Experienced gardeners invest a lot of time pursuing their passion. And as they work they discover things they can do to improve the health of their plants. For example, no doubt it was an experienced gardener who discovered that the nutrients in an eggshell helps plants grow healthier. It was an experienced gardener who learned that Epsom salt helps to make seedlings stronger and encourage blossoming and fruit production as well as deter pests including slugs, snails and other bugs.
If you are an experienced gardener, then you may or may not know that raising ducks can provide a major benefit to your garden and lawn. It seems that ducks love to feed on pests that attack plants and vegetables. This can include grasshoppers, Japanese beetles, June bugs, grubs and more. They will also chase away flies and produce fresh manure, which can be spread on the lawn and garden.
Many biologists have advised that gardeners keep ducks penned up near gardens at night and hang a light nearby with a pan filled with water under it to attract the bugs and then watch as the ducks devour the bugs.
Gardeners who are benefitting from raising ducks have discovered that they should be kept out of newly planted gardens because they feed on the seedlings. They eat lettuce and young corn and may pull up what they don’t eat. They may also snuggle on top of young plants. However, once the plants are established, these gardeners have learned that you can let the ducks graze as long as they want with some degree of supervision. Instead of molesting the plants, the ducks will go after earthworms and other tiny critters that eat plants.
You may be hesitant using ducks to attack garden pests because they need to be cared for. However, raising ducks is not a difficult proposition. They need to be given sufficient nutrients, clean water to drink and a secure place to spend the night.
Ducklings can be purchased from sources on the Internet. Once you have them, feed them an unmedicated chick or duck starter until they are about four to six weeks old. Then replace the starter with adult rations of pelleted mash or cracked corn.
You may think ducks need a place to swim. However, people who have raised them have discovered that a bowl of water in their pen will suffice. Some people have been known to put a small child’s swimming pool into the duck pen, especially when there are several ducks in the roost. However you choose to supply the water, the important thing is that it be clean.
The duck shelter should be a draught-free, predator-proof space with good ventilation. The space should be about 3-feet to four square feet per duck and include nesting boxes with wood shavings or straw in them to allow the ducks to build a nest and an outdoor enclosed area. It would also be a good idea to include a portable enclosure that can be used to carry the ducks to the garden for grazing. You should also have a moveable pen measuring 8-feet by 12-feet and at least 2-feet in height. You can put wheels on one end of the pen to make it easier to move around. Lay poultry wire over the top to protect the ducks from hawks and cats. A tarp can be included to serve as shade or cover from rain.
The ducks will not only offer assistance with the garden, they can also supply you and your neighbors with eggs. It is said that many domestic breeds of duck will lay more than 200 eggs a year.