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How Much Do Ducks Cost to Buy and Raise on Your Homestead

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Have you been wondering how much a duck costs? And what does it cost to raise a duck, or many ducks, on your farm or homestead?

You’re not alone!

With the continuing global shift toward more sustainable, healthy living, more and more homesteaders are considering raising ducks as pets – or for their soft down feathers or their tasty, nutritious eggs and meat.

(Muy delicioso!)

Adorable farmyard ducks quacking and yawning.

Either way, if you have some extra space, it’s always an enjoyable experience to raise ducks. They’re hardy animals that require little maintenance. Plus, they are surprisingly affordable.

Spoiler Alert: You can buy a Runner duck for less than $10, a Peking duck for less than 15 bucks, and a Cayuga duck for less than $25. However, for duck’s sake, consider buying at least two ducks.

No duck likes to be alone. And a severely lonely duck might quack up!

OK, let’s get into it. Let’s consider the one-time and repetitive expenses of owning these nifty and always exciting waterfowl.

One thing’s for sure: This is going to be a BLAST!

Here we go!

How Much Does a Duck Cost?

How much does a duck cost? And how much does a baby duck cost?

Good news. Ducks are surprisingly cheap!

You can find ducks for sale at many pet and farm supply stores, from duck breeders, and even from a duck farmer at some sheep and goat markets.

There are at least a few dozen breeds of domesticated ducks. Most of them cost less than $20 per bird. 

Not a bad deal at all!

But I don’t suggest buying an individual duckling. Everyone needs friends.

So, it’s safe to say that you can buy two ducks, say a female and a male, for $60 or less (most likely less). There are numerous duck breeds. You might find the following.

  • Peabody duck
  • Magpie duckling
  • Mallard duckling
  • Harlequin duckling
  • Blue Runner duckling

Once you see how cute they are, you might wish to purchase an entire batch of ducklings!

But there’s more to raising ducks than simply buying them. They have a few hidden costs!

So we should look at the one-time and reoccurring expenses of raising ducks on your farm or homestead.

And no worries. It is not very expensive at all!

three heavy white ducks foraging for yummy snacks
How much do ducks cost to buy? The price is surprisingly affordable! We found baby ducklings with the lowest cost of around $7 each at our local Tractor Supply. Their cheapest ducks were Pekin, Khaki Campbell, and baby Rouen ducks. A small flock of 10 baby ducklings was $70 for an average cost of approximately $7 per baby duck. But not all backyard ducks cost the same! Cayuga and Buff Orpington ducks cost slightly more than the others, at around $8 per baby duck. Dark Campbell ducks were the most expensive. They cost approximately $12 per baby duck! (We still consider the cost insanely low, considering a dozen eggs can cost upwards of $8 to $10.)

How Much Do Ducks Cost to Keep?

There are initial and repetitive costs linked to buying and raising ducks. Of course, you have to purchase the ducks first. But then, you must provide them with all they need to stay safe and healthy. Consider housing, food, water, veterinary care, and a hospitable environment. And, of course, lots of love!

Let’s look closer at the one-time costs first.

One-Time Expenses to Raise Ducks

The one-time expenses to raise ducks include the costs of duck and duckling feeders, waterers, housing & bedding, a brooder box, and nesting boxes. These are the necessities ducks need to live and function normally.

Brooder Box

A duck brooder box with a brooder plate is a warm enclosure for juvenile birds. Young ducklings need access to a brooder to keep warm and cozy while developing their full plumage. A basic brooder for use in moderate climates costs about $100 to put together yourself, and it’s a simple thing to do.

If you live in a colder climate, 2-in-1 brooders are available that provide heating and cooling. They keep a constant temperature like a duck’s natural body temperature. Especially if you need an additional heat source, building one of these brooders will cost up to $300, so it’s good they’re just one-time expenses.

Feeders and Waterers

Ducks like food and water just like we do! So, you need to purchase food containers, feeders, and a nipple waterer or more to meet your needs, depending on the number of ducks you’re raising. Also, you may need a heated waterer if you dwell in a colder climate.

There are various types of duck feeders. You can pick up a standard, no-frills feeder for about $35, and there are plenty of options for waterers for around the same price. A fancy duck feeder will cost about $50 if you want to give your ducks the ultimate luxury!

farmyard ducks exploring a green grassy meadow
Many homesteaders are shocked to learn that ducks love foraging and grazing. Just like sheep, cows, and goats! (Well, they don’t eat nearly as much grass as goats. But they still love grazing.) The point remains, however, that if your homestead offers fresh green grass forage, it could help minimize the cost of duck protein feed. (We also read an excellent article entitled Small Poultry Flock Management on the New Mexico State University Extension website. One of our favorite takeaways is to expect your baby ducks to start eating large amounts of grass when they reach around four to six weeks old. Your ducks still require healthy and nutritionally-balanced duck feed. But healthy grass can potentially help lower duck feed cost. Good to know!)

Housing

I’ve yet to meet a single duck that likes rickety duck houses made from cardboard boxes!

Well-behaved adult ducks deserve proper duck shelter. Give yours a dry and safe home with ample flooring, bedding, a brooder, an entry or exit door, and adequate ventilation. Plenty is available online for an average price of about $200, or you can build your own for cheaper.

There is also a ton of optional duck-raising gear. Consider low-cost option heat plates, an inexpensive heat light, cheap heat lamps, a base water heater, and other freshwater equipment to meet your duck’s unique needs.

lovely chickens ducks and rabbits on a rural farm
The cost of buying and raising ducks on a small backyard scale is probably lower than you think. Ducks don’t require a fancy chicken coop like other backyard poultry. We read from the Animal Health Diagnostic Center that an open shed, poultry fencing, or a feed hopper are adequate duck shelters. (The exception is a duck brooder – which baby ducks need for development during their first few weeks.) Ducks are also exemplary foragers – which can help reduce feed costs for free-range duck setups. Ducks even get along with other backyard poultry – as evidenced by our lovely farmyard photo above. (This duck is even keeping cool next to a bouncy rabbit! They can be social animals, sometimes.)

Nesting Boxes

Nesting boxes provide sanctuary and safety for female ducks incubating eggs. (There’s nothing like a good, comfortable nesting box to get through the day after warming and watching over embryonic eggs all morning!) You can buy a predator-safe nesting box for about $40.

You might also need an incubator if you have substantial ducks, especially when the mating season hits. Also, many duck owners like to keep a bedding dryer on hand because no self-respecting duck likes wet bedding!

Reoccurring Costs of Raising Ducks

The reoccurring costs of raising ducks are somewhat minimal – and we shall go over them item by item in a moment.

But first – consider, as mentioned, ducks are resilient animals that don’t routinely need a lot from humans. They need a warm home, food, water, and room to exercise. And they aren’t likely to give you any hassles at all. (Aside from occasional honking, probably due to some unexplainable duckly complaint that happens occasionally.)

The initial price and month-to-month costs of raising ducks are less than with most other animals, including chickens, goats, pigs, and cows. You can’t go wrong raising some awesome ducks, but they will need some reoccurring items, the first of which is, believe it or not, Duck Diapers!

Duck Diapers

Some homesteaders indeed raise indoor ducks. In such cases, duck diapers are a wise investment. You can purchase duck diapers online. Or you can save money by making your own. There are loads of guides online about how to do so. Of course, you can negate the need for duck diapers by raising your ducks outside, where they would probably be happier in the long run anyway.

ducks resting atop a straw nest inside their farmyard housing
Prospective duck raisers must consider the cost of duck bedding when calculating the cost of buying and raising ducks. We love ducks. But we also recognize that ducks are messy drinkers, eaters, and farmyard companions. That means you must change and refresh their bedding every few days. Remember that, unlike chickens, ducks never roost when they sleep. That means ducks spoil their nesting sites (bedding) much faster than baby chicks and chickens. Check their bedding materials daily and see if it looks caked, damp, or spoiled. Remove the wet, old litter, and replace it with fresh straw or pine shavings whenever necessary. We also saw a borderline genius duck-raising tip from the University of Wisconsin Livestock Division. They advise placing a wire rack underneath the duck waterer. That wire rack helps to keep the area much less messy – and the ducks drier. It’s perfect.

Duck Babysitting Costs

If you’re a traveling duck owner and you plan on being gone for a long spell, you might need to pay for a duck sitter to come and care for your feathered friends while you’re away. Duck sitters typically end up being trusted friends or family members. So pricing is relevant here. It shouldn’t be much for this type of duck care, though! (If you have a friendly neighbor, offer them free duck eggs, fresh garden veggies, or your best herbs!)

Feeding Costs

Wild ducks in nature enjoy consuming juicy insects, mollusks, amphibians, pondweed, seeds, crustaceans, aquatic vegetation, fish eggs, and small fish. So, if you ever come across any of these delectable food sources, please bring some home for Daisy and Daffy!

However, pet ducks can live quite nicely, eating weeds, chicken feed, duck feed, some fruits and vegetables, sunflower and other seeds, and even cat and dog food from a duck feeder. Most duck breeds also relish mealworms, cracked corn, cooked rice, birdseed, and various types of grain.

Popular duck food available at feed outlets will likely cost up to $40 monthly – depending on flock size. The price depends on the brand you choose and the breed of duck you’re feeding. Plus, it goes without saying that ten ducks cost much more to nourish than a single duck.

farmyard ducks enjoying an afternoon lunch
It’s lunchtime. Our duck’s favorite time of day! It reminds us of a critical tip when calculating the cost of buying and raising ducks. Don’t try to save cash by using old duckling feed! We read from the NC State Poultry Extension that ducks are uniquely susceptible to mold toxins. That means storing your duck feed in a clean and dry place is vital. It also means that old duck feed should get discarded. And we usually advise against buying too much duck food in bulk because duck ranchers should always use the duck feed by the time it expires. (Always double-check your duck feed to ensure the absence of mold.)

Veterinarian Costs

Ducks don’t need vets very often. Pet ducks that are well taken care of rarely get sick or require veterinary care. Many vets do not offer services for waterfowl like ducks. However, if you need to get your duck checked out by a vet and can find one that will do it, expect to pay about $40 or so, maybe less.

Read More!

Water Costs

Ducks need access to water for drinking and swimming, and clean water isn’t free. Besides the cost of water, you’ll also have to consider the electricity required to operate the water, which is not very much. Check your local water rates to learn more about the price of water where you live.

Provide your ducks with constant access to water for exercise and fun. You can buy your ducks a 10-gallon swimming pool, a larger kiddie pool, or maybe even a deeper pool if it’s within the budget. Ducks sure like to swim, regardless of the price of water!

pet ducks splashing in the pool
Here you see some of our favorite meat ducks (Pekin) cooling off on a hot summer day. Ducks need fresh and clean drinking water – at all times! But contrary to popular belief, ducks don’t require a luxurious pool, pond, or body of water for swimming. So if you don’t have a massive pond, don’t fret. That said – never forget that ducks are waterfowl. While they don’t need a pond to survive, they love playing and swimming in water. We also believe water availability helps improve their mental health and well-being. So, you can always indulge and reward backyard ducks with a backyard baby pool to splash, refresh, and clean their feathers. (If you offer a swimming pool – keep it clean! Ducks pollute their water quickly. You don’t want them swimming in a filthy swamp. Refresh the duck pool daily to help prevent ducks from drinking spoiled water.)

Conclusion – How Much Does a Duck Cost

That covers the one-time expenses and reoccurring costs when buying and raising ducks. It’s not a very expensive undertaking, especially considering that ducks are laid-back, nifty animals that provide constant companionship. (Not to mention their delicious and valuable eggs!)

You’ll likely enjoy years of hassle-free joy if you provide your ducks with safety, food supplies, water, and care. If you go all out and buy the finest duck supplies available, like a 2-in-1 brooder box, you can raise two ducks in excellent style for less than $500 initially. Expect monthly expenses of about $50. And some surprise expenses here and there. (Emergencies and accidents happen on the homestead. Budget for them!)

Of course, if you plan on raising more than a couple of ducks, you can calculate the costs linearly. More ducks cost more.

So, before I leave you today, would you like a super-funny Duck Joke?

I knew it!

OK, here it goes:

What type of TV shows do ducks like best?

DUCK-UMENTARIES!

HAHAHA! I am undeniably funny!

We thank you again for reading.

And if you have more questions about duck raising costs – feel free to ask!

Have a great day.

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