Raising Ducks For Meat – 5 Crucial Factors To Keep In Mind
Raising ducks for meat is not an unfamiliar practice amongst small livestock breeders, whether for personal consumption or for livelihood. Along with chicken, turkey and rabbit, duck meat has been proven to be a good source of food and income. Raising ducks for meat is quite an easy task that even non-professional breeders have dabbled in it with great success. Thinking of giving raising ducks for meat a try? Here are five things starters need to know.
1. Duck are easier to raise than other livestock.
For starters, ducks don’t require expensive housing. They thrive well outdoors, given that they have their own open enclosure and are safe from other predators at night. Their shelter should be spacious enough to allow new ducks to add when expansion is taking place. They are also quite adaptable to the weather, given that they are not exposed to harsh conditions for prolonged periods of time. They are also not prone on avian diseases, unlike chickens.
2. The Top Breeds for Raising Ducks For Meat
There are three most common and popular breeds in rearing ducks for meat. These are the Pekin, Rouen and Muscovy. Out of all three, it is safe to assume that the Pekin is the most popular and most in-demand. Originating from China, the Pekin ducks are the most consumed meat in the United States. They are most known cooked as a Peking Duck, a Chinese duck dish from Beijing which serves as China’s national dish. The Rouen duck, on the other hand, are not abundant egg layers. These ducks are originally from France and England, and are classified as a heavyweight breed. They produce rich and delicate meat that is perfect for roasting. Lastly, the Muscovy are large ducks found scattered across Mexico, Central and South America. The Muscovy duck meat is lean and is always compared to veal, sometimes even to hams or sirloin steaks. They also are not greasy compared to other duck meats. In raising ducks for meat, some breeders choose to focus on only one breed. Others who have more time and have a larger farm can opt to grow more than one breed.
3. Feeding Ducks
Invest in good and trusted feeds. The quality of the feeds the duck was given will reflect on the quality of their meat. It is recommended to start a duckling on a high protein chick starter feed to help beef up their immune system to avoid diseases. After a few weeks, it’s time to switch them to unmedicated duck feeds or grains and cracked corn. Ducks are not the picky eaters, they welcome kitchen scraps – just ensure they are not spoiled. Some of the things a duck should never be fed are bread, nuts and chocolate. These can be risky and prove dangerous to the duck. Also avoid feeding them spicy food or herbs and garlic, as this can alter the taste of their eggs.
4. On Water
In keeping ducks for meat, water is very important. It is no secret that ducks love water. They should get their fill of water anytime they can. A water font can be used in their pen. Belonging in a larger group of birds, ducks require more water for drinking. There should be adequate drinking water for the ducks, and adequate water for them to thrive in. Water areas should always be shallow, just enough for the ducks to get their beaks in and enough to not drown them, especially the ducklings.
5. Preparing for slaughter
The ducks should be ready for slaughter in an estimate of seven weeks. Dealing with more feathers can be a bit tiresome when processing ducks. This is where timing comes in. At seven weeks, the duck’s feathers will be mature and easier to pull. If seven weeks is not enough for a breeder, they opt for wet plucking, which involves immersing the duck in extremely hot water. Once the feathers are taken care of, it’s time to remove the head and feet and clean up the innards of the duck. Cool the carcass overnight and come morning, it is ready for the storing in the refrigerator.
Raising ducks for meat could prove to be a rewarding choice in the long run. It could be a start of a new business venture or a new hobby that can provide food and income in the years to come.