If you are planning to keep ducks, the first question you need to ask yourself is: How much does a duck cost? Although ducks are low-maintenance and inexpensive to raise, they require enough outdoor space where they can roam around and surf.
This article talks about the cost of raising ducks and everything else you need to know about these birds.
Can You Keep a Duck as a Pet?
With the holiday season fast approaching, you need to start thinking about including baby ducklings in your gift baskets. Apart from giving them out as gifts, ducks can be treasured members of your family.
For a long time, some people believed it was illegal to keep ducks as pets, mainly because they love to surf. But with proper planning, consideration, and knowledge, you can make these precious birds your pets.
The good thing about ducks is that they are quite hardy, affordable, and easy to maintain. But before you start keeping ducks as pets, there are important considerations you need to make.
Available Outdoor Space
Unlike other domesticated birds, ducks cannot be kept as house pets because they are not suited for indoor settings. These birds love to live outdoors where they can surf and walk around.
So, if you are keeping ducks as house pets, know that you are being cruel to them. But if you have enough space outdoors, you can raise as many ducks as possible as pets.
These birds require little shelter. You should allow them to enjoy the rain, sun, and wind whenever they want. The outdoor space needed depends on the number of ducks you want to keep. For instance, 2 feet by 3 feet space is ideal for only 2 ducks, while 3 feet by 4 feet space should hold not more than four ducks.
In some instances, you just need to fence the area where you want to keep the ducks with a high chicken wire. Keep the fence flush with the ground to prevent predators from crawling under the fence. But if your backyard is properly fenced already, you can choose to just let the ducks run loose.
Also, ensure that the opening doesn’t face the direction of the incoming wind and the house is properly insulated to protect your ducks against extreme cold weather. And if you keep other pets, make sure your ducks are well protected against attacks. Your ducklings should stay warm and dry for the first three to four weeks.
You can either place their cage in a warm place (about 80-85of or 30oC) or install light bulbs to supply them with heat. Remember to make the cage large enough to allow your ducklings to move into and out of the heat when they want. Also, you should put the lamp in the corner of the cage rather than in the middle.
Avoid leaving containers filled with water in the cage to prevent your ducklings from drowning or getting chilled.
How Many Can You Afford to Raise?
If you are planning to keep just one duck as your pet, don’t. This is being cruel to the bird. Since ducks are not solitary creatures, they become lonely and unhappy quite easily. So, it will be very hard for your one duck to survive or thrive. Just like humans, ducks experience loneliness, grief, and isolation very easily.
Therefore, you shouldn’t leave your duck caged or alone for a long time. Doing so affects their emotional well-being. Ducks are social creatures and therefore need companions almost all the time.
So, if you are planning to keep ducks as pets, have at least two of them to keep each other company. But nothing stops you from keeping five, ten, or even more ducks as pets.
How Well Do You Understand Ducks?
It’s wrong to keep ducks as pets just to be different from other people. You need to fully understand the birds, their needs, and how to give them the best life they deserve, but not the life you want them to have. For instance, you need to know which types of foods to give your ducks for good health.
For a waterfowl, it should only be fed with untreated feed. Its ducklings should be given a special ration of duck starter for the first two weeks. From three to seven weeks, feed your waterfowl ducklings with a duck grower to boost their growth and development. After seven months, you can give them a pullet grower, but ensure it has low protein and without any medication.
Provide your ducks with a ground-up stone that helps to grind up hard food in the gizzard. Remember ducks don’t have teeth to chew food. One bag of grit will last for a very long time. Also, don’t forget to give your ducks greens.
So, apart from the weeds in your yard, give them several other vegetables like kales, spinach, and cabbages. They also love grains, bread, and pasta.
Therefore, if you have dinner leftovers that are not heavily spiced, you can give them to your ducks once in a while. Always make sure that the fresh foods you give to your ducks do not have herbicides or pesticides.
It goes without saying that ducks must be supplied with fresh, clean water all the time. The water container should be deep enough to allow your birds to submerge their heads fully.
If you have enough space in your backyard, create a swimming pool for your ducks. Provide them with a pool that they can safely get in and out of by themselves.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Duck?
Ducks are not expensive. However, it’s not easy to authoritatively say how much a duck costs because there are over 100 breeds of ducks on the market today.
But regardless of the breed, an average duck should cost somewhere between $10 and $30. If you are purchasing the duck from your local store, you can get it for as low as $5.
But remember that you need to buy more than one duck when you are starting to avoid cases of loneliness. Therefore, you should at least get a male and a female duck to keep each other company. So, you should expect to pay double the price indicated above.
You also have to factor in the cost of setting up the house where the ducks will stay. If you want to raise them in your backyard, you have to include the cost of fencing and perhaps setting up a swimming pool for them.
The good thing is that the house where you keep your ducks doesn’t have to be sophisticated. It’s just a simple structure designed to protect your ducks against predators and prevent them from going astray.
How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Duck?
The monthly upkeep cost for ducks is lower than that of most pets. If you take advantage of the discounts and cheap deals offered by suppliers, the annual cost of keeping your ducks should not go beyond $300. However, you have to factor in all expenses related to your ducks.
1. Feeding Cost
Although the natural diet for ducks is worms, bugs, seeds, amphibians, shellfish, aquatic flora, and pondweed, you might have to feed your pet ducks differently. So, some of the readily available foods for pet ducks include chicken feed, vegetables, greens, cracked corn, peas, bird seeds, mealworms, grains, among others.
So, if you give your pet ducks this duck food, expect the feeding cost to range from $30 to $50 a month.
2. Water Cost
You might assume the water is part of food, but you have to pay a monthly fee to your water supplier. Therefore, the more ducks you have the higher your monthly water bill. In some instances, you have to pay an extra $4 or $5 to your water company.
3. Veterinarian Cost
Although the well-pampered ducks rarely get sick, you need to consider the cost of hiring a veterinarian for specialized check-ups. The good thing is that these check-ups are not done regularly. Nonetheless, a special full check-up can cost about $20 or $30.
4. Diaper Cost
Though rare, pet ducks wear diapers when they are indoors. These diapers become extremely important when you are keeping your pet ducks indoors. But you can avoid this cost by allowing your ducks to roam around your fenced yard. If they have to stay indoors, then expect to spend between $30 and $40 a month on diapers.
5. Babysitting Cost
If you are busy with work and other important tasks most of the time, you need to hire someone to babysit your ducks. But this cost can be avoided if you have a family member to do the job. The cost of hiring a part-time duck babysitter can range from $10 to $20 a month depending on the number of ducks.
6. One-Time Costs
These costs include the cost of setting up housing for your ducks, purchasing beddings, feeders, waterers, brooders, and nesting boxes. A standard duck house with extra flooring, bedding, ventilator, and door costs about $100. Feeders and containers cost somewhere between $30 and $50.
Brooders are important for creating a balanced environment for your ducks, especially when their feathers are not fully formed. A two-in-one brooder will cost you between $120 and $300. You will need a nesting box for your ducks to lay and guard their eggs.
Since you don’t need a nesting box before the breeding season, you can delay its purchase for some time until your ducks are ready to breed. A standard nesting box costs somewhere between $28 and $30.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many acres do you need per duck?
Although ducks eat various foods, they should be given extra special feed, especially if you are keeping them for eggs and meat production. Even pet ducks need specialized diets.
For this reason, most farmers raise between 30-50 ducks per acre. It’s important to note that you can only keep this number of ducks when you can easily provide specialized food, water, and care.
How much can you sell ducks for?
The cost of a duck depends on its breed, age, and health. Ducklings can cost anywhere between $3.50 – $7.00. The most popular duck breeds, such as Pekins, Khaki Campbells, and Mallards go for about $5.00-$7.00. The rarest pet duck breeds, such as Cayugas or runner ducks, cost anywhere between $6.00 and 8.00.
Are ducks hard to raise?
Raising ducks is just as enjoyable and satisfying as rearing chicks. You can even raise them together. However, ducks have special needs and require somewhat different care than chicks. For instance, ducks need a steady source of clean water where they can submerge their heads and take a bath.
How many ducks can you keep?
If you are keeping ducks as pets, you should start with 4-5 adult ducks. But if you are keeping them in your backyard for the production of eggs and meat, start with 6-10 ducks.
For ducklings, start with about 10 and choose the ones to retain once the ducklings are grown. It’s also advisable to start with more ducks than you wish to end up having because some might not make it to adulthood.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the questions: how much does a duck cost and how to raise them as pets, you should have an easy time raising your next flock. Make sure you use this information as inspiration to raise your ducks well.