Episode-1548- Jon Dowie on Profitable Back Yard Ducks — 19 Comments

  1. I haven’t listened to this yet but it’s next on my list. I hope Jon and I can make it back to a workshop together again – he’s a real fun guy and can hold his scotch well.

  2. So can someone explain to me how the seeds are passing through the duck’s digestion system? Is he feeding his ducks something that doesn’t require grit?

  3. I love the egg cleaning/storage comments, we keep them on the counter and just clean them before use. They keep just fine, we’ve been doing it for years, my wife’s grandmother sent us down that road.

  4. If I had my way we would do the same. It was strictly a decision based on market response.

    • Indeed there is what is “right”, then there is what is right for your market and after that there is what is right for the law.

      In this case you have the law to adhere to and the market to please, both trump what is good enough for personal use.

      • Of course, after you do this long enough, a little duck crap doesn’t phase you…haha.

        • Only in the rain man, only in the rain, or on the porch when wearing crocks, the two don’t mix. Duck poop on concrete plus crocks equals zero traction.

  5. I do need to point out that without my fiancée, Jenny, and all of her hard work, I couldn’t pull off any of this. She puts in as much work as I do, and sometimes more when we move into new things. It is so important to have a true partner at that level. When we moved into microgreens, I didn’t have to worry about anything else. She handled the duck business entirely!

  6. I am thrilled with the duck shows, especially guests that are dealing with harsh winter climates. If Jon installs a rocket mass heater for his birds please have him back next spring to talk about how it worked out and what he would do different. I liked the idea of incorporating a couple half barrels into the mass for warming water but if would seem to have some drawbacks.
    BTW Jack I did take your advice from one of the first duck episode comments and purchased 6 adult Muscovy females after I scored a free Muscovy drake off craigslist.

  7. Caution on buckwheat sprouting… if you let them go long enough (micro green stage and beyond) over time photosensitivity in your live stock can become an issue.

  8. Hi Jon and Jack,
    What’s your opinion about Khacki Campbell’s? We’ve had them for a few years and we love them. The girls all lay 300+ days a year. And of course we love the eggs and the meat too…. as well as their crazy antics.

    • Generally the 300 Goldens and the Khaki can be seen as equivalents.

      I would say that for a small back yard flock 4-20ish ducks Khaki Campbells make a great choice. But the claim they lay 300 days a year is a bit grayed. If you have a flock you will likely get eggs on average 300 days a year, but that doesn’t’ mean you get an egg per bird 300 days a year. I would if pushed say most Khakis lay about 240-260 eggs a year, which is DAMN respectable but to hold up an exceptional bird as the average has been done a long time with this breed and I find it misleading.

      Golden 300s and the White version there of tend to average 280 eggs a year and also will have the exceptional animals reach and exceed 300, hence the name. Yes they are a hybrid but the off spring are just as productive and great birds. The only thing you loose with the F2s is the ability to sex chicks at birth by color of feathers. This soon rectifies itself though! The females still look the same and the males still look mostly like Swedish Drakes.

      20 eggs on average is not a lot more but if you run 100 ducks or more for money 20×100=2000 exta eggs a year, in business you plan to the average not to the exceptional. 2000 ÷ 12 = 166 dozen eggs!

      I sell at 7 dollars a dozen, so that is about 1160 dollars of profit lost if my girls are 20 eggs shorter on average per year, for a small flock that is hard to swallow if you don’t have to and by that point you are talking money that is all profit. If you are keeping a dozen or two and just selling surplus to pay for feed, it won’t matter. If you are keeping 6-8 for personal consumption it won’t matter.

      Next is egg size, the 300s lay a bigger egg and are more consistent with size. Not just Khaki but all my girls will shoot out a huge egg one day, a normal one the next and at times smallish ones. The real small ones Dorothy puts aside for me, as usual the farmer takes for his consumption what is least marketable. My customers do not care if some variation occurs, it is fun and quirky to them.

      But we are now selling to chefs they want consistency in size so every dish is similar and looks the same on a plate. So when we sell to chefs we remove exceptionally large or small eggs but once our hybrids kick in and start paying off their feed debt that should change things and make our lives easier.

      Basically I see Khakis as great back yard birds for small flocks and the 300 is really an improved Khaki that lays more, lays more consistently, lays more consistent sized eggs, lays bigger eggs and it quite a bit calmer around people.

  9. Hi Jack, do the layer 300’s fly? I have 3.5ft chain link fencing in the back yard. Would be nice if I could let them out during the day and not worry about them.

    • Most domestic ducks are too fat to fly. However my 300s have been flying about 3 to 4 feet in the air and for about 6 feet of distance. I do think that they will outgrow this stage. Also none have tried to fly over the fence. They will mostly stay where the water is.

  10. Great show. I just got a chance to listen to it the other day. It encouraged me to finally order a backyard laying flock of 10 golden 300s. I want to make sure they are eating non-gmo starter and layer feeds. Is it alright to use chicken starter and layer or do I specifically need fowl stater? Also, I heard you mention sprouting sunflower seeds as fodder: While I was at Walmart I saw 25lb bags of sunflower seeds for like $12 and change, is this alright to use for fodder purposes or not?

    Thanks for all the great info Jon and Jack.