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Title: Ducks and Geese
Author: Lamon, Harry M., Slocum, Rob R.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ducks and Geese" ***

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(CHLA), Cornell University)

Transcriber's Note

This Plain Text version uses the Latin-1 character set.

The figure captions have been retained in the same order of appearance
as the plates in the original, but moved to follow the section which
each illustrates.

Minor inconsistencies in spelling have been retained as in the original.
Where typographical errors have been corrected and missing references
added, these are listed at the end of this book.

Bold and small capital typeface in the original is represented in the
Plain Text version by UPPER CASE. Italic typeface in the original is
indicated in the Plain Text version by _underscores_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Frontispiece._ General view of water yards and ducklings
on a large Long Island duck farm. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal
Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

                      DUCKS AND GEESE


                      HARRY M. LAMON



                      ROB R. SLOCUM


                      _Authors of
          "The Mating and Breeding of Poultry"
                  and "Turkey Raising"_


                        NEW YORK



                  COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY
                 _All Rights Reserved_

                  PRINTED IN U. S. A.


Of all lines of poultry keeping, duck raising is unique in that it lends
itself to the greatest degree of specialization and intensification
along lines which are purely commercial. On a comparatively small area
thousands of ducklings can be reared and marketed yearly. The call for
information concerning the methods used by these commercial duck raisers
has been considerable, and since such information is not available in
complete concise form the present book has been prepared partly to
furnish just this information.

The methods used by successful Long Island duck raisers differ widely in
some particulars and since in the space at command, it has been
impossible to describe all the methods used, the plan has been adopted
of detailing in the main the methods of one successful grower. This it
is believed will prove to be more helpful and less confusing than to
attempt to give the method of several different men.

Much space has been given to the operations of the commercial duck
raisers but the fact is recognized that the great bulk of the ducks
entering into the trade of the country is the product of small flocks
kept on general farms. For this reason a chapter has been added dealing
with duck raising on the farm, and attention is here called to the fact
that most of the information given under commercial duck raising can be
readily adapted to use in connection with the farm flock.

Detailed, complete information on goose raising is even more fragmentary
than is the case with ducks. Yet there is a fine opportunity to rear a
few geese at a profit on many farms, and the need and call for
information is quite general. It is for this reason that a section of
this book has been devoted to goose raising and in that section all the
good reliable information available on the subject is given. The special
attention of the women of the farm is directed to the opportunity which
goose raising offers to make a good profit on a small side line with the
minimum of initial investment and of labor.

The greatest care has been taken to make the information on both duck
and goose raising as complete and clear as possible. However, the
authors appreciate the unlimited value of good illustrations in making
clear methods and operations which are more difficult to grasp from a
word description, and have therefore assembled a set of illustrations
for this book, the completeness and excellence of which have never
before been approached in any book on the subject. The illustrations
alone are an education.

In preparing and presenting this book to the public, the authors take
pleasure in acknowledging their deep indebtedness to the following
persons for help and information furnished:

Roy E. Pardee
John C. Kriner
Charles McClave
Stanley Mason
Dr. Balliet
William Minnich
George W. Hackett
Dawson Brothers

Particular acknowledgment is due Robert A. Tuttle for the manner in
which he threw open his duck plant to the authors and for the most
generous amount of time which he gave in furnishing information.

Special acknowledgment is likewise due Alfred R. Lee, Poultryman, U. S.
Department of Agriculture, for information secured from his Farmers'
Bulletins on duck raising and goose raising.



List of Illustrations.


Chapter.                                                         Page.

I.    Extent of the Industry--Opportunities                          3

        Present Extent of the Industry--Different Types of Duck
        Raising--Opportunities for Duck Raising--Prices for
        Breeding Stock--Ducks for Ornamental Purposes.

II.   Breeds and Varieties--How to Mate to Produce Exhibition
      Specimens--Preparing Ducks for the Show--Catching and
      Handling                                                       9

        Breeds of Ducks--Classification of Breeds--Marking the
        Ducks--Nomenclature--Distinguishing the
        Sex--Size--Popularity of Breeds--Egg Production--Size of
        Duck Eggs--Color of Eggs--Broodiness--General
        Considerations in Making the Mating--Making the
        Mating--The Pekin--The Aylesbury--The Rouen--The
        Cayuga--The Call--The Gray Call--The White Call--The
        Black East India--The Muscovy--The Colored Muscovy--The
        White Muscovy--The Blue Swedish--The Crested White--The
        Buff--The Runner--The Fawn and White Runner--The White
        Runner--The Penciled Runner--Preparing Ducks for the
        Show--Catching and Handling Ducks--Packing and Shipping
        Hatching Eggs.

III.  Commercial Duck Farming--Location--Estimate of Equipment
      and Capital Necessary in Starting the Business                42

        Distribution--Stock Used--Location of Plant--Making a
        Start in Duck Farming--Equipment, Capital, etc.
        Required--Lay-out or Arrangement of the Plant--Land
        Required--Number of Breeders required--Housing Required
        for Breeders--Incubator Capacity--Brooder
        Capacity--Fattening Houses or Sheds--Feed
        Storage--Killing and Picking House--Resident--Horse
        Power--Feeding Track--Electric Lights--Water
        Supply--Fences--Labor--Invested Capital--Working

IV.   Commercial Duck Farming--Management of the Breeding Stock     55

        Age of Breeders--Distinguishing Young from Old
        Ducks--Selection of Breeding Ducks--Number of Females to
        a Drake--Securing Breeding Drakes--Houses and Yards for
        Breeders--Bedding and Cleaning the Breeding
        Houses--Cleaning the Breeding Yards--Water Yards for
        Breeders--Feeding the Breeders--Egg Production--Time of
        Marketing Breeders--Disease--Insect Pests--Dogs.

V.    Commercial Duck Farming--Incubation                           70

        Kinds of incubators used--Incubator Cellar--Incubator
        Capacity Required--Age of Hatching Eggs--Care of
        Hatching Eggs--Selecting the Eggs for
        Hatching--Temperature--Position of
        Thermometer--Testing--Turning the Eggs--Cooling the
        Eggs--Moisture--Fertility--Hatching--Selling Baby Ducks.

VI.   Commercial Duck Farming--Brooding and Rearing the
      Young Stock                                                   80

        Removing the Newly Hatched Ducklings to the Brooder
        House--Brooder Houses Required--Brooder House No.
        1--Construction of House--Heating
        Apparatus--Pens--Equipment of the Pens--Grading and
        Sorting the Ducklings--Cleaning and Bedding the
        Pens--Ventilation--Other Types of Brooder Houses--Length
        of Time in Brooder House No. 1--Brooder House No.
        2--Brooder House No. 3--Yard Accommodations for
        Ducklings--Shade--Feeding--Lights for Ducklings--Pounds
        of Feed to Produce a Pound of Market Duck--Water for
        Young Ducks--Age and Weight when Ready for
        Market--Cripples--Cleaning the Yards--Critical Period
        with Young Ducks--Disease Prevention--Gapes or
        Pneumonia--Fits--Diarrhoea--Lameness--Sore Eyes--Feather
        Eating or Quilling--Rats--Cooperative Feed Association.

VII.  Commercial Duck Farming--Marketing                           102

        Proper Age to Market--Weights at Time of Marketing--The
        Last Feed for Market Ducks--Sorting Market
        Marketing Association--Prices for Ducks--Shipping Ducks
        Alive--Saving the Feathers--Prices and Uses of Duck
        Feathers--Marketing Eggs.

VIII. Duck Raising, on the Farm                                    120

        Conditions Suitable for Duck Raising--Size of
        Flock--Making a Start--Selecting the Breed--Age of
        Breeding Stock--Size of Matings--Breeding and Laying
        Season--Management of
        Breeders--Housing--Feeding--Water--Yards--Care of Eggs
        for Hatching--Hatching the Eggs--Brooding and
        Rearing--Feeding the Ducklings--Water for
        Ducklings--Distinguishing the Sexes--Marketing the
        Ducks--Diseases and Insect Pests.


IX.   Extent of the Industry--Opportunities                        141

        Nature of the Industry--Opportunities for Goose
        Raising--Goose Raising as a Business for Farm
        Women--Geese as Weed Destroyers--Objections to Geese.

X.    Breeds and Varieties--How to Mate to Produce Exhibition
      Specimens--Preparing Geese for the Show--Catching and
      Handling                                                     147

        Breeds of Geese--Nomenclature--Size--Popularity of the
        Breeds--Egg Production--Size of Goose Eggs--Color of
        Goose Eggs--Broodiness--Size of Mating--Age of
        Breeders--Marking Young Geese--General Considerations in
        Making the Mating--Making the Mating--The Toulouse--The
        Embden--The African--The Chinese--The Brown Chinese--The
        White Chinese--The Wild or Canadian--The
        Egyptian--Preparing Geese for the Show--Catching and
        Handling Geese--Packing and Shipping Hatching
        Eggs--Prices for Breeding Stock.

XI.   Management of Breeding Geese                                 164

        Range for Breeders--Number of Geese to the Acre--Water
        for Breeding Geese--Distinguishing the Sex--Purchase of
        Breeding Stock--Time of Laying--Housing--Yards--Feeding
        the Breeding Geese.

XII.  Incubation                                                   172

        Care of Eggs for Hatching--Methods of Incubation--Period
        of Incubation--Hatching with Chicken Hens--Hatching with
        Geese--Breaking Up Broody Geese--Hatching with an
        Incubator--Moisture for Hatching Eggs--Hatching.

XIII. Brooding and Rearing Goslings                                178

        Methods of Brooding--Brooding with Hens or Geese--Length
        of Time Brooding is Necessary--Artificial
        Brooding--General Care of Growing Goslings--Feeding the
        Goslings--Percentage of Goslings Raised--Rapidity of

XIV.  Fattening and Marketing Geese                                187

        Classes of Geese Marketed--Markets and Prices--Prejudice
        Against Roast Goose--Methods of Fattening Geese for
        Market--Pen Fattening--Noodling Geese--Methods Used on
        Fattening Farms--Selling Geese
        Alive--Killing--Picking--Packing for Shipment--Saving the
        Feathers--Plucking Live Geese for their Feathers.

Index                                                              215


    Frontispiece. Water Yards and Ducklings.

 1. Mule Ducks and Blue Swedish Ducks                               10

 2. Mallard Ducks                                                   11

 3. Goose, Duck and Hen Eggs                                        18

 4. Young Pekins for Breeders and Aylesbury Drake                   19

 5. Rouen Drake and Black East India Ducks                          24

 6. Rouen Drake in Summer Plumage and Rouen Duck                    25

 7. Cayuga Ducks                                                    26

 8. Gray Call Ducks                                                 27

 9. White Call Ducks                                                28

10. Colored Muscovy Drake and White Muscovy Drake                   29

11. Crested White Drake and Young White Muscovy
      Showing Black on Head                                         32

12. Wing of Blue Swedish Duck                                       33

13. Pair of Buff Ducks                                              36

14. Penciled Runner Drake and White Runner Drake                    37

15. Methods of Carrying Ducks                                       40

16. Power Feed Mixer                                                41

17. Duck Houses                                                     58

18. House for Breeding Ducks                                        59

19. Another Type of Breeding House                                  62

20. Feeding the Breeders                                            63

21. Interior of Breeding House                                      74

22. Incubator Cellar                                                75

23. Interior of No. 1 Brooder House                                 82

24. Watering Arrangement in Brooder Pens                            83

25. Another Type of No. 1 Brooder House                             86

26. Brooder House No. 2                                             87

27. Brooder House No. 3                                             88

28. Long Brooder House and Yards                                    89

29. Pekin Ducklings 3 Days and 2 Weeks Old                          90

30. Pekin Ducklings 3 Weeks and 6 Weeks Old                         91

31. Interior of Cold Brooder House                                  92

32. Yard Ducks                                                      93

33. Duck Sheds                                                      94

34. Feeding and Watering Arrangements                               95

35. Green Feed for Ducks                                            96

36. Feeding from Track                                              97

37. Yard Ducks at Rest                                              98

38. Artificial Water Yards                                          99

39. Catching Pens for Fattening Ducklings                          104

40. Carrying Ducklings to Slaughter                                105

41. Hanging Ducklings and Cutting Throat Veins                     106

42. Bleeding Ducklings                                             107

43. Washing Heads                                                  108

44. Ducklings Ready for the Pickers                                109

45. Scalding                                                       110

46. Picking Ducks                                                  111

47. Dressed Duckling                                               112

48. Weighing Out Ducklings for Packing                             113

49. Curing Duck Feathers                                           148

50. Egyptian Gander and Sebastapol Goose                           149

51. Toulouse and Embden Ganders                                    154

52. Canadian and African Ganders                                   155

53. Brown and White Chinese Ganders                                158

54. Methods of Handling Geese                                      159

55. Geese Fattening in an Orchard                                  198

       *       *       *       *       *



Chapter I

Present Extent of the Industry

Duck raising while representing an industry of considerable value to the
United States when considered from a national standpoint, is one of the
minor branches of the poultry industry. According to the 1920 census
there were 2,817,624 ducks in the United States with a valuation of
$3,373,966. As compared with this the census for 1910 shows a slightly
greater number of ducks, 2,906,525, but their value was considerably
less being only $1,567,164. In the ten years between the census of 1900
and that of 1910 there was a decrease in the number of ducks of nearly

According to the 1920 census the more important duck raising states
arranged in their order of importance were Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania,
New York, Missouri, Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio, South Dakota, Indiana,
Nebraska and Kentucky. The number reported for Iowa was 235,249 and for
Kentucky 99,577. New England, the North Atlantic, the East North
Central, the West North Central, the Mountain and the Pacific states
showed an increase, while the South Atlantic, East South Central and
West South Central states showed a decrease. In spite of the existence
of quite a number of large commercial duck farms, the great bulk of
ducks produced are those which come from the general farms where only
small flocks are kept. Yet only a small proportion of farms have ducks
on them. The comparatively small number of ducks is distributed over
practically the entire United States, being more common in some sections
than others, particularly along the Atlantic Coast and along the Pacific
Coast, with fairly numerous flocks on the farms of the Middle West.

_Different Types of Duck Raising._ The conditions under which ducks are
kept and the purpose for which they are kept fall under four heads:
First, commercial duck raising for the production of duck meat; second,
duck raising as a by-product of the general farm; third, duck raising
for egg production; fourth, duck breeding for pleasure, exhibition or
the sale of breeding stock.

_Opportunities for Duck Raising._ Undoubtedly the greatest opportunity
for profitable duck growing lies under the first of these heads, namely,
commercial duck raising. Where the conditions of climate, soil and land
are favorable and where the location is good with respect to market
there exists an excellent opportunity for one skilled in duck growing to
engage in that business in an intensive manner for the purpose of
putting on the market spring or green ducklings. Where these are in
demand they bring a good price and since the output per farm is large
they pay a good return even with a small margin of profit per pound.

The second greatest opportunity undoubtedly consists of duck raising as
a by-product of the general farm. Where conditions are suitable, that is
to say, where there is a considerable amount of pasture land easily
accessible, and particularly where there is a stream or pond to which
the ducks can have access, a small flock of ducks, say 10 or 12 females,
can be kept to excellent advantage on the farm. The cost of maintaining
them will not be great and they will not only provide a most acceptable
variety in the form of duck meat and duck eggs for the farmers' table
but they will also produce a surplus which can be sold at a profit. It
must be remembered, however, that where only a small flock is kept it is
generally impracticable for the farmer to give his ducks the attention
necessary to cater to the market for green ducklings. As a result he
usually keeps them until fall and sells them on the market at a
considerably lower price than is obtained by the commercial duck grower.

There also exists an opportunity which has not been developed to any
great extent to keep some one of the egg producing breeds of ducks such
as the Indian Runner for the primary purpose of egg production. A few
ventures of this sort seem to have been successful but it must be
remembered that the market for duck eggs is not nearly so broad as that
for hens' eggs and that in some quarters there exists considerable
prejudice against duck eggs for table consumption. Before engaging in
duck raising primarily for the production of market eggs it would
therefore be necessary to investigate and consider carefully the market
conditions in the neighborhood so as to know whether the eggs could be
marketed to advantage. While the Runner ducks are prolific layers there
is no advantage in keeping them in preference to fowls as egg producers.
The eggs are larger in size but it takes more feed to produce them,
while they cannot as a rule be disposed of at much if any higher price
than can be secured for hens' eggs. For baking purposes duck eggs can be
readily sold on account of their larger size.

There is always an opportunity to produce fine stock of any kind,
whether it be ducks, chickens, turkeys or geese. Ducks are not exhibited
to the same extent as are chickens and the competition in the shows is
not as a rule so keen. Nevertheless many persons are interested in
producing and exhibiting good stock and there exists a very definite
market for birds of quality.

There is also a probability that a good business could be worked up by
one who would pay special attention to producing a strain of ducks of
early maturity, large size and good vigor in order to supply breeding
drakes to many of the commercial duck farms. These farms usually secure
drakes for breeding from sources outside their own flocks each year but
the usual practice is to exchange drakes with some other commercial
grower. While very good birds are to be found on these duck farms there
is no greater opportunity to engage in any systematic breeding, the
selection of the breeding stock being of rather a hurried nature during
certain seasons of the year when the ducks are being marketed. Moreover,
the long continued custom of exchanging drakes with the neighboring
farmers has in most cases led to the blood being so largely confined
within one circle that no great percentage of new blood is obtained by
these exchanges. Of course, the opportunity along breeding lines for
this purpose is limited to the Pekin duck as this is the breed which is
kept upon all the large commercial duck farms in the United States.

_Prices for Breeding Stock._ Duck breeders who make a specialty of
selling breeding stock or eggs for hatching find a steady and quite a
wide demand for their stock. The eggs are usually sold in sittings of 11
and bring a price of from $3 to $5 per sitting depending on the quality
of the stock. The prices received for the birds themselves depend of
course upon their quality and may run anywhere from about $5 to $25 per

_Ducks for Ornamental Purposes._ On estates or in parks where natural or
artificial ponds are included in the grounds, waterfowl are often kept
for ornamental purposes. Any breeds may be used, and often the gay
colored Wood Duck and Mandarin, or some one of the small breeds such as
the Calls, Black East Indian or the Mallards are kept for this purpose.
It is said that these small ducks will absolutely destroy the mosquito
larvae in any such ponds or lakes.


Breeds and Varieties--How to Mate to Produce Exhibition
Specimens--Preparing Ducks for the Show--Catching and Handling

_Breeds of Ducks._ There are 11 standard breeds of ducks. All of these
breeds with the exception of the Call, Muscovy and Runner consist of a
single variety. The Call is divided into two varieties, the Gray and the
White; the Muscovy consists of two varieties, the Colored and the White;
and the Runner consists of three varieties, the Fawn and White, the
White and the Penciled.

Duck breeders, of course, whether raising the birds for fancy or for
profit, keep one of the standard breads or varieties. Frequently, also,
the farm flocks consist of standardbred ducks but on many farms,
probably a great majority, the flock consists of the common or so-called
"puddle" duck. In certain parts of the South there is a duck known as
the "mule duck" which is a cross between the Muscovy and the common
duck. This is a duck of good market quality but will not breed from
which characteristic it gets its name. Most of the common or "puddle"
ducks which are found on farms are of rather small size, are indifferent
as layers, and do not make a desirable type of market duck. They have
arisen simply from the crossing of standard breeds with resultant
carelessness and indifference in breeding. Because of the care with
which they have been selected and bred for definite purposes, the
standard breeds are decidedly superior to the common "puddle" ducks and
should by all means be kept in preference since they will yield better
results and greater profits.

In addition to the standard breeds and varieties flocks of Mallards are
also kept to a limited extent. The Mallard is a common small wild duck
which has lent itself readily to domestication and which thrives with
proper care under confined conditions. In weight, the drakes will run
from 2½ pounds to 3 pounds or even a little larger. The ducks average
about 2¼ pounds with a variation of from 1 pound 12 ounces to 2 pounds 8
ounces. By selecting the large eggs for hatching and by liberal feeding,
it is easy to increase the size of Mallards to such an extent that they
resemble small Rouens rather than wild Mallards. The plumage of the
Mallard is very similar to that of the Rouen but of a lighter shade.
Another small wild duck known as the Wood or Carolina duck, which is a
native of North America, has been domesticated and on account of the
great beauty of its plumage is usually to be found wherever ornamental
waterfowl are kept. The Mandarin duck is a small duck of about the same
size as the Wood duck, is of beautiful plumage and like the Wood duck
is generally kept for ornamental purposes. This duck is said to be a
native of China.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. Upper--Pair of Mule Ducks. Lower--Pair of Blue
Swedish Ducks. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 2. Upper--Mallard Duck. Lower--Mallard Drake. The
Mallard is a wild duck which is quite easily domesticated and which has
a plumage color very similar to the Rouen. It is small in size.
(_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

Classification of Breeds

So far as the standard breeds and varieties are concerned they may be
divided into three classes according to the purpose for which they are
kept and for which they are best suited. First is the meat class which
consists of the Pekin, Aylesbury, Muscovy, Rouen, Buff, Cayuga and Blue
Swedish. These breeds could well be termed general purpose ducks for
they are quite good layers in addition to producing excellent table
carcasses and are therefore well suited for general farm use. They are,
however, kept more particularly for meat production.

The second class is known as the egg class and consists of the three
varieties of the Runner Duck, formerly known as the Indian Runner. The
Runner Duck is much smaller in size than the birds of the meat class, is
longer in leg and more active, and is not so well suited for the
production of table ducks but is a very prolific layer. With proper
feeding and management the Runner ducks will compare favorably with hens
as egg producers.

The third class is known as the ornamental class and is composed of the
ducks which are kept and bred principally for ornamental purposes. This
class consists of the Call duck with its two varieties, the Black East
India duck and the Crested White duck. Both the Call and East India
ducks are small in size being really the bantams of the duck family.
While they make good table birds, their small size handicaps them as
commercial meat fowl. The Crested White duck is of larger size,
possesses a crest and is bred mainly as an ornamental fowl.

_Marking the Ducks._ The duck raiser who is breeding his ducks for
exhibition quality has need for knowledge of the breeding of the birds
he may contemplate using in his matings. In order that this information
may be available, the young ducks as they are hatched can be marked by
toe punching them on the webs of their feet in the same manner that baby
chicks are toe punched. A different set or combination of marks is used
for each mating so that the breeding of the different ducks can be
distinguished. Mature ducks can, if desired, be leg banded in order to
furnish a distinguishing mark.


Before taking up a description of the matings of the different standard
breeds and varieties it is well to indicate the common nomenclature
which is used in connection with these fowls and which differs from that
used for chickens. The male duck is called drake, the female duck is
termed duck, and the young duck of either sex is termed duckling. In
giving the standard weights for the different breeds of ducks, weights
are given for adult ducks and adult drakes, and for young ducks and
young drakes. By adult duck or drake is meant a bird which is over one
year old. By young duck or drake is meant a bird which is less than one
year old. The horny mouth parts of the duck instead of being termed beak
as in chickens are called bill, and the separate division of the upper
bill at its extremity is termed the bean. Ducks do not show any comb or
wattles as in chickens. In England use is made of the terms ducklet and
drakerel. Ducklet is used to signify a female during her first laying
season just as the word pullet is used in contrast to hen. Drakerel is
used to signify a young drake as contrasted with an older drake just as
the word cockerel is used in comparison to cock in chickens.

_Distinguishing the Sex._ The sex of mature ducks can be readily told by
their voices and also by a difference in the feathering. The duck gives
voice to a coarse, harsh sound which is the characteristic "quack"
usually thought of in connection with this class of fowl. The drake on
the other hand utters a cry which is not nearly so loud or harsh but
which is more of a hissing sound. Distinction of sex by this means can
be made after the ducklings are from 4 to 6 weeks old. Before this age,
both sexes make the same peeping noise.

Mature drakes are also distinguished from the ducks by the presence of
two sex feathers at the base of the tail. These are short feathers
which curl or curve upward and forward toward the body of the bird. In
ducks these feathers are absent.


An idea of the size of the different standard breeds can best be
obtained by giving the standard weights. They are as follows:--

              Adult Drake.  Adult Duck.  Young Drake.  Young Duck.
Pekin              9             8            8             7
Aylesbury          9             8            8             7
Rouen              9             8            8             7
Cayuga             8             7            7             6
Muscovy           10             7            8             6
Blue Swedish       8             7            6½            5½
Crested White      7             6            6             5
Buff               8             7            7             6
Runner             4½            4            4             3½

There are no standard weights for the Call duck and for the Black East
India duck but these are all small in size, being really bantam ducks.
The drakes will weigh from 2½ to 3 pounds and the ducks from 2 to 2½

Popularity of Breeds

In the meat class by far the most popular duck in this country is the
Pekin. It is the breed which is used exclusively on the large
commercial duck farms. Next to the Pekin in this class probably comes
the Muscovy which is quite commonly kept in some sections of the
country, particularly in the South. The Aylesbury duck has never proved
to be very popular in the United States perhaps due to its white bill
and skin, although it is the popular market duck of England. The other
breeds included in the meat class are kept more or less commonly but do
not approach in popularity either the Pekin or the Muscovy. Any of the
breeds in this class will prove to be satisfactory for a farm flock,
although the Colored breeds and varieties are at a disadvantage when
dressed due to their dark pin feathers.

In the _egg_ class there is included only the Indian Runner and this of
course is the breed which is kept wherever the production of duck eggs
is the primary object. The Fawn and White is the most popular variety of
this breed.

In the ornamental class there is no particular outstanding breed, since
the ducks belonging in this class are kept very largely to satisfy the
pleasure of the owner and the selection of a breed is entirely a matter
of personal preference.

Egg Production

While the conditions under which ducks are kept and the care they are
given will affect their egg production greatly, there are certain
rather definite comparisons that can be made between the different
breeds. The Pekin is a good layer and will produce from 80 to 120 eggs.
The Aylesbury and the Rouen are about alike in laying ability, neither
being quite as good as the Pekin. The Cayuga is a good layer ranking
with the Aylesbury and Rouen or between these and the Pekin. The Muscovy
is an excellent layer being fully as prolific as the Pekin, especially
if broken up when broody and not allowed to sit. The Blue Swedish is
about equal to the Cayuga in laying ability. The Buff duck is an
excellent layer comparing favorably with the Pekin or even with the
Runner. The Runner ducks are the best layers of the duck family and if
given proper care and good feed will compare favorably with hens in egg
producing ability. The Crested White duck is not a particularly good
layer. The Calls and the Black East India ducks will lay from 20 to 60
eggs per year, approaching the latter number if the eggs are collected
as laid and the ducks are not allowed to sit which will induce some of
them to continue to lay for quite a portion of the year. Extremely large
ducks of any breed do not lay as well as the more medium sized birds.

_Size of Duck Eggs._ The eggs of the different meat breeds will run
about the same in size with the exception of the Muscovy whose eggs run
a little larger. Actual weights of eggs from representative flocks show
Pekin, Rouen, Aylesbury and Cayuga eggs to average about 2½ pounds per
dozen although there is a tendency for the Rouen eggs to run somewhat
larger and for Cayugas to run a little smaller. Muscovy eggs weigh about
3 pounds per dozen with selected large eggs weighing as high as 3¼
pounds. Eggs of the Runner duck are smaller but are considerably larger
than average hens' eggs or about the size of large Minorca eggs. They
weigh about 2 pounds per dozen. Eggs of the bantam breeds of ducks, the
Calls and the Black East India, together with those of the Mandarin and
Wood ducks will weigh from one pound to 1½ pounds per dozen depending
upon the size of the ducks themselves. Eggs of the Mallard duck will run
from 26 to 32 ounces to the dozen. The size of eggs laid by ducks,
especially the bantam breeds and the Mallard can be increased somewhat
by liberal feeding. Average hens' eggs should weigh about 1½ pounds per

[Illustration: FIG. 3. Upper--Comparison of size of goose egg on the
left a black egg of a Cayuga duck in the center and a hen egg on the
right. Lower--Duck eggs--At the left is a Pekin duck egg, next a black
egg laid by a Cayuga duck, third a Muscovy egg, fourth a duck egg of
green color and on the extreme right the egg of a Runner duck.
(_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_Color of Eggs._ The color of duck eggs ranges from white to a polished
black. Pekin eggs run mostly white although some show a decided blue or
green tint. Aylesbury eggs run quite uniformly white. The color of Rouen
eggs varies from white to a dark green. The Cayuga produces very few
white eggs, most of them being green or black, some being as black as
though polished. Muscovy eggs run from a white to a greenish cream in
color. The eggs of the Blue Swedish and the Buff ducks usually run
white. The Runner duck lays white eggs as a rule while the Crested White
duck lays eggs which range in color from white to green. The eggs of
the Call ducks run from white to green while the eggs of the Black East
India, like the Cayuga, for the most part run from green to black.

A peculiarity in regard to the egg color is that the same female may lay
eggs which are widely different in color. It is likewise true that the
color of the shell is influenced to some extent by the feed. Ducks on
range will lay darker colored eggs than those which are yarded. There is
also a tendency for the eggs to run darker in color when laying first
begins and for the eggs to lighten as laying proceeds. A peculiarity in
regard to duck eggs with a dark colored shell is that a thorough washing
will lighten up the shell color decidedly.

_Broodiness._ The Muscovy, the Call and the Black East India ducks are
broody breeds. The ducks of these breeds will make their nests, hatch
their eggs and are good mothers. All the other breeds are classed as
non-broody breeds. Of course, a certain percentage of them will go
broody and show a desire to sit but they do not make reliable sitters
and mothers and are not as a rule used for this purpose.

Considerations in Making the Mating[1]

Since ducks are kept for different purposes there will of course be
certain fundamental differences in the different classes in the
selection of the individuals to make up the mating. Whatever the
purpose, however, the first consideration in selecting the breeders must
be to secure those which possess excellent vigor and general health and
which meet insofar as possible the standard requirements for size. Where
the Call duck and the Black East India are concerned the selection for
size must be for smallness since that is a characteristic greatly
desired. In the other breeds the selection for size must be to see that
they come up to the standard weights for the particular breed in
question. As in other classes of fowls the condition and cleanliness of
the plumage and the general appearance and actions of the birds are good
indications of their health and thriftiness. A bright eye is likewise a
valuable indication of good health while a watery eye is usually a sign
of weakness. It is necessary to guard against birds which show any
tendency toward crooked or roach back, hump back, crooked tails, or
twisted wings. Since all breeds of ducks should have clean or
unfeathered legs it is likewise necessary to guard against any breeders
which show down on the shanks or between the toes as this sometimes

[Footnote 1: For a more detailed discussion of the principles of
breeding as applied to chickens and which is equally applicable to
ducks, the reader is referred to "The Mating and Breeding of Poultry" by
Harry M. Lamon and Rob R. Slocum, published by the Orange Judd
Publishing Company, New York City.]

In selecting the mating for any one of the meat breeds use birds which
have good length, width and depth of body so that they will have plenty
of meat carrying capacity. For breeders of market ducks, birds which
are active, well matured and which are not extreme in size for the breed
are preferable as the fertility is likely to run better than with the
extremely large birds. Where birds are bred for exhibition purposes, it
frequently happens that it is desirable to use large breeders and to
hold them for breeding purposes as long as they are in good breeding
condition. Where this is the case it becomes necessary to mate a smaller
number of females to a drake than would be the case with smaller and
younger breeders. Where old birds are used as breeders better results
will be secured by mating old ducks to a young drake or vice versa than
by mating together old birds of both sexes. While ducks of any of the
meat breeds are kept primarily for meat production, it is essential that
the egg production be good throughout the breeding season in order to
raise as many ducklings and secure as great a profit as possible.
Selection of the females as breeders should be made therefore on the
basis of good egg production as well as good meat type if the conditions
under which the ducks are kept are such as to make it possible to check
this in any manner.

In selecting the mating in the Runner breed it is necessary to keep in
mind that the general type of body is quite different from that of the
meat breeds, being much slimmer and much more upright in body carriage.
For this mating select thrifty, healthy birds and those which are
active. Some breeders trapnest their Runner ducks or have some other
means of checking up the better layers. As in chickens, it is of course
desirable to use these better layers as breeders since the purpose in
keeping this kind of duck is primarily egg production.

In selecting the mating in the Call and East India breeds it is
necessary to use the smaller ducks since the object here is to keep the
size small. In addition, with these breeds or with any other breeds kept
and bred primarily for fancy or exhibition purposes, it is necessary to
conform just as closely as possible to the standard requirements[2] both
insofar as size and type are concerned, and also with respect to color.

[Footnote 2: For a complete and official description and list of
disqualifications of the standard breeds and varieties of ducks, the
reader is referred to the American Standard of Perfection published by
the American Poultry Association, and obtained by Orange Judd Publishing
Company, New York, N. Y.]

Breeds of Ducks

_The Pekin._ While this variety wants to be of good size and to have
length, breadth and depth of body it is somewhat more upstanding than
some of the other meat breeds, showing a definite slope of body downward
from shoulders to tail. The back line of the Pekin should show a slight
concavity from the shoulders to the tail and the upper line of the bill
is likewise slightly concave between the point where it joins the head
and its extremity. The shoulders should be broad and any tendency
toward narrowness at this point must be avoided. While a good depth of
keel is desired, the standard does not call for so deep a keel as in the
Aylesbury. As a matter of fact, however, the winning specimens as seen
in the shows are not as a rule as erect in carriage as called for by the
standard illustration, there being a tendency to get them almost if not
quite as deep in keel as the Aylesbury. In fact, some breeders seem to
strive for a low down keel approaching a condition where they are nearly
as low in front as behind but this is not desirable Pekin type.

Sometimes a drake will show a rough neck, that is, the feathers on the
back of the neck will be crossed or folded over showing a tendency to
curl. These birds should be avoided as breeders since there is a
tendency for them to produce ducks having a crest. Sometimes a green or
a greenish spotted bill will be encountered. Since the bill should be a
clear yellow, breeders showing this defect should be avoided
particularly as they are likely to produce birds having greenish or
olive colored legs. The shanks and toes should be a clear deep orange.
Black sometimes occurs in the bean. This may occur in birds of either
sex but is more common in the ducks than in the drakes. In the drake
black in the bean disqualifies but while it is undesirable and a serious
defect in the duck it does not disqualify. The color of the plumage is
white or creamy white throughout. Creaminess in this variety is not a
serious defect as it is in white chickens. The use, however, of yellow
corn and of foods very rich in oil tends to increase the creaminess of
the plumage and should not be used to excess for birds which are to be

[Illustration: FIG. 4. Upper--Young Pekins which on account of their
size, thriftiness and rapid growth were selected out of a lot about to
be killed for market and saved for breeders. Lower--Aylesbury
Drake--Notice the depth and development of the breast. (_Photographs
from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_The Aylesbury._ This breed is particularly noted for its deep keel. It
differs from the Pekin in type in that it is more nearly level in body.
There is a decided tendency for the Aylesbury to run too short in body
which has probably come about by extreme selection for deep keel. It is
well, therefore, in making the mating to select breeders with good
length of body. Since the deep full breast and keel is characteristic of
this breed it is necessary to avoid breeders which show any tendency
toward a flat breast. As in the case of the Pekins avoid any birds which
have green or olive colored bills. The back line of the Aylesbury should
be straight, showing no tendency toward a slight concavity as in the
Pekin. Birds showing this shape back should be avoided. As in the Pekin
black on the bill or bean of the drake will disqualify and in the duck
is a serious defect. The color of plumage should be white throughout and
should show no tendency toward creaminess. The bill in this breed is
flesh colored instead of yellow as in the Pekin. The Aylesbury is not
quite as nervous a breed as the Pekin.

_The Rouen._ The Rouen duck is a parti-colored breed and is therefore
much more difficult to secure in perfection of color and marking than
is the case with the white breeds. Moreover, the dark pin feathers make
the ducks more difficult to dress than in white breeds. In type these
birds are very level in body and are massive, carrying a great deal of
meat. Avoid birds showing a lack of length of body or depth of keel or
which are too flat in breast. The back of the Rouen should have a
slightly convex or arched shape from neck to tail and it is necessary to
guard against birds which have a flat or a concave back. The body of the
Rouen should be carried practically horizontal. The upper line of the
bill should be slightly dished or concave. The white ring about the neck
of the drake is an important part of the marking. This should not be too
wide but should run about a quarter of an inch in width. It should be as
distinct and clean cut as possible but should not quite come together in
the rear. Any approach to a ring in the female is a disqualification.
White in the primary or secondary wing feathers is a serious defect
since it constitutes a disqualification. It must therefore be carefully
avoided. White feathers in the fluff of the drake is another color
defect which must be guarded against.

_Breast of Drake._ The farther the claret color on the breast of the
drake extends down the better will be the females secured from the
mating. Drakes which are deficient in the amount of claret on the breast
should therefore be thrown out as breeders. A purple rump in drakes must
be avoided as must black feathers over the rump as they tend to keep
up too dark a body color in the female. On the other hand too bright or
light a color in the male or exhibition female will produce females
which are too light in color. Drakes with light olive colored bills must
be avoided as these will have a tendency to produce offspring which show
too much yellow in the females' bills, and clear yellow bills constitute
a disqualification. In the females solid yellow bills, fawn colored
breasts and absence of penciling must be avoided. Females which are dark
or nearly black over the rump are good breeders as they tend to keep up
the ground color of the body and tail.

The Rouen shows some tendency to fade in color. This is evidenced first
on the tips of the wings. The fading will also show in the fluff of
drakes. The drakes of this breed and likewise of the Gray Call and the
Mallard show a peculiar behavior with respect to the color of their
plumage. About June 1 the drakes moult, losing their characteristic male
adult plumage and the new plumage is practically that of the female.
This female plumage is retained until about October when they gradually
regain their normal winter male plumage. Young Rouens of both sexes have
female plumage until the last moult which occurs at about four or five
months of age, when the drakes assume the adult male plumage. The sex of
the young Rouens can, however, be told by the difference in the color of
the bills.

[Illustration: FIG. 5. Upper--Rouen Drake. Notice the low set, nearly
horizontal body, the massive appearance and the arched back. Lower--Pair
of Black East India Ducks. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal
Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 6. Upper--Rouen Drake showing summer plumage. At
this season the Rouen drake assumes a plumage resembling quite closely
that of the female. In the fall the drake again assumes the normal male
plumage. Lower--Rouen Duck. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal
Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_The Cayuga._ The Cayuga is much like the other breeds of the meat
class in general type or shape of body showing good length, breadth and
depth. It is a very solid duck and weighs heavier than it looks. The
body carriage is slightly more upright than the Rouen but not so much so
as the Pekin. The back line should be straight and any tendency toward
an arched back must be avoided. It is slightly smaller than the Pekin,
Aylesbury and Rouen, averaging about a pound less.

In making the mating, size is important and breeders should be selected
which are up to standard weights if possible. While this breed is not
kept very widely at the present time, nevertheless it is an excellent
market duck, dressing out into a very plump yellow carcass in spite of
its black plumage which is a disadvantage in dressing. The color should
be a lustrous greenish black throughout, being somewhat brighter in the
drake than in the duck. The duck is more likely to show a brownish cast
of plumage, particularly as she grows older. It is hard to hold good
black color with age. Moreover, white or gray is apt to occur in the
breast of females. With age also a little white sometimes develops on
the back of the neck, around the eyes and underneath the neck at the
base of the bill. The white which occurs in breast is more likely to
come in ducks and is not commonly found in the drakes. In the drakes on
the other hand, there is a tendency for the white to come on the throat
under the bill.

Drakes as a rule run truer in color and hold their color better than
do the ducks. Where the white mottling occurs in plumage with age one
need not hesitate to breed from these birds if they were of good black
color as young birds. The drakes of the best color do not as a rule fade
or become mottled to any great extent with age. It is necessary to guard
against birds as breeders which have a rusty brown lacing on the breast
and under the wings, also those which have a wing-bow laced with brown.
There is a tendency for the bill of drakes, which should be black, to be
too light or olive in color and this tendency increases with age. Drakes
with bills of this color should be avoided as breeders. When Cayugas are
first hatched the baby ducks all show a white breast.

[Illustration: FIG. 7. Upper--Cayuga Duck. Lower--Cayuga Drake.
(_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_The Call._ The Call ducks are the bantams of the duck race. There is
always a tendency for them to grow too large and this is especially true
when they have an opportunity to eat all they want as for example when
they are fed with the larger ducks. They should not be fed too liberally
and should be given wheat or some other solid grain rather than any
mash. If there is a good pond of water to which the Call ducks can have
access they do not need to be fed much of anything.

In breeding, the smallest individuals which are suitable in other
respects for breeders, should be selected in order to keep down the size
and offset the tendency to breed larger in successive generations. In
type the Calls are practically miniature Pekins except that they should
have a very short, rather broad head and bill. The broad flat and short
bill and the round short head give the head an appearance which is often
described by the term "button headed". In this breed avoid birds which
show arched backs. The body should have what is known as a flatiron
shape, that is, should be broad at the shoulders and taper toward the
tail. Too deep keels and narrow shoulders should be avoided as should
also too long bills. Call ducks, together with East Indias and Mallards
should have their wings clipped or be pinioned, that is, have the first
joint of one wing cut off, to prevent them from flying away.

_The Gray Call._ The plumage of the Gray Call is practically that of the
Rouen although they are not quite as good in color as a breed. There is
more of a tendency for some of the birds to run to dark and others,
especially the males, to run too light in color. While they are likely
to be well penciled the shade of color is apt to be wrong. White in the
flights and under the wings must be guarded against as must also absence
of ribbon or wing bar in females. The color of the plumage is likely to
fade with age but after the birds moult and secure their new plumage,
the color is usually higher again. In general the same color
characteristics hold true as with the Rouen and the same defects must be
guarded against.

[Illustration: FIG. 8. Upper--Gray Call Drake. Lower--Gray Call Duck.
(_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_The White Call._ This variety is, both in type and color, practically a
miniature Pekin except for the short, rather broad head and bill.
They breed very true in color and should be free from creaminess. The
same general defects must be watched for and avoided as in the Pekin.

[Illustration: FIG. 9. Upper--White Call Duck. Lower--White Call Drake.
(_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_The Black East India._ This is a black breed which is small in size
being a bantam duck like the Call. As a matter of fact it is a miniature
Cayuga. The color should be black throughout and the same color
characteristics hold true as in the case of the Cayuga. The same color
defects must therefore be guarded against, the worst one being white in
the breast of females especially. Avoid breeding from a drake with a
black bill as in this respect the breed differs from the Cayuga since
the bill of the duck should be black but that of the drake should be
very dark green. Purple barring must be carefully selected against.

_The Muscovy._ This breed differs in certain respects very markedly from
the other standard breeds of ducks. They are long and broad in body
which is carried in a horizontal position but are not so deep in keel as
the Pekin, Aylesbury or Rouen. The longest bodied young ducks will make
the largest individuals. The head should have feathers on the top which
can be elevated at will to form a crest. Guard against breeders having
smooth heads, or in other words, lacking a crest. The face is covered
with corrugations or caruncles and should be red in color. At the base
of the upper bill there is a sort of knob-like formation in the drake
which serves as one of the distinguishing characteristics between the
duck and drake of this breed. The more prominent the knob and the more
wrinkled or corrugated the face the better is the specimen in this
respect. The wings are long and strong and these birds fly very well.
They will also climb fences. The drakes are quite pugnacious and fight
one another badly at times. They are especially pugnacious when they
have young.

This breed of ducks will often roost on roosts like chickens or in the
trees or on the barn. They do not quack like other ducks and unlike
other domesticated breeds which moult two or three times a year, they
moult only once, taking longer to do so, usually about 90 days, although
the female may complete her moult a little sooner. The period of
incubation for Muscovy eggs is longer, being from 33 to 35 days as
compared to 28 days for other breeds. In size the male and female differ
considerably as will be seen from the standard weights given (See Page
14), the male being considerably larger. These ducks lay well, the
fertility runs good, the eggs hatch well, and the little ducks are hardy
and easily raised. They are a broody breed. The ducks will make their
nests and hatch out their eggs if allowed to do so and are excellent
mothers. Sometimes they will fly up and make their nests in a hollow
tree. A Muscovy duck can cover properly about 20 eggs. In spite of the
fact that they fly well they are easily domesticated. It takes about
two years for the males of this breed to fully mature although the ducks
get their full size when one year of age. The Muscovy is perhaps the
best general purpose breed for a farm flock.

The extent and intensity of the red of the face increases up to maturity
and the redder the face the better. The plumage of the Muscovy is not as
downy or oily as other breeds, the feathers being harder. For this
reason the birds are more apt to become water soaked and to drown as a
result when they have not been accustomed to water in which to swim.
This is especially true of the drakes on account of their large size and
long wing feathers. Muscovy ducks dress well, having a rich yellow skin,
and therefore make a good market duck, although the difference in size
of the duck and drake and the dark pin feathers of the Colored variety
are disadvantages from a market standpoint. Select against breeders
which run small in size as there is more or less of a tendency for this
breed to decrease in size. The Muscovy is long lived, specimens having
been known to breed until they were eight or ten years of age.

_The Colored Muscovy._ Although the standard calls for more or less
white in different sections of this variety, as a matter of fact
breeders desire to get the birds as dark as possible except for a very
small patch of white on the breast and a small patch of white on the
center of the wing. Indeed, birds without the white on the breast and
with very little on the wing are valuable breeders since there is a
tendency for too much white to occur in the plumage. Occasionally all
black birds occur and these can be used to advantage in breeding when
there is a tendency toward too much white in plumage. Plumage more than
half white is a disqualification. The dark plumage birds such as are
wanted are very likely to show considerable black or gypsy color in the
face which should be a good red. This must be selected against insofar
as possible. The nearly black or the darkest birds are quite likely to
show some white or grizzling on the head. Grizzled or brownish penciled
feathers sometimes occur in various parts of the plumage and must of
course be guarded against as the markings should be distinctly black and
white. The baby ducks of this variety are quite apt to show considerable
white although the best of them come yellowish black. This variety tends
to run a little larger in size than the white variety although the
standard weights are the same for both. Dun or chocolate colored ducks
sometimes come from Colored Muscovies while Blue Muscovies can be
produced by crossing the Colored and the white varieties.

[Illustration: FIG. 10. Upper--Colored Muscovy Drake. Notice the partly
erect crest feather on top of the head. Lower--White Muscovy Drake.
Notice the long, horizontal body and the rough or carunculated face.
(_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_The White Muscovy._ This variety should have pure white plumage
throughout. Young Muscovies of both sexes often have a patch of black on
top of the head up to the time they moult at maturity. Since black
disqualifies it is impossible to show young ducks in this condition but
these black feathers usually come in white after the moult and such
birds need not therefore be discarded as breeders. When it is desired to
show young White Muscovies which have black on the head it is customary
to pluck these black feathers a sufficient time before the show so that
the white feathers which come in their place will have time to grow out.
There is little or no trouble with black or gypsy face in this variety.

[Illustration: FIG. 11. Upper--Crested White Drake. Lower--Young White
Muscovy duck showing black on top of the head. This is not an unusual
occurrence and the black is lost when the bird gets its mature plumage
in the fall. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

_The Blue Swedish._ In type and size this breed is about the same as the
Cayuga although perhaps slightly more upstanding. In selecting the
mating it is important to use birds which are close to standard weight
as there is somewhat of a tendency for the size to be too small. As its
name indicates the color is largely blue except for a white heart-shaped
patch or bib which should be present on the breast. Sometimes this white
extends along the underside of the body from the under-bill almost to
the vent. Such birds are undesirable as breeders since they show too
much white. On the other hand birds lacking a prominent white bib must
also be avoided. Two of the flight feathers should be white and birds
lacking these must be avoided. Guard against any red, gray or black in
any part of the plumage. Sometimes, however, birds having more or less
black throughout the plumage are used as breeders for the purpose of
strengthening the blue color. Avoid any tendency toward a ribbon on the
wing-bow and also birds that are too light, ashy or washed out in the
blue color.

Sometimes birds show lines of white feathers around the eyes and over
the head and these should be selected against as breeders as they are
likely to cause white splashing in the plumage. Yellow or greenish bills
must likewise be avoided since the first of these is a disqualification.
In general this variety in breeding behaves insofar as color is
concerned, very much like the Blue Andalusian chicken.[3] The young
ducks when hatched are yellow or creamy blue and from blue matings there
are also produced black and white ducklings. As in other colored breeds
and varieties, the dark pin feathers are somewhat of a disadvantage from
a market standpoint.

[Footnote 3: For a detailed discussion of the behaviour of the Blue
Andalusian in breeding, the reader is referred to "The Mating and
Breeding of Poultry" by Harry M. Lamon and Rob R. Slocum, published by
the Orange Judd Publishing Company, New York City.]

[Illustration: FIG. 12. Blue Swedish duck showing white flight feathers.
The Standard calls for only two white flights, but there is a decided
tendency as shown here for more flights to be white. (_Photograph from
the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_The Crested White._ Although not so large, this breed is much like the
Pekin but with body carried more nearly horizontal and with a crest on
the head. The type varies considerably however, the principal selection
practiced having been for crest. The plumage is white in color
throughout. What is desired in the crest is to have as large a one as
possible, round and perfect in form, and set squarely on the head. Not
infrequently crooked crests occur and also double or split crests, that
is to say, where the crest is parted or divided. In some cases the
crests may even come treble, that is, split into three parts. Entire
absence of crest is by no means uncommon. In fact, it is considered a
pretty good proportion if one half of the ducks hatched have crests
although the matings vary considerably in this, occasionally one
producing practically 100% of the offspring with crests. Avoid as
breeders birds with small crests, lopped crests, split crests or showing
an absence of crest. Avoid also breeders showing mottled or green bills
in females and black bean in the bill of drakes.

_The Buff._ In type this breed is similar to the Swedish. As will be
seen from the standard weights it is one of the medium sized breeds and
makes a very nice market bird as it dresses out into a nice round fat
carcass and is a good layer. In color the birds of both sexes should be
as uniform a buff as possible except that the head and upper part of the
neck in the drake should be seal brown when in full plumage. Color
defects which are likely to be encountered and which should be avoided
are the tendency for the head of the drake to run to a chestnut color
and for his neck to be too light or faded out in color. Sometimes the
head of the drake runs too dark in color approaching a greenish black
like the head of the Rouen. This is of course undesirable. The wings of
both sexes are apt to run to light or even in some cases, pure white
flights. Blue wing bars are sometimes shown and these must be carefully
avoided. Penciling such as is found in the Fawn and White Runner
sometimes occurs and since it is a serious defect must be rigidly
guarded against. Any tendency toward a white bib or a white ring around
the neck of both sexes must likewise be avoided. Greenish or mottled
bills must be avoided in ducks which are to be used as breeders. Not
much trouble is experienced in the bill of drakes which as a rule comes
good. Any blue cast in the feathers on the rump and back of both sexes
must be selected against. As a rule the females of this breed tend to be
better colored than the males. At certain periods of the moult the head
coloring of the drakes becomes a good buff color and later when the
moult is complete, it changes to a copper color. When hatched the
ducklings are a creamy yellow.

[Illustration: FIG. 13. Pair of Buff Ducks--Drake on the right
(_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_The Runner._ The type of this breed is quite different from that of the
other breed of ducks and type is very important. The Runner wants to be
decidedly upstanding and to be very reachy. It should have very slim
slender lines. The neck should be straight and the head should be
carried at right angles to the neck. The bill should be perfectly
straight on top and on a line with the skull showing absolutely no
tendency to be dished. The legs of this breed are longer than those of
other ducks and this accounts for the fact that they run rather than
waddle when they move about. It is from this fact that they get their
name. They are very active and are troublesome about crawling through
fences. They are good layers and non-sitters and they have often been
called the Leghorns of the duck family. It must be remembered, however,
that while they have the inherent ability to lay as well as hens they
will do this only when they receive proper feed and care. It is quite
useless to expect a high egg yield from them when they are carelessly
fed and improperly housed and cared for. Avoid as breeders ducks of both
sexes that are too heavy behind, or in other words, are too
heavy-bottomed. Avoid birds which are too short in legs. Avoid crooked
or sharp backs. Round heads must likewise be avoided.

_The Fawn and White Runner._ In this variety the markings must be very
distinct and definite. There is a tendency which must be avoided for the
head to run to black instead of chestnut, especially in males. It is
likewise necessary to avoid females which tend to show penciling on the
sides of the breast or on the wing-bows. These defects are apt to be
associated with colored flight feathers which is also a defect to be
avoided. Guard against too much fawn extending up the neck from the body
to the head as the neck should be white in color. Too dark tail coverts
approaching a greenish black sometimes occur and are undesirable. In
type this variety will not average quite as good as the White.

_The White Runner._ This variety is best in type and it likewise runs
good in color which should be white throughout. Sometimes foreign color
will be shown in the back of females and this of course must be avoided.
Also avoid birds as breeders with green or mottled bills.

[Illustration: FIG. 14. Penciled Runner Drake on left and White Runner
Drake on right. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

_The Penciled Runner._ In type this variety runs about the same as the
Fawn and White. The color combination is rather difficult to breed as it
is hard to get the good penciling desired in the female together with
the white markings. In general, in breeding this variety there is a
tendency to pay more attention to type than to color. The penciling is
like that of the Rouen but lighter in color consisting of a brown
penciling on a fawn colored ground. Avoid any grayish stippling on the
breast of the drake and also on the wing-bows. These defects are likely
to be associated with colored flights which are undesirable. The colored
portion of the head of the drake is darker than that of the duck in this
variety. Avoid lack of white on the neck in both sexes and avoid females
which are lacking in penciling.

_Preparing Ducks for the Show._ Aside from selecting the individuals
which most nearly approach the standard requirements there is very
little which can be done in the way of preparing the birds for the show
as these fowls are practically self-prepared. For a period of at least a
week or ten days before they are shipped to the show those intended for
exhibition should be given access to a grass range and also if possible
to running water. The grass range will keep them in good condition and
the running water will allow them to clean themselves. Any broken
feathers should be plucked at least six weeks before the birds are to be
shown in order to allow the feathers time enough to grow out again. It
must be remembered that most ducks after getting in a good condition of
flesh do not tend to hold this for a very long period but soon grow
thinner again and will not take on fat the second time for some little

Often there will be a difference in weight as high as 3 pounds when a
duck is in good condition and after it has thinned. In order to have the
ducks in top form, therefore, it is necessary to bring them up to flesh
at the proper time. In order to bring ducks which are to be exhibited up
to standard weight, they should be fed twice daily, for at least 10 days
before shipping, a grain mixture consisting of one part corn and two
parts oats. Give them all they will eat of this mixture. With Runners
and the small breeds of ducks there is a danger of their putting on too
much weight if corn is used in the ration and it is therefore best to
give them oats alone. When the birds are shipped to the show they are
quite likely to get their plumage soiled during the journey. When this
occurs fill a barrel about half full of water. Then as the ducks are
taken out of the shipping coops take three of them at a time, put them
in the barrel and cover it over, leaving them for a few minutes. When
they are taken out they will usually be clean.

Catching and Handling Ducks

Ducks should never be caught by the legs which are short and weak and
are very likely to be injured. For the same reason they should never be
carried by the legs. Ducks should be caught by the neck, grasping them
just below the head. They can be carried short distances without injury
in this way but it is not advisable to carry fat ducks by the neck for
any considerable distance. The best way to handle them is to catch them
by the neck, then carry them on the arm with the legs in the hand just
as one would carry a chicken. See Fig. 15. A scoop net about 18 inches
in diameter and with a six foot handle can also be used to excellent
advantage in catching ducks.

[Illustration: FIG. 15. Two methods of carrying ducks. (_Photographs
from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

Packing and Shipping Hatching Eggs

Eggs for hatching must be shipped when they are fresh as duck eggs tend
to deteriorate in quality quite rapidly. They may be shipped fairly long
distances. Shipment may be made either by express or by Parcel Post. In
order to prevent breakage and to lessen the effects of the jar to which
the eggs are subjected during shipment, they must be carefully packed.
One of the best methods is to use an ordinary market basket. Line the
basket well on the bottom and sides with excelsior. Wrap each egg in
paper and then wrap in excelsior so that there will be a good thick
cushion of excelsior between the eggs and they will not be allowed to
come in contact with one another. Pack the eggs in the basket securely
standing them on end so that they cannot move or shift around. Cover
the top of the eggs with a thick layer of excelsior using enough so that
it runs up well above the sides of the basket. Over the top sew a piece
of strong cotton cloth. Instead of sewing the cloth it can be pushed up
under the outside rim of the basket with a case knife, this being
quicker and equally as effective as sewing.


Commercial Duck Farming--Location--Estimate of Equipment and Capital
Necessary in Starting the Business

_Distribution._ Commercial Duck farming is confined very largely to the
sections within easy shipping distance of the larger cities. A great
majority of these farms are located about New York City, particularly on
Long Island. Some duck farms are located on the Pacific Coast and a few
commercial plants are scattered about here and there throughout the
country. The size of these farms ranges all the way from plants with an
output of 5,000 or 10,000 ducklings up to those with an output around
100,000 yearly.

_Stock Used._ The stock used on the commercial duck plants of the United
States consists exclusively of the Pekin. The reasons for the use of
this particular breed are the fact that it has white plumage and
therefore dresses out well, that it is of good size, that its egg
production is good, and that it makes quick growth.

_Location of Plant._ On Long Island the commercial duck plants are
located along the streams, especially those on the southern shore of the
Island, which empty into the various bays. Locations along these
streams are not easy to secure at the present time owing to the fact
that duck farms are not allowed in many sections where summer homes have
been built. A water site of this sort is very valuable, although not
absolutely essential, since it provides water yards for the breeding
ducks and for the fattening ducklings if desired, and reduces the labor
and cost of equipment materially since the ducks always have access to
water and no additional provision need be made to provide them with
drinking water. It also enables the ducks to keep their plumage clean.
Usually these locations are on fresh water streams but some of them are
further out toward the bay where the water is salty or at least

The mature ducks thrive well on the salt water and do not have to be
furnished with fresh drinking water in addition. For the young ducks,
however, with a salt water location it is necessary to provide fresh
drinking water. A few farms in other sections of the country are what
are known as dry land farms, that is to say, they are not situated on
the bank of a stream. In such locations running water is carried through
the yards so that the ducks have an ample supply of drinking water and
in some cases artificial ponds are constructed to provide water in which
the breeding ducks can swim. Formerly the idea was universally held that
swimming water was essential for the breeders in order to secure good
fertility, and many duck farmers still believe that better results can
be secured in this way. On some of the dry land duck farms, however,
breeding ducks are successfully kept without such swimming places. The
young market ducklings do not require water to swim in although some
raisers prefer to have it and it is commonly allowed where readily
available. On the dry land farms provision is made simply for a
continuous supply of fresh drinking water for the fattening ducklings.
Ducklings kept out of the water, do not take as much exercise and, in
consequence, fatten a little more readily.

Making a Start in Duck Farming

Duck farms or plants are sometimes operated on a considerable scale at
the beginning, the plans being carefully laid by some experienced duck
man. In these cases, operations at the start may be of sufficient
magnitude so that the output will amount to 15,000 or 20,000 ducklings
in a year. In most cases, however, these places have been the result of
a more gradual growth from a small beginning, a condition made necessary
either by the inexperience of the grower or by lack of capital. Not
infrequently men engaged in other forms of farming but possessing a
suitable location will keep 200 or 300 breeding ducks and from this
gradually build up a good sized duck plant.

_Equipment, Capital, etc. Required._ The estimates given as to the
amount of equipment and capital required are based on the assumption
that a plant is to be operated of sufficient size to have a yearly
output of about 30,000 ducklings. It must be understood in this
connection that location and various other conditions or circumstances
will influence the cost of different items of equipment and for this
reason these estimates must not be considered as absolute but should
rather serve as a guide or basis on which to figure. The figures here
given contemplate the building up of an establishment which is efficient
but which is in no particular elaborate, the buildings and other
equipment being as simple and inexpensive as possible.

_Lay-out or Arrangement of the Plant._ The plant must be carefully
planned so as to make the best possible use of the land and particularly
of the water frontage. It is particularly important to arrange the
buildings in such a manner as to cut down labor as much as possible. If
there is any expectation of enlarging the capacity at some future time,
this must also be borne in mind in the arrangement of the various
buildings and yards. The incubator cellar should be convenient to the
No. 1 brooder house and the various brooder houses to one another. The
brooder house must likewise be convenient to the growing and fattening
houses and yards and these in turn to the killing house. The feed room
should be centrally located so as to save labor as much as possible in
feeding the ducks.

_Land Required._ For a duck plant of the size indicated 10 acres of land
should be ample. This, however, means that no effort would be made to
grow any of the feed for the ducks or ducklings with the exception of
green feed. In some cases where the lay of the land is unusually
favorable so that the plant can be laid out to the very best advantage,
a smaller amount of ground than this might be sufficient but it is not
well to figure on less than 10 acres.

_Number of Breeders Required._ With the usual methods of management and
with good success, one may estimate that 40 young ducks can be marketed
each year from each breeding female. This is a good average although in
some good years duck raisers will do a little better than this. On the
other hand in poor years they will not do so well. For a plant having an
output of 30,000 market ducks there would therefore be needed in the
neighborhood of 800 breeding ducks in addition to 100 drakes.

_Housing Required for Breeders._ In figuring on the amount of housing
required for this number of breeding ducks, it is necessary to figure on
2½ to 3 square feet of floor space per bird, 3 square feet being better
than 2½. This would require a housing space 20 feet deep by 120 feet
long. However ducks are not usually housed in one building of this size,
and in fact it is better not to do so since the smaller the flock of
breeders kept together the better they will do. In no case should a duck
raiser run more than 400 ducks in a flock and it is very much better to
run them in pens of 100 each. In fact, some breeders do not place more
than 25 to 50 breeding ducks in a pen.

_Incubator Capacity._ Incubators are used exclusively for hatching the
eggs. At the present time in practically all cases some form of hot
water mammoth incubator is utilized for this purpose. An investment is
required both in incubators and in a cellar in which to operate them. In
figuring on the incubator capacity necessary to take care of a
proposition of this size, it is necessary to base the estimate on the
number of eggs produced during the season of flush production. The duck
raiser figures on incubating all eggs suitable for the purpose rather
than to sell any of them for other purposes as there is a greater profit
in rearing and marketing the ducklings. For that reason he must have
incubator capacity enough to take care of all the eggs laid at any time
of the year. During the season of flush production the yield will
ordinarily run in the neighborhood of 80%. The period of incubation is
28 days but 2 days more should be added to this to allow for cleaning
out the machines, etc., before starting another hatch. This means that
there would be 30 days between hatches. Figuring on 800 ducks with an
80% production for 30 days an incubator capacity of around 19,200 eggs
would be required.

_Brooder Capacity._ A brooder house capacity, where artificial heat can
be supplied, sufficient to take care of about half of the total output
of the plant at one time is necessary. This means there would have to
be on this plant a heated brooder house capacity for 15,000 ducklings.
About half of this number or 7500 would need accommodations in the
number 1 or warmest brooder house where the heat can be kept up to 65 or
70 degrees in the house itself, and warmer of course under the hover.
The other 7500 ducklings capacity would be in the number 2 house, that
is, a house where heat could be supplied in the early spring and where
the temperature could be run up to 60 degrees. Hovers in such a house
are not really needed but it is common to cover the hot waterpipes with
a platform in order to provide a runway on which one can run a wheel
barrow and thus simplify feeding. Ordinarily after May 1 no heat is
needed in the number 2 brooder house. The young ducks are usually 2 to 3
weeks old when they go into the number 2 house and they stay there for
about 2 weeks depending on the weather. Heat for the brooder houses is
supplied by means of hot water pipes and a coal burning stove such as
are used in brooder houses for chickens. A number 3 or cold brooder
house is also needed where ducklings can be housed and can be driven in
at night and in cold weather after they have graduated from the number 2
house. From the number 3 house a part of the ducklings are taken
directly to the yards where they are housed in open front sheds.

_Fattening Houses or Sheds._ In addition to the brooder houses, there
are required fattening houses or sheds for the ducks when they are moved
from the No. 3 brooder house to the yards. Suitable houses for this
purpose are 16 feet deep by 24 feet long. In front they are 5 feet high
and in the rear 3½ feet. They are set on posts with a base board around
to make them tight. The fronts are entirely open and provided with
curtains which are used only in the winter to keep out the snow. The
ducklings are shut in these houses when desired by means of wire panels
which close the lower part of the front. Houses such as described are
divided into two parts and each side will accommodate 200 ducklings.

_Feed Storage._ Considerable feed storage room is necessary as it is
very desirable to be able to buy feed in quantity and also to carry a
considerable stock on hand in order to offset the possibility of not
being able to secure feed at any time. There should be storage capacity
for 4 cars of 30 tons each, in other words, for 120 tons of feed. Still
greater capacity than this is desirable. In connection with the feed
storage there should be a place where the feed can be mixed and where
feed can be cooked. Two power operated feed mixers are required as one
is not sufficient during the busy season to allow the mixing and feeding
of the mash for both the breeders and the young stock at the same time.
A feed cutter is necessary in preparing the green feed which is mixed in
the mash. The usual type of kettle feed cooker is commonly used for
boiling fish and preparing other cooked feeds but in its place a small
four-horse steam boiler can be utilized to good advantage as this makes
it possible to cook the feed right in the mixer by using a steam hose.

_Killing and Picking House._ A killing and picking house where the ducks
can be prepared for market is another necessary building but this need
not be an expensive building. It must be located with reference to its
convenience to the rest of the plant. It is also desirable to locate it
over a spring if one is available for the spring water can be used to
excellent advantage in cooling the dressed ducklings. When a spring is
not available water must be piped to this building. The killing house is
usually built with at least one side open or partly open. A place is
provided outside the picking room where the ducks can be hung and bled.
Inside room is required for six or eight pickers. A kettle for heating
water to be used in scalding the ducks is necessary as are also tanks in
which to place the ducks after they are picked. Additional room is
needed where the ducks can be weighed and packed ready for shipment.

_Residence._ In addition to the other buildings enumerated, a residence
would of course be necessary. The size and elaborateness of this and
consequently its cost depends entirely upon the owner's needs and

_Horse Power._ One horse and wagon for the purpose of drawing the feed
about the plant and for certain other necessary work would be required.
If the owner desires to do his own hauling of the feed from the railroad
and the other necessary trucking he would, of course, have to keep more
horses, a team at least, or an automobile truck. Where only one horse is
kept, this trucking must be hired done.

_Feeding Track._ On many of the larger duck farms, a feed track is
employed in feeding the stock. Such a track consists of a framework of
sufficient strength to support a car filled with mash which is pushed
along the track by hand. The track leads from the feed mixer across the
various yards where the ducks to be fed are located, including both the
breeding ducks, yard ducks and brooder ducks in yards. This involves a
considerable amount of trackage which must be fairly level and which
runs over the yard fences or along the ends of the yards so that the
feed can be shoveled directly from the car into the feeding trays in the
yards. The use of a feed track simplifies the feeding considerably but
its construction is quite expensive. Where a track is not used, the feed
as mixed is dumped into a low wagon which is driven along the yards, or
through them by removing movable panels in the fences and the feed
shoveled from the wagon to the feed trays.

[Illustration: FIG. 16. Power feed mixer. The feed is dumped into a low
wagon from which it is shoveled to the ducks. (_Photograph from the
Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Electric Lights._ Most duck farms at the present time are located where
electric lighting is available. It is desirable and in fact almost
necessary to have the various houses wired so that lights can be turned
on when desired. In addition, lights are usually provided in the yards
for fattening ducks and are used at night and especially during storms
to keep the ducks from stampeding.

_Water Supply._ An adequate water supply is essential. This will consist
of a well or spring furnishing an ample amount of water, a power pump
and a water supply tank. From the tank, the water must be piped to the
incubator cellar, the brooder houses, the killing house, the feed house
and to any of the yards where the ducks do not have access to a natural
supply of good water. In addition, of course, the water from the same
tank is usually used to supply the residence.

_Fences._ Not a great deal of investment is necessary in fences since
the yards are rather small and the fences are low. Two-foot fences of
two-inch mesh wire are used for the yard ducks while for the little
ducks 18-inch wire of one-inch mesh is used. The biggest items of
expense connected with the fences are the cost of the stakes or posts
used in their construction and the labor used in this work. The portion
of the yards extending into the water are the most troublesome and most
expensive to build. In some cases, rather elaborate wooden picket fences
are used in the water yards. These are more permanent but are more
expensive to build.

_Labor._ For a plant of the size indicated there would be required in
addition to an active working proprietor three other men. One man would
be needed to operate the incubators, one man would devote his time to
the brooder houses, one man would feed the yard ducks and the fattening
pens, and one man would do the killing and packing, take care of the
feathers, clean the yards, etc. Of course, there would be periods when
these men would not have their entire time taken up with their
particular duties and this would permit them to turn in and help with
the miscellaneous work on the plant.

In addition to the regular men employed, additional labor would be
necessary to do the picking. For this purpose pickers are usually
brought in and work by the piece. During the spring of 1920 these
pickers received six cents per duck and they will average about 75 ducks
a day, beginning work at 6 in the morning and finishing by noon or a
little later. Some pickers will average as high as 100 ducks a day. In
the busy season from 800 to 1200 ducks will be marketed per week and the
usual practice is to kill and pick not over three days a week, usually
during the first part of the week.

_Invested Capital._ Investment in the business exclusive of working
capital, that is to say, the money in the land and buildings and other
equipment would require under present conditions about $1,000 for each
thousand ducks marketed. In other words, in a plant of this size, close
to $30,000 would be invested. The amount of invested capital depends to
some extent upon location and upon the elaborateness of the buildings
and other equipment but with a well laid out economical plant an
investment of the size indicated should be sufficient.

_Working Capital._ In addition to the capital invested in the plant
there would be required a considerable amount of working capital. From
the first of November to the beginning of the marketing of the ducks
there would be required from $6,000 to $8,000 with which to purchase
feed, meet the pay roll, and for other running expenses. Even after the
marketing begins there would be a period of from a month to six weeks
when the expenses will continue to be greater than the receipts so that
some additional capital might be necessary. However, returns would begin
to come in which could be used to take care of the more pressing current
obligations so that additional working capital which might be needed
over that indicated would not be large.

_Profits._ The profits in commercial duck raising vary widely, as must
be expected, depending upon the management, upon the season and upon
prices received. After deducting all overhead charges and interest on
the investment, the net return per duck should be at least 10 cents per
duckling marketed. In fact the return should be 15 cents to provide much
inducement to engage in the business. Some seasons the returns will run
greater than this but on the other hand, there is always the chance of
occasional big losses.


Commercial Duck Farming--Management of the Breeding Stock

_Age of Breeders._ On most large commercial duck plants the entire
breeding stock is renewed each year. In other words, the breeders are
kept only through their first laying season. This makes it necessary to
select from the young stock reared and save for breeders as many head as
it is desired to carry for the coming year. This practice is used for
the reason that ducks lay best during their first year. Therefore, since
it is desired to keep up the maximum egg production in order to raise as
many market ducks as possible, young breeders are considered better.
Some raisers, however, keep a part of their breeding ducks for two years
and occasionally for 3 or even 4 years but this is not the usual
practice. Recent comparison made between young and two year old ducks as
breeders would seem to indicate that ducklings hatched from the eggs of
the latter live a little better.

_Distinguishing Young from Old Ducks._ In this connection it is of
interest to know how young ducks can be readily distinguished from the
older birds. The young ducks have bright yellow legs and bills while
the old ducks after a period of laying, lose a considerable amount of
the yellow from these sections. In addition, soon after the ducks begin
to lay, their bills as a rule will begin to be streaked with black.
Young ducks can also be told from the old ducks by feeling of the end of
the breast bone which runs to a point at the abdomen. In the older ducks
this is hard while in the young ducks it is gristly and bends easily.
The windpipe of an old duck is hard and rather difficult to compress or
dent while in the young duck it is softer and easily dented.

_Selection of Breeding Ducks._ The breeders are usually selected from
the ducklings which reach market age from the last week in June through
July. As these lots become ready for market and are driven into the pens
to be slaughtered each duck is handled and any especially good birds
which the proprietor thinks will make good breeders are thrown out at
this time.

In making selection of breeders those are chosen which are healthy and
thrifty and which have good wide, long and deep bodies. Ducks with
crooked wings, crooked tails, hump backs or paddle legs are rejected for
this purpose. After the young ducks for breeders are selected they are
put in a yard or fattening pen until the number which the owner expects
to keep is complete. These young breeders generally begin to moult soon
after they are selected and from this time on they are fed whole corn
and plenty of green feed until it is time to begin feeding the laying
ration. Some of the breeding ducks will usually begin to lay about
December 1 although they will not lay heavily at that time. The laying
ration described later should be begun about that time or a couple of
weeks earlier.

_Number of Females to a Drake._ As a rule on commercial duck farms the
birds are mated in the proportion of about one drake to seven ducks.
This proportion will vary to some extent under different methods of
management and weather conditions and may run all the way from 1 to 5 to
1 to 8. The smaller number of drakes should be used late in the season
while the larger number will give better fertility early in the breeding

Since the drakes do not fight seriously, flock matings can be made.
Better results will be obtained from smaller flocks than from large
flocks and there will also be less cracked eggs and less very dirty eggs
from the smaller flocks. Before the ducks are let out in the morning
there is a tendency for them to run back and forth through the pens, and
in this way they tramp over many of the eggs which are laid anywhere
about the floor. The larger the flock the more cracked and dirty eggs
will result. While the drakes do not fight each other they do at times
injure and kill the ducks to some extent when three or four drakes may
chase one duck. In this way they may injure the ducks' backs and often
pick their eyes and necks. Whenever a duck is found which is injured she
should be removed from the flock. Difficulty of this sort is most
prevalent about the 1st of March. If the trouble gets very bad it can be
stopped to some extent by cutting back the upper bills of the drakes
about one-fourth of an inch with a tinsnip or by reducing the proportion
of drakes.

_Securing Breeding Drakes._ It is common practice on duck plants to
avoid inbreeding by securing drakes from some other flock each year.
This is usually accomplished by buying the drakes outright from some
neighboring duck farmer. It may also be accomplished by purchasing a few
eggs for hatching in order to secure new blood. In any particular
community there is a tendency for the duck farmers to trade breeding
drakes among themselves for a period of years with the result that they
all have much the same blood and not a great deal of benefit is obtained
from securing the drakes from some neighbor's flock. It is undoubtedly
good practice to go farther afield occasionally for a supply of breeding
drakes. In purchasing stock for new blood be sure that it is as good as
the home stock and better if it can be found. It will do no good to
purchase and use inferior stock and may do much harm.

Houses and Yards for Breeders

The breeding flocks are usually confined to breeding yards. The size of
these yards depends upon the size of the breeding flock but large yards
are not required. A yard for 200 breeders is not as a rule larger
than 100 by 200 feet including the water part of the yard. Houses and
yards should be located on sand if possible as this is easier to keep
clean and therefore keeps the birds in better condition. Occasional
flocks of breeding ducks are allowed their liberty but this is not
common practice nor is it good practice unless the surroundings are
clean and the ducks do not have access to stagnant mud or refuse in
which they can work. If ducks work too much in this kind of material
they will eat more or less of it which injures the eggs for hatching

Many different styles of houses are used for breeders, some of which are
decidedly more elaborate than is necessary. A very satisfactory
economical house is one 20 feet deep, 7 feet high in front and 4 feet at
back, with a shed roof. This can be constructed of tongue and groove
material or may be made of unmatched stuff and covered with paper. A
house of this proportion makes a good light house and it can be carried
in length according to the size of the flock. For a breeding unit of 200
ducks, which is a good unit to use, a house 20 feet deep and 30 to 40
feet long is suitable. No floor is used in the house but it should be
well filled up with dirt so that the water will not come in.

One or more good sized openings are left in the front of the breeding
house for ventilation, or windows may be placed in the front which can
be used for this purpose. Good ventilation is necessary. Additional
ventilation is secured from the doors. If the weather is mild the doors
are left partly open, if cold they are nearly closed, while when the
weather is hot they are left entirely open. A good scheme is to use a
sort of Dutch door so that the bottom or top half can be opened
independently. In this way the top part of the doors can be left open so
as to let in the sunlight and still keep the ducks in the house or the
top may be left closed and the bottom opened so as to allow the ducks to
go in or out and still cut down the amount of ventilation. When the
weather is warm the doors may be left entirely open except for a board
18 inches to 2 feet wide inserted in the bottom of the door when it is
desired to keep the ducks in.

Shade is essential for the breeders and if not provided naturally by
trees must be supplied by means of artificial shelters.

[Illustration: FIG. 17. Upper--Rear and end view of house or shed used
for fattening ducks. Lower--General view on a duck plant, showing open
front fattening houses in the foreground and houses for breeders in the
background. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 18. A good house for breeding ducks. It is 20 feet
deep, 40 feet long, 7 feet high in front and 4 feet in the rear and will
accommodate 200 breeders. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal
Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Bedding and Cleaning the Breeding Houses._ Usually straw, meadow hay,
or swale hay is used for bedding. Shavings make good material for this
purpose if they do not contain too much sawdust. The principal objection
to shavings is that it takes longer to bed with them. Often a few joists
are laid at the back of the house on which to pile bales of straw or
other bedding so that it will be kept dry and will serve as an emergency
supply available for bedding the house in stormy days. The houses should
be bedded fairly often in order to keep the floors clean and dry and so
as not to allow the ducks' feet to get cold. The frequency with which
bedding is necessary will depend upon the weather. In winter it may at
times be necessary to bed every day. In May it may be necessary only
twice a week and still later in the season only once a week. In wet
weather the ducks track in lots of mud and water and frequent bedding
helps to keep the eggs clean. The houses are cleaned out only once a
year and this is usually done after the ducks have stopped laying. To
clean out the houses while the ducks are laying would disturb them and
tend to stop their egg production.

_Cleaning the Breeding Yards._ The yards should be cleaned whenever they
need it, that is, whenever they begin to get sloppy or sticky. It is a
matter of judgment to decide when this is necessary. The character of
the soil influences this, as sandy yards absorb the droppings better and
do not need cleaning as frequently as heavier soils. In the yards for
the breeding ducks, or the water yards, this will as a rule not be over
2 or 3 times a season. In dry weather cleaning is accomplished by
sweeping the yards with a broom. In wet weather the droppings spread
over the yard and are packed down by the ducks' feet until they form a
layer of putty-like material which cannot be swept off but is scraped
off by means of a hoe.

_Water Yards for Breeders._ Formerly it was the consensus of opinion
that breeders needed water in which they could swim in order to keep in
good breeding condition and to give the best results in fertility of the
eggs. At present it is not considered necessary to have sufficient
water to permit swimming although many breeders prefer to do this and
feel that they get better results from it. However, breeding ducks have
been and are being kept successfully in dry yards where water is
supplied to them simply in an amount sufficient to allow them to drink
and to clean themselves. Where water yards are provided this should not
be on stagnant water but there should be some circulation of the water
so as to keep it clean and fresh. Where the lay of the land is such that
it is not possible to run all the yards down to a stream for this
purpose it is sometimes possible to dig a canal or ditch from the stream
to the yards so as to allow the ducks access to the water. Where the
yards can extend into the water it saves a great deal of labor or
considerable expense in equipment as it is not then necessary to provide
the ducks with drinking water by means of some artificial arrangement
such as a concrete gutter or ditch extending through the yards or by
means of artificial ponds.

If the water yards used freeze over in winter it is necessary to cut
holes in the ice so that the ducks can get water for drinking purposes.
Sometimes the ducks will go into these water holes and after getting
their plumage wet will come out and sit down in the yard and freeze fast
to the ground. During such weather conditions it is necessary to make
the rounds of the yards frequently and to loosen any ducks that have
frozen fast. If they are left in that condition they are apt to
injure themselves in trying to pull free and if left too long will die.

[Illustration: FIG. 19. Another successful type of house for breeding
ducks. It is 20 ft. by 40 ft. and is divided into two pens each of which
will accommodate 100 breeders. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal
Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 20. Meal time for the breeders. (_Photograph from
the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Feeding the Breeders._ Breeding ducks are fed twice a day, in the
morning and at night. It is usual practice to feed the breeders last in
the morning and first at night. The reason for feeding them last in the
morning is that they are usually fed in the yards rather than the house
and they should be kept in until they are through laying which will be
after daylight. A good breeding ration consists of the following, the
proportions being given by measure in bushels.

1 bushel bran.
1 bushel low-grade flour.
1 bushel corn meal.
1 bushel green feed.
½ bushel either raw or cooked vegetables.
1 bushel in 10 of beef scrap.
½ bushel in 10 of cooked fish.

This ration will keep the breeding ducks in good flesh but there will be
no difficulty in their getting too fat. It is also a good laying ration
and will promote good egg production. The vegetables used in this ration
usually consist of sugar beets, cow beets, potatoes, etc. However, if
potatoes are used the amount of flour in the ration should be reduced a
little so as not to make the ration too heavy. Beets, when used, are fed
raw cut up and mixed in the feed. Small potatoes, boiled and mixed in
the feed are more valuable as they have a greater food value than beets.
Some duck growers feed fish entirely, using no beef scrap. This is done
where a plentiful supply of fish can be secured by going out into the
bay after them. However, this is not very good practice for a sufficient
supply of fish may not always be available and the ducks are so fond of
the fish that they will not eat well the beef scrap used as a substitute
for the fish, until they have become used to it. Fish is prepared for
feeding by boiling it thoroughly in a feed cooker.

The available land on the plant is used to grow a supply of green feed.
Rye is used for this purpose early in the spring as soon as it is high
enough to mow. It is mowed the first time when it is like a lawn. At
this stage it does not have to be cut up. Oats are used in the same way.
During the summer fodder corn is used. This is the poorest crop for the
purpose but is as a rule the only one available at that time. Rape is
sowed in August and its use begun about the time of the first frost and
kept up until the hard freezes come or until it is buried under the
snow. Creek grass which is secured from the fresh water streams on Long
Island by going out in a flat bottom boat and raking it off the creek
bottom with a wooden rake, is very much relished by the ducks and is
used whenever it is available. However, the supply of this material is
not as plentiful as it was formerly and it is rather hard to get. When
it is available it can be used either in winter or summer.

Good field clover cut up and boiled with the potatoes or with the fish
makes a good green feed. All of these green materials for use in the
ration, unless they are already in short lengths, are cut up by means of
a power feed cutter before they are mixed in the mash. When no other
form of green feed is available ground alfalfa is used but only half as
much of this material is mixed with the ration as is used of any of the
other kinds of green feed. Wherever possible the various duck yards
should be used to grow a crop of green stuff such as oats or rye as this
not only helps out on the supply of green feed but also helps to sweeten
the soil. The growing of a crop on the heavier types of soil used for
ducks is especially important as such soils are more likely to become
contaminated from the droppings.

The ration for the ducks is mixed up in a power feed mixer which works
much on the principle of a power dough mixer. In fact, dough mixers are
used on some plants. In mixing the feed enough water should be added to
bring the material to a consistency where it will hold together when
squeezed in the hand. In fact, the consistency should be between crumbly
and sticky, but should never be sloppy. The feed is dumped from the
mixer into a low horse drawn wagon and driven around to the various
yards where it is shoveled off on to the feed troughs or trays. On some
large duck plants a track is provided which runs over the yards and over
this a car loaded with feed is pushed and the feed shoveled into the
feed trays.

The breeders should be fed in the same place. If feeding is begun in the
house this practice should be continued. If feeding is begun in the
yards it should be continued there. To change disturbs the ducks and
interferes with their egg production.

Coarse ground oyster shell about as large as corn should be kept before
the breeders all the time in boxes where they can help themselves. A
flock of 700 or 800 breeders will eat upwards of 200 pounds a week of
this material. Unless sand is available in the yards where they can get
it, ducks should also have access to a supply of good sharp creek sand
but when kept in sand yards no other form of grit need be furnished.

The usual method of feeding is to utilize flat troughs on which the feed
is shoveled. Only as much feed should be given at the regular feeding
time as the ducks will eat up clean. This makes it necessary to watch
the feeding carefully and to regulate the amount accordingly. It is good
practice to gather up any feed that is left by the ducks so that it will
not lie there to sour and spoil as such feed is bad for the birds.

Egg Production

The average egg production of Pekin ducks kept under commercial farm
conditions will run from 80 to 125 eggs per head for the season. This
will vary somewhat from year to year and also with the management and
feed given the ducks. The laying begins to a small extent about December
1 and gradually increases until the ducks are laying freely in February.
As the hot weather of summer begins to come on the laying drops off
until about July 1 and after this not enough eggs are produced as a rule
to pay to hold the breeding ducks longer. Often many ducks will stop
laying considerably before this, especially those which have started
laying early and it may not pay to keep such pens later than May. Laying
takes place early in the morning and practically all the eggs are laid
soon after daylight. It is for this reason that the ducks are usually
shut up at night so that all the eggs laid will be secured as some of
them would otherwise be lost by their being laid around in the yard or
in the water. In the spring the ducks can be let out about 6 a. m., as
the laying will be pretty well over by that time, but in winter they
must be kept shut up later in order to secure all the eggs. After the
ducks start laying in the spring they are very regular and continuous
layers and will miss fewer days than most hens.

After the breeding ducks are first put in the breeding pens and shut in
the houses at night it is common practice to use electric lights for the
first 2 or 3 weeks in order to keep them from stampeding as ducks in
strange surroundings are quite nervous and are quite likely to stampede
and to run over one another thus causing cripples. Electric lights have
also been used to some extent during the late fall and winter for the
purpose of inducing egg production earlier than the natural season. As a
rule the ducks can be started to laying about 4 weeks after turning on
the lights but the average production under this system is not likely to
run more than 60 eggs for the season as so handled they moult quite
early in the spring. A single 25 watt light is sufficient for a house or
pen 16 × 24 feet and the lights are left turned on all night.

The object in feeding and caring for the breeding ducks is to keep them
from moulting and to keep them laying as long as possible. It must be
remembered that any radical change in feed or manner of feeding,
shutting them up too closely, change of temperature, or other disturbing
conditions are likely to cause moulting and to check egg production. Any
change in feed must be made carefully and gradually, not suddenly. It
must also be remembered that ducks are excitable birds and must be
handled and driven carefully so as to disturb them as little as

Time of Marketing Breeders

The breeders should be turned off to market whenever their egg
production drops off so decidedly that it no longer pays to hold them.
In most cases this will be about the 1st of July but it may range
considerably earlier than this, especially with pens of ducks that have
started laying early. When the ducks finish laying their eggs they begin
to moult and it is at this time that they should be marketed. If
marketing is delayed, the ducks will lose condition as the moulting
progresses and will therefore be held at a loss.

Diseases and Pests

_Disease._ Old ducks, that is, mature ducks, are practically free from
disease. Of course, there will be a certain amount of loss in the
breeding stock from various causes but this should not run for the
entire season more than 10% of the flock. Ducks do not become egg bound,
but sometimes, especially during heavy laying, they become ruptured.

_Insect Pests._ Ducks are remarkably free from lice and other insect
pests and those which they do have do not trouble them much. It is
unnecessary therefore to take any precautions in the way of treating the
ducks to keep them free of insects.

_Dogs._ Occasionally trouble may be experienced from dogs. If these
animals get into the yards with the breeders or the fattening ducks,
they may kill a good many and in addition will seriously injure the rest
by chasing them and by the fright which the ducks are given.


Commercial Duck Farming--Incubation

The Pekin duck is essentially a non-broody breed. It, therefore, becomes
necessary to resort to incubators for the purpose of hatching the eggs.
Occasional ducks will sit if allowed to do so but it is not the practice
on commercial duck farms to allow them to sit and hatch their young. No
special means are taken to break them of broodiness other than not to
allow them eggs to sit on.

_Kinds of Incubators Used._ Both the smaller kerosene lamp heated
incubators and the large or mammoth hot water heated incubators are used
for hatching duck eggs. At the present time the mammoth hot water
machines are those which are in principal use due largely to the
lessened labor required to operate them.

_Incubator Cellar._ It is necessary to provide some room in which the
incubators can be installed and operated. This may take the form of a
cellar, or the incubators may be operated in rooms above the ground.
Many of the incubator cellars on duck farms are only partially under
ground and not a few of them are built entirely out of ground. The
particular size and shape of the cellar or incubator room will, of
course, depend upon the number of incubators to be installed and upon
their make and shape. Usually these buildings are constructed with
rather thick walls so that the temperature of the room will fluctuate
less with changes in outside temperature. Provision is also necessary by
means of windows or other ventilating devices to provide for good
ventilation in the room. The cellars are usually constructed with cement
floors as moisture is used freely and wooden floors would rot out

_Incubator Capacity Required._ The aim on commercial duck farms is to
hatch all of the eggs produced which are suitable for the purpose.
Practically no eggs are sold except the cracked eggs or those which
would not give good results in the incubator such as too large or too
small eggs. Occasionally, of course, there will be sales of duck eggs in
comparatively large lots for incubation purposes where someone is
starting a duck farm. Occasionally also duck farmers buy from each other
a few eggs for incubation in order to secure new blood. On the whole,
however, practically all of the eggs laid are incubated and it is
necessary to have an incubator capacity sufficient to take care of the
eggs as they are produced during the flush season.

Since the egg production at this time will run around about 80% and
since the period of incubation is 28 days and a couple more days must be
allowed to take the ducklings out of the machines and to clean up the
machines, it is necessary to figure on 30 days between hatches. To take
care of the flush production at this time there would be required an
incubator capacity of from 20 to 25 eggs per head of breeding ducks. The
latter figure is a safer estimate than the former. Of course, eggs
sufficient to fill the entire incubator capacity are not put in the
machines at any one time but different lots are put in as soon as a
sufficient number is obtained to make it worth while. There will be,
therefore, eggs in various stages of incubation in different sections of
the machines at the same time. While Pekin duck eggs will run about ½
heavier in weight than hens' eggs they do not take up a proportionately
greater amount of space in the incubator. An incubator tray will
accommodate about 5/6 as many Pekin duck eggs as it will hens' eggs.

_Age of Hatching Eggs._ Duck eggs should be set as often as enough are
secured to fill one or more trays in the incubator or enough to produce
a sufficient number of ducklings to utilize brooding space to advantage.
Since duck eggs deteriorate more rapidly than hens' eggs they cannot be
kept so long before they are set. It is best not to save them for longer
than one week. During the season of flush production it is not, of
course, necessary to save them that long since enough eggs will be
secured to set each day if desired. The usual practice at this time is
to set twice a week. During the early part of the season when the
production of eggs is low and the temperature cool the eggs are often
saved for as long a period as two weeks without noticeably bad results.

_Care of Hatching Eggs._ Eggs for hatching should be kept in a cool
place. Any place suitable for keeping hens' eggs for hatching is a
suitable place for duck eggs. The temperature should be from 50° to 70°
Fahrenheit. Where the eggs are not kept longer than one week, it is not
necessary to turn them, especially if they are kept on end. If kept
longer than this it is safer to turn them once a day or once in two
days, handling them carefully so as not to crack any or to injure their
hatching qualities.

_Selecting the Eggs for Hatching._ Medium sized eggs are preferred for
this purpose. Therefore, the extremely large eggs and the very small
ones are thrown out. Rough shelled eggs or eggs with crooked or deformed
shells are likewise thrown out since they are not likely to hatch well.
Eggs that are badly soiled so that they cannot be tested easily are
washed but the clean eggs are not. All the eggs intended for incubation
purposes are sounded by striking them gently against one another in
order to detect and remove the cracked eggs. No selection is made on the
basis of color. The eggs may be white, creamy white or a blue, or bluish
green in color. At the present time a considerably less proportion of
the eggs show a blue tint than formerly. As the egg laying season
advances the eggs laid by the ducks tend to get a little larger.

_Temperature._ Up to the time of testing, that is, about the fifth day,
the incubator is run at a temperature of from 101 to 102 degrees. After
the fifth day the temperature is kept as near 103 as possible. The most
sensitive period for a duck egg is during the first 3 or 4 days of
incubation. If they are allowed to get too warm during this time the
germ may be killed while if the temperature is too low, development will
be retarded.

_Position of the Thermometer._ In figuring on the proper temperature at
which to run the incubator, the thermometer should be so placed that the
bulb is on a level with the top of the eggs, preferably touching a
fertile egg. If the thermometer bulb rests on an infertile egg the
temperature recorded will be lower than the actual temperature of
fertile eggs in the later stages of incubation, due to the animal heat
of the developing embryos, with the result that the machine would be
operated at too high a temperature.

_Testing._ It is common practice to make only one complete test. This is
done on the evening of the fifth day. Testing may be done by means of an
ordinary candling device such as is used with hens' eggs, each egg being
examined separately. To save time a piece of apparatus may be used which
is simple in construction and which simplifies the process of candling
considerably. This may be termed a testing table. It consists of a
table the same width as an incubator tray and longer than the tray. In
the table there is an opening the size of a row of eggs and beneath this
are placed several electric light bulbs with reflectors back of them so
as to throw the light up through the eggs. By sliding the tray along the
table each row of eggs is brought over the lights and their condition
can be quickly noted. At this test all the infertile eggs are taken out
as well as any eggs in which the germs have died. The infertile eggs
after a careful retest are then packed in cases and sent to market where
they are usually sold to bakers as tested eggs. While no second test is
made of the eggs left in the machines the experienced incubator operator
is constantly on the watch for and is constantly removing any eggs which
die at a later time. To the experienced eye the color of the egg
indicates that it has died as it takes on a sort of pinkish or darkish
tint. Duck eggs after they die will spoil very quickly and must be
removed promptly as the odor which they throw off is very strong and
will prove harmful to the other eggs. The inexperienced operator can
readily locate dead eggs by smelling over the tray.

[Illustration: FIG. 21. Interior of house for breeding ducks. Notice the
heavy bedding and the feeding track. (_Photograph from the Bureau of
Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 22. Incubator cellar on large duck plant. Trays of
eggs set out to turn and cool. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal
Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Turning the Eggs._ The eggs are neither turned, cooled nor otherwise
disturbed after they are put in the incubator until after they are
tested on the fifth day. From this time on they are turned twice a day,
morning and night, until they begin to pip.

_Cooling the Eggs._ There is a considerable difference in the practice
of incubator operators with regard to cooling. No cooling should be done
until after the first test. After this some incubator men cool the eggs
by dropping the doors of the machine. Others take the trays of eggs out
and put them on top of the machine. Cooling is usually done once a day.
The amount of cooling which the eggs require seems to vary greatly and
here again the judgment of the operator comes into play. About the best
general rule which can be given is that the eggs should be cooled until
they do not feel warm to the face but they should never be cooled to the
extent that they feel cold to the face or hands. The length of time to
bring this about varies with the age of the eggs and the temperature of
the room.

_Moisture._ A good deal of moisture is used in incubating duck eggs. It
is usual to begin to spray the eggs with water the next day after
testing. However, this may vary anywhere from the sixth to the tenth
day. They are sprayed quite thoroughly, some men using water enough so
that it runs out of the bottom of the machine. No particular care is
taken to see that the water used is warm. Ordinary water just as it
comes from the pipes is commonly used and is applied by means of a spray
nozzle attached to a hose. However, extremely cold water should not be
used for this purpose. This spraying is done once or twice a day as the
operator may think necessary until the eggs begin to hatch. In many
cases even then if the ducklings seem to be drying too fast after they
come out of the shell, or to be having difficulty to get out it is well
to open the machines and wet the eggs down thoroughly.

_Fertility._ The fertility varies with the season that is, with the
weather. At the beginning of the laying season when the weather is cold
the fertility usually runs rather low. This is likewise true at the end
of the laying season when the heat of summer sets in. During the
interval between these two times of low fertility there will usually be
one or more periods during which the fertility will go down and then
come back again. This seems to occur even though the weather remains
about the same and though there is no change in the method of feeding.
Fertility may be considered to be good when it runs about 85%. When the
fertility is running poor the hatching of the eggs left in the machines
after testing will usually be poor also.

_Hatching._ It takes longer as a rule from the time that the ducklings
pip the eggs until they hatch than it does with chicks. To retain the
moisture which is so necessary during hatching, the machines are usually
shut tightly and are not opened until the hatching is pretty well
completed unless it becomes necessary to add more moisture as indicated
above. The little ducklings should be left in the incubator until the
hatching is over and they are thoroughly dried off. As soon as the
hatching is completed, the ventilators in the machines are opened to
hasten the drying process. If the ducklings open their bills and pant
it is an indication that they are not getting enough ventilation and
this should be supplied by fastening the machine door open a little way.
If the ducks are not ready to be taken out of the machines by noon or
soon after, it is best to leave them until the next morning before
removing them to the brooder house. In the meantime, however, the old
eggs and shells and other refuse should be taken out. Usually the hatch
is completed in time so that the ducklings can be removed to the brooder
house on the afternoon of the 28th day. As a rule the earlier the hatch
is completed the better are the ducklings.

Figures secured on results in hatching for the entire season on Long
Island duck farms indicate that as a whole the duck raisers will not
average much over 40% hatch of all eggs set. Some hatches may run as
high as 60% or even more and in some seasons the average percentage will
run higher than 40. Some especially skilled operators may also secure
considerably better average results than this. It is quite a common
practice on the part of duck farmers to pay their incubator man a bonus
on all ducklings over 40% hatched during the season. This bonus may
range anywhere from $1 to $5 per thousand ducklings. Such an arrangement
serves to give the incubator man a greater incentive to give the
machines good attention and to secure just the best results of which he
is capable.

_Selling Baby Ducks._ Within the last two or three years there has
sprung into existence a small but increasing trade in baby ducks. They
are handled and shipped about the same as baby chicks. Baby ducks are
ready for shipment as soon as they are thoroughly dry, usually about 12
hours after the hatch starts to come off. They are neither fed nor
watered before shipment and are packed in cardboard boxes used in
shipping baby chicks. As a rule the shipping boxes will accommodate
about half the number of ducklings that they will chicks. Of course the
outside temperature very largely governs the matter of the number to a
compartment. In warm summer weather, a two compartment box intended for
50 chicks will accommodate 26 ducklings if well ventilated at the sides
and top. They are shipped by parcel post and can be sent anywhere within
a radius of one thousand miles if the trip does not require more than 36
hours. For best results the ducklings should not be allowed to go much
beyond this length of time before they are fed. On receipt they should
be placed immediately in a brooder already prepared for them.


Commercial Duck Farming--Brooding and Rearing the Young Stock

Young ducks are easier to brood than chicks. They seem to learn more
quickly where the source of heat is and they are less likely to cause
trouble from crowding. They are also less subject to disease.

_Removing the Newly Hatched Ducklings to the Brooder House._ The
ducklings should be left in the incubator until they are thoroughly
dried off. Usually they will be dried so that they can be moved on the
afternoon of the 28th day of incubation. If, however, they are not ready
early in the afternoon it is best to leave them in the machine until the
next morning. In moving the ducklings, place them in boxes, baskets or
other suitable carriers and cover them with burlap or cloth to avoid any
danger of the ducklings becoming chilled.

_Brooder Houses Repaired._ There are many different types and styles of
brooder houses which are used with success. For this reason only one
type of each class of brooder house needed is described in detail. These
particular houses have been in successful use for a considerable period
of time and are given because they embody all the necessary requisites
for such houses and at the same time utilize the space to good advantage
and are economical in construction.

In general there are required three different brooder houses. The first
of these requires sufficient heating capacity so that the temperature of
the house itself can be maintained at 65 to 70 degrees even in the cold
weather of winter or early spring. In addition, hovers are required in
this house under which a temperature can be maintained from 80 to 90
degrees. For convenience this house will be spoken of as brooder house
No. 1. A second brooder house which can be called brooder house No. 2
will be required which is equipped with heating apparatus so that the
temperature can be run up to 60 degrees when required. The third brooder
house known as brooder house No. 3 is a cold brooder house or one
without artificial heat. It furnishes shelter for the young ducks where
they can be driven in at night and during the day in cold weather. As
the ducklings pass out of the brooder house No. 3 they are housed in
sheds or shelters with yards which usually extend into the water but
which may not do so in all cases.

Brooder House No. 1

The length of this house determines its capacity, the required amount of
which will depend upon the output of any particular plant. There should
be brooder capacity in this house sufficient to care for approximately
¼ of the total output for the year at one time.

_Construction of House._ A suitable house which has been in practical
use for some time consists of one 20 feet wide and running east and west
with windows in the south or front side. If the location were right such
a house could be run north and south to good advantage and should then
have windows on each side so as to let in the sunlight from both
directions. The front wall of this house is 7 feet high, the back wall 4
feet. The ridge of the house is about 2 feet in front of the center, the
front slope of the roof having an eight inch pitch while the back slope
has a 6 inch pitch. The roof rafters are 2 × 4's placed every two feet.
The studs and plates are likewise 2 × 4. The walls are made of matched
material. The roof is constructed of 1 × 2 inch strips placed every 4
inches and these covered with shingles. Tie beams every 8 feet extend
from front to rear plates. This particular brooder house is not ceiled
but a good tight ceiling 8 feet above the walk or runway would make it
easier to keep the house clean and would also render it somewhat easier
in cold weather to maintain the temperature desired. The house is built
on a concrete wall or foundation and a dirt floor is used but the dirt
must be filled in well above the level of the ground outside so that
there is no danger of water coming into the house or the floors becoming
damp or sloppy. Windows are placed in the front wall, one to each pen.
In every other pen there is a small door in the back of the house to
facilitate cleaning out the pens. A window can be substituted for this
door to good advantage as it makes the house lighter.

[Illustration: FIG. 23. Interior of No. 1 brooder house showing walk and
hover combined in the middle of the house and pens on each side.
(_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_Heating Apparatus._ Heat is furnished by means of a coal burning stove
which heats water and causes it to circulate through pipes run the
length of the house. The heater must always be placed in the windward
end of the building as otherwise it is hard to get the heat down to the
other end as the wind tends to drive it back. The hot water pipes are
carried down the center of the house and the return pipes are located in
the same place. A low partition is run lengthwise of the house dividing
the pipes and thus forming double pens, half extending from the center
to the front and half from the center to the rear of the house. The
pipes and the partition between them is covered over with boards making
a 4 foot walk or runway directly over the pipes, which comes into most
convenient use as a place to convey, by means of a wheelbarrow, feed or
other material needed in the house, and as a convenient place from which
to care for the ducklings in the pens on each side. This board covering
over the pipes also serves to hold the heat and thus forms hovers.

It is advisable to partition off the first third of the house, that is,
the portion in which the heater is located, with a solid partition. Then
by having suitable valves in the pipes, the heat can be cut off from
the rest of the house and only the smaller partitioned off end used as a
separate and independent section of the brooder. This is especially
useful when only a small number of ducklings are being hatched early in
the spring when the weather is cold and it may be difficult to heat the
whole building properly. It is also economical in fuel under such

If, on the other hand, the number of ducklings hatched during the cold
weather is so large that all or nearly all of the house capacity is
needed to care for them, it will usually pay to install an additional
heater, the pipes from which can be run along the rear wall of the
building, in order to keep up a proper house temperature when the
weather is severe.

_Pens._ Having the hovers in the center of the house, makes it possible
to have double sets of pens, one running from the center to the front
wall and the other from the center to the rear wall. The pens are
divided off by means of partitions made of one foot boards. These are
high enough to confine the ducklings to their own pen and at the same
time are easy to step over. In a house of this width, 20 feet, with 4
feet in the center taken up by the double hovers or walk, each pen is 8
feet long in the clear or 10 feet to the partition under the hover. The
pens in the first third of the house are made 5 feet wide, in the next
third 6 feet and in the last third 7 feet wide. When the ducklings are
first brought from the incubator cellar they are placed in the pens
nearest the heater as the temperature will run somewhat higher there
than in the portions of the house more remote from the heater. These 5 ×
10 foot pens will accommodate 125 baby ducklings although better results
will be obtained by placing only 100 in a pen if sufficient room is
available. Some duck growers use boards which can be slipped into slots
made of cleats nailed to the pen partitions at different distances from
the hover and which serve to confine the baby ducklings close to the
hover for the first few days or until they learn to go under the hover
to get warm.

As additional ducklings are hatched later and brought to the brooder
house, the ducklings already there are moved along the necessary number
of pens in order to accommodate the new-comers in the pens nearest the
heater. For this purpose, a small door is made in each partition next
the outside wall of the house through which the ducklings can be driven.
A broom is a handy implement to use in driving the ducklings as they can
be pushed along in front of it. It is best to drive the ducklings just
after they have been fed as they are not so nervous and afraid at that

The increased width of the pens in the second and third portions of the
house is for the purpose of taking care of the growth of the ducklings
as they are moved along the house. Pens of the same width as those in
which they were started become too crowded as the ducklings increase in

_Equipment of the Pen._ The equipment of the pens is quite simple. Water
is piped through the house along both walls so that it is available to
each pen. A spigot is provided in each pen and under this is placed the
drinking dish, which consists of a round metal pan about a foot in
diameter and 3 or 4 inches deep. A square pan should never be used as
the ducklings are apt to get their bills caught in the corners. One
quarter inch mesh wire netting is bent in a circle and placed in the
drinking dish as a guard to keep the ducklings from getting into the
pan. This guard should be made of such size that there is a space
between the wire and the edge of the dish of about 1½ inches all around.
This guard should be about 8 inches high. The water pan itself is set
upon a wire covered frame about 18 inches square under which is dug a
pit 4 or 5 inches deep to drain away any water which the ducklings slop
out of the pan. Such an arrangement keeps the pens from becoming sloppy
and damp.

Each pen must also have a flat metal dish on which to place the feed for
the little ducks. Metal pans are better than wooden feeding trays as
they are easier to keep clean.

In each pen is provided a small hopper filled with fine sharp creek sand
to which the ducklings have access at all times. Some duck growers
prefer to mix the sand in the feed rather than to provide it in hoppers.
After the ducklings are allowed to run in the yards, sand need not be
furnished if the yards are sand as the ducklings will help
themselves. If the land in the yards is not sand, however, it is
necessary to continue to furnish this material.

[Illustration: FIG. 24. Watering arrangement in the brooder pens for
young ducklings. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 25. Another type of No. 1 brooder house. Here the
hovers are along the back of the house and the work is done from an
alleyway along the front. The box with handles on top of the hover is
used in carrying the newly hatched ducklings from the incubator cellar
to the brooder house. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry,
U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Grading and Sorting the Ducklings._ As the ducklings are moved from pen
to pen through this house as well as the other houses, they are
constantly graded for size and thriftiness, the smaller, less thrifty
individuals being left with younger lots. Some ducklings do not grow as
quickly as others, and these if left with ducklings larger than
themselves will not get their share of the feed and will not do as well.
In this connection it should be noted that when young ducks are not
fairly clean it is a good indication that they are not doing as well as
they should.

_Cleaning and Bedding the Pens._ Careful attention must be given to
keeping the pens and the ducklings themselves clean if they are to do
well. Therefore the pens must be cleaned out as often as may be
necessary to accomplish this purpose. The judgment of the brooder man
must decide how often this is necessary but it will be at least once a
week. When cleaning the pens the old bedding is thrown out from the
front pens through the windows and from the back pens through the door
provided in the rear wall for this purpose. Bedding the pens must be
done more frequently, usually about every other day. Fresh bedding will
help to absorb the droppings and will keep the pens from becoming sloppy
or sticky. For bedding, straw, meadow hay, swale hay or any other
suitable material available should be utilized.

_Ventilation._ Plenty of ventilation is required in the brooder house in
order to take out the ammonia odor which arises from the droppings.
Properly managed, the doors and windows provide sufficient means of
ventilation but some duck growers prefer to have roof ventilators in

_Other Types of Brooder Houses._ Many other types of brooder houses are
used, some of them being shed roof construction and many of them being
built narrower than this house, that is to say, 14, 16 or 18 feet wide
with an alleyway along the front or rear side of the house from which
the work is done. The hovers are placed at the back of the pens when the
alley-way is in the front, otherwise, they are placed next to the
alley-way. The disadvantages of these houses are that only single pens
are provided and that valuable brooding space is used up by the
alley-way. The advantages of the house described above lie in the fact
that the hovers are in the center of the house with the pens on each
side of this, thus doubling the capacity, and that by making use of a
walk over the hover pipe no room is wasted in an alley-way. Having pens
on each side also lessens the labor of taking care of the ducklings to
some extent as the arrangement is more compact.

Length of Time in Brooder

_In House No. 1._ As a rule the ducklings are kept in the No. 1 house
until they are from 2 to 3 weeks old, this of course depending somewhat
upon the time of year and the weather and also upon the number of
ducklings for which accommodations must be provided at any particular
time. As the ducks are moved down through the house and eventually reach
the last pens they are taken from this house and placed in brooder house
No. 2.

_Brooder House No. 2._ This is a heated house like brooder house No. 1
but in which it is not necessary to maintain so high a temperature.
Sufficient heating apparatus should be installed to make it possible to
maintain the temperature at 60 degrees if this becomes necessary in the
early spring.

The particular brooder house described is 14 feet wide and has a shed
roof. It is provided with a window in the front of each pen. No openings
are required along the back since this is not a double pen house. The
space in such a house could undoubtedly be used to better advantage if
it were constructed as wide as the No. 1 house and the hot water pipes
and walk put through the middle of the house so as to provide double
pens. In this house the hot water pipes are run along the rear of the
pens, and while hovers are not really necessary, a walk is constructed
over the pipes in order to save space and provide a convenient place
from which to do the work, and this forms hovers.

Ordinarily after May 1 no heat is needed in the No. 2 house. The pens in
this house are 12 feet wide and they are equipped with feeding and
watering arrangements as in brooder house No. 1. As the ducklings are
moved to this house from the No. 1 house from 150 to 200 are placed in
each pen. They are moved through the house from pen to pen in the same
manner as in the No. 1 house to make way for new arrivals. As a rule
they stay in this house about two weeks depending somewhat on the
weather and upon the number of ducklings being brooded. Yards are used
in connection with this house which are the same width as the pens and
50 feet in length. As in the No. 1 house the pens in this house should
be cleaned at least once a week and they should be bedded with straw or
other bedding material every other day. As soon as the ducks have been
moved through this No. 2 house they are put in brooder house No. 3.

[Illustration: FIG. 26. Brooder house No. 2 and yards. The trees furnish
fine shade for the growing ducklings. (_Photograph from the Bureau of
Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

Brooder House No. 3

This is a shed roof house 16 feet wide equipped with single pens. No
heat is required in this house. Yards of the same width as the pens and
50 feet deep are used. Usually the ducks are fed outside the house from
a wagon driven along a roadway just in front of the yards.

The pens are 16 feet wide and the same number of ducks is used in them
as in the No. 2 house. As a rule the ducks stay in this house about 2
weeks and are then moved to the duck pens or shelters with the larger
yards which may or may not have water. From this point on the ducks are
termed yard ducks.

In all three of the brooder houses the young ducks are supplied with
their drinking water from pipes through the houses. They are not given
access to water until they are moved to the yards.

[Illustration: FIG. 27. Brooder house No. 3. At the time this picture
was taken there were no ducklings in the house and advantage was taken
of this fact to give it a good cleaning by throwing out the bedding and
droppings, which will be hauled away and spread on cropped land.
(_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

[Illustration: FIG. 28. Long brooder house and yards with feeding track.
(_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

[Illustration: FIG. 29. Upper--Pekin ducklings 3 days old. Lower--Pekin
ducklings 2 weeks old. Duck egg used for size comparison. (_Photographs
from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 30. Upper--Pekin ducklings 3 weeks old. Lower--Pekin
ducklings 6 weeks old. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry,
U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 31. Interior of a cold brooder house. The low
partitions can easily be stepped over. (_Photograph from the Bureau of
Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

Yard Accommodations for Ducklings

As the ducklings get to be 8 weeks old they can stand ordinary weather
conditions and it is not absolutely necessary to have houses for them.
However, it is common and good practice to provide shelter where they
can be housed at night and can take refuge from storms. A suitable house
for this purpose consists of a building 16 × 24 feet divided into two
parts with 200 ducklings to a side. This house is 5 feet high in front
and 3½ feet in back. It is set on posts with a baseboard around it to
make it tight. It can be constructed of matched stuff or unmatched stuff
covered with paper. The front is left open but curtains are placed on
the front which can be used to close the openings so as to keep out the
snow. These are used only in the winter. When the ducklings are first
started in these sheds they are shut in when desired by means of wire
panels fitted into the lower part of the open front. The ducklings are
left in these yards and fed there until they are ready for market.

[Illustration: FIG. 32. Eat, drink and grow fat for tomorrow they die.
Fattening or yard ducks with fattening house or shelter used.
(_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_Shade._ Shade is important for the ducklings as soon as the sun gets
hot. Exposure to the sun without shade will cause quite a heavy loss in
ducklings. If natural shade is not furnished by trees, some artificial
means must be adopted to supply the shade. This may take the form of
shelters or low frames covered with boards, brush or burlap.

_Feeding._ The first feed and water is given as soon as the ducks are
placed in the No. 1 brooder house or when 24 to 36 hours old. They are
fed 3 times a day, in the morning about 6 a. m., at noon, and at night
about 4:30 or 5 o'clock. The time of feeding should be regular, and
fairly early in the morning but not any earlier in the afternoon than
one can help so that the time between the evening and the morning feed
will not be too long. Some growers prefer to feed 4 or 5 times daily for
the first week or two. The birds are fed as much as they will clean up
at each feeding and if any feed is left it should be gathered up so that
it will not sour and cause digestive troubles.

The first feed consists of the following:--One measure corn meal, one
measure bran, one measure ground crackers, stale bread or shredded wheat
waste, one measure in 10 of beef scrap or fish, one measure in 6 of
creek grass or other very fine green stuff. Green rye or oats should
never be used for this purpose after it becomes jointed. If the feed is
mixed up with cold water about ½ measure of low-grade wheat flour should
be used to cause it to stick together. If hot water is used in the
mixing this is not needed.

Sand must be fed either by mixing it in to the extent of about 3% of the
ration or the sand can be fed separately in hoppers as previously
described. This same mixture may be fed in the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3
brooder houses, or in other words, until ducklings go to the yards, or
ration No. 2 given below may be substituted either at the start or after
a week or ten days. After the ducklings go to the yards the following
fattening ration is used: 200 pounds corn meal, 100 pounds low-grade
flour, 100 pounds bran, 1 part in 10 of beef scrap and 2 tubs or bushels
of green stuff. Some duck growers prefer to feed 300 pounds of corn meal
instead of 200 pounds. This ration like the other is fed 3 times a day.
Of course, there are many different rations in use with good results,
every grower having more or less personal preferences in this matter. A
proper proportion of animal feed, consisting of beef scrap or fish is
very important as the ducklings will not grow and make normal gains if
this is omitted or reduced in amount.

Much has been written about the feeding of celery seed to fattening
ducklings for the purpose of improving the flavor of the flesh and
formerly ducklings were advertised and sold as "celery-fed". As a matter
of fact, the amount of celery seed fed was small and it is questionable
how much influence it had on the flavor of the birds. At the present
time, celery seed is not used in fattening the ducklings on most of the
large duck farms of Long Island.

A comparison of gains made by ducklings on two different rations is
shown in the following table. Ration No. 1 consists of the fattening
ration given above. Ration No. 2 consists of 100 pounds bran, 100 pounds
corn meal, 50 pounds rolled oats, 50 pounds gluten feed, 10% beef scrap.
The ducks used were three days old at the first weighing and there were
27 in each lot. After the second weighing the number in each lot was
reduced to 24 ducks.

                    Feed No. 1                    Feed No. 2
              Total Weight  Average Weight  Total Weight  Average Wt
August 14         4¾ lbs.        0.176         4¾    lbs.    0.176
August 21        10   "          0.37          9½     "      0.352
August 28        16½  "          0.687        17½     "      0.729
September 5      25   "          1.041        27      "      1.125
September 13     44½  "          1.854        48½     "      2.02
September 19     50   "          2.083        56½     "      2.354
September 27     64   "          2.666        67      "      2.62
October 4        78½  "          3.27         82½     "      3.437
October 11       99½  "          4.145       103½     "      4.312
October 18      115½  "          4.812       119      "      4.958
October 25      126   "          5.25        135      "      5.62

_Lights for Ducklings._ Often when the ducks are about one-third grown
or about 4 weeks old they will stampede at night at any unusual noise or
any other disturbance. In doing this, especially when they are in fairly
large lots, they surge back and forth in the pens, running over one
another with the result that their backs are torn and scratched while
not infrequently more serious injuries result and may cause cripples.
To keep them quiet it is common to use lights at night. Formerly
lanterns were used but now on most duck plants electric lights are
available for this purpose. For a house 140 feet long, six 15-watt
lights scattered at equal intervals will be sufficient, and these can be
used in like proportion for houses of other lengths. The lights are left
on all night. Even when the ducks are half grown and may be out on the
yards it is still necessary to use lights on stormy nights so that they
will stay in and keep quiet and not get drowned in the rain. With a 16 ×
24 foot house such as described previously, a single 25 watt light is
sufficient. Ducklings are especially likely to be stampeded during
thunderstorms and if a storm is coming up it is well to turn on the
lights and to shut the ducklings in their shelters when they are first
placed in the yards. One should not carry a lantern when moving among
the ducklings at night as this will cause moving shadows which are very
likely to frighten and stampede the birds.

[Illustration: FIG. 33. Another type of duck shed used on Long Island.
(_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

[Illustration: FIG. 34. Convenient feeding arrangements. At the right of
the feeding track runs a water pipe with spigots and pans at frequent
intervals. At the left are the feeding trays. (_Photograph from the
Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Pounds of Feed to Produce a Pound of Market Duck._ It is stated by long
established duck growers that from 5 to 7 pounds of feed is required,
this including the feed given to the breeding ducks for the season, to
produce a pound of market duck.

_Water for Young Ducks._ Drinking water is provided to the ducklings
while in the brooder houses by means of a piped supply. The drinking
pans are filled at each feeding time but at no other time. Water is not
left before them continuously while they are in the brooder houses as
they would be working in it all the time and this would keep them dirty
and make the house sloppy. After they are put out on the yards they may
or may not be provided with water in which they can swim. Most duck
growers on Long Island allow them to have access to water. While it is
undoubtedly true that swimming in the water induces them to take more
exercise and thus tends to reduce somewhat the rapidity of fattening, at
the same time it lessens the labor very materially as they do not need
to be provided with a supply of drinking water other than the water in
which they swim. Ducklings can be grown very successfully with only a
limited amount of water, that is, only enough to drink and in which to
wash themselves.

_Age and Weight When Ready for Market._ Ducklings are usually marketed
when they are 10 to 12 weeks old. A partial moult on the neck and breast
occurs about this time giving them a somewhat rough look. This indicates
that they are in proper condition to kill. If killing is not done within
a week after this moult starts they will begin to lose flesh and it will
be some time before they will fatten again. Ducks when ready to ship
will average from 5 to 6 pounds. A majority will weigh nearer 5 than 6
pounds. A pen of fattened ducks is driven up to the killing house and
into a pen where each one is caught up and examined to see if it is in
good condition. If the duck has a good smooth breast so that the
breastbone is not felt when handled and is well fleshed on the back it
is ready to kill. If it is not in this condition it is thrown out and
these thin ducks are returned to the yards for further fattening or are
utilized for shipping alive. Thin ducks are generally used for live
shipments as they will not shrink as much as well fattened ducks.

[Illustration: FIG. 35. An important part of rations for ducks. Green
feed ready to be cut up into short lengths suitable for mixing in the
feed. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department
of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 36. Feeding fattening or yard ducks from the feeding
track. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department
of Agriculture._)]

_Cripples._ There will always be found in the flocks more or less
crippled ducks and those with crooked backs, twisted wings, etc. As a
rule ducks with twisted wings fatten well and are in good condition and
can be killed about as soon as any of the others. The crippled ducks are
sorted out into a lot by themselves where they are held until they can
be put into condition to market. It is doubtful whether it pays the duck
growers to bother with these ducks since they are rather difficult to
condition and it would probably pay better to kill them. However, it is
quite common practice to carry them until they can be marketed.

_Cleaning the Yards._ The yards must be cleaned whenever they need it.
It is a matter of judgment to decide when this is necessary but they
must be cleaned whenever they get sticky or sloppy. The weather will
have a considerable influence upon the frequency of cleaning which may
be necessary once in two weeks, or in the yards of brooder houses Nos. 2
and 3 may run as often as once a week. In dry weather the yards are
cleaned by sweeping up the droppings and carting them away. In wet
weather the ducks in running about over the yard pack down the droppings
until they form a sort of putty-like layer which has to be scraped off
with a hoe.

_Critical Period with Young Ducks._ The critical period with young ducks
is the first week of their existence. With good management after they
have passed this point not many are lost. The loss in young ducks from
the time they are hatched until they are ready for market will range all
the way from 5 to 30%. When the loss does not average more than 10% for
the season this is considered good. Undoubtedly many duck raisers lose a
greater percent than 10.

[Illustration: FIG. 37. Yard ducks at rest. (_Photograph from the Bureau
of Animal Industry. U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 38. On this plant, the lay of the land was such that
not all of the yards could be run down to the stream. So a shallow canal
was dug from the stream through the yards which were without natural
water frontage. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

Disease Prevention

Trouble from disease in young ducks is not severe although there is a
greater loss from this source than in the case of mature ducks. The aim
of the grower should be to use such methods of management and feeding as
will keep the ducklings in good health and reduce the losses to a
minimum. To accomplish this care must be taken to see that the brooding
temperatures are correct, that the feed used contains what the ducklings
need, that they are not overfed and that the house and yards are clean
and dry and the feed and water dishes are clean. Remember that green
feed and animal feed are essential ingredients in the ration.

_Gapes or Pneumonia._ One of the principal troubles is a disease which
is called "pneumonia" by some duck raisers and by others "gapes". It is
not the same disease which is called gapes in chickens. In fact, it is a
form of cold which approaches pneumonia. The little ducks stretch their
necks up and breathe hard and usually die within a comparatively short
time. This disease may affect either the baby ducks or ducks which are
old enough to kill. All that can be done is to make sure that the
housing and brooding conditions are such as to correct the trouble which
causes the colds.

_Fits._ In addition, the little ducks for the first 3 or 4 days may be
more or less subject to a disease which is called "fits" by some duck
growers. With this disease they simply keel over and soon die. It is
probably a digestive difficulty of some sort. The feeding of plenty of
green stuff or the turning of the ducks out on grass will usually stop
this trouble.

_Diarrhoea._ This is a fairly common trouble. It may be due to improper
feeding, or to too high or low temperature in the brooder. The obvious
treatment is to remedy the cause or causes of the trouble.

_Lameness._ Not infrequently growers, particularly beginners, experience
difficulty from a fairly large proportion of their ducklings becoming
lame. This may grow worse until a considerable number of the birds will
die. This trouble may be due to a lack of animal matter and mineral
matter in the ration or may be due to digestive troubles caused by poor
rations, by over feeding, by failing to gather up feed not eaten by the
ducklings and leaving it to sour, or by lack of cleanliness of the feed
and water dishes. Where the pens are allowed to become damp and sloppy
this may also cause some lameness.

_Sore Eyes._ Occasionally duck growers complain that their ducklings
suffer from sore eyes. This may be due to a cold causing a discharge
from the eyes or may be due to the use of too sloppy feed which adheres
to the eyes and causes an irritation. Affected birds should be placed in
a separate pen from the others and the eyes should be bathed with an
antiseptic solution.

_Feather Eating or "Quilling"._ This is a bad habit which is apt to
cause more or less trouble when the ducklings are about two-thirds
grown. It is much more likely to occur when the birds are kept in
cramped quarters. It is usually started by one or a few individuals but
when the feathers are injured so that they begin to bleed, which they
will very quickly do, the vice will spread among the whole flock and
serious damage will occur. It is therefore necessary to be on the
lookout for this trouble, and as soon as detected, the birds responsible
should be removed. If the culprits are placed with older birds which are
already feathered, they will not trouble by trying to eat the feathers.
It is the blood in the growing feathers which attracts them. If the
habit has become general, it is more difficult to check. About the best
thing that can be done, is to turn them out in a roomy yard, one with a
growing green crop, if available, where they will be so busy as to stop
the feather eating of their own accord.

_Rats._--Rats are very destructive if they get into the brooder house. A
single rat has been known to kill and drag off as many as 200 ducklings
in one night. If a rat gets into the brooder house it is therefore of
the utmost importance that it be hunted down and killed without delay.
Otherwise serious losses will result.

Cooperative Feed Association

A very large proportion of the feed used on a duck plant is that which
is fed to the market ducks. By purchasing feed in considerable
quantities the duck grower is able to cut down the cost to some extent.
A number of the duck raisers on Long Island have developed this idea
further by forming a cooperative feed organization. Stock in this
concern is held both by the duck growers and by outsiders but is
controlled by the duck growers. The feed association maintains a feed
warehouse, purchases feeds in quantity and does business both with the
duck growers and with other persons in the market for feed. The
existence of a cooperative feed purchasing association of this sort not
only cuts down to some extent the cost of feed but likewise makes it
possible for the duck growers to have greater assurance of securing the
supply which is so necessary to them during the growing season.


Commercial Duck Farming--Marketing

On commercial duck farms, the business consists mainly of producing
large quickly grown ducklings which are marketed before they are mature.
Because of this immaturity, the ducks are quite commonly termed green
ducks. The business has also become so highly specialized on Long Island
and this is such a center of the industry, that the birds are commonly
quoted on the New York market as Long Island ducklings.

_Proper Age to Market._ It is important that the ducklings be marketed
as soon as they have reached the proper age and stage of development.
When the ducklings are about 10 to 12 weeks old they begin to shed their
first growth of feathers. This is apparent first on the neck and breast,
giving them somewhat of a rough appearance. The ducklings must be
marketed within one week after they begin this moult. If they are
allowed to go longer than this they will begin to get thin and as it
will take them 6 weeks or more to grow a new crop of feathers it will be
a considerable period before they get back in market condition again and
any additional weight which they may attain will not be sufficient to
pay for the feed eaten during this period.

_Weights at the Time of Marketing._ Well grown ducklings should average
in weight from 5 to 6 pounds at 10 to 12 weeks of age when they are
ready to be marketed. A majority of the ducks will weigh closer to 5
pounds than they will to 6. The vast majority of ducklings are marketed
at this age as it does not pay to keep them past the time they reach
prime market condition. On commercial duck farms practically the only
ducks which are marketed at an older age than this are the breeders
which are turned off at the end of the laying season and the ducklings
which by reason of their being crippled or less thrifty are not in
suitable market condition at this time and are held longer until they
are in good condition. The ducklings are marketed from early spring
until late fall. The time at which ducklings are first available for
market in any quantity depends upon the earliness with which the
breeders begin to lay and the end of the season depends upon how late
the breeders continue to lay at a profitable rate.

_The Last Feed for Market Ducks._ It is important in order to have the
dressed ducklings appear to the best advantage and also in order to
insure their keeping qualities as much as possible that they should have
no feed in their crops when they are killed. This means that if they are
to be killed in the morning, which is the usual practice, they should be
fed for the last time the previous night. If, however, they are not to
be killed until afternoon they can be fed lightly in the morning.

_Sorting Market Ducklings._ When a pen of ducklings which are being
fattened are deemed ready to be killed they are driven up to the killing
house and a few of them at a time driven into a small pen where it is
easy to catch and examine them. Each duck as it is caught is examined to
make sure that it is in proper market condition. The examination
consists of feeling of the duck's body to see that it has a good smooth
breast so that the breast bone cannot be readily felt. If it is in that
condition it is ready to kill. Ducks which do not show this condition
are thrown out and returned to the yards where they are fed for a longer
period unless it is desired to ship them alive.

At the proper season of the year when breeders for the next season are
to be selected, suitable birds for that purpose are picked out from the
market lots as they are examined. In any lot of ducks there will be
found some cripples. It is common practice to sort these out and group
them together in a pen by themselves where they are held until they are
in suitable condition for marketing. It is doubtful whether it pays to
hold these cripples as they are hard to get in good condition and in
many cases are probably kept and fed at a loss. Some ducklings will show
twisted wings but as a rule they are thrifty and will fatten readily and
be in good market condition.

[Illustration: FIG. 39. Awaiting slaughter. The fattened ducklings are
driven into these catching pens. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal
Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 40. Carrying the ducklings from the catching pen to
the killing place. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U.
S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Killing._ As the ducklings suitable for killing are selected, 10 or 12
of them, depending upon the capacity of the killing room, are hung up by
their feet, the head being fastened down by means of a hook or else
weighted down by means of a blood can hung from a hook inserted through
the bill. By means of a long, narrow bladed sharp knife the veins in the
throat just beyond the skull are severed so as to cause free bleeding.
The blood flows either into the blood can or into a trough above which
the birds are hung. The birds are not stuck or brained unless it is
desired to dry pick them nor are they as a rule stunned by hitting them
on the head before bleeding. In some states, however, the law requires
that all birds bled shall first be stunned in this manner. The bleeding
of the ducks causes their death and they are allowed to hang until they
are thoroughly bled out. They are then taken down, the blood washed off
of their heads and placed on a table or on the floor convenient to the
pickers, other ducks being hung in their places.

[Illustration: FIG. 41. The ducks are hung by the feet and the veins in
the neck cut from inside the mouth to cause free bleeding. (_Photograph
from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 42. After the throat veins are cut, the ducks are
allowed to hang until they are well bled out. The blood is caught in the
trough below. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 43. Ducks which have been bled, ready to have the
blood washed from their heads and mouths before they are picked.
(_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

[Illustration: FIG. 44. After they are bled and washed, the ducks are
laid in the picking room ready for the pickers. (_Photograph from the
Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Scalding._ The picker selects a duck from the table where they are
placed after being taken down and carries it to a large kettle of water
which is maintained at a temperature just below boiling. They are
thoroughly soused in this water holding them by the head and feet so as
to allow the water to penetrate into the feathers until they can be
readily plucked. The picker tests the readiness with which the feathers
come out by plucking a few from the breast or body and thus determines
whether the scalding is sufficient or whether more is required. Care is
taken not to dip the feet or head in the water as this might discolor
these parts. Practically all market ducks from Long Island are scald
picked at the present time. Dry picking which is demanded in some
markets such as Boston makes a somewhat better looking carcass and also
increases the value of the feathers, but is generally considered too
slow and too highly skilled a process for use on the average duck farm.

[Illustration: FIG. 45. Holding the head in one hand and the feet in the
other, the picker dips the duck in water heated nearly to the boiling
point and souses well to work the water into the feathers until they
pluck easily. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

_Picking._. After scalding the picker starts removing the feathers. In
doing this the duck is held either on the lap or on a board nailed to
the side of the feather box. The feathers on the breast are picked
first, then working down toward the tail, pulling the feathers with the
grain. The soft body feathers as plucked are thrown into the feather
box, the coarser feathers being thrown on the floor. The main wing and
tail feathers are left on as are likewise some of the feathers of the
neck next the head.

The most troublesome part of picking ducks is removing the down. This
may be removed to some extent by rubbing with the hand although care
must be taken not to bruise the skin severely. In some cases the down is
shaved off with a sharp knife. In some of the commercial packing houses
the duck's body is sprinkled with powdered rosin and then dipped into
the hot water. This melts the rosin so that the down and rosin can be
rubbed off easily with the hand leaving the body clean. Pin feathers
are usually removed by grasping them between the thumb and a dull knife.

In some packing houses, ducks are steamed before picking. Where this is
done they are picked clean and the wing and tail feathers are pulled
before steaming takes place. Six or eight ducks which have been bled are
hung at the same time in the top of a steam box or barrel which can be
made air-tight and the steam turned on until the soft feathers of the
breast come off easily. The length of time to steam depends on the
temperature of the steam itself and varies from one-half to 2 minutes.
In some cases the ducks are hung in a steam box with the heads outside
so as to prevent the steam from coming into contact with the heads,
possibly discoloring them.

On Long Island women are used very largely for picking and they secure
for this service 6 cents per duck. A good picker should do 75 ducks or
even more a day. The value of the feathers will slightly more than pay
for the cost of picking.

Picking usually begins early in the morning about 6 o'clock and is
generally finished by noon or soon after. Most duck raisers figure on
doing their killing and picking during the first half of the week and do
not like to kill if they can help it during the latter days of the week.

[Illustration: FIG. 46. Picking the ducks. (_Photograph from the Bureau
of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Dry Picking._ Where the market requires it, the ducks must be dry
picked. In doing this the procedure is the same as in dry picking
chickens. After the cut is made to bleed the ducks, the point of the
knife is plunged through the roof of the mouth until it reaches the
brain when it is turned to cause a paralysis of the muscles which
enables the feathers to be plucked more easily. The duck is then struck
on the back of the head with a club to stun it and make it easier to
handle when picking. The picker seats himself by the feather box, with
the duck on his lap, holding the head pressed against the outside of the
box and held there by the picker's leg. He then proceeds immediately and
as quickly as possible to pluck the feathers. It is necessary to
accomplish this without delay, for the feathers soon set and are then
much harder to pluck and are more likely to result in tears in the skin.
When removing the down, the hand is moistened when much of the down can
be rubbed off. Pin feathers are removed by grasping them between the
thumb and the edge of a dull knife and any which cannot be gotten in
this way are shaved off with a sharp knife. After picking, the carcasses
are cooled in cold water the same as the scalded birds.

_Cooling._ After the birds are plucked they are thrown into cold water
and are left there for several hours or until the body heat is entirely
removed. It is most important that this be thoroughly accomplished for
if any body heat is left in the carcasses they are almost sure to become
green-struck when packed. The length of time that they must be left
in the water depends upon the weather conditions. If the weather is warm
so that the water is not very cool it is necessary to add ice in order
to hasten the cooling and to accomplish it thoroughly. Cooling in water
also serves to plump the carcasses somewhat.

_Packing._ After the ducks are thoroughly cooled they are removed from
the water and packed. Long Island ducklings are usually packed in
barrels. Forty-five ducks will pack in a sugar barrel and 33 in a flour
barrel. The proper number for the barrel used is placed on hanging
spring scales and weighed before being packed. The best method of
packing is to lay the ducks on their sides. If they are packed on their
backs or bellies, the ice used between the layers is apt to cause a
cutting or bruising of the soft abdomens and injure the appearance of
the carcasses. Between each layer of ducks a scoopful of cracked ice is
used although in cool weather it may only be necessary to use half a
scoop of ice. After the barrel is packed it should be allowed to stand
for a while to settle. Then the top of the barrel is piled up with
cracked ice and covered with burlap. On the side of the barrel is marked
the number of ducks and their weight. Later a card is tacked alongside
of this showing the consignee's and the shipper's names as well as the
number of ducks and their weight.

[Illustration: FIG. 47. Dressed duckling. The main feathers of the tail
and wings and the feathers of the neck part of the way from the head to
the body are left on. The rest of the body is picked clean. (_Photograph
from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 48. After thorough cooling a sufficient number of
ducks to fill a barrel is weighed out and packed with or without ice
depending upon the weather. (_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal
Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Shipping._ The barrels should be packed and shipped the same evening.
Shipping may be done either by express or by automobile truck. A good
many of the Long Island ducklings are now shipped into New York City by

_Cooperative Marketing Association._ The duck growers on Long Island
have formed a cooperative marketing association. This association
maintains its own house in New York City and sells practically the
entire output of Long Island ducklings, controlling probably 90%. During
the year 1919 there were in the neighborhood of 800,000 head of ducks
marketed through this house. Practically all of the capital stock of
this concern is held by the duck growers and they are not allowed to
sell any of their stock without first offering it to the association.

_Prices for Ducks._ Early in the season the ducklings bring the best
prices, that is to say from March 1 to May 1. Then as the output of
ducks increases prices gradually drop. The heaviest shipments occur in
June, July and August. In September as the output of ducks begins to
drop off the price begins to climb a little. The following prices as
quoted in the New York Produce Review show the range from March, 1920,
to June, 1921.

Long Island Ducklings--Fresh Dressed


March 31            45c per lb.
April 21            45c  "   "
  "   28            38c  "   "
May 5               35c  "   "
 " 12               35c  "   "
 " 26               35c  "   "
June 2              35c  "   "
 "   9              35c  "   "
 "   16             35c  "   "
 "   23             35c  "   "
 "   30             35c  "   "
July 7              35c  "   "
 "   14             35c  "   "
 "   21             35c  "   "
 "   28             35c  "   "
August 4            36c  "   "
  "    11           36c  "   "
  "    18           36c  "   "
  "    25           36c  "   "
September 1         36c  "   "
    "     8         37c  "   "
    "     15        37c  "   "
    "     22        38c  "   "
    "     29        38c  "   "
October 6           38c  "   "
   "    13          38c  "   "
   "    20          39c  "   "
   "    27          39c  "   "
November 3          40c  "   "


March 30            48c per  lb.
April 6             46c  "   "
  "   13            38c  "   "
  "   20            38c  "   "
  "   27            38c  "   "
May 4               35c  "   "
 " 11               32c  "   "
 " 18               28c  "   "
 " 25               28c  "   "
June 1              28c  "   "

The following quotations from the same source give the prices for frozen
Long Island ducklings.


January 7           41c per  lb.
   "    14          41c  "   "
   "    21          41c  "   "
   "    28          41c  "   "
February 4          41c  "   "
    "    11         41c  "   "
    "    18         41c  "   "
    "    25         41c  "   "
March 3             41c  "   "
  "   10            41c  "   "
  "   17            41c  "   "
November 10         40c  "   "
    "    17         40c  "   "
    "    24         40c  "   "
December 1          40c  "   "
    "    8          40c  "   "
    "    8          40c  "   "
    "    15         40c  "   "
    "    22         40c  "   "
    "    29         40c  "   "


January 5           40c per lb.
   "    12          40c  "   "
   "    19          40c  "   "
   "    26          40c  "   "
February 2          41c  "   "
   "     9          41c  "   "
   "     16         41c  "   "
   "     23         41c  "   "
March 2             41c  "   "
   "  9             41c  "   "
   "  16            41c  "   "
   "  23            41c  "   "

Quotations from the same source are given below to give some idea of the
range in price of the live Long Island spring ducklings and likewise of
live old Long Island ducks or breeders.

Long Island Spring Ducklings--Live.


March 3             50c per lb.
  "   24            50c  "   "
  "   31            55c  "   "
May 5               40c  "   "
 "  12              40c  "   "
 "  19              36 @ 40c per lb.
 "  26              40 @ 41c  "   "
June 2              40c per lb.
 "   9              36 @ 38c per lb.
 "   16             36c per lb.
 "   23             37c  "   "
 "   30             38c  "   "
July 7              38c  "   "
 "   14             38c  "   "
 "   21             40c  "   "
 "   28             40c  "   "
August 4            38c  "   "
   "   11           34 @ 36c per lb.
   "   18           38c per lb.
   "   25           38c  "   "
September 1         40c  "   "
    "     8         42 @ 45c per lb.
    "     15        45c per lb.
    "     22        45c  "   "
    "     29        40c  "   "
October 6           42c  "   "
   "    13          42c  "   "
   "    27          42c  "   "
November 3          42c  "   "
    "    10         42c  "   "
    "    17         44c  "   "
    "    24         44c  "   "
December 1          44c  "   "
"        15         42 @ 46c per lb.


March 2             55c  "   "
  "   9             55c  "   "
  "   16            52c  "   "
  "   23            50c  "   "
  "   30            55c  "   "
April 6             50c  "   "
  "   13            40c  "   "
  "   20            45c  "   "
  "   27            38 @ 42c per lb.
May 4               38c  per lb.
"   11              38c  "   "
"   18              33c  "   "
"   25              33c  "   "
June 1              32c  "   "

Long Island Old Ducks or Breeders--Live


March 17            45c per lb.
  "   31            45c  "   "
May 19              30c  "   "
"   26              35c  "   "
June 9              30 @ 32c per lb.
  "  16             32c per lb.
  "  23             32c  "   "
  "  30             35c  "   "
July 7              35c  "   "
  "  14             35c  "   "
  "  28             30c  "   "
August 4            35c  "   "
April 6             42c  "   "
  "   13            36c  "   "
  "   20            39c  "   "
  "   27            33 @ 37c per lb.
May   11            33c per lb.
  "   25            30c  "   "

_Shipping Ducks Alive_. While the great majority of ducks are shipped
dressed there is some shipment of live ducks. This is particularly true
during the Jewish holidays in March and in September and October when
the demand for live ducks and the price paid for them is excellent. As a
rule it pays better to ship alive the ducks which are inclined to be a
little thin rather than to ship those which are in top market condition.
This is due to the fact that fat ducks will shrink very considerably
when cooped and shipped alive, this shrinkage running from one-half to
three-quarters of a pound per head where they are cooped not to exceed
12 to 15 hours. The ducks which are in the fattest condition will shrink
the most. At the season of the year when live ducks are in best demand
it often pays to ship alive the ducklings which are sorted out as not
being in the best condition rather than to hold them for further

_Saving the Feathers._ The feathers from the ducks form quite an
important source of revenue to the duck farmers. As stated before the
value of the feathers will a little more than pay for the cost of
picking and since this is a considerable item of expense the grower
cannot afford to neglect the feathers. The soft body feathers are kept
separate from the coarser feathers, the latter being thrown on the floor
as they are plucked. These coarser feathers are later swept up and are
commonly spoken of as sweepings. Feathers from dry-picked ducks are
superior in quality and bring a better price but most of the duck
feathers now marketed from commercial duck farms are scalded feathers.
The feathers after each day's killing are gathered up and spread out in
a loft where they can be placed in a layer not over 3 or 4 inches deep.
This should be an airy place so as to give the feathers a good place to
dry out. On the second day they are scraped up in a pile and then spread
out again, thus turning them over and changing their position. They are
then left until they are dry enough to sack which should be in a little
over a week. Unless the feathers are thoroughly dried out they will heat
when sacked and this will seriously hurt their market quality. When dry
they are packed either in the large special feather sacks made for this
purpose or in smaller sacks, about as big as two bran sacks, which will
hold from 60 to 80 pounds of feathers. The feathers are shipped to
regular feather dealers or manufacturers.

[Illustration: FIG. 49. A valuable by-product of duck plants. The
feathers from a duck will pay for the cost of picking. (_Photograph from
the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

_Prices and Uses of Duck Feathers._ The soft body feathers and the
coarser feathers often called "sweepings" should be kept and sold
separate. While scalded feathers are not worth as much as dry picked
feathers, the former if properly dried out or cured will find a ready
sale. Feathers packed before they are thoroughly dried out, are likely
to arrive at their destination in a matted and musty or heated
condition. This, of course, injures their quality and the price paid for
them is discounted according to their condition.

The soft body feathers of ducks are used almost entirely for bedding
purposes, that is, are put in pillows and feather beds. White feathers
are preferred and usually bring a somewhat higher price.

The prices paid for the feathers vary quite widely at different times of
the year, and in different sections of the country, and also of course
with the condition of the feathers themselves. The quotations given
below represent the prices paid in June, 1921.

Duck Feathers               Cents     Per Pound
Pure white, dry picked      50         "    "
Stained and scalded white   40         "    "
Dark or mixed, dry picked   33         "    "
Dark or mixed, scalded      20 to 25   "    "

_Marketing Eggs._ On commercial duck farms very few eggs are marketed.
This is due to the fact that the duck growers find it more profitable to
incubate all eggs suitable for that purpose and to rear and market the
ducklings rather than to sell the eggs. There are always, however, a
certain number of cracked eggs and others which may be too large or too
small to use for hatching and which are therefore marketed. In addition
the infertile eggs tested out on the 5th day are sold. The eggs may be
packed in ordinary 30 dozen egg cases such as are used for hens' eggs,
utilizing a special filler 5 cells square. With these fillers a case
holds 20 5-6 dozen duck eggs. A special duck case, holding 30 dozen duck
eggs may be used, the fillers in this case being 6 cells square like the
fillers used for hens' eggs. The cells in these fillers are 2 inches
square and 2¼ or 2½ inches deep.


Duck Raising on the Farm

Duck raising as ordinarily conducted on the general farm consists of the
keeping of a comparatively small flock purely as a side line. Ducks on
the general farm may be kept for the production of meat and eggs, for
egg production, or mainly as a breeding proposition where the idea is to
produce birds of exhibition quality. On occasional farms ducks of the
rarer breeds are kept mainly for ornamental purposes.

_Conditions Suitable for Duck Raising._ A small flock of ducks on the
farm can be kept to best advantage where they can be separated from the
other poultry and where they can have access to a pasture or an orchard
which will provide them with a plentiful supply of green feed. Ducks
stand confinement quite well but if they are closely confined it is
necessary to provide for them the green feed which they cannot secure
for themselves. On many farms the flock of ducks is allowed to range at
liberty and under these conditions the cost of maintaining them is much
lower since they pick up a considerable part of their feed. An enclosed
run or yard, however, should be available where they can be confined
when desired. It is also necessary to provide a house or shed in which
they can be shut at night and during the early morning. Otherwise, many
of the eggs may be dropped anywhere about the place or in the water with
the result that some of them will be lost. A pond or stream to which the
ducks can have access and in which they can swim is a great advantage
since it helps to keep them in good breeding condition. It is a common
but mistaken idea that low, wet land is best suited for ducks.

_Size of Flock._--The average farm flock of ducks is small, rarely
running over 15 to 20 head. In many cases not over 10 or 12 ducks with
one or two drakes will be kept. A flock of this size will furnish quite
a large number of ducks for the farmer's table or for sale in addition
to more or less eggs which can either be used at home or sold.

_Making a Start._ In making a start with a farm flock of ducks it is
probably best to figure on keeping only a few head. If the farmer begins
with 4 or 5 ducks and one drake he can make his start at small expense
and from this number he will be able to increase the size of his flock
if he finds that results warrant it. Probably the best way to make a
start is to purchase the desired breeding stock in the fall. This will
give the ducks a chance to get settled and to be in good condition and
accustomed to their quarters by spring so that they will begin to breed
and lay.

Eggs for hatching can be purchased if desired and the young ducklings
hatched and reared with chicken hens. Baby ducks are rarely purchased in
making a start as are baby chicks.

_Selecting the Breed._ Any one of the breeds forming the so-called meat
class will prove satisfactory for a farm flock. This class includes the
Pekin, Aylesbury, Muscovy, Rouen, Cayuga, Buff and Blue Swedish. The
birds of any of these breeds are of good size and therefore produce a
suitable table fowl. At the same time they are layers and will produce
eggs for the table or for market as well. Where the purpose in keeping
the ducks is mainly that of producing eggs for market the Runner is
undoubtedly the breed to select. While these ducks are smaller in size
the ducklings will make good carcasses of broiler size for the table
being killed for this purpose when about 2½ to 3 pounds in weight. In
addition, the Runner is the best laying breed and by many persons is
considered to be equal in its egg producing qualities to any of the
breeds of chickens.

Selection of any breed or variety of the meat or egg classes and
especially the selection of a breed or variety for ornamental purposes
or for the pleasure of breeding will depend upon the individual
preference of the owner for body shape, color of plumage and other
characteristics. A pure breed of some kind should by all means be kept
in preference to the common or so-called "puddle" duck. Not only will
the pure breeds give greater uniformity in the carcasses produced but
the results in egg production will likewise be better.

_Age of Breeding Stock._ The best results in breeding are secured from
ducks during their first laying season. Not only is egg production
better but they are less likely to become so fat and large as to
interfere with the fertility and hatchability of the eggs. In fact, on
commercial duck farms the breeding stock is entirely renewed each year.
However, ducks can be profitably kept until they are 2 or 3 years old,
and it is common practice in a farm flock to hold over some of the
breeders after they have finished their first year. Of course, where the
duck breeder has some especially fine stock which will produce just the
quality he desires in the offspring, he holds and utilizes these birds
just as long as they are in good breeding condition. As a rule it is
best not to hold breeding ducks after they have finished their second
laying season.

_Size of Matings._ The proper number of ducks which should be mated to a
drake varies with the different breeds. Pekins and Aylesbury can be
mated in the proportion of one drake to 6 to 8 ducks. In the Rouen mate
4 or 5 ducks to a drake and in the Cayuga 5 or 6 ducks to a drake. In
the Muscovy as high as 10 females may be mated with one male. In the
Blue Swedish and Buff mate in the proportion of 6 or 7 ducks to one
drake. In the Call and East India breeds from 5 to 8 ducks can be mated
to one drake. In the Crested White use 5 or 6 ducks and in the Runner
6 to 8 ducks to a drake.

Where young drakes are used more ducks can be mated to them than is the
case with old drakes. It is also true that where especially large
exhibition birds have been reserved for breeding purposes it is
necessary to reduce the number of ducks mated to a drake as otherwise
the fertility is very likely to run lower with these older heavier

_Breeding and Laying Season._ Under ordinary farm conditions where the
ducks receive only fairly good care and feed the laying does not begin
to any extent until February or March. With exceptional care the ducks
will begin to lay in January and a few may even lay in December. The
ducks lay very persistently and continue their laying until hot weather
sets in or usually about the first of July. They gradually let up in
their laying until it ceases almost entirely soon after that date. The
breeding season is at its height in the months of April and May. At this
time the fertility will run best and the results in hatching will be
most satisfactory. However, it is possible to continue to hatch the duck
eggs which are produced with fair results as long as the ducks continue
to lay.

Management of Breeders.

_Housing._ Some sort of house or shelter must be provided for the
breeding flock. Any available shed or a part of the poultry house may
be utilized for this purpose. No special requirements are necessary
except that the house should provide sufficient ventilation. This is
best furnished by means of a window and in addition, an opening in the
front of the house should be provided which can be closed by means of a
curtain during severe winter weather. A board floor is not necessary if
the dirt floor is filled up 6 or 8 inches above the ground level outside
the house. The floors should be provided with an abundance of litter
which is usually changed only once or twice during the year. As the
litter tends to become dirty more litter must be added. No equipment is
necessary in the houses as the birds rest on the floor and lay their
eggs anywhere about the house or wherever they may make their nests. The
house should be so arranged that the ducks can be shut in at night and
can be kept there until they have finished laying in the morning. As
most of the duck eggs are laid early in the morning they can be let out
by 8 or 9 o'clock in the summer. If let out earlier than this they are
likely to lay some of their eggs in the pond or stream to which they
have access and these would be lost.

_Feeding._ On many farms the breeding flock of ducks is fed on the same
ration which is given the farm fowls. However, better results will be
obtained if they are given special feeds. After the laying season is
over the breeding ducks can be fed sparingly on a mash consisting of one
part by weight corn meal, 2 parts bran, 1 part low grade wheat flour, 1
part green feed, 8% beef scrap and 3% oyster shell. This mash is mixed
up with water until it has a consistency just between sticky and
crumbly. It should never be fed in a sloppy condition. A feed of this
mash should be given in the morning and at night and during the long
days of summer it is well also to give a light feed of cracked corn or
mixed grains in the middle of the day. However, judgment must be used in
feeding ducks especially if they have range over which they can roam
where they can pick up more or less animal feed and other material. In
this case it is not necessary to feed nearly so much. Another mash which
may be used instead of the one given consists of 3 parts by measure of
corn meal, 4 parts bran, 2 parts low grade wheat flour, three-fourths
part beef scrap and 2 parts green feed with a supply of oyster shell.

Along about December 1 the feed should be changed with the idea of
inducing egg production. A feed consisting of one part by weight corn
meal, 1 part low grade flour or middlings, 1 part bran, 15% beef scrap,
15% vegetables or green feed together with oyster shell should be fed
morning and evening and in addition a feed consisting of corn and wheat
may be given at noon in a quantity of about one quart for each 30 ducks.
As much mash should be given them at the morning and evening feed as
they will clean up.

Another good mash feed which may be used consists of 2 parts by weight
of bran, 2 parts middlings, 2 parts corn meal, 1 part beef scrap, 1 part
ground oats and one-tenth of the total weight sand. In addition, of
course, green feed must be added to the ration if it is not available at
all times in the yard. This mash is fed in the morning and in the
evening. The noon feed consists of 1 part by weight of corn and 2 parts
oats. Where green feed is not available and must be supplied, cut
clover, alfalfa, rye, oats and corn may be utilized cut up into short
pieces and mixed in the mash. The mash should be fed either to breeding
stock or to ducklings on flat trays or boards rather than in troughs as
the ducks can get at it better in this form. It must be kept in mind
that while ducks are good egg producers during the laying and breeding
season they will not lay any great number of eggs unless they are fed
for this purpose. For rations used on commercial duck farms see Chapter

_Water._ It is important that a plentiful supply of drinking water be
available to the ducks. A fresh supply must be provided at each feeding
time before the feed is thrown to the ducks as they like to eat and
drink alternately when feeding. Where the breeding ducks have access to
a stream or pond of fresh water it is not necessary to provide any other
supply of drinking water.

Where water is available in which the ducks can swim it is essential to
see that provision is made so that the ducks can get in and out of the
water easily. If this is not done they may become exhausted and unable
to climb out or they may become partially cramped when the water is very
cold with the result that they will drown. If given access to water in
which they can swim during cold weather it is necessary to be on the
look-out to see that the ducks do not freeze fast to the ground when
they come out of the water.

_Yards._ Where yards are provided for ducks poultry netting about 2 feet
high is ordinarily used. This will confine most of the breeds but higher
fences even 5 or 6 feet high must be provided for the breeds which fly
readily such as the Muscovy, Call, East India, Mallard, Wood and
Mandarin. In some cases it is even necessary to cover over the tops of
the yards in order to keep the birds from flying out or to pinion the
birds, that is, to cut off the outermost joint of one wing. The netting
used for yards should be strung on posts set in the ground and the lower
edge should be pegged down so that the birds cannot get under it.

_Care of Eggs for Hatching._ Duck eggs for hatching must be gathered
each day and should be put in some cool place to be held until they are
set. They should be turned daily, the same as hens' eggs and the general
care is exactly similar. It does not, however, pay to keep duck eggs as
long before setting them as they spoil more quickly than hens' eggs. In
fact, it is best to set duck eggs when they are not over a week old if
this can be arranged.

_Hatching the Eggs._ The period of incubation for duck eggs ranges from
26 to 28 days for all of the breeds except the Muscovy. In this breed it
takes from 33 to 36 days for the eggs to hatch. Inasmuch as most of the
commonly kept breeds are not very broody and therefore do not make
reliable hatchers and mothers it is necessary to resort either to the
use of chicken hens for this purpose or else to utilize incubators.
Either one of these methods can be used with good success. With the
small farm flock it is very common to utilize hens. The ordinary hen
will be able to cover 9 to 11 duck eggs to advantage depending on her
size and upon the season of the year. In cold weather the smaller number
should be used rather than the larger number. Before setting the hen she
should be thoroughly dusted with insect powder to free her from lice.
Several hens can be set in the same room but they should be confined on
their nests allowing them to come off only once a day for feed and
water. Cracked corn makes an excellent feed for sitting hens. If desired
Muscovy, Call, East India, Mallard, Wood or Mandarin ducks can be
allowed to make their nests and to hatch their eggs as they are reliable
sitters and good mothers.

After the duck eggs first pip there usually elapses a longer period of
time before the ducklings get out of the shell than is the case with
chicks. For this reason it is well to take the hens off for feed and
water when the first eggs are pipped returning them to the nest as
quickly as possible and confining them there until the hatch is over.

During the last week of incubation it is desirable to sprinkle the eggs
daily with water using quite a liberal amount as duck eggs seem to
require more moisture than hens' eggs in order to hatch well.

All duck eggs which are at all badly soiled should be washed before they
are set. Washing does not seem to injure their hatching qualities. In
fact, some breeders prefer to wash all duck eggs whether dirty or not,
feeling that this opens up the pores and causes a better hatch. This
belief is based upon the idea that when ducks hatch their own eggs under
natural conditions they have access to water in which they swim and in
coming back on the nest their wet feathers serve to wash the eggs.

Where an incubator is used for hatching the eggs are placed in the
machine just as hens' eggs. For the first week the temperature is kept
about 102 degrees and for the rest of the period is maintained as close
to 103 degrees as possible, the bulb of the thermometer being on a level
with the tops of the eggs. Often the temperature will run up a little
higher than this at hatching time but this does not do any harm. An
incubator will accommodate from four-fifths to five-sixths as many duck
eggs as it will hens' eggs.

About the fifth or sixth day the duck eggs are tested and all infertile
and dead germs removed. From this time on eggs are turned twice a day
and usually cooled once a day until they pip. A second test may be made
about the fifteenth or sixteenth day when any eggs which have died are
removed. If dead germ eggs are left in the machines they spoil very
quickly and cause a strong odor which makes it necessary to remove them.
During the last week or ten days and in some cases for a longer period
than this incubator operators supply moisture daily to the machine. This
is usually provided by sprinkling the eggs liberally with water which
has been warmed to about the temperature of the machine. However, if
warm water is not available, water of ordinary temperature may be used
although it is not well to use extremely cold water. As a rule the eggs
begin to pip about the twenty-sixth day. At this time the machine should
be tightly closed up and left so until the hatching is over. In case
moisture seems to be lacking and the ducklings are having a hard time to
get out of the shell the machine can be opened and the eggs sprinkled
again. If there seems to be sufficient moisture, however, the machines
should not be opened or disturbed. As a rule it takes ducklings from 24
to 48 hours to hatch after the pipping first begins. It is advisable to
leave the ducklings in the incubator until they are well dried off
before removing them to the brooder. As a rule the hatching will be
entirely over by the twenty-eighth day.

_Brooding and Rearing._ Ducklings can be brooded if desired by means of
chicken hens. In this case the ducklings which the hen hatches should
be given to her and she should be confined to some kind of a coop which
will allow the ducklings to run at liberty. If the hen is given her
liberty she goes too far and takes too much exercise for the little
ducks. Where artificial brooders are used any type of brooding apparatus
can be utilized which is used with success for chickens. It must be
remembered, however, that ducklings do not require as high a degree of
heat as do baby chicks and should be started off at a temperature of
about 90 degrees under the hover. This can be reduced rather rapidly
until it is down to 80 at about 2 weeks of age. The length of time that
the ducklings require heat after this depends upon the season and the
weather. Even in fairly cool weather they do not need any heat after
they are 5 or 6 weeks old.

It is necessary to keep the brooders clean and in order to do this they
must be cleaned out frequently and new litter supplied. While the
ducklings are small the brooders should be cleaned at least every other
day and as they get larger, cleaning once a week with the addition of
fresh litter between times will be sufficient.

_Feeding the Ducklings._ Ducklings do not need to be fed until they are
from 24 to 36 hours old. At this time they may be given a mixture
composed of equal parts by measure of rolled oats and bread crumbs with
3% of sharp sand mixed in the feed. This may be given them five times
daily although some duck raisers feed only 3 times daily from the
start. About the third day this feed is changed to equal parts of bread,
rolled oats, bran and corn meal. After the seventh day the ration may
consist of 3 parts bran, 1 part each of low-grade wheat flour and corn
meal, 10% green feed, 5% beef scrap with about 3% of sand mixed in.

The ducklings should be fed four times daily after the seventh day until
they are two or three weeks old. After that time they need be fed only
three times daily, morning, noon and night. The sand may be given to the
ducklings either by mixing it in the mash or by feeding it in a hopper
where they can help themselves. The mash feed which is prepared for the
ducklings is mixed with water until it has a consistency a little wetter
than crumbly but not exactly sticky. Sloppy feed should never be used.
As the ducklings grow older the amount of beef scrap can be increased
until it consists of 15% of the ration by the end of the third week. The
proportion of corn meal can likewise be increased and simultaneously the
amount of bran decreased until the ducklings are on a fattening ration.
Unless they have a plentiful supply of green feed in the yards to which
they have access it is necessary to provide this to the extent of about
10% of the feed and it should consist of tender green stuff rather
finely chopped and mixed in with the mash.

About 2 weeks before the ducklings are to be marketed they should be put
on a ration consisting of three parts by weight of corn meal, two parts
low-grade flour or middlings, one part bran, one-half part beef scrap,
10% green feed and about 3% oyster shell or sand. This mash is fed three
times daily. Another ration which can be used for fattening purposes
consists of 3 parts corn meal, 1 part low-grade wheat flour, 1 part
bran, 5% beef scrap and 3% oyster shell with green feed and grit in

Where fish is available it can be substituted for the beef scrap but on
most farms this is impractical. The fish where fed is boiled and mixed
in the mash. However, no fish should be fed up to within 2 weeks before
the ducks are killed as there is danger of giving a fishy taste to the
carcass. For additional information as to feeding methods used on
commercial duck farms which could be utilized to advantage for the farm
flocks, see Chapter VI.

Birds which are to be reserved for breeders should be selected out and
taken away from the ducklings which are to be fattened. These breeding
birds should be carried along on the ration which they have been
receiving until about December 1 when they should be put on a laying

It is very necessary to see that the ducklings have a plentiful supply
of drinking water. It is especially important to renew this supply just
before the ducklings are fed so that they will have ample water while
they are consuming their feed. The water should be given in dishes deep
enough so that the ducks can immerse their entire bill as this enables
them to wash the sand out of their nostrils.

_Water for Ducklings._ In addition to the drinking water provided duck
raisers sometimes allow the growing ducklings access to water in which
they can swim. If it is desired to fatten the ducklings quickly and turn
them off on the market as green ducks many raisers do not consider this
advisable as it induces the ducklings to take more exercise and makes it
more difficult to fatten them. However, access to water in which they
can swim makes it unnecessary to provide any other supply of drinking
water and for this reason lessens the work considerably. Unless it is
easy for the ducklings to get in and out of the water there is danger of
some of them drowning as they are likely to get tired and unable to
climb out. Little ducklings allowed access to very cold water are
subject to cramp and may be drowned as a result.

_Distinguishing the Sexes._ It is difficult to distinguish the sexes of
growing ducks until they begin to reach maturity. There is, however, a
difference in their appearance. The drakes are coarser or thicker and
more masculine in appearance showing this especially about the head and
neck. Also as they secure their mature plumage the drake shows curled
feathers on top of the tail which are often referred to as sex feathers.
In addition, the voice of the duck is harsher and coarser than that of
the drake.

_Marketing the Ducks._ Most of the ducks produced on farms are marketed
alive. This is because the farmer has no special market and he does not
find that it pays him to dress and ship the ducks with the chance that
they might spoil. In fact, most of the farm raised ducks are not turned
off as green ducks at 10 to 12 weeks as is done on the commercial duck
plants but are held until fall and then sold as spring ducks. They will
weigh somewhat more at that time but as a rule the price received per
pound will be lower than that obtained for green ducks during the spring
and summer. Where there is a special demand for ducklings which the
farmer can supply it will pay him to dress and deliver the ducks. If it
is desired to dress the ducks, the directions given under Chapter VII
can be modified to suit the farmer's needs. The soft body feathers
should be saved in accordance with the directions given on page 106, as
they can be used at home in making pillows or can be sold.

Such eggs as are produced in surplus may either be utilized on the home
table or sent to market. As a rule duck eggs are not in great demand
except at certain seasons such as at Easter and during the Jewish
holidays in the spring and fall when they bring somewhat higher prices
than hens' eggs. The larger size of duck eggs, however, makes them
favored by bakers and they can usually be sold at any time in a city of
any size at prices as good as those received for hens' eggs.

Eggs for market can be packed in the ordinary 30-dozen hen egg cases by
using special fillers which hold 25 eggs instead of 36 as in the case of
hens' eggs. See page 119. A farmer with a small flock of ducks will
usually not have eggs enough to fill a case frequently and for this
reason he usually finds it more convenient to market the few eggs he has
by taking them into town in a basket.

_Disease and Insect Pests._ Ducks are very little troubled by insect
pests, nor are they greatly troubled by diseases. The usual difficulties
encountered along this line are those discussed under this head in
Chapter VI. Losses are often experienced as the result of predatory
animals. Rats will cause a great amount of havoc among the young ducks
if they are able to get at them. A single night's work on the part of
one rat may practically clean out a small flock of ducklings. It is
necessary to make sure that the ducklings are shut in at night so that
rats cannot get at them.




Extent of the Industry--Opportunities

Geese can be raised successfully in practically all parts of the United
States and are in fact scattered in small flocks over a considerable
portion of the country being most abundant in the South and in the
Middle West.

The census figures for the year 1920 show Illinois with 195,769 geese to
be the leading state in numbers, closely followed by Missouri, Arkansas
and Iowa. Next in order of importance as goose raising states come
Kentucky, Tennessee, Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas. The census
figures of 1920 compared with those for 1910 show a decrease in the
number of geese from 4,431,980 to 2,939,203. The only groups of states
which showed an increase in the number of geese during this period were
the North Atlantic and the Mountain states. Of the total farms in the
United States only a small proportion, probably one-tenth, have any
geese and the number of geese per farm would not average over 4 to 10
depending on the section.

_Nature of the Industry._ Geese are kept almost wholly in small flocks
as a side line on general farms. The purpose of goose raising is
primarily one of the production of meat although in the past flocks of
geese have been kept to some extent, particularly in the south for the
purpose of plucking them to secure the feathers. This practice of
plucking live geese is decreasing and is much less common than formerly.
The eggs of the geese do not enter to any extent into the egg trade of
the country. As a rule all the eggs produced are hatched for the purpose
of rearing young geese and it is only occasionally that goose eggs are
used for culinary purposes.

_Opportunities for Goose Raising._ Undoubtedly the greatest opportunity
along the line of goose raising lies in the small flock kept on the
general farm. Where conditions are suitable, that is to say, where there
is an abundance of suitable pasture land together with some water to
which the geese can have access, a small flock can be most profitably
kept. They can be reared very cheaply as both the young and old geese
will secure practically their entire living during the summer from
pasture if an abundant supply of suitable green material is available.
The cost of rearing them therefore is low. In addition both the young
and old geese are very hardy and require comparatively little care. They
are little subject to disease and therefore losses are small.

Geese live and breed for a long time and this makes it possible to turn
off to market a larger proportion of the young stock reared than is the
case with most other classes of poultry. For all of these reasons,
therefore, a small flock of geese will return a good profit to the
farmer without having to supply any great amount of equipment or without
having to feed very much in the way of expensive feeds. In addition to
the geese which can be marketed, the maintenance of a small flock also
helps to provide a variety in the farmer's diet by furnishing suitable
birds for the holiday seasons such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In addition to the opportunity for goose raising in small flocks on
general farms there likewise exists a definite opportunity to specialize
along this line somewhat more extensively. In certain places, notably
the state of Wisconsin, goose raising becomes a more important activity
on some farms than merely that of a by-product. Larger numbers are
reared and special steps are taken in fattening and finishing them for
market either by means of pen fattening or by means of hand fattening or
noodling the geese. Geese so finished for market bring a special price
and allow a good profit to the raiser for the time which he has put into

An outgrowth of the goose raising industry which has been worked to a
limited extent consists of the gathering together of the geese raised in
any particular portion of the country on one farm and the feeding of
them there in large flocks in the fields so as to fatten them for
market. There are not many of these special fattening farms but several
persons in different sections of the country who have made a practice
of gathering together and marketing the geese in this way have found it
very profitable. Probably a similar opportunity exists in certain other
sections where goose raising on the farms in small numbers is common and
where no one has yet made the effort to collect and fatten the geese
before marketing them.

While geese are not exhibited to the same extent as chickens, still
there will always be found a market for birds of good quality, both for
the purpose of exhibition and also as breeders to be used in improving
the stock of other goose raisers.

_Goose Raising as a Business for Farm Women._ Like turkey raising goose
raising as a side line on the farm offers an excellent money making
opportunity for the farm women. Without any great outlay of capital to
get a start and without its being necessary to provide much in the way
of buildings or other equipment, a flock of geese can be started which
will allow a nice profit to the farm woman for the care and attention
which she gives them. In this connection it should be remembered that
while the opportunities for profit may not be so large as in turkey
raising, yet the care required is much less and the chances of serious
difficulties due to disease and to inability to raise the young stock
are relatively small. Goose raising therefore offers a most profitable
side line employment for the farm woman.

_Geese as Weed Destroyers._ As stated before geese are close grazers. In
fact, during the growing season of the year green vegetation forms most
and in some cases practically all of their diet. The vegetation which
they will eat readily is quite varied and in many cases geese will be
found to be very valuable in ridding pastures or fields of troublesome
weeds. In the southern states geese are often kept on farms where cotton
is raised for the purpose of keeping the cotton fields free from weeds.

Objection to Geese

An objection to geese often expressed but without good foundation is
that they will spoil the pasture for other stock. This is not true if
the pasture is not overstocked with geese. Of course geese are very
close grazers and if too many of them are kept on a field they will eat
the grass down so close that there will be none for other animals to
get. Similarly the idea that other animals will not eat grass grown
where goose droppings have fallen is not true except where the birds are
too thick so that the grass is soiled badly by the droppings.

The fact that geese are noisy creatures makes them undesirable to some
persons. It is true that they make a good deal of noise and that their
cry is of a very hoarse, rasping character and to a person with bad
nerves they may be annoying but this is no valid or weighty objection to
the normal, healthy farmer. The Chinese geese are the noisiest and
consequently the greatest offenders in this particular.

A more valid objection to geese lies in the fact of their rather ugly
disposition. Ganders, especially as they grow older and during the
breeding season, are decidedly pugnacious and will not hesitate to
attack human beings. They strike heavy formidable blows with their wings
and with their strong bills they inflict most painful bites. Where there
are children about the house it may be necessary to dispose of ugly
ganders to safeguard the children from serious injury.


Breeds and Varieties--How to Mate to Produce Exhibition
Specimens--Preparing Geese for the Show--Catching and Handling

_Breeds of Geese._ There are six standard breeds of geese consisting of
the following: Toulouse, Embden, African, Chinese, Wild or Canadian and
Egyptian. All of these breeds consist of a single variety with the
exception of the Chinese which is composed of two. The Toulouse is known
as the Gray Toulouse, the Embden as the White Embden, the African as the
Gray African, the two varieties of the Chinese as the Brown Chinese and
the White Chinese, the Wild or Canadian as the Gray and the Egyptian as
the Colored.

The first four of these breeds are the ones which are commonly kept in
domestication. In a general way it may be said that these breeds are
meat breeds for the reason that they are kept mainly for the production
of meat. The Wild or Canadian and the Egyptian are more in the nature of
ornamental breeds since they are not so commonly kept and are
principally to be found where ornamental water-fowls are maintained. The
Chinese are sometimes classed as ornamental geese on account of their
smaller size but they are much more commonly kept than either the
Canadian or the Egyptian and make a good market fowl where the demand is
not for such a large carcass.

In addition to the standard breeds there are several other rare breeds
among which is the Sebastapol which is kept purely as an ornamental
breed by reason of its peculiar feathering. The Sebastapol is a white
goose in which the feathers of the upper part of the body show a twisted
or frizzled condition which gives it much the general effect of the
feathers being curled. In addition to the standard breeds of geese there
are kept on a great majority of farms ordinary common geese of no
definite breed or variety. These geese in general are of smaller size
than the larger standard breeds and have probably arisen as the result
of the crossing of the standard breeds and the subsequent deterioration
in size and color marking is due to careless breeding and selection.

In some sections and for certain special purposes definite crosses of
standard breeds are made for the production of table geese having
certain desired qualities. For this purpose the African ganders are very
popular used upon the Toulouse geese. To some extent there is produced
and marketed a goose known as the mongrel goose. This has excellent
table quality and is in good demand on account of its superior eating
qualities and its rapid growth. It is produced by using the Wild or
Canadian gander upon Toulouse, African or Embden geese. The result of
this cross is a hybrid goose which has much the appearance of the Wild
goose but which will not breed although the females will lay eggs. As a
rule Toulouse or African females are used for the cross rather than
Embden as from the latter there is a greater tendency to get a lighter
cross which would not resemble its Wild father so closely and might not
therefore be so readily recognized as genuine mongrel geese.

_Nomenclature._ The term geese is used to indicate the birds of both
sexes taken as a whole and also as a plural form for the word goose. The
term goose is used to distinguish the female of the species. The male is
given the specific name of gander to distinguish it from goose. The
young of both sexes are termed goslings. In giving the standard weights
for the different breeds of geese the birds are classified as adult
ganders and young ganders and as adult geese and young geese. By adult
goose or gander is meant a bird which is over one year old, by young
goose or gander is meant a bird which is less than one year. Not
infrequently in connection with market reports use will be made of the
term "green geese". This indicates birds which are marketed when they
are of large size but still young and immature, the green referring to
this immature condition.

_Size._ An idea of the size of the different standard breeds of geese
can best be secured by giving the standard weights. They are as

Breed             Adult   Adult     Young   Young
                 Gander   Goose    Gander   Goose

Toulouse         26 lbs.  20 lbs.  20 lbs.  16 lbs.
Embden           20  "    18  "    18  "    16  "
African          20  "    18  "    16  "    14  "
Chinese          12  "    10  "    10  "     8  "
Wild or Canadian 12  "    10  "    10  "     8  "
Egyptian         10  "     8  "     8  "     6  "

_Popularity of the Breeds_. Of the different standard breeds kept the
Toulouse is undoubtedly the most popular in this country probably due to
its large size as well as to its quick growth. The Embden follows the
Toulouse closely in popularity. The Chinese geese are probably third
most numerous in numbers while the African ranks fourth. In certain
sections the African seems to be very popular and one would expect to
find more of this breed than seem to be present on farms. Neither the
Canadian nor the Egyptians are to be found in any great numbers, the
latter in particular being very rare.

Egg Production

It must always be remembered in speaking of the egg production of any
breed of poultry that there will be a considerable variation in
individuals within a breed and that egg production will also be affected
very largely by the conditions under which the birds are kept. For this
reason any attempt to give an average egg production for a breed is at
best only an approximation. These approximations often serve, however,
to show some well established contrast between the different breeds with
respect to their egg laying ability. The Toulouse is a fairly prolific
breed of geese and individuals should average from 12 to 36 eggs, the
majority laying about 20 eggs. The Embden is very similar to the
Toulouse in laying ability although probably on the whole not quite so
good a layer. The African is generally considered a good layer and is
said to average from 20 to 40 eggs. Some breeders state that the pure
African are not as good layers as this, being about equal to the Embden
and that the better laying Africans really have some Brown Chinese blood
in them which has been introduced to increase prolificacy. The Chinese
is the most prolific breed. The birds of either the White or Brown
variety should average from 60 to 100 eggs. The eggs laid by the Chinese
are smaller than those of the Toulouse, Embden or African. The Wild or
Canadian and the Egyptian geese are small layers. They rarely lay more
than one sitting during a season and the eggs will as a rule range from
4 to 8 in number.

_Size of Goose Eggs._ Goose eggs are decidedly larger than duck eggs.
There is a considerable variation in size, depending upon the breed. The
eggs of the Toulouse, African and Embden are of about the same size and
will vary from 6½ to 8 ounces each. The eggs of the Chinese are smaller
and will weigh from 5½ to 6 ounces each, while eggs of the Canadian and
Egyptian are the smallest of the standard breeds, running from 5 to 5½
ounces each.

_Color of Goose Eggs._ In general goose eggs are whitish in color but
may shade to a gray or buff tinge. The Wild or Canadian sometimes lay
eggs which are off the white, showing a considerable green tinge.

About Geese and Matings

_Broodiness._ All of the breeds of geese with the exception of the
Toulouse may be classed as broody breeds, that is to say, they will make
their nests and hatch their young if given a chance to do so. Not
infrequently individuals of the Toulouse breed will do this also but as
a rule they are not dependable for this purpose.

_Size of Mating._ In making the mating it is usual in order to secure
best results to use one gander with from two to four geese in the
Toulouse, Embden and African breeds. In fact, better results will be
secured in these breeds where not over 3 geese are used and in many
cases the geese are mated in trios or even in pairs. In the Chinese
geese a somewhat larger mating can be employed, one gander being used
with 4 to 6 geese. The Wild or Canadian and the Egyptian geese in most
cases pair only.

_Age of Breeders._ Geese can be retained and will give good results as
breeders for a longer period than most other classes of poultry. While
the young geese will often lay during their first year the results from
the eggs produced by them are not as a rule very satisfactory. It is
sometimes claimed that the eggs of young geese will not hatch but this
is untrue and goslings have been raised from such eggs. Canadian and
Egyptian geese do not lay until they are 3 years old. Females may be
kept for breeding purposes until they are 8 to 10 years old and should
give good results during this time. If they continue to lay longer than
this and are valuable breeding individuals they should of course be
retained just so long as they lay at a profitable rate. Instances are
reported where geese 15 to 20 years old were still giving good results
as breeders. As a rule ganders cannot be successfully kept for breeding
purposes as long as can the geese. Yearling ganders are often used but
they are at their best for breeding purposes when from 3 to 5 years old
and it is not generally wise to retain them after they are 6 or 7 years
old. Egyptian and Canadian ganders will not breed before they are 2
years old. In general it is good practice to mate young ganders to older
geese and to mate younger geese with older ganders as this seems to get
better results both in fertility and in hatching.

_Marking Young Geese._ It is often desirable to mark young geese in some
way so that their breeding can be told or so that a record can be kept
of their age. This can be readily accomplished by punching various
combinations of holes in the webs between the toes at the time the
goslings are hatched.

_Considerations in Making the Mating._[4] In making the mating in
breeding geese it must be kept in mind that it is of primary importance
to select the breeders first of all for size, prolificacy and vitality.
Without these qualities no matter what else the breeding geese may be
there is scant chance of satisfactory results. Having selected birds
which are of suitable size and vitality those should then be utilized
for breeding which approach most nearly both in type and color to the
requirements as given in the American Standard of Perfection. As a rule,
a new mating can be made by taking the birds selected and shutting them
up together in a pen away from the other birds and out of sound of the
voices of their former mates. As a rule about a month of this treatment
will suffice to bring about the new matings desired and the birds can
then be allowed to range at liberty.

[Footnote 4: For a more detailed description of the principles of
breeding as applied to poultry and which is equally applicable to geese,
the reader is referred to "The Mating and Breeding of Poultry" by Harry
M. Lamon and Rob R. Slocum, published by the Orange Judd Publishing Co.,
New York, N. Y.]

Some ganders are very troublesome about mating. This is particularly
true as they get older. In some cases it is impossible to get ganders to
mate at all while frequently they will refuse to mate with more than one
goose. As a rule, matings once made are permanent from year to year
unless changed by the breeder on account of poor results. Where new
matings are to be made or where changes are to be made this should be
done in the fall so that the birds will have been mated for several
months before the breeding season begins in order to insure good
results. After the matings are made the geese can be allowed to run
together in larger flocks but the practice is frequently employed of
keeping the different matings in pens to themselves so as to avoid the
fighting which will otherwise occur between the ganders. During the
breeding season the ganders are quite savage and will fight fiercely.

Breeds of Geese[5]

_The Toulouse._ This breed is characterized by its very low down deep
broad massive body. The body should come well down in front and should
be so deep and full behind that it tends to drag on the ground when the
bird walks. The skin of the rear portion of the body should have folds.
The appearance or type of the Toulouse depends a great deal upon the
condition of flesh which a bird may be in at the time as a fat well
fleshed condition will improve type very materially. A dewlap, that is
to say, a pendulous flap of skin on the throat, is desired but
comparatively few birds show a well developed dewlap. It is more likely
to appear with age than it is in the younger birds. In color the
Toulouse breeds quite true. The principal difficulty which is
encountered is the occasional appearance of one, two or three white
flight feathers in the wing. These white flights constitute a
disqualification and must of course be avoided in the breeding. It is
necessary also to avoid any birds which lack in size, length, breadth or
depth of body, particularly depth in front. Birds of this breed are of
large size and make quick growth and for this reason are a fine market
goose although the dark colored pin feathers are somewhat of a drawback
from a market point of view.

[Footnote 5: For a complete and official description and list of
disqualifications of the standard breeds and varieties of geese, the
reader is referred to the American Standard of Perfection published by
the American Poultry Association, obtainable from Orange Judd Publishing
Company, New York, N. Y.]

_The Embden._ This breed is of good size but somewhat smaller than the
Toulouse. It has not quite so long a keel or underline as the Toulouse
and while deep in body it is not so baggy. There should be no dewlap in
this breed. The plumage should be pure white throughout, the only
difficulty of any importance occurring here being the occasional
appearance of slate on the backs of young geese. This, however, is not
serious as it almost invariably disappears with the first moult. Embden
geese are rapid growers and mature early which together with the fact
that their plumage is white makes them an excellent market bird.

_The African._ In type the African is much the same as the Toulouse
although not quite as large being about the size of the Embden. What is
desired is a low down body which is flat in keel and without any folds
of skin. The neck should be short. This bird unlike the Toulouse is
characterized by a knob or protuberance extending out from the head at
the base of the upper bill. This knob should be black in color and
should show no tinge of yellow on the top or about the base. If the knob
gets scarred or injured it is apt to turn yellow and freezing likewise
is apt to cause it to turn yellow. Birds of this breed both young and
old should show dewlaps, the absence of these in adult specimens
constituting a disqualification. As in the Toulouse avoid any white
flight feathers. The African makes an excellent market goose being like
the Embden and Toulouse, quick growing and early maturing. The ganders
are especially in favor for use in crossing with other varieties for the
production of market geese. It seems probable that some Brown Chinese
blood has been crossed into the Africans on various occasions probably
for the purpose of increasing the prolificacy of the African as the
Brown Chinese is an excellent layer. It is also true that crosses
between the Brown Chinese and the Toulouse are sometimes shown for
Africans but as a rule this cross results in too dark a bird and such
crosses should never be used for breeding purposes since they would not
continue to give the uniformity and other qualities obtained in the
first generation.

_The Chinese._ The Chinese is quite different in type from the three
preceding breeds. It is much smaller and higher set on legs and has a
body much more upright in carriage. The neck is long and slender and the
head has a large knob. An important part about the type is to secure a
very slender neck, another important point being to secure a very large
knob; the larger this is the better. There is, however, a decided
tendency for the knob to run small when the neck is slender and it is
difficult to secure in perfection the combination of a very slender neck
and a large knob. The Chinese geese should be in good condition but
should not be too fat when shown as too good a condition of flesh
injures the type materially. If fat there is a decided tendency for the
birds to bag down behind which is undesirable. The Chinese geese are the
best layers but the egg which they lay is smaller. On account of their
smaller size they do not make as good market geese where large sized
carcasses are desired but where smaller carcasses suitable for family
use are in demand the Chinese make a satisfactory market breed.

_The Brown Chinese._ In this variety the knob should be dark brown or
black. As in the African, injury or freezing may turn the knob yellow
which is undesirable. The plumage should be a rich brown shade of color,
a faded gray color being very undesirable. The stripe down the back of
the neck should be well defined and should be distinctly in contrast
with the rest of the neck color. White feathers in the primaries or
secondaries must be avoided.

_The White Chinese._ The knob in this variety should be orange and any
tendency toward yellow should be avoided. The plumage should be pure
white throughout. Occasional young females may show slate in the back
but this is not serious as it almost invariably disappears with the
first moult.

_The Wild or Canadian._ Contrary to expectation this breed when
domesticated is very peaceable and very tame. There is often, however, a
tendency for them to grow uneasy when the migratory season comes. To
keep the birds from flying away it is necessary to clip the flight
feathers of one wing or what is safer still to pinion the bird.
Pinioning consists of cutting off the first joint of one wing. This may
be done when the birds are small or may be done at any time and does not
seem to bother them much. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to
break the joint and then cut it off by using a chisel and hammer. Not
much bleeding will result but it is well to put a little iodine on the
cut. These birds breed very true in type and color and progress in the
mating simply consists of continuing to select those birds for breeders
which show markings in the greatest excellence. In type a Canadian goose
is quite different from that of the other breeds mentioned. It is
smaller, set much higher on legs and its body is neater and trimmer, and
is oblong and carried in a horizontal position. The neck is long and
slender. These birds mate only in pairs as a rule and the females do not
mature and lay until they are three years old. The ganders often breed
when they are two years old. Usually only a single sitting of eggs is
laid consisting of from 4 to 8. Usually, however, all of these eggs will
hatch and the young prove to be strong and easily reared.

_The Egyptian._ This is the smallest of the standard breeds of geese. In
type it more nearly approaches the Canadian than any other breed but it
is somewhat longer in legs, showing more of the thigh beneath the body.
The body is not carried in quite such a horizontal position as the
Canadian but slopes downward slightly from the breast to the tail. The
neck is neither so long nor quite so slender as that of the Canadian.
This breed is the brightest colored of any of the geese and breeds
fairly true in color and markings. Like the Canadian the Egyptian goose
is likely to become uneasy at times and one wing should therefore be
pinioned or the flight feathers clipped to keep the birds from flying
away. Like the Canadian the Egyptians mate in pairs only and lay but one
sitting during the year. The females do not lay until they are three
years old.

Neither the Egyptian nor the Canadian geese should be closely confined
or no eggs will be laid. The goose should be allowed to make her own
nest and hatch her eggs.

[Illustration: FIG. 50. Left--Egyptian Gander. Right--Sebastapol Goose.
(_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

[Illustration: FIG. 51. Left.--Toulouse Gander. Right--Embden Gander.
(_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

[Illustration: FIG. 52. Left--Wild or Canadian Gander. Right--African
Gander. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 53. Left--Brown Chinese Gander. Right--White Chinese
Gander. (_Photographs from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture._)]

Preparing Geese for the Show

The preparation of geese for the show is comparatively a simple matter.
It requires first of all that individuals shall be selected which
approach nearest to the standard requirements both in type and in color.
As to the actual preparation for exhibition the geese are practically
self-prepared. For a period of at least a week or ten days before they
are shipped to the show they should be given access to a grass range and
to running water. The grass range tends to put them in good condition
while the running water will give them an opportunity to clean
themselves. Any broken feathers should be plucked at least six weeks
before the birds are to be shown so as to give them an opportunity to
grow in new ones.

Since all of the common breeds of geese, with the exception of the
Chinese, should be shown in a fat condition in order to give them their
best type they should be given a grain mixture twice daily for a period
of at least ten days before the show in order to get them in good flesh
and to bring them up to standard weight. This ration should consist of
one part corn and two parts oats. In Chinese geese where it is desired
to have them in good condition of flesh but without showing any tendency
toward bagginess, oats alone should be fed as they are apt to put on too
much fat when corn is fed as well. When the birds are shipped to the
show they are quite likely to get their plumage soiled during the
journey. If this occurs fill a barrel about half full of water. As the
geese are taken from the shipping coops place two of them at a time in
the barrel, cover it over and leave them for a few minutes. Then take
them out and they will usually be clean.

Catching and Handling Geese

Never catch geese by the legs which are weak and are easily broken or
injured. For the same reason they should never be carried by the legs.
In catching geese grasp them by the neck just below the head. Often a
crooked stick is of value in getting hold of the birds by the neck.
Geese can be carried short distances by the neck without injury but it
is not advisable to carry them for any considerable distance in this
manner, particularly if they are fat. The best way to handle the geese
is to catch them by the neck, then place one arm over the shoulders and
around the bird's body thus holding the wings in place while both legs
are grasped with the hand. The neck should be held with the other hand
to keep the bird from biting. In releasing the bird in a pen or shipping
coop do not let go of the neck until the bird is placed where it is

[Illustration: FIG. 54--Proper manner of picking up and carrying geese
with the head and neck under the arm. (_Photographs from the Bureau of
Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture._)]

Packing and Shipping Hatching Eggs

Goose eggs for hatching must be shipped when they are fresh if they are
to be received in good condition and are to give good results in
hatching. They can be shipped long distances either by express or by
parcel post. In order to prevent breakage and to lessen the effects of
the jar to which the eggs are subjected during shipment they should be
carefully packed in a market basket or other suitable receptacle. The
same method of packing the eggs should be employed as with duck eggs
described on page 137.

Prices for Breeding Stock

While the demand for breeding stock is not so broad with geese as it is
with some other classes of poultry, there does exist a steady and
profitable demand for this class of fowls. Goose eggs for hatching are
usually sold in sittings of 5 and the price varies somewhat depending
upon the variety. As a rule, Embden and Toulouse eggs will bring from 60
cents to $1.20 each. Chinese goose eggs will bring from 40 cents to $1
each while the eggs of the African goose will bring from $1 to $2 each.
Of course the price of eggs for hatching like that of breeding birds
depends on the quality of the stock. The prices for the birds themselves
for breeding purposes will run anywhere from about $8 to $10 apiece for
good birds suitable for breeding on farm flocks, to $25 or even $50 each
of birds of especially fine quality.


Management of Breeding Geese

_Range for Breeders._ Since grass or other vegetation, when plentiful,
will furnish practically the entire living both for breeding and growing
geese, it is by all means desirable to have suitable range for the
breeding stock. Aside from economy of production range is desirable from
the fact that the breeders keep in better condition and better results
in breeding and fertility are obtained. The range for breeding geese
should therefore consist of grass land or pasture. Often rather low wet
land can be used for this purpose, particularly if some higher land is
also available to provide a more favorable kind of grass. Often geese
can be ranged on the same pasture with horses or cattle. Later in the
season after the harvest, both breeding and growing geese can be given
the range of the stubble fields to good advantage as they will glean
most of the shelled grain. The entire flock of breeders is generally
allowed to run together but the flock may be divided if desired, or each
mating may be kept in a colony by itself if the fighting of the ganders
proves troublesome.

_Number of Geese to the Acre._ The number of geese which can be kept or
run to the acre depends of course upon the nature of the land available
for the purpose. The better the pasture and therefore the more green
feed available throughout the summer and fall, the more geese can be
run. In general, the practice is to run from 4 to 25 geese to an acre;
ten is a fair average under normal conditions.

_Water for Breeding Geese._ While water to which the geese can have
access for swimming is not absolutely essential for their well being,
they like it and it is well to provide water if possible especially
during the breeding season. It not only takes care of the problem of
supplying drinking water, but in the opinion of many goose raisers,
increases the fertility of the eggs laid. A natural water supply such as
a stream or pond in the pasture is therefore desirable, but if none is
available an artificial pond or tank can be furnished to good advantage.

_Distinguishing the Sex._ It is difficult to distinguish the sex of
geese. It is, of course, necessary to know the sex so as to provide the
proper number of ganders and so as to know what birds to pen together in
making a mating. Once the sex of a bird is determined it is well for the
novice to mark it by means of a suitable leg band so that its sex can be
easily distinguished in the future.

It is more difficult to distinguish the sex of young than of old geese.
The gander is generally slightly larger and coarser than the goose, with
a longer, thicker neck and larger head. The gander also has a shriller
cry than the goose whose cry consists of a harsher sound. Some goose
raisers claim that they can distinguish the sex of mature geese by the
body shape, the underline of the body of the gander from the tail to the
point where the legs join the body being nearly straight, while in the
goose this line tends to round out with the fuller development of the
abdomen. This difference is more marked during the laying season than at
other times. Considerable experience is necessary in order to
distinguish sex by any of the means described and the really sure way is
by an examination of the sexual organs or by observing the actions of
the geese when mating.

Upon examination the sphincter muscle which closes the anus of the
female when stretched will be found to have a folded appearance. If the
gander is placed upon his back and pressure applied around the anus, the
penis will protrude. This test is more easily made on a mature than on
an immature gander and is also easier to make during warm than during
cold weather.

_Purchase of Breeding Stock._ Geese when mated usually stay mated
permanently. Matings are not, therefore, changed from year to year as a
rule so long as they continue to give satisfactory results. If it
becomes necessary to make new matings or to break up old matings, this
should be done in the fall, so that the birds will be thoroughly used to
the new order of things by the time the breeding season arrives, and
the results in eggs laid and young stock grown will not, therefore, be
adversely affected. For this reason, any breeding stock purchased should
be secured in the fall rather than to wait until just before the
breeding season opens. As a rule, also, a better selection of breeding
stock to choose from is available to the purchaser in the fall.

_Time of Laying._ Geese start laying in the early spring and continue to
lay throughout the spring. With special attention given to the feeding,
they should begin in the northeastern part of the United States about
February 1 and should continue to lay until about June 1 when geese of
the heavier breeds such as the Toulouse, African and Embden will
generally be pretty well through. Some individuals will lay later than
this and the Chinese geese also have a rather longer laying season
extending further into the summer. The length of the laying season is
also affected by whether the geese are broken up when they become broody
or whether they are allowed to sit. The latter practice, of course,
stops the layings. It must be remembered that the Canadian and Egyptian
as a rule lay only a single small setting of eggs during the season.

As a rule geese lay during the night or the forenoon. The frequency of
laying varies, some geese laying every other day while others lay more
or less often.

_Housing._ Geese withstand the weather very well and do not need much in
the way of houses or shelter except during winter and during severe
storms. In the North it is the usual practice and good practice to
provide shelter for the geese, which may take the form of a poultry
house, or of any shed or barn available for the purpose. A shed with
openings on the south side makes an ideal goose shelter or house. Most
breeders in the South who give their flocks good attention also provide
shelter for them during the winter although geese are also successfully
kept in that section without shelter.

The houses provided for the breeders must be kept clean and as dry as
possible. The best way to do this is to bed them liberally with straw,
shavings or some similar material, especially during the winter. As the
bedding becomes soiled, more should be added and the house should be
cleaned out from time to time and fresh litter put in.

No equipment for the houses is necessary. The geese will lay their eggs
in nests which they make on the floor and if plenty of clean bedding is
provided, the eggs will not get badly soiled. Large boxes, barrels, or
similar shelter provided with an abundance of nesting material may be
scattered about the range to provide places in which the geese may make
their nests.

_Yards._ Usually no yards are provided for geese as they are allowed the
range of a pasture or are allowed to roam at liberty about the farm. Any
ordinary woven wire stock fence such as might be used to fence a pasture
will serve to keep the geese confined as well as the other stock. If
for any reason it is desired to confine geese to a yard, the effort
should be made to provide yard enough so that the geese will have a
constant supply of green feed. In a small yard this is impossible. A 2½
or 3 foot fence is high enough to confine any of the common breeds of
geese and will also serve for Canadian and Egyptian geese if they have
been pinioned which should always be done.

_Feeding the Breeding Geese._ While the flock of geese may be allowed to
pick most of their living from a good grass range during the summer and
fall, it is necessary to feed them during the winter. In fact during the
summer it may be necessary to feed them lightly on grain or wet mash if
the pasture gets short. The quantity of feed necessary for this purpose
depends upon the condition of the pasture and must be judged by the
condition of the birds.

During the winter, they must be fed regularly. The feed given them
should consist of both grain and some form of roughage. It is necessary
to be careful not to overfeed so that the geese will become too fat, for
while they should be in good condition of flesh at the beginning of the
breeding season, if they are too fat, poor fertility and poor hatches
will result.

_Feed._ Oats makes the best feed for breeding geese as it is not too
fattening. Corn, wheat or barley fed alone is likely to prove too
fattening but a limited quantity should be fed for variety. The grain
should be fed twice a day throughout the winter and should be given
rather sparingly, depending on roughage to make up the bulk of the feed.
Vegetables, clover or alfalfa hay, chopped corn stover or silage make
good roughage for this purpose. Corn silage is a fine feed if it is not
moldy and does not contain so much corn as to be too fattening.

About three weeks or a month before it is desired to have the geese
commence laying, which should be at such a time that the first goslings
hatched will have good grass pasture, a mash should be added to the feed
to stimulate egg production. This mash is generally fed in the morning
with the vegetables or roughage and may consist of three parts bran or
shorts, one part corn meal and one-fourth part meat scrap. If available
buttermilk or skim milk can be used to mix the mash and replace the meat
scrap. Another mash for this purpose consists of corn meal one-fourth
part, bran two parts, and ground oats one part, mixed up with skim milk
or buttermilk.

Grit and oyster shell should be kept where the geese can help themselves
particularly during the laying season. Drinking water must be available
at all times and if a natural supply is not available, must be given in
drinking fountains or dishes which should be so arranged that the geese
cannot get their feet into the water. When they can get into the
drinking water, they will quickly get it into a filthy condition.

When the geese are running in a field with horses or cattle a small
enclosure should be fenced in to which the geese can gain access by
means of suitable openings but which will keep the other stock out. In
this should be placed the drinking fountain for the geese and in this
enclosure the geese should be fed. Otherwise the cattle or horses will
get most of the feed intended for the geese and in addition, some of the
geese may be stepped on or kicked and injured when the stock crowds
around at feeding time.



_Care of Eggs for Hatching._ Since egg production usually begins early
in the spring while the weather is still cold, it is necessary to gather
the eggs at frequent intervals to prevent their freezing or becoming
chilled. Later in the season daily collection will be satisfactory. The
eggs as collected should be kept in a cool place and where the
evaporation of the egg contents will not be too great. If set at fairly
frequent intervals, there will be no difficulty on this score. If they
are to be kept for some time, they may be stored in bran to prevent
evaporation. It is well to mark the eggs as gathered with the date they
are laid so as to overcome the possibility of saving too long any eggs
for hatching.

Some goose raisers think that it is best to wash goose eggs before
setting them. This belief is based on the fact that when a goose makes
her own nest and has access to water in which to swim she comes on the
nest with her feathers wet. It is to simulate this condition that the
eggs are washed. Certainly any dirty eggs should be washed.

_Methods of Incubation._ The most usual methods of hatching goose eggs
are by means of the chicken hen and the goose. Incubators may also be
used but do not as a rule seem to give as good results as they do with
hen or duck eggs. Turkey hens may also be utilized for this purpose but
are not commonly available although they make good mothers. Probably the
most common method of hatching is the use of chicken hens. Next common
is to allow the goose to hatch her own eggs. Goose eggs hatch well under
hens or geese. During the height of the season nearly every fertile egg
should hatch if the breeding geese are managed and fed so that they are
in good condition. Early in the season the eggs may not run as fertile
or hatch as well as later.

_Period of Incubation._ The period of incubation of goose eggs is
approximately 30 days, but may vary from 28 to 33 or occasionally even
35 days.

_Hatching with Chicken Hens._ Chicken hens are used very commonly to
hatch goose eggs both because they give good results and are readily
available and also because it is desirable to take the first eggs laid
by the geese away and not to let them get broody and sit so that they
will lay more eggs. For the latter reason practically all the eggs laid
early in the season are hatched by chicken hens.

The nest can be prepared for the hen either in a suitable place in a
poultry house or in a shed or other building or in a box or barrel on
the ground. As soon as the hen shows that she is ready to sit by staying
on the nest, in which has been placed a nest egg or two, for a couple of
nights in succession, she may be given a sitting of eggs. Four to 6
goose eggs will constitute a sitting for a common hen. The hen should be
confined to the nest being let off only once a day for exercise, feed
and water.

The sitting hen must be given good care, being even more particular in
this respect than when she is sitting on hens' eggs as the period of
incubation is longer. In addition to being careful to see that the hen
comes off her nest for food and water she should be dusted 2 or 3 times
during the hatch with some good insect powder to keep her free from lice
and therefore contented to stay on the nest. Two or 3 days before the
goslings hatch she should be dusted with especial care so that the
goslings will be free from vermin.

On account of the large size of the eggs the hen should not be depended
upon to turn them and this should be done by hand once or twice daily.

_Hatching with Geese._ All breeds of geese will hatch their eggs
although some are more persistently broody than others while there is a
considerable difference in individuals in this respect. Toulouse and
Chinese are perhaps the least broody of the breeds and are sometimes
termed non-broody. The eggs laid by geese are generally gathered as
laid. If this were not done they will become broody and stop laying
quicker than they do under this treatment.

The goose should be allowed to make her own nest. Often she will do this
in a barrel, box or other shelter if these are conveniently available.
When she shows that she is broody and has stopped laying she should be
given a sitting of eggs which will consist of 10 or 11. Geese are often
difficult to manage when they have young.

Wild and Egyptian geese should always be allowed to make their own nests
which they like to do on dry ground near the water, using straw leaves
or similar material to make the nest. They should not be disturbed as
they are ugly during this time. They will hatch practically every egg.

_Breaking Up Broody Geese._ A goose which shows a desire to sit, can be
broken up quite easily by confining her to a slat-bottomed coop without
any feed, but with plenty of water to drink, for from 2 to 4 days. After
being broken up she will generally commence laying again after an
interval of a few days.

_Hatching with an Incubator._ While it is more difficult to hatch goose
eggs in incubators than it is hen or duck eggs, this can be done by an
experienced operator with a fair degree of success. The incubator should
be operated at a temperature of 101.5 to 102.5 degrees F., with the
thermometer so placed that the bulb is on a level with the top of the
eggs. Beginning with the third day, the eggs should be turned twice a
day as with hens' eggs. Beginning about the tenth day, the eggs should
be cooled once a day, and they need more cooling than hens' eggs
require. They should be cooled down to a temperature of about 80 to 85
degrees. All goose eggs whether in incubators or under hens or geese
should be tested once during the hatch. The best time to do this is
sometime between the tenth and fourteenth days, when any infertile eggs
or dead germs should be thrown out.

_Moisture for Hatching Eggs._ Where eggs are being hatched in an
incubator, there is need for the use of considerable moisture. It should
be added first at about the end of the first week of incubation and
should be repeated a couple of times during the second week. This can
best be done by sprinkling the eggs liberally with water heated to about
100 degrees. Beginning with the 15th day and until 2 or 3 days before
the eggs are ready to hatch soak them in warm water for from one-half a
minute to a minute once every 2 or 3 days. For the last 2 or 3 days do
this daily.

When the eggs are being hatched by chicken hens or geese in nests
indoors or in boxes or barrels and in dry weather, moisture should be
added in the same manner and with the same frequency and amount as in
the incubator. When the nest is on damp ground, it is not necessary to
use any moisture on the eggs.

_Hatching._ Goslings as a rule hatch rather slowly and somewhat
unevenly, especially when under hens. For this reason it is well to
remove each gosling as it hatches from under the hen or goose and place
it in a covered, cloth-lined box or basket and keep near the stove
until the hatch is completed. As soon as the hatch is over, the goslings
that have been removed from the nest can be put back under the hen or
goose which is to be allowed to assume the duties of motherhood.


Brooding and Rearing Goslings

When the hatch is completed all the goslings which have been removed
from the nest should be returned; and the hen or goose removed to the
coop which she is to occupy while brooding them. At this time, if
hatched with a hen the goslings should be examined carefully on the head
and neck to see whether there are any head lice present. If any are
found the heads and necks of the goslings must be greased with a little
lard or vaseline. Not too much grease should be used as it may prove
harmful to the goslings.

_Methods of Brooding._ The most common methods of brooding goslings are
the use of geese, of chicken hens or of artificial means. Geese make the
best mothers but are not always available especially during the early
hatches. Geese may also prove rather unruly when they have young and for
this reason are not in favor with some goose raisers. When hatching is
done simultaneously with geese and hens it is the practice of some
raisers to give all the goslings hatched to the geese to rear.

Hens can be used very successfully for rearing goslings especially if
they are confined to a coop for the first week or two so that they
cannot range too far and too fast and tire the goslings out. Not over 6
or 8 goslings should be given to a hen to brood.

Artificial methods are very successful with goslings much more so in
fact than are artificial methods of hatching the eggs. Some goose
raisers prefer to use artificial means of brooding, especially if they
have only a few goslings and are brooding at the same time some chicks
or ducklings.

_Brooding with Hens or Geese._ A suitable roomy coop should be provided
to which the goslings with their mother, either hen or goose, can be
moved when the hatch is completed. The coop should be so constructed by
means of a slatted front or otherwise, that the hen can be confined and
the goslings allowed to range. It is very desirable to get the goslings
out on grass as soon as possible. A goose with goslings is often allowed
to have her liberty but many raisers prefer to confine her to a coop the
same as when a hen is used. The coop should have a board floor well
bedded with straw, shavings or similar material. This will not only help
to keep the goslings dry but will also serve to protect them from their
enemies during the night. For this same reason the coop should be so
constructed that it can be closed at night by means of a wire covered
door so as to shut out marauders, and at the same time allow plenty of
ventilation. The coop must be cleaned often so as to keep the goslings
clean and dry.

_Length of Time Brooding Is Necessary._ The time that goslings need
brooding will, of course, depend upon the weather. During mild weather
10 days is usually sufficient, after which they can do without any
brooding. Early in the season, brooding must be extended over a longer
period. This may mean anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks or even longer.

_Artificial Brooding._ For this purpose any brooder utilized for chicks
or ducks can be used for goslings. To start with they should have a
temperature of about 100 degrees but this can be reduced in a few days
until in a week or ten days it is only 70 to 80 degrees or if the
weather is mild artificial heat may be dispensed with entirely. Where
there are only a few goslings they may be put with a brood of ducks as
long as they need heat. It does not work so well to put them with chicks
both because they do not require a high temperature so long as the
chicks and also because they are so large as to be likely to tread on
and injure some of the chicks. Brooders should be well bedded with
straw, shavings or some similar material and should be cleaned out every
2 or 3 days so as to be kept clean and dry. Do not crowd the goslings;
give them plenty of room.

Some goose raisers do not depend upon heated brooders at all, especially
when only a few goslings are to be brooded. For the first day or two the
goslings are kept in a covered basket or box in the house near a fire
and after this are put out during the warmth of the day but brought into
the house and put in the basket or box at night until they are two or
three weeks old. The same practice should be followed with goslings
reared in brooders, these being used only during the night after the
first 2 or 3 days, the goslings being put out-doors during the day in
good weather.

When goslings which are being artificially brooded are put out during
the day on the grass, they should be confined at first. This can be
easily accomplished by building a triangular enclosure, formed of 3
boards, 1 foot wide or wider, placed up on edge. This enclosure can be
easily shifted to a new position each day thus giving the goslings fresh
ground and fresh grass.

General Care of Growing Goslings

Goslings should be kept dry and for this reason should be kept shut up
until the dew is off the grass in the morning. For the same reason they
should not be allowed access to water in which to swim until they are at
least 3 or 4 weeks old. When allowed to swim, care should be taken to
see that they can get out of the water easily.

Goslings caught in a cold rain will often be overcome and apparently
dead. Frequently they can be revived and saved by wrapping them in a
heated cloth and placing them near a warm fire. While they are still
young, goslings should be driven under shelter whenever a rain storm
comes up.

When allowed to run at liberty, goslings must be kept track of to some
extent. They may become lost and have to be driven back to their shelter
at night. Or they may fall into holes or get caught in fences and
corners and must be released. When allowed to run with larger stock they
are more or less liable to injury from being stepped upon or kicked.

A growing coop or shelter of some sort should be provided for the
growing goslings although this is not always done after they are pretty
well feathered out. Such a coop should be large enough so that the
goslings are not crowded, and should be well ventilated. It should have
a board floor and be capable of being closed so as to protect the
goslings from their enemies, but without cutting off ventilation.

If natural shade is not available where the goslings range, artificial
shade of some sort must be provided during the hot weather. Growing
goslings are quite susceptible to extreme heat and will not make as good
growth if not provided with shade. Artificial shade of boards or brush
can be easily provided.

If for any reason it is necessary to confine growing goslings, they
should be provided with good grass yards or runs and their coops or
shelters should be moved to a fresh location frequently.

It is better, if possible, to keep the growing stock separate from the
old breeding stock as they will do better and make more rapid growth
under these conditions. Usually, however, where only a few geese are
reared each year, old and young stock are allowed to range together.

_Feeding the Goslings._ Like chicks or ducks, goslings do not need to be
fed as soon as hatched, the yolk of the eggs providing all the
nourishment they need for at least 36 hours. They should, however, be
furnished water to drink as soon as the hatch is completed.

The first feed should consist of stale bread, soaked in milk or water.
With this material should be mixed boiled eggs chopped up fine. The
goslings should be fed 3 or preferably 4 times daily until they are 2 or
3 weeks old. Chopped grass or some other green feed should be added to
the feed, the quantity fed being increased steadily. It is important to
get the goslings out on grass as soon as possible, which should be after
the first 2 or 3 days if the weather is good, so that they will be able
to graze for themselves. Five per cent of fine grit or sharp sand should
likewise be added to the feed. Some growers prefer to feed the grit or
sand in a hopper to which the goslings have constant access and from
which they can help themselves. A constant supply of fresh drinking
water is essential and this should be provided in drinking fountains or
dishes such that the goslings cannot get their feet or bodies in them.

When a good grass range is available, the goslings, after they are 2 or
3 weeks old, will need only one light feed of mash daily in addition to
the grass they eat. Such a mash will consist of 2 parts shorts and 1
part corn meal, ground oats or ground barley. Where the pasture is good
many goslings are raised from the age of 2 or 3 weeks until they are
ready to be fattened without any other feed than the grass and other
material which they get for themselves. However, the feeding of one
light feed of mash a day is advantageous as it insures adequate feed for
their need and promotes quicker growth. After the goslings are 6 weeks
old, if they are still fed, the mash should be changed to equal parts
shorts, corn meal and ground oats with 5% meat scrap. This same mash can
be continued until fattening time. Whole grains are not generally fed to
goslings until they are well feathered and often not until it is desired
to fatten them.

_Percentage of Goslings Raised._ Goslings are for the most part quite
hardy and are comparatively easy to brood. This coupled with the fact
that they are relatively free from disease and are not much troubled
with insect pests makes it possible to raise a large per cent of the
thrifty goslings hatched. With good care and with good strong healthy
stock, it should be possible to raise in the neighborhood of 90% of the
goslings hatched.

_Rapidity of Growth._ Goslings make a very rapid growth. When marketed
as green geese they are usually turned off at from 12 to 16 weeks of
age. At this age they should weigh from 9 to 12 pounds, depending upon
the breed and upon the rapidity of growth. Many, probably most, young
geese are not marketed at as early an age as this but are held until the
Christmas season or later and marketed at heavier weight. The best grown
Toulouse goslings should attain a weight of 16 to 18 pounds by Christmas
or when 6 to 8 months old. Other breeds will weigh proportionately less.
Special attention or special feeding will, of course, increase the
weight over that attained without such feeding.

As a rule the heavier breeds such as the Toulouse do not get their full
growth until they are about 18 months old. After this as geese of both
sexes grow older, they will, of course, fill out more and attain greater

_Disease._ Goslings are remarkably free from disease and a very large
percentage of all strong goslings hatched should be reared. One of the
principal difficulties is diarrhoea. This is usually caused by faulty
feeding. It may be due to feeding too great a quantity of soft feed or
to giving soft feed in too sloppy a condition. Access to stagnant water,
unclean enclosures or unclean drinking dishes may also cause diarrhoea.
When partly grown goslings which are being given soft feed are troubled
with diarrhoea, this may sometimes be checked by substituting a light
feed of corn daily for a part of the soft feed.

Goslings are sometimes troubled with lameness. This is usually caused by
faulty feeding also, particularly by feeding a ration which is lacking
in something needed, such as some form of animal feed like beef scrap
which may cause a lack of mineral matter in the ration. If the goslings
cannot secure it for themselves a supply of grit or gravel should be
placed at their disposal.

There is an infectious disease of geese which sometimes causes trouble
known as goose septicemia or hemorrhagic septicemia. This is a disease
similar to fowl cholera and may attack either young or mature geese. It
is not often found on farms where the geese are raised in small lots,
but sometimes proves troublesome on farms where a large number of geese
are gathered together for fattening. The geese are often found dead when
one goes to feed them without having shown much preliminary sickness.
The disease is usually fatal. Shortly before they die the affected geese
may acquire an uncertain gait and may twist the head about and burrow it
in the dirt. Treatment is of no avail. If the disease occurs in a flock,
the affected birds should be removed and killed, while the rest of the
flock should be moved to new ground if possible. The ground which they
previously occupied should be plowed and any houses, shelter, feed
troughs, and drinking vessels should be thoroughly disinfected.


Fattening and Marketing Geese

_Classes of Geese Marketed._ The market geese consist principally of the
surplus young ganders not required for breeding purposes and such of the
old geese of either sex as it may be considered desirable to get rid of.
Some young females, when the number raised is in excess of the number
required for breeders also find their way to market. While these geese
are marketed in the largest numbers during the Thanksgiving and
Christmas holiday season, particularly the latter, some geese of course
find their way to market practically throughout the year. There is also
a rather limited trade in "green geese" which corresponds to the trade
in spring or "green" ducklings. Green geese are goslings about 12 to 16
weeks old, generally of the larger breeds, which are forced for rapid
growth and are made to weigh in the neighborhood of 10 pounds at that
age. These bring a good price and yield a good profit where there is
demand for this class of geese.

_Markets and Prices._ As with most classes of poultry, the large cities
offer the best market for geese. Especially the cities which have a
large foreign population make good markets as many foreigners are more
in the habit of using geese for a holiday dish than are native
Americans. The most favorable market usually occurs at Christmas when
roast goose and apple sauce is in considerable favor. Considerable
numbers of geese are also used at Thanksgiving time and in recent years
as the price of turkeys has steadily increased there has been an
increasing tendency to substitute goose for turkey on that day.
Following are prices paid for various classes of geese on the New York
wholesale market from May 1920 to June 1921 as reported by the New York
Produce Review. Quite a wide variation in price will be noted in many
cases which reflects the difference in condition of the geese as
received. In the case of express receipts of live geese where a wide
variation in prices occurs the high quotations represent the receipt of
especially fattened geese from nearby farms.


May   5      25 @ 31c per lb.
     12      25 @ 31c  "  "
     19      25 @ 31c  "  "
     26      25 @ 31c  "  "
June  2      25 @ 31c  "  "
      9      25 @ 31c  "  "
     16      25 @ 31c  "  "
     23      25 @ 31c  "  "
     30      23 @ 29c  "  "
July  7      23 @ 29c  "  "
     14      21 @ 27c  "  "
     21      21 @ 27c  "  "
     28      21 @ 27c  "  "
Aug.  4      20 @ 25c  "  "

Jan. 26      26 @ 34c  "  "
Feb.  2      26 @ 34c  "  "
      9      26 @ 36c  "  "
     16      26 @ 36c  "  "
     23      26 @ 36c  "  "
Mar.  2      26 @ 36c  "  "
      9      25 @ 35c  "  "
     16      25 @ 35c  "  "
     23      25 @ 35c  "  "
     30      25 @ 35c  "  "
Apr.  6      25 @ 35c  "  "
     13      25 @ 35c  "  "
     20      25 @ 35c  "  "
     27      25 @ 35c  "  "
May   4      25 @ 35c  "  "
     11      25 @ 35c  "  "


Nov. 17      34 @ 43c per lb.
     24      30 @ 38c  "  "
Dec.  1      25 @ 36c  "  "
      8      30 @ 36c  "  "
     15      30 @ 39c  "  "
     22      30 @ 40c  "  "
     29      30 @ 40c  "  "

Jan.  5      30 @ 37c  "  "
     12      25 @ 35c  "  "
     19      25 @ 34c  "  "
     26      25 @ 34c  "  "


Feb.  2      25 @ 34c per    lb.
      9      26 @ 36c  "  "
     16      26 @ 36c  "  "
     23      26 @ 36c  "  "
Mar.  2      26 @ 36c  "  "
      9      25 @ 35c  "  "
     16      25 @ 35c  "  "
     23      25 @ 35c  "  "


May   5      18 @ 20c per  lb.
     12      22c       "  "
     19      20 @ 22c  "  "
     26      20 @ 22c  "  "
June  2      20 @ 22c  "  "
      9      20 @ 22c  "  "
     16      20 @ 22c  "  "
     23      18 @ 20c  "  "
     30      18 @ 20c  "  "
July  7      18 @ 20c  "  "
     14      18 @ 20c  "  "
     28      25c       "  "
Aug   4      25c       "  "
     18      25c       "  "
     25      25c       "  "
Sept. 1      25c       "  "
     22      26c       "  "
     29      26c       "  "
Oct. 20      25 @ 28c  "  "
     27      27 @ 30c  "  "
Nov.  3      32c       "  "
     10      32c       "  "
     17      32c       "  "
     24      28 @ 32c  "  "
Dec.  1      28 @ 30c  "  "
      8      30 @ 34c  "  "
     15      28 @ 35c  "  "
     22      25 @ 30c  "  "
     29      27 @ 32c  "  "

Jan.  5      26 @ 32c  "  "
     12      26 @ 30c  "  "
     19      25 @ 29c  "  "
     26      25 @ 29c  "  "
Feb.  2      27 @ 33c  "  "
      9      28 @ 33c  "  "
     16      26 @ 32c  "  "
     23      25 @ 26c  "  "


Mar.  2      25c  per lb.
      9      18 @ 20c  "  "
     16      18 @ 20c  "  "
     23      20c       "  "
     30      20c       "  "
Apr.  6      15 @ 18c  "  "
     13      15 @ 18c  "  "
     20      15 @ 18c  "  "
     27      15 @ 18c  "  "
May   4      14 @ 16c  "  "
     11      14 @ 16c  "  "
     18      14 @ 16c  "  "
     25      14 @ 16c  "  "
June  1      14 @ 16c  "  "


Nov. 24      30 @ 33c per lb.
Dec.  1      30 @ 32c  "  "
      8      32 @ 35c  "  "
     15      30c       "  "
     22      30c       "  "
     29      28 @ 35c  "  "

Jan.  5      29 @ 38c  "  "
     12      28 @ 38c  "  "
     19      28 @ 36c  "  "
     26      27 @ 37c  "  "
Feb.  9      28 @ 40c  "  "
     16      28 @ 42c  "  "
     23      26 @ 28c  "  "
Mar.  2      25 @ 28c  "  "
      9      20 @ 23c  "  "
     16      18 @ 22c  "  "
     23      18 @ 22c  "  "
     30      20 @ 23c  "  "
Apr.  6      17 @ 20c  "  "
     13      17 @ 20c  "  "
     20      17 @ 21c  "  "
     27      16 @ 20c  "  "
May   4      15 @ 18c  "  "
     11      15 @ 18c  "  "
     18      15 @ 18c  "  "
     25      15 @ 18c  "  "

_Prejudice Against Roast Goose._ There exists on the part of some
persons a prejudice against goose on the grounds that it is too greasy a
dish. When improperly cooked, goose will prove to be too greasy to suit
many fastidious palates but this condition is not so much the fault of
the fowl as it is of the method of preparation and cooking. When dressed
if the goose shows a large amount of abdominal fat, as it usually does
and should, a large part of this should be removed. This fat when tried
out is highly esteemed by many cooks and by other persons is treasured
as an efficacious treatment for croup in children. Also while the goose
is roasting, a part of the fat as it cooks out of the carcass should be
removed. Treated in this way one need have no fear that the roast goose
will prove too greasy but instead one will be pleasantly surprised at
the rich taste which the roast goose possesses.

_Methods of Fattening Geese for Market._ Many geese are sent to market
without any special treatment or effort to fatten them, being taken
right off pasture in such condition as they happen to be or at best with
only a half-hearted attempt to fatten them by feeding a little corn or
some other grain for a short period. When a real effort is made to
fatten geese for the market it is generally done in one of three ways.
First is pen fattening which is the method best adapted to small lots of
geese on the average farm. Second is by noodling which is only attempted
in sections where the goose raisers are somewhat of specialists and
where the effort is made to turn out geese of superior quality. Third is
fattening in large flocks which is practiced only by a very limited
number of farmers in scattered sections who take the unfattened geese
raised on the general farms and finish them for market.

_Pen Fattening._ For this purpose the geese are put in pens large enough
to hold them comfortably but without any yards. Not over 20 to 25 geese
should be penned together for this purpose. To get the best results the
geese should be kept as quiet as possible and to accomplish this the
pens are partly darkened and the geese disturbed only at feeding time.
The geese are fed three times daily; in the morning, at noon and at
night, being given all they will clean up. One feed should consist of a
moist mash composed of one part shorts and two parts corn meal. This
mash should not be sloppy. The other two feeds consist mainly of corn
with some oats or barley. Some roughage such as vegetables or hay should
also be supplied. The pens should be deeply bedded with good oat straw.
The geese will eat a considerable amount of this which thus helps to
supply the roughage which they need. The straw also, of course, serves
to keep the pen and the birds clean. A plentiful supply of good drinking
water is also necessary. The usual period of fattening is three to five
weeks and a gain of from 4 to 6 pounds per bird can be secured. This
method of fattening is commonly used by goose raisers in Wisconsin and
the geese from this state are noted for their fine quality.

A less intensive form of pen fattening is often used by farmers where a
small yard is provided in addition to the pen itself and where no effort
is made to darken the pen. If no other means for fattening are
available, a small yard can be built, a few boards arranged for a
shelter at one end and the birds fed in this enclosure as described

_Noodling Geese._ Noodling geese is a method of hand feeding which has
for its purpose the production of the best fattened geese. It is not
employed to any extent except in the section about Watertown, Wisconsin,
where the farmers specialize to some extent on goose fattening. It is a
method requiring long hours and tedious labor and cannot be profitably
carried on unless a special price can be obtained for the product.

In noodling geese, 8 or 10 geese are placed in a pen about 8 by 12 feet
which is heavily bedded with straw. A partition extends halfway across
the pen and is utilized to keep the geese separate as they are fed.
Young ganders and any old ganders or geese which are to be marketed are
used for noodling.

The pen is kept dark and the geese should be disturbed only at feeding
time. The first feed is given at 5 o'clock in the morning and five feeds
are given daily at about 4 hour intervals, the last feed coming at 11 p.
m. However, when the geese are first put on feed they are noodled only
3 times a day this being gradually increased to 5 times. The feeder sits
on a box or stool in a corner of the pen, grasps each goose in turn
holding it between his legs to keep it from struggling as he stuffs it
with noodles. The goose is handled by its neck, never by its legs which
are easily injured, and is held with its back toward the feeder. The
feeder usually wears gloves to protect his hands from the severe bites
which the birds will inflict. The feeder must also handle the birds as
carefully as possible, especially as killing time approaches for the
flesh bruises easily and the discolored patches spoil the appearance of
the dressed goose.

The feeder at the start usually gives each goose from 3 to 5 noodles,
gradually increasing this to 6 or 7 noodles if the birds will stand it,
the number of noodles fed depending upon the size and condition of each
bird, the feeder being obliged to use his judgment in this matter. In
general if any feed can be felt in the craw, no noodles are given until
the next feeding time. Failure to observe this is likely to cause the
bird to go off feed. If any geese are noticed which are off feed they
should be taken out and marketed.

The noodles are made of scalded corn meal, ground oats, ground barley
and ground wheat or wheat flour, using equal parts of each. This
material is thoroughly mixed and salted as one would bread and is then
put through a sausage stuffer. The product as it comes from the stuffer
is cut into noodles about 2½ or 3 inches long and these are boiled for
10 or 15 minutes or until they float. A wash boiler with a wire rack
forming a false bottom about 1½ inches above the boiler bottom is used
for this purpose. When cooked the noodles are dipped in cold water and
then rolled in flour to keep them from sticking together. A supply of
noodles is made which will last for 2 or 3 days' feeding.

Just before feeding, hot water is poured over the noodles to make them
warm and slippery. The mouth of the goose is forced open and the noodles
are put in, one at a time, and worked down by using the fingers on the
outside of the neck. As each goose is fed it is placed on the other side
of the partition until all in the pen have been fed. It is important
that plenty of drinking water be kept before the geese.

The feeding period where geese are noodled usually extends from 3 to 4
weeks. Gains of 6 to 10 pounds per bird can be secured and often an
increased price of 10 to 15 cents a pound can be secured for such
specially fattened geese. Noodled geese will average about 25 pounds and
some individuals have been made to weigh nearly 40 pounds. One man can
noodle from 50 to 100 geese but has to put in long hours. Noodled geese
should be dressed where fattened as they are soft fleshed and would
shrink badly if shipped alive.

Fattening methods similar to the noodling described are used in parts
of Europe for the production of the enlarged goose livers which are
employed in making "patte de fois gras".

Methods Used on Fattening Farms

As previously mentioned, a few farmers make a specialty of buying the
geese in their section of the country in the fall when it is too late
for serious trouble to develop from hemorrhagic septicemia, a disease
similar to fowl cholera, and to fatten or finish them in large flocks
for the Thanksgiving and Christmas markets. Methods are employed in
different sections which differ quite widely.

On a farm in the Middle West the geese are collected from the general
farms where they are produced in small flocks and brought to the farm
where they are kept in flocks as large as 1,000 or even more, and are
allowed to run in a cornfield or orchard. They are fattened for about a
month. Corn on the cob and plenty of water is kept before the geese all
the time and if they are running in a cornfield they eat the leaves off
the corn stalks for roughage. Roughage is supplied if not available
otherwise and straw, hay or vegetables are utilized for this purpose.

No shelter is provided during mild weather, the geese getting such
protection as they can from the trees or corn stalks. If the weather
turns unusually severe, the geese are generally driven into sheds or
barns. When fattened the geese are usually shipped to some large market
alive. Several farms in the neighborhood of Boston make a specialty of
finishing geese each fall, and the methods used are quite different from
those described above. No geese are raised on these farms, the operation
being confined to the fattening or finishing of the geese and to killing
and dressing them for the market. Some of these goose fatteners also
have stalls or stands in the Boston markets where they are enabled to
dispose of their fattened geese to the best advantage.

[Illustration: FIG. 55. Large flock of geese fattening in an orchard.
(_Photograph from the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. Department of

_Fatteners._ In previous years these fatteners depended largely upon the
geese produced on the Rhode Island farms for their supply. In the past
few years, however, the supply from this source has dwindled greatly and
the bulk of the geese for fattening are now shipped from Prince Edward
Island, Canada, in carload lots. Such summer geese as are now fattened
still come from Rhode Island and are brought in by truck. The fattening
season begins in September and lasts until Christmas. Some early
goslings are bought in June but there is not as good a profit from the
summer geese, the demand and prices being adversely affected by the
supply of spring ducklings available at that time.

Experience and good judgment will benefit the goose fattener greatly
when purchasing his supply of geese for fattening. What he wants are
goslings, not older geese, which have made a good growth and which have
a large frame but which are in poor flesh rather than fat. Such geese
will make more rapid and more profitable gains. When geese are bought
for shipment by the carload from Prince Edward Island, they should be
penned and fed at the point of shipment for 3 or 4 days before they are
loaded in the cars, so as to put them in shape to stand the journey
well. On the farms from which they come, the goslings are not fed much
and in consequence are not in shape to stand shipment.

_The Goslings_ which are secured from the farms for fattening are mainly
common geese of no particular breed. Some pure bred geese are also
obtained as are some first crosses between the pure breeds. A class of
geese which is obtained in some numbers from Prince Edward Island and
which is much desired is the so-called "Mongrel" goose. These are
obtained by breeding a Wild or Canadian gander to geese of dark plumage
similar to the Toulouse or African. The mongrel geese much resemble the
wild gander in type and color and are in demand on the market because of
their wild or gamy flavor. They bring about 10 cents per pound more than
common geese. The market, however, is somewhat limited. These geese will
not breed although the females will lay eggs. Where the wild gander is
mated with light colored or white geese the offspring will have more or
less light colored feathers and will not as closely resemble the wild
parent and for this reason are not as desirable.

_Shipping._ The geese are loaded into stock cars into which three
separate decks are built to accommodate them. From 1200 to 1400 geese
can be loaded into a car thus arranged. The journey usually takes about
5 or 6 days and some fatteners send a man along with the car to feed and
water the geese 2 or 3 times during the trip. If a man does not
accompany the car, buckets of corn should be placed in the car for feed
and some potatoes should also be supplied as these will serve in place
of drinking water. If the car is not subjected to unusual delay, the
geese should come through in good shape, but if much delayed there may
be 25 to 100 geese dead when the car arrives at its destination.

When the car arrives at the end of its journey, the geese are unloaded
and driven to the farm where they are turned into the fields together in
a large flock. The fields in which they are thus kept should have a
supply of growing green feed or grass and a good supply of fresh
drinking water. They are kept here until they are wanted for the
fattening pens which may be from a week to 20 days after their arrival
at the farm. While in this large supply flock they are fed on corn and
grass which they can get for themselves.

_Summer Geese_ to be fattened are placed only about 50 in a pen or
enclosure; and are provided with a few boards set on posts to protect
them from the hot sun. The later geese are fattened in lots of 3 or 4
hundred or even more, depending upon how many pickers are available to
be kept busy. It is for this reason also that the geese are not all put
on the fattening ration at the same time, but are started at intervals
so as to have a continuous supply coming along to keep the pickers busy.
The geese not put in the fattening lots at the start are left in the
fields to grow and develop until they are needed.

The enclosures in which the geese are penned for fattening are small
lots or fields enclosed by stone walls or board fences 2½ to 3 feet
high. These lots should be dry and well-drained, a location on a side
hill being good for this purpose. The fattening lots must be kept clean
and stagnant water must not be allowed to stand in the lots as this is
likely to cause sickness, especially diarrhoea. These yards should be
plowed up each spring and planted to oats, corn or some other growing
crop to sweeten them. No houses or shelters are provided for these geese
but some yards are somewhat wooded which affords a measure of protection
from the wind.

_Feeding._ When the geese are placed in the fattening lots, some
fatteners prefer to fast the geese for from 3 to 5 days, giving them no
feed but plenty of water to drink. This gives them a good appetite and
puts them in good shape for fattening.

The geese are fed three times a day, in the morning, at noon and at
night. The morning and night feed usually consists of a moist mixed feed
fed in troughs; while the noon feed is whole corn thrown on the ground.
The use of one feed of corn a day is supposed to check any tendency
toward diarrhoea. In very cold weather some fatteners feed the mixed
feed at noon and the corn at night. At first the geese are not given all
they will eat but are worked up gradually, increasing the amount each
day until they are getting all they want. As a rule the geese will drop
back a little in feed consumption after they reach the point where they
get all they want and from this time on, the feeding must be very
carefully watched to see that they are not given so much that they will
leave some to sour which would cause diarrhoea. The morning and noon
feeds are lighter, the heaviest feed being given at night. The bird's
appetites will vary from day to day so that it is best to make the
rounds twice in feeding to make sure that they have enough and that none
is left. If any is left it must be gathered up and carried away.

No provision is made for furnishing the fattening geese with green feed
or roughage. The practice with respect to drinking water varies. Some
fatteners keep a supply before the birds in troughs which must be washed
out each day to keep them clean. Others furnish no water except that
used in mixing up the feed.

_Corn Meal_ is the principal ingredient of the fattening mixture. To a
sack of corn meal is added 10% beef scrap and five good shovels of grit
or medium sized gravel. In addition some fatteners add 10% of flour to
bind the mixture together. This material should be thoroughly mixed up
in a dry state as a better mix can be obtained in this way. It is then
mixed up with water, the practice here varying. Some fatteners mix in a
trough with boiling water a short time before feeding, while others mix
it with cold water letting it soak over night and adding more water in
the morning if it is too dry at that time. It should be mixed until it
can be shoveled readily but should be quite solid, never in a sloppy
condition as this is likely to cause diarrhoea. A little salt may be
added, if desired, as an appetizer. While corn meal is generally used,
hominy may take its place. After the geese are started on the fattening
ration, this must be given throughout the fattening period. Changing to
some other feed will throw the geese off feed and cause a loss.

_Feeding._ When the mixed feed is ready it is shoveled into boxes or
barrels on a low wagon and driven to the fattening lots where it is
shoveled into the troughs for the geese. Ordinary V-shaped troughs are
favored instead of flat troughs as the latter afford hiding places for
rats which may cause damage in addition to the feed which they eat by
frightening the geese.

Geese are easily frightened and must therefore be handled rather
carefully and gently as a severe fright will interfere with the gains
they will make. Some fatteners provide electric lights where the geese
rest at night so that they can see and will not be so likely to become

When the geese are ready to be killed they are driven up to the killing
house and into a pen where they may be easily caught. Each goose as
caught is examined to see whether it is in condition for killing. If it
is not it is put back with a later lot for additional fattening. Good
condition in a goose is judged by its weight when handled and also by
the condition of its breast and the fat on its back. A good place to
test geese for fat is on the side of the body just below the point where
the wing joins the body. If fat can be seized between the thumb and
finger at that point, the goose is in good condition.

_Dry Picking._ All fattened geese for the Boston market are dry picked.
The goose is held between the knees of the picker with the wings held
fast against the sides of the body. The head is grasped by the left
hand, the mouth forced open and the veins in the back of the throat just
beyond the skull severed with a sharp knife for the purpose of bleeding
the bird. If the bird is to be stuck, which is not always done, the
point of the knife is then plunged through the roof of the mouth to the
brain. The legs are then seized in the left hand, together with the ends
of the wings to prevent the goose from struggling and the goose is
struck once or twice sharply on the back of the head with a club held in
the right hand. This is for the purpose of stunning the bird. The geese
may also be bled by sticking the knife through the neck from the outside
just below the head.

The picker then takes his seat beside the feather box, holding the goose
on his lap with the head held between his knee and the outside of the
box. He proceeds to pluck the feathers as rapidly as possible, removing
all the feathers except the main wing feathers or those of the first
joint of the wing and the feathers of the neck half way from the head to
the body. All the soft body feathers are thrown in the box and saved.
The coarser feathers are thrown on the floor. The down is removed by
rubbing the moistened hand over the skin. To save the hands, ordinary
rubber heels dipped in water are often used. Sharp knives are also used
to shave off the pin feathers which cannot be plucked and any down not
removed by rubbing.

The dry picked goose presents a much better appearance than a scalded
goose and the feathers are more valuable. The skin of a dry picked bird
is not so likely to be rubbed off in removing the down.

_The Value of the Feathers_ is sufficient to pay for the cost of the
picking or perhaps a little more. The cost of picking in the fall of
1920 ranged from 15 to 20 cents per goose where the picker was boarded
and 24 cents without board. A good man can pick about 40 geese in a day.
Women are not employed for this work as the geese are too big and too
strong for them to handle.

After the geese are picked, the blood is washed from the head and the
feet washed if that is necessary. They are then thrown into barrels of
cold water to cool and must be left there until the body heat is
entirely removed. The wings are tied in place by means of a string or
tape tied around the body and wings and the legs may also be crossed
over the back and tied. The geese when ready for market are either
shipped in by express or are taken in by automobile truck.

_Gain in Weight._ In fattening according to the methods described above
a gain in weight is secured of from 6 to 8 pounds per goose. This does
not represent the total gain in value, however, for the fattened geese
will bring more per pound as a result of their finished condition. The
fattened geese when ready for market will weigh from 12 to 20 pounds.
Weights taken on two carloads of fattened geese showed an average weight
of 14 pounds. On December 2, 1920, fattened geese from these farms were
bringing 42 cents per pound on the Boston market while the mongrel geese
were worth 50 cents or a little better.

The question may arise as to the size of farm necessary to carry on a
business of this sort. Using the methods employed about Boston a farm of
30 acres would be sufficient to handle 20,000 geese in a season. In
selecting a farm for such a purpose, a location should be chosen where
there are no close neighbors as the odor from the geese and yards is
offensive to most persons.

_Selling Geese Alive._ Most farmers who raise only a few geese ship them
alive, either sending them to some commission house or selling them to
someone who makes a specialty of fattening. Such geese are often in
poor condition and bring the lowest quotation. Large coops similar to
those used for turkeys should be used in shipping geese.

_Killing._ Where geese are killed on the farm for shipment to market
they are usually hung up by means of a cord about the legs. When geese
are to be dry picked the veins in the throat just beyond the skull are
first severed with a long bladed knife such as used for killing turkeys
to cause good bleeding and the point of the knife is then plunged
through the roof of the mouth to the brain performing the stick which
serves to make the feathers come out more easily as with other classes
of poultry. Since it is rather difficult to dry pick geese, they are
usually scalded or steamed and where this is done, the stick is not made
but after the veins in the throat are cut, the goose is stunned by a
blow on the back of the head with a short club. A blood can or weight is
then hooked through the lower bill which keeps the neck straightened out
and prevents the blood from being thrown about the room or on the birds.
The birds are allowed to hang until they are dead and thoroughly bled

_Picking._ When geese are dry picked, the feathers are removed just as
soon as the birds are stuck for the longer the delay the harder the
feathers pull. The wings are picked to the first joint and the feathers
of the neck half-way to the head. The soft pin feathers and fine down
may be removed by shaving the skin or rubbing the body with moistened
hands will partially remove them.

Usually geese are scalded or steamed for picking. For steaming a wash
boiler three-quarters full of boiling water and with a burlap sack
tightly stretched over its top can be used. The goose is simply laid on
the sack and the steam coming through the burlap steams the feathers and
makes them easy to remove. The breast should be steamed first, then the
back and then each side. Two or three minutes will be time enough to
complete the steaming. The feathers are steamed until they pull out
easily. The goose must be kept moving to prevent the flesh from becoming
scalded and since the breast is especially tender it is usual to lay the
head under the breast to prevent the latter from scalding. After
steaming the body feathers are removed and the bird is then singed over
a flame furnished by alcohol burned in shallow tin plates, in order to
remove the down. The down may also be removed by sprinkling powdered
rosin over the goose's body which is then dipped into hot water. The hot
water melts the rosin which sticks to the down and the down and rosin
can then be rubbed off together.

Geese may also be steamed by scalding slightly in hot water and then
wrapping tightly in burlap or some other cloth. They are kept wrapped
for about five minutes which allows the steam to work thoroughly through
the feathers which can then be plucked easily.

Exactly the same methods can and often are employed in dressing geese as
are used with ducks. The reader is therefore also referred to the
material in Chapter VII.

There seems to be no great insistence on the part of most markets for
dry picked geese. Some will pay slightly more for the dry picked birds
but others make no difference.

_Packing for Shipment._ After picking, the geese are washed and then
placed in cold water to cool. Ice water is best for this purpose and is
essential in warm weather. The carcasses must be allowed to remain in
the water until they are thoroughly cooled, which will take at least one
to two hours. If any animal heat is left in the bodies, they will spoil
very quickly. Often the carcasses are dipped in hot water, before being
thrown in the cold water, to plump them. After they are thoroughly
cooled, the geese are packed in barrels for shipping. If the weather is
cool they may be packed in well ventilated barrels without ice, but if
the weather is warm, cracked ice must be used in packing, proceeding in
the same way as when packing ducks as described on page 109. It is
always risky to pack without ice.

_Saving the Feathers._ Goose feathers are valuable and should therefore
be saved when the geese are plucked. The soft body feathers and the
coarser feathers should be kept separate. The feathers should be cured
by spreading them out in a thin layer on the floor of a loft or room,
stirring them up occasionally until they are thoroughly dried out, when
they can be sacked and sold. Failure to dry the feathers thoroughly will
result in their heating and molding with the result that they will
arrive at their destination in bad shape and will be worth less money.
The soft body feathers of geese are practically all used in making beds
and pillows while the quills are sometimes utilized in making toothpicks
and cigarette holders. Prices for goose feathers in June 1921 were as

Pure White          dry picked  75c per lb.
Good average white   "    "     65c  "   "
Largely gray         "    "     55c  "   "
Largely gray         scalded    40c  "   "
Long goose quills                5c  "   "

These prices were for good dry feathers.

Plucking Live Geese for their Feathers

In the days of feather beds and home-made pillows the practice of
plucking live geese for their feathers was very common. Now, however,
with the demand for goose feathers less and with the opinion of some
breeders that plucking geese is both cruel and injurious, the practice
seems to be decreasing. Many goose raisers in the South and a less
number in the Middle West and North however still pluck the feathers
from the live geese prior to the time of moulting. The frequency with
which the picking is done varies greatly, some picking as often as every
six weeks during the spring, summer and early fall while others pick
twice, once in the spring and once in the fall, or once in the spring
only. Geese should never be picked during the late fall or winter when
the weather is cold or during the breeding season. Both young and old
geese are plucked and the average yearly production of feathers per
goose is about one pound. When the quills of the feathers are dry and do
not contain any blood, the feathers are ripe for picking. In plucking, a
stocking is placed over the head of the goose and the goose held on the
lap and between the legs during the process.

An assistant to hold the goose during the plucking simplifies the work
greatly. In plucking, part of the soft feathers of the breast, sides,
abdomen and back are taken but these sections should not be plucked
clean. It is especially important that enough short feathers be left to
support the wings.

After plucking, the feathers must be cured before they are shipped. This
may be done by spreading them out on a floor as described for the
feathers taken from slaughtered geese or they may be placed loosely in
burlap sacks and hung up in a garret or loft. Hanging in this way and in
the loosely woven sacks, they are subjected to a good circulation of air
and will dry out without heating. Sacks of feathers should not be piled
or packed closely together, on top of one another or even be allowed to
lie on the floor until they are thoroughly dry as otherwise they are
almost sure to heat and mold.



Absence of crest in Crested White Duck, 34

African Goose, 156,  157

Age of
  breeding ducks, 55,  123
  breeding geese, 152
  duck eggs for hatching, 72
  ducklings for market, 96, 102,  136
  green geese, 187
  Muscovy duck, 31

Amount of feed
  per pound of market duck, 95
  for noodled geese, 197
Amount of land
  for duck plant, 46
  for goose fattening farm, 208

Arrangement of cars for shipping live geese, 202

Arrangement of duck plant, 45

Artificial water yards for ducks, 62

Aylesbury duck, 23


Baby ducks, selling, 78

Bantam ducks, 27, 29

  definition of, 13
  black in, 22, 23, 35

  brood coop for goslings, 180
  duck breeding houses, 60
  duck brooder houses, 87
  goose breeding houses, 168
  pens for fattening geese, 195

Beef scrap, feeding, to ducks, 64

Bib in
  Blue Swedish ducks, 33
  Buff ducks, 36

  definition of, 13
  black in, of Black East India, 29

Black East India duck, 29

Black in bean of
  Aylesbury, 23
  Crested White Duck, 35
  Pekin, 22

Black bill in Black East India drakes, 29

  head, greenish, in Buff drakes, 35
  head, in Fawn and White Runners, 37
  in face of Muscovy,  32
  plumage of Blue Swedish, 33
  on head of young White Muscovy, 32
  tail coverts, greenish, in Fawn and White Runners, 37

  ducks, 105
  geese, 206, 209

  cast in Buff ducks, 36
  Muscovy, 32
  Swedish ducks, 33
  wing bar in Buff ducks, 35

Body shape in breeding ducks, selecting for, 19

Braining geese, 206, 209

Breaking up
  goose matings, 154
  broody geese, 175

Breast-bone as index of age in ducks, 56

  drakes, securing, 58
  ducks, opportunity to produce, 6
  ducks, prices for, 7
  season for ducks, 124

Breeds of ducks, 9
  Aylesbury, 23
  Blue Swedish, 33
  broodiness of, 18
  Buff, 35
  Call, 27
  Cayuga, 25
  common or puddle, 9
  Crested White, 34
  East India, 29
  egg, 11
  egg production of, 15
  Mallard, 10
  Mandarin, 10
  meat, 11
  mule, 9
  Muscovy, 29
  ornamental, 11
  Pekin, 21
  popularity of, 14
  Rouen, 23
  Runner, 36
  size of, 14
  Wood, 10

Breeds of geese, 147
  African, 156
  Canadian, 159
  Chinese, 158
  common, 148
  Egyptian, 160
  Embden, 156
  mongrel, 148
  Sebastapol, 148
  Toulouse, 155
  Wild, 159

Brood coop for goslings, 179

  capacity on duck plants, 47
  houses for ducklings, 80-90

Brooders for goslings, 180

Broodiness of
  ducks, 18
  geese, 152
  geese, breaking up, 175

  ducklings, 80-90, 131
  goslings, 178
    by artificial means, 180
    with geese, 179
    with hens, 179
    without artificial heat, 180

Brown Chinese goose, 158

Brownish color in Cayuga ducks, 26

Buff Ducks, 35

Button head in Call ducks, 28

Buying geese for fattening, 200


Call ducks, 27

Canadian goose--see Wild

Capacity of
  car for geese, 202
  farm for fattening geese, 208
  incubator for duck eggs, 130

  invested, for duck plant, 53
  working, for duck plant, 54

Care of
  duck eggs for hatching, 73, 128
  goose eggs for hatching, 172
  growing goslings, 181
  hen sitting on goose eggs, 174

  ducks, 39
  geese, 162

Caruncles on face of Muscovy, 29

Cases, shipping, for duck eggs, 119, 137

  ducks, 39
  geese, 162

Cayuga duck, 25

Celery seed, feeding, to fattening ducks, 93

Changing feed for fattening geese, 205

Chestnut colored head in Buff drakes, 35

Chilling of goslings by rain, 181

Chinese goose, 158

Chocolate colored ducks from Colored Muscovy, 32

Claret in breast of Rouen drakes, deficiency of, 24

Classification of breeds of ducks, 11

  brood coops for goslings, 179
    breeding houses, 60
    brooder houses, 87
    yards, 61, 97
  goose breeding houses, 168

Cleanliness of plumage as indication of health, 19

Color of
  duck eggs, 17
  goose eggs, 152

Colored flights in
  Fawn and White Runners, 37
  Penciled Runners, 38

Colored Muscovy, 31

Commercial duck farming,
  opportunity for, 4
  distribution of, 42

Condition of
  breeding geese, 169
  ducks ready to kill, 96
  geese for fattening, 200
  geese ready to kill, 206

Conditioning exhibition ducks, 38

Conditions for duck raising on the farm, 120

Confining goslings to yards, 181

Considerations, general, in making
  duck matings, 18-21
  goose matings, 154

Consistency of feed for
  ducks, 65, 126, 133
  fattening geese, 205

Construction of brooder houses for ducks, 82

Cooking geese to overcome greasiness, 194

Cooling duck
  carcasses, 108
  eggs during incubation, 75, 131

Cooling goose
  carcasses, 207, 211
  eggs during incubation, 175

Coop, growing, for goslings, 182

  feed buying, 101
  marketing, 110

Copper colored head of Buff drakes, 36

Cost of picking
  ducks, 107
  geese, 207

Creaminess in plumage of
  Aylesbury, 23
  Pekin, 23

  tendency toward, in the Pekin, 22
  of Muscovy, 29
  of Crested White, 34

Crested White duck, 34

Crippled ducks, 97, 104

Critical period with young ducks, 98

Crooked back
  in ducks, 19
  in Runner ducks, 37

Crooked crest in Crested White, 34

Crooked tail in ducks, 19

Crossed feathers on neck of Pekin drake, 22

Crossing African and Brown Chinese geese, 157

  duck feathers, 117
  goose feathers, 211, 213


Darkening pens
  for fattening geese, 195
  for noodling geese, 196

Dewlap in
  Toulouse geese, 155
  African geese, 157

  of ducklings, 99
  of goslings, 185

  of ducklings, 98-100
  of goslings, 185
  of mature ducks, 69
  prevention of, 98

Dished bill in Rouen, 24

    in ducks, 13, 135
    in geese, 165
  young from old ducks, 55

Distribution of duck raising, 3

Dogs a source of loss in ducks, 69

Double crest in Crested White ducks, 34

Down, removing,
  from market ducks, 108
  from market geese, 207, 210

  definition of, 12
  adult, meaning of, 13
  young, meaning of, 13

Drakerel, definition of, 13

Drinking dishes
  for ducklings, 86
  for goslings, 183

Driving geese from railway to farm, 202

Drowning ducks, 31, 128, 135

Dry, keeping goslings, 181

Dry land duck farms, 44

Dry picking
  ducks, 107
  geese, 206

  definition of, 12
  adult, meaning of, 13
  young, meaning of, 13

Duck raising
  as a side line, 120
  distribution of, 3
  for egg production, 5
  for ornamental purposes, 7
  kinds of, 4
  on the general farm, 5
  opportunities for, 4, 120

Ducklet, definition of, 13

Duckling, meaning of, 12

  number of,
    in leading states, 3
    in U. S., 3
  value of, in U. S., 3

Dun colored ducks from Colored Muscovy, 32


Egg class of ducks, 11

Egg production,
  duck raising for, 5
  of breeds of ducks, 15
  of breeds of geese, 150
  of Pekins on commercial plants, 66
  selection of breeders for, 21

Eggs, duck,
  color of, 17
  for hatching,
    age of, 72
    care of, 73, 128
    frequency of setting, 72
    packing and shipping, 40
    prices of, 7
    selection of, 73
    washing, 130
  marketing, 118
  size of, 16

Eggs, goose,
  care of, for hatching, 172
  color of, 152
  size of, 151
  washing for hatching, 172

Egyptian goose, 160

Electric lights
  for breeding ducks, 67
  for duck plants, 51
  for ducklings, 94
  for fattening geese, 205

Embden goose, 156

Equipment of pens in duck brooders, 86

  geese to determine sex, 165
  fattened geese for market condition, 206

Extent of
  duck industry, 3
  goose industry, 141

Eye as indication of health in ducks, 19


Faded gray in Brown Chinese geese, 158

Fading of color in
  Buff ducks, 35
  Cayuga ducks, 27
  Gray Call ducks, 28
  Rouen ducks, 25

Fasting geese before fattening, 203

Fattening farms for geese, 199

Fattening geese,
  by noodling, 196
  methods of, 194
  on farms in the east, 200
  on farms in the middle west, 199
  on large fattening farms, 199-208
  pen, 195

Fattening houses or sheds for ducklings, 48

Fattening summer geese, 202

Fawn and White Runner, 37

Fawn colored breasts in Rouen females, 25

Fawn on neck, too much, in Fawn and White Runner, 37

Feather eating in ducklings, 100

Feathered legs in ducks, 19

  saving duck, 117
  saving geese, 207, 211
  plucking from live geese, 212

Feed, cooperative buying of, 101

Feed cooker
  for ducks, 49
  cutter for ducks, 49
  last, for market ducklings, 103
  mixer for ducks, 49
  storage for duck plant, 49
  troughs or trays for ducks, 66
  troughs for fattening geese, 205
    for ducks, 65
    for geese, 205

  breeding ducks, 63
  breeding geese, 169
  Call ducks, 27
  ducklings, 92, 132
  fattening geese, 195, 196, 203
  geese during shipment, 202
  goslings, 183
  growing and fattening ducklings, 92-94, 132
  noodles to geese, 198
  show ducks, 39
  show geese, 161
  supply geese on fattening farms, 202
  track on duck plants, 51, 65

  for ducks, 52, 128
  for fattening geese, 203
  for geese, 168

Fertility of duck eggs, 20, 77

Fireless brooding goslings, 180

First feed
  for ducklings, 92
  for goslings, 183

Fish, feeding, to ducks, 63, 92, 134

Fits in ducklings, 99

Flat breast in Aylesburys, 23

Flatiron shape in Call ducks, 28

Folded feathers on neck of Pekin drake, 22

Foreign color in back of White Runner ducks, 37

Free range
  for ducks, 120
  for geese, 168
  for goslings, 182

Freezing of ducks to the ground, 62, 128

  of plucking live geese for feathers, 212
  of setting duck eggs, 72

Frightening breeding ducks, 67
  ducklings, 94
  fattening geese, 205


Gains in weight
  made by ducklings, 94
  secured in noodling geese, 198
  secured in pen fattening geese, 195
  secured on goose fattening farms, 208

Gander, definition of, 149

Gapes in ducklings, 99

Geese as weed destroyers, 145

Goose eggs for hatching,
  care of, 172
  washing, 172

Goose fattening farms, 199

Goose raising,
  as a business for farm women, 144
  as a side line, 141
  distribution of, 141
  on general farms, 142
  opportunities for, 142

Goose septicemia, 186

Gosling, definition of, 149

Grading growing ducklings, 87

Grass yards for goslings, 182

Gray Call duck, 28

  faded, in Brown Chinese geese, 158
  in plumage of Blue Swedish ducks, 33
  stippling on Penciled Runner drakes, 38

Greasing heads of goslings for lice, 178

Green bill
  in Aylesbury, 23
  in Buff ducks, 36
  in Crested White ducks, 35
  in Pekin, 22
  in White Runner, 37

Green ducks, 102

Green feed
  for breeding ducks, 64
  for breeding geese, 169
  for ducklings, 92, 133
  for fattening geese, 204
  for goslings, 183

Green geese, 149, 187

  for breeding geese, 170
  for fattening geese, 204
  for goslings, 183

Growing green feed for ducks, 64

Growth of goslings, rapidity of, 184

Gypsy face in Muscovy ducks, 32


  ducks, 39
  geese, 162
  geese during noodling, 197

Hatches of duck eggs, 78

Hatching duck eggs
  with an incubator, 70, 130
  with hens, 129

Hatching eggs, duck, packing and shipping, 40

Hatching goose eggs
  with chicken hens, 173
  with geese, 174
  with incubators, 175

  selection of breeding ducks for, 19
  indications of, in ducks, 19

Heating apparatus for duck brooder house, 83

Heavy bottoms in Runner ducks, 37

Hemorrhagic septicemia of geese, 186

Horse power required on a duck plant, 50

House capacity
  for breeding ducks, 46
  for fattening ducks, 48

  for breeding ducks, 59
  for breeding geese, 167

Hump back in ducks, 19


Identification of ducks by toe punching, 12

Incubation, period of,
  for ducks, 47, 129
  for geese, 173

Incubator capacity on duck plants, 47, 71

Incubator cellar, 70

Incubators, kinds of, for duck eggs, 70

  to ducks, 57, 62
  to goslings, 182

Insect pests of ducks, 69


Keel, deep,
  in Aylesbury, 23
  in Call, 28
  in Pekin, 22
  in Rouen, 24

  ducks, 105
  geese, 206, 209
  house for duck plants, 50

Knob on head
  of African geese, 157
  of Chinese geese, 158
  of Muscovy drake, 29


Labor required
  on duck plants, 52
  in noodling geese, 198

  of ducklings, 99
  of goslings, 185

Land required for duck plants, 46

Laying ration
  for ducks, 126
  for geese, 169

Laying season
  for ducks, 66, 124
  for geese, 167

Lay-out of duck plant, 45

Length of time
  in brooder house for ducklings, 88
  brooding necessary for goslings, 180

  for breeding ducks, 67
  for ducklings, 94
  for fattening geese, 205

Live ducks, shipping to market, 116

Live geese,
  shipping to market, 208
  plucking for feathers, 212

  of duck plant, 42
  of goose fattening farm, 208

Lopped crest in White Crested ducks, 35

  in ducklings, 98
  in geese during shipment, 202

Lost, goslings becoming, 182

Lots, fattening, for geese, 203


Making a start in duck raising, 121

Making new goose matings, 154

Mallard duck, 10
  summer plumage of males, 25

Mandarin duck, 10

  duck eggs, 118, 136
  ducks, 102, 135

Markets for geese, 187

  ducklings, 12
  goslings, 153

  ducks, general considerations in, 18
  geese, general considerations in, 154

Meat class of ducks, 11

Mixing feed
  for ducks, 65
  for fattening geese, 204

  for duck eggs during incubation, 76, 131
  for goose eggs during incubation, 176

Molt of ducklings as indication of market condition, 102

Mongrel goose, 148, 201

  of breeding ducks, 69
  of geese during shipment, 202

Mosquito larvae, destruction of, by ducks, 8

Mule ducks, 9

Muscovy duck, 29


Narrow shoulders
  in Call ducks, 28
  in Pekin ducks, 22

Nest, preparing the, for hatching goose eggs, 173

  of ducks, 12
  of geese, 149

Noodles, making, for fattening geese, 197

Noodling geese, 196

  of breeding ducks required, 46
  of ducklings marketed per breeding duck, 46
  of ducklings to a pen, 85, 90
  of ducks in leading states, 3
  of ducks in U. S., 3
  of ducks to a drake, 57
  of geese carried on fattening farms, 208
  of geese in leading states, 141
  of geese in U. S., 141
  of geese noodled by one man, 198
  of geese to the acre, 164
  of times
    ducklings are fed, 92
    geese are fed on fattening farms, 203
    noodled geese are fed, 197
    pen fattened geese are fed, 195


  to duck farms, 43
  to geese, 145
  to goose fattening farms, 208

Odor from goose fattening farms, 208

  for duck raising, 4
  for goose raising, 142

  purposes, ducks for, 7
  class of ducks, 11

Output of duck plants, 42, 45

Oyster shell, feeding,
  to breeding ducks, 66
  to breeding geese, 170


Packing dressed
  ducks for shipment, 109
  geese for shipment, 211

  duck hatching eggs, 40
  goose hatching eggs, 162

  geese, 164
  goslings, 183

Patte de fois gras, 199

Pay for picking
  ducks, 107
  geese, 207

Pekin duck, 21

Pekin duck on commercial plants, 42

Penciled Runner duck, 37

Penciling in
  Buff ducks, 35
  Fawn and White Runner females, 37
  Rouen females, 25

Penciling, lack of, in Penciled Runner females, 38

Pen fattening geese, 195

  for fattening geese, 203
  for noodling geese, 196
  in brooder house for ducklings  84, 89

  hatch of duck eggs set, 78
    in ducklings, 98
    in goslings, 184

Period of incubation
  for duck eggs, 129
  for goose eggs, 173
  for Muscovy duck, 30

Period of feeding
  noodled geese, 198
  pen fattening geese, 195

Picking house for duck plants, 50

  market ducks, 106
  market geese, 206

Pin feathers, removing, from ducks, 107

  ducks, 28
  wild geese, 159

Pneumonia in ducklings, 99

Popularity of breeds
  of ducks, 14
  of geese, 150

Pounds feed to produce pound of market duck, 95

Prejudice against roast goose, 194

  ducks for the show, 38
  geese for the show, 161

Prevention of disease in ducklings, 98

  of duck breeding stock and eggs, 7
  of duck feathers, 118
  of goose breeding stock and eggs, 163
  of goose feathers, 212
  of market ducks, 110
  of market geese, 188
  of mongrel geese, 208
  of specially fattened geese, 208

Prince Edward Island geese, 201

Production, yearly, of feathers from live geese, 213

Profits from duck farming, 54

Protecting feed of geese from other stock, 171

Puddle ducks, 9

Pulling broken feathers
  in ducks, 38
  in geese, 161

Purple barring in Black East India ducks, 29

Purple rump in Rouen drake, 24


Quilling in ducklings, 100


  for fattening geese, 199
  for geese, 164

Rapidity of growth of goslings, 184

  for breeding ducks, 63, 125
  for breeding geese, 169
  for ducklings, 92, 132
  for fattening geese, 195, 197,  203
  for goslings, 183

Rats as source of loss in ducklings, 101

Red in plumage of Blue Swedish, 33

  baby ducks to the brooder, 80
  newly hatched goslings from the nest, 176

Reviving goslings chilled by rain, 181

Rhode Island geese, 200

Ribbon or wing bar, absence of, in Gray Call, 28

Ring, white,
  in Buff ducks, 36
  in Rouen, 24
  width of, in Rouen, 24

Roach back in ducks, 19

Rouen duck, 23

  for fattening geese, 195, 199, 204
  in rations for geese, 170

Round head in Runner ducks, 37

Runner duck, 36


Sand, feeding,
  to breeding ducks, 66
  to ducklings, 86, 93
  to goslings, 183

Scalding market
  ducks, 105
  geese, 209

Sebastapol goose, 148

Selection of breeding ducks, 19
  on commercial plants, 56
  on general farms, 134

Selection of breeding geese, 154

Selection of duck eggs for hatching, 73

Selecting the breed of ducks, 122

Separating growing goslings from old stock, 182

Septicemia, goose or hemorrhagic, 186

  in ducks, distinguishing, 13, 135
  in geese, distinguishing, 165

  for breeding ducks, 60
  for fattening summer geese, 202
  for goslings, 182
  for growing ducklings, 92

Sharp backs in Runner ducks, 37

Shaving market geese to remove down, 209

  for fattening geese, 199, 203
  for growing goslings, 181

  dressed ducks, 109
  dressed geese, 208
  hatching eggs,
    duck, 40
    geese, 162

Shipping live geese for fattening, 201

Short legs in Runner ducks, 37

Shrinking in shipping ducks alive, 116

  of breeding ducks, 19
  of breeds of ducks, 14
  of breeds of geese, 150
  of duck eggs, 16
  of duck farms, 42, 44, 46
  of flocks of breeding ducks, 46
  of flocks of ducks on general farms, 121
  of flocks of fattening geese, 195, 196, 199, 202
  of goose eggs, 151
  of male and female Muscovy, 30
  of mating in ducks, 20, 123
  of mating in geese, 152
  of sitting of duck eggs, 7, 129
  of sitting of goose eggs, 163, 174

Slate on backs
  of young Embden geese, 156
  of young White Chinese geese, 159

Smooth head in Muscovy duck, 29

Sore eyes in ducklings, 100

  growing ducklings, 87
  market ducklings, 104

Split crest in Crested White ducks, 34

  ducks for picking, 107
  geese for picking, 210

Sticking or braining geese, 206, 209

Stippling, gray, on Penciled Runner ducks, 38

Stunning geese, 206, 209

Summer geese, fattening, 202

Summer plumage of Rouen drakes, 25

Swimming, preventing goslings from, 181

Temperatures, incubation,
  for duck eggs, 74
  for goose eggs, 175

Temperatures, brooder,
  for ducklings, 81
  for goslings, 180

  duck eggs, 74, 130
  table for candling duck eggs, 75

Time of feeding
  breeding ducks, 63, 126
  geese on fattening farms, 203
  noodled geese, 196
  pen fattened geese, 195

Time of first feed
  for ducklings, 92
  for goslings, 183

Time of laying
  with ducks, 67
  with geese, 167

  of marketing breeding ducks, 68
  of plucking live geese for feathers, 212
  to purchase breeding ducks, 121
    breeding geese, 166

Toulouse goose, defects in, 155

Tray, feed, for ducks, 66

Triple crest in Crested White ducks, 34

Trough, feed, for ducks, 66

  duck eggs during incubation, 75
  goose eggs during incubation, 174, 175

Twisted wings in ducks, 19


  for duck feathers, 118
  for goose feathers, 212


  of duck feathers, 117
  of ducks in the U. S., 8
  of goose feathers, 207

Vegetables, feeding, to ducks, 63

  for goslings, 179
  of brooder houses, 88
  of incubator cellars, 71
  of incubators when hatching, 77

Vigor, selection of breeding ducks for, 19


  duck eggs for hatching, 130
  goose eggs for hatching, 172
  show ducks, 39
  show geese, 162

  for breeding ducks, 61, 127
  for breeding geese, 165
  for ducklings, 96, 135
  for fattening geese, 195, 198, 204
  for geese during shipment, 202
  for goslings, 183

Water site for duck plants, 42

Water supply for duck plants, 52

Water yards
  for breeding ducks, 61
  for growing and fattening ducklings, 96, 135

Weed destruction by geese, 96, 103

  of ducklings when ready for market, 96, 103
  of geese from fattening farms, 208
  of goslings when ready for market, 185
  of green geese, 184, 187
  of noodled geese, 198

  of Black East India ducks, 14
  of Call ducks, 14
  of duck eggs, 14
  of goose eggs, 151
  of Mallard ducks, 10
  of standard breeds of ducks, 14
  of standard breeds of geese, 150

White around eyes
  of Blue Swedish, 34
  of Cayuga, 26

White bib
  in Blue Swedish, 33
  in Buff ducks, 36

White Call duck, description of, 28

White Chinese goose, 159

White in breast
  of Black East India, 29
  of Cayuga, 26

White in fluff of Rouen drake, 24

White in wings
  of African geese, 157
  of Blue Swedish ducks, 33
  of Brown Chinese geese, 159
  of Buff ducks, 35
  of Gray Call ducks, 28
  of Rouen ducks, 24
  of Toulouse geese, 156

White Muscovy duck,
  description of, 32
  black on head of young, 32

White on head of Colored Muscovy, 32

White on neck of Cayuga, 26

White Runner duck, 37

Wild or Canadian goose, 159

Windpipe as indication of age in ducks, 56

Wing bar, absence of, in Gray Call females, 28

Wood duck, 10


  for breeding ducks, 58, 128
  for breeding geese, 168
  for fattening ducklings, 91
  for fattening geese, 203
  for goslings, 181

Yellow bills
  in Blue Swedish, 34
  in Rouen females, 25

Yellow, loss of, legs and bills of Pekin with laying, 56

Yellow on knob
  of African geese, 157
  of Brown Chinese geese, 158
  of White Chinese geese, 159

Yield of feathers from live geese, 213

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Apart from minor changes to formatting, table alignment and punctuation,
the only changes made to the text from the original are as follows:

Preface (2nd page): "minumum" changed to "minimum" (... with the minimum
of initial investment and of labor.)

"Sebastapool" changed to "Sebastapol" in List of Illustrations (Egyptian
Gander and Sebastapol Goose) Figure 50 caption, and twice in the index.
This is consistent with the use of "Sebastapol" in the text.

Page 20: "neccessary" changed to "necessary" (... it becomes neccessary
to mate a smaller number of females ...).

Page 30: missing page reference added (See Page 14).

Page 72: comma deleted after "Of" (Of course, eggs sufficient to fill
the entire incubator capacity ...).

Fig 28 caption: "yords" changed to "yards" (Long brooder house and yards
with feeding track.)

Page 107: duplicate word "the" deleted (... hung in a steam box with the
heads outside ...)

Page 131: "chickens" changed to "chicken" (Ducklings can be brooded if
desired by means of chicken hens.)

Page 136: missing page reference added (... in accordance with the
directions given on page 106).

Page 137: missing page reference added (See page 119).

Page 141: "1920" changed to "1910" (The census figures of 1920 compared
with those for 1910 ...)

Page 145: "in" changed to "is" (An objection to geese often expressed
but without good foundation is that they will spoil the pasture for
other stock.)

Page 154: "Ameriacn" changed to "American" (... the American Standard of

Page 155 Footnote: "standard" changed to initial upper case "Standard"
(American Standard of Perfection).

Page 163: missing page reference added (The same method of packing the
eggs should be employed as with duck eggs described on page 137.)

Page 165: "thoughout" changed to "throughout" (... green feed available
throughout the summer and fall ...)

Page 166: "penus" changed to "penis" (... the penis will protrude.)

Page 182: "close" changed to "closed" (It should have a board floor and
be capable of being closed ...)

Page 194: "pleasanty" changed to "pleasantly" ( ...one will be
pleasantly surprised at the rich taste which the roast goose possesses.)

Page 211: missing page reference added ( ... in the same way as when
packing ducks as described on page 109.)

Page 222 (Index): "stipling" changed to "stippling" (Gray stippling on
Penciled Runner drakes).

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ducks and Geese" ***

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