Review: Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks - Modern Farmer

Review: Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks

Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks is a new edition of a classic, and it's a classic for a reason - It's a well-written, exhaustive guide to raising these friendly fowl.

The author, Dave Holderread, has 50 years of extensive experience in raising all sorts of duck breeds. You will find his primer useful whether you’re a seasoned farmer or just considering adding some ducks to your menagerie.

The argument for ducks is strong: they’re legendary foragers who are particularly resistant to disease and extreme weather. They provide top-notch pest control in your garden and can help control invasive aquatic plant species. Their manure is rich in nitrogen, and they are high egg producers. In fact, Holderread writes that they “lay as well or better than the best egg strains of chickens.”

They’re also, well, nice. Ducks are known for their docility. Plus, Holderread says, you can feed them just about anything: “If humans will eat it, ducks most likely will also – as long as it is in a form they can swallow.”

You’ll find chapters on anatomy and breeds, feeds, behavior and flock management; there’s also an entire chapter on rearing ducklings, where Holderread shares his time-tested incubation procedures in a clear, bulleted list. There are plenty of simple, easy-to-understand illustrations as well, from how to hold a duck correctly to how to set up an incubator.

This guide doesn’t end at raising ducks, either. There’s a chapter on butchering and an appendix with duck recipes and ways to use feathers and down. And if you’re just into the idea of ducks because of their adorable antics and pest-control capabilities, there’s also a chapter on raising them for show.

If you buy one book about ducks (and, if you’re planning on raising them, you definitely should buy and read at least one book cover-to-cover first), you should probably make it this one. It’s a realistic and engaging look at best practices, written by a legitimate expert.






Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks by Dave Holderread

June 2015. 336 pages.


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