe to ship them.

Examining Prospects

When you’ve found someone selling ducks, contact them. Ask various details about the ducks they are selling – price, breed, age, etc. If possible, it would be nice to see the ducks before making the purchase. This way, you can examine them for obvious faults, and you can see if the breeder is doing a good job raising them.

I did not see my ducks until I bought them, and they turned out fine, but it would still be best to see what kind of ducks you are getting to avoid buying sick or unhealthy stock.

If you do get to see the location and choose which ducks you are buying, examine everything. Are their surroundings clean, healthful, and safe? Look at the ducks themselves, too. Choose bright-eyed, active, inquisitive ducks with clean feathers. Don’t choose ducks that are limping or just sitting lethargically in the corner. They should look healthy and strong.

It is usually not a good idea to buy inbred ducks. Ask the owner if they know whether the parents of the ducks are related or not. If you are buying a male and females, try to be sure your male is not closely related to the females.

Ask the owner if his flock in general produces well. If you want Campbells for eggs, you don’t want to buy a bad strain that only lays 150 a year. If you’re buying Aylesburies for meat, you don’t want light stock.

Price will vary. I’ve gotten some that were less than $2 apiece (for 2-week-old ducklings). But they can be a lot more pricey than that. It depends.

Bringing them Home

Plan ahead of time how you’re going to bring your ducks home. If they’re ducklings, a cardboard box with holes in the sides and bedding will suffice. If they’re adults, you can bring them home in a dog crate, or if you’re buying more than two or three, perhaps they can come home in a covered pickup truck, for example.

And what do you do once they are home?

Put your ducks in their pen. Make sure they have food and water. Then leave. They are stressed and need some time to get adjusted to their new surroundings. Later, you can come back and spend some time near them or perhaps give them a treat.

And now congratulate yourself: you are a duck owner!