Ducks are perfect for adding to a backyard or small family farm.
There are many different colors and sizes of ducks to choose from, and they usually get along with other types of farm animals.
But how much does it cost to own a duck?
Owning a duck costs around $50 per year after the initial purchase price. However, since ducks are social animals, you will need to purchase several of them. There are also one-time costs for housing and building a suitable duck pen to keep them safe outdoors.
After setting up a brooder, a duck house, and a pen, your yearly costs will only include food and water, nesting materials, and veterinary expenses.
Before you purchase your ducks, it is a good idea to figure out what type of ducks you want and how many you plan to get.
Most of the costs associated with owning ducks are one-time expenses, but there are also a few ongoing expenses you will incur monthly for food and general upkeep.
Read on to learn more about ducks’ average cost and upkeep to decide if they are the right choice for you.
Overal Duck Cost Breakdown
|Buying The Duck||$5-10||One-time|
|Brooder||$300 (cheaper if you build it)||One-time|
|Pen||Depends on size||One-time|
|Vet||$100||Yearly (depends on health)|
Factors To Consider Before Purchasing Ducks
First, you need to decide if you want to raise ducks for meat production, egg-laying, for pets, or all three.
Ducks bred for their meat tend to be large and inexpensive.
Further Reading: Why is duck meat so expensive?
The most common breeds of ducks raised for their meat are the Pekin, Muscovy, and Rouen ducks.
Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs, and they will usually sell for a higher price since people who like them are willing to pay a little more for them.
If you are looking for efficient egg producers, Indian Runner ducks are an excellent choice.
Other ducks known for being prolific egg layers are the Khaki Campbell and Welsh Harlequin breeds.
When you want ducks to add to a small pond or keep as pets, it is best to choose a duck breed with a friendly temperament.
Some common duck breeds with a calm temperament include:
- Buff Orpington
- Pekin ducks
Buff Orpington and Cayuga duck breeds are too large to truly fly, so you do not have to worry about them flying away.
Pekin ducks are very large and easy to find, but they are also one of the loudest ducks, and they have very plain white plumage.
However, they are a very well-rounded duck because, in addition to their friendly nature and large size for meat production, they are also capable of laying more than 250 eggs per year.
Another factor to consider before purchasing ducks is they tend to be very messy animals.
Keeping their brooder, duck house, and pen clean will require a great deal of effort.
If you are not prepared to spend time cleaning up their mess every day, owning ducks is probably not for you.
Initial Purchase Price of Ducks
Depending on which breed of duck you choose, the cost for ducklings is between $5-$10 each.
Specialty or hybrid breeds tend to be higher priced than more common duck breeds, so keep this in mind.
Ducks are very social animals, and they depend on having a flock to mingle with.
Some hatcheries also have a minimum order of five ducks if you are looking for specific breeds.
When you are purchasing ducklings, there is always a risk of some of them dying, so you will also need to account for this.
If you only buy two or three ducklings, there is a good chance you will only end up with one within a month or two.
Ducklings may become very stressed when being transported, or they may have an unknown health problem, which causes them to die.
Ducks left alone may become very stressed or search for another flock.
It is also very difficult to know the sex of the ducklings when they are very young, so you will not know the ratio of female ducks to males until they are much older.
Males may become very aggressive, and you may need to cull a few from your flock by having them butchered for their meat or finding another home for them.
Purchasing several ducklings in the beginning, will help offset any losses you may have in the future.
Ducklings are generally less expensive than adult ducks.
Check out this list of small duck breeds with pictures for more ideas on what to buy.
The following table shows the average costs of ducks according to their breed.
The Cost of Ducks by Common Breeds
|$5-$6.99||Buff, Pekin, Khaki Campbell, Rouen|
|$7-$8.99||Black Swedish, Cayuga, Magpie, Mallard, White Pekin|
|$9+||White Crested, Welsh Harlequin, Saxon, Silver Appleyard|
Related: All about ducks with an afro.
Purchasing or Building a Brooder for Ducks
Before you bring your ducklings home, you will need to set up a brooder to keep them warm and safe.
You may either build your own or purchase a complete brooder kit, but the kits tend to be more expensive.
You will need a heat source, bedding, and food and water dishes in the brooder to care for your ducklings’ needs.
Buying a Heat Lamp
Since very young ducklings cannot regulate their body temperature, you will need to provide them with a heat source to keep them warm.
The container you house the ducklings in will need to have a warm side and a cool side so they can get warm and cool down as needed to stay comfortable.
Use a heat lamp on the warm side to keep the temperature between 90-95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C).
If your ducklings are constantly huddled underneath the heat light, it means they are cold, and you will need to raise the temperature slightly.
As the ducklings get older and get their full feather coat, you will gradually decrease the temperature.
At 8-10 weeks, the ducklings will have their adult feathers, and it will be safe to move them outdoors as long as you have a secure shelter and fenced-in area for them to roam.
Be sure to keep the heat lamp secure to avoid a potential fire hazard.
The table below shows the brooding temperatures for ducklings based on their age.
Related reading: Do ducks need a heat lamp?
Brooding Temperatures for Ducklings According to Age
|Age of Ducklings||Brooding Temperatures|
|1-3 days||90-95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C)|
|4-7 days||85-90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C)|
|2 weeks||80-85° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C)|
|3 weeks||73-78° degrees Fahrenheit (25° C)|
|4 weeks||66-73° degrees Fahrenheit (23° C)|
|5 weeks+||Decrease by 5-7° degrees per week until you reach the same temperature as outside|
Building a Brooder
Building your brooder will cost you between $25-$45.
Most of the expense goes to the heat lamp and the bulb it uses, which costs less than $30.
You may use cardboard boxes for the containers, but getting a large plastic container is better if you have the extra money.
Cardboard boxes will need to be replaced frequently once they become too soiled, but a plastic container may be cleaned.
To make the homemade setup even more affordable, use newspapers or paper towels for the bedding and reuse small plastic food containers for food and water dishes.
You may need to trim some of the height off of the food and water containers, so the ducklings can eat and drink from them.
Buying a Brooder
If you are looking to save time and are not worried about the expense, you may purchase an all-inclusive brooder kit for $300-$400.
The high-quality kits include a brooding container regulated by a thermostat and bedding, feeders, and waterers.
Purchasing a brooder kit also makes sense if you plan to raise ducklings regularly.
You will be able to reuse the kit multiple times instead of having to repurchase new materials for every brood.
The Cost of a Duck Shelter
Once the ducks are old enough to survive outside, they will need shelter to protect them from the weather and possible predators.
If you have access to spare wood or pallets, it will only cost you $20 for tin and some screws to construct a duck house.
Inexpensive rubber bowls for food and water cost around $15 each, and if your ducks are allowed to forage in your yard, you will only need the food bowl during the winter months when there is not much growth.
A duck feeder is a bit more expensive at around $65, but it will help to reduce food waste and make it harder for rodents to steal any food.
Your ducks need to have access to water at all times.
Ducks need to submerge their heads underwater to clean themselves and help prevent respiratory infections from clogged nostrils, so they will need more than a water bowl.
The climate where you live will determine what type of waterer you use.
If you live in a warm climate without freezing temperatures during the year, a small kiddie pool is a great choice and only costs between $10-$20.
However, you will need some type of heated pool if temperatures drop below freezing where you live.
A poultry tub coupled with a submersible de-icer is an excellent choice to keep the water from freezing, and it will cost between $80-$100.
Do not allow baby ducks into the water pool until they are at least 8-10 weeks old.
Even though ducks are known for swimming in ponds and lakes, it is very easy for small ducklings to accidentally drown.
Duck Pen Costs
It is essential to give ducks a safe, fenced-in area because they are susceptible to being killed by predators.
It is best to keep your ducks in their shelter at night to keep them safe.
Dogs, foxes, raccoons, and other animals can harm them in the daytime, so a good fence is a must-have.
Green construction fencing is 4’-feet high and 100′ feet long, and it is inexpensive at under $30.
A more long-term fencing option is hog or cattle panels, which are 4’-feet tall and come in panels 16-20′ feet long.
They are found at your local farm supply store for around $25-$35 per panel.
The only drawback to this type of fencing is it is not a raccoon, skunk, or weasel-proof.
Welded wire fencing is an effective option as long as the space between the wires is too small for predators to get through.
Wire fencing is a more expensive option than other types of fences, costing between $50-$100 depending on how long it is.
Electric fences are the best way to keep predators away from your ducks, but you will need to have a smaller fence on the inside to keep your ducks from getting shocked.
Setting up an electric fence is a significant investment, with most kits costing between $200-$500.
The kits include everything you need, but if you want to build your own or need to make repairs to an existing fence, you may buy the wire and fence energizer separately.
Spools of electric fence wire sell for around $25, and an electric fence energizer costs anywhere from $25-$100, depending on the model and output.
The fence posts will cost about $2 apiece, and you will need to place a post every 12′ feet.
Purchasing Duck Food
A pet duck or farm duck does not eat the same types of food like a wild duck.
The most common food for captive ducks includes:
- Chicken feed
- Leafy greens
- Cracked Corn
There are also specialty duck feeds available, as well.
A bag of 50-pound duck feed usually costs around $18, and a bag of 50-pound chicken feed is around the same price at $17.
Chicken layer pellets cost between $15-$30 per 50-pound bag, but they contain essential nutrients egg layers need.
Expect to pay anywhere from $30-$40 per month on feed for a small flock of ducks.
Speaking of food, check out our list of duck treats to give to your birds and make them feel happy.
Purchasing Bedding Materials
You will have to purchase hay for your ducks to nest in and stay warm at night.
Nesting materials are relatively inexpensive and do not need to be replaced very often.
One bale of hay will cost between $3-$10, and it will last a full year for several ducks.
Wood shavings are a good choice for a duck brooder, and they are priced at around $30.
Do not use cedar shavings because even though they repel insects, they are harmful to ducklings.
Newspaper or paper towels are a much less expensive option for a duck brooder.
Vet Expenses for Ducks
As long as your ducks are well cared for, they will likely never have to go to a veterinarian.
Things happen, though, and if your duck is injured, has diarrhea, or is suffering from a respiratory infection, you need to seek veterinary care.
You will need to seek a veterinarian capable of treating ducks, which may be challenging to find.
A typical vet exam will cost between $50-$75, and treatment may cost anywhere from $20 to several hundred dollars.
It would be wise to save some money aside if any of your ducks require medical attention.
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