The Waterfowl Ducks and Geese

Many of the principles of waterfowl care are the same as those for chickens and are covered in that section. This section covers cases in which duck and goose care are the same for each other but different from that for chickens. Following this combined section, there are individual duck and goose sections.

In general, ducks are small waterfowl, and geese are big. (The Muscovy is a bird that fits into both categories. I've seen it grouped with the geese, but it's more often categorized with the ducks, and that's what I've done, too.) Ducks and geese often form strong attachments to their owners. On the average, ducks are noisier than geese, especially White Pekin females. Muscovy ducks don't quack, but they do hiss like a goose. The waterfowl are actually hardier in resistance to poultry diseases than chickens and seldom suffer disease when kept in small flocks. However, when waterfowl are raised in very large numbers in a small area, they, like all animals under those conditions, are more likely to be affected by disease. Egg-specialist duck breeds lay as many eggs as egg-specialist chicken breeds. Duck and goose eggs are 14.5 percent fat, as compared with chicken eggs, which are 10.5 percent fat; in both cases the fat is lo

cated in the yolk. Some shade and shelter are preferable, and fencing will keep birds in and predators out.

Further Duck and Goose Information: For more info, read Dave Holderread's Raising Ducks and the Book of Geese: Successful Duck and Goose Raising, by Darrel Sheraw (Stromberg Publishing: 800-720-1134; www. strombergschickens.com); Ducks and Geese in Your Backyard, by Rick and Gail Luttmann (1978); Waterfowl: A Guide to Management and Propagation, by Simon Tarsnane; and Modern Waterfowl Management and Breeding Guide, by Oscar Grow.

To join the American Pheasant and Waterfowl Society ($25 annual dues and you get the APWS Magazine with classified ads, breeders directory, annual convention, lending library, free "wanted" ads, etc.), contact Lloyd Ure, Secretary-Treasurer: 715-238-7291; fax 715-238-7623; W2270 US Hwy. 10, Granton, WI 54436; [email protected] com; www3.upatsix.com/apws. Another good waterfowl website is members.tripod.com/~QuackersHomePage/ index.html or QuackersHome.com. Waterfowl Breeders: Also see "Places to Buy or Order Poultry" under "Chickens" in this chapter for other waterfowl addresses, because most chick hatcheries offer some waterfowl.

Clearview Hatchery offers a free catalog: 717-365-3234;

Gratz, PA 17030. Johnson's Waterfowl offers 21 breeds of ducks and 12 of geese: 218-222-3556; 36882 160th Ave. NE, Middle River, MN 56737. Metzer Farms sells ducklings, goslings, guineas, pheasants, wild turkeys; 35 breeds in all; also equipment. Free catalog: 800-424-7755; 831-679-2355; [email protected] metzerfarms.com; 26000 Old Stage Rd., Gonzales, CA 93926; metzerfarms.com. Phinney Hatchery offers ducklings, goslings, etc. Free price list: 509-525-2602; 1331 Dell Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362.

Windchime Lakes: Dan Bishop is a swan specialist.

Contact 402-359-4444; 4820 Dodge St., Omaha, NE 68132; [email protected]

Toe-Punching: Because they have webbed feet, and because their feet have no nerves, ducklings and goslings are sometimes marked to record sex, breed, genetic category, etc., with small holes punched in the web between the claws, or with a certain number or location of notches cut into the edge of the web between toes: for example—1 hole for a goose, 2 for a gander.

Continue reading here: Of Water and Waterfowl

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