- Series: Storey's Guide to Raising
- Paperback: 316 pages
- Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 2nd edition (November 8, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 158017258X
- ISBN-13: 978-1580172585
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 51 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks: Breeds, Care, Health Paperback – November 8, 2000
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From the Back Cover
This comprehensive, fully illustrated guide takes you through every step of owning ducks. An essential resource for any duck breeder, it provides the most up-to-date information on:
Breeding for color varieties
Feeding and housing
Maximizing egg production
Breeding for color varieties
Showing prize-winning ducks
Health care and disease prevention
"This book is a deep and useful resource for anyone from beginner to advanced breeder and is jam-packed with information available nowhere else. This includes not only recent scientific understandings but also many insights and 'tricks' from old-time breeders that are sure to contribute to success." - D. Philip Sponenberg, D.V.M., Ph.D. American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
About the Author
Dave Holderread, author of Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks, has raised ducks for nearly 50 years. He and his wife have established one of the largest genetic stocks of domestic waterfowl in the world on their farm in Oregon, and their ducks have won numerous championships at regional and national shows. Holderread teaches in vocational poultry programs throughout North America.
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Holderread attempts to write to all of these audiences, risking both overwhelming and shorting the readers who just want a few ducks and really aren't familiar with keeping animals or are unsure of themselves. He does little hand-holding, leaving research into the details of available equipment and the like to the reader.
But I think this book is an excellent resource for any keeper of ducks. Some portions will be less useful, but I've not been able to find another book with as much detailed information. I consider "Raising Ducks" to be the bible of the small-scale duck keeper.
"Raising Ducks" opens with a survey of the duck and the wide variety of domestic breeds... and consumes nearly one third of the book. Much of this information is about showing ducks, which is of little to no use to anyone but those wanting to show ducks. And if that's not enough, another forty-some pages, nearly a sixth of the book, is devoted to duck genetics and breeding. This piece is valuable to the show breeder, but comes at a tediously poor place. Were I the editor, this would have been the final chapter... why learn about duck color genetics before you even know how to raise and keep them?
In short, if you pick up the book already knowing what breed of duck you want, read the "Why ducks?" chapter just for the warm fuzzies of knowing you've chosen wisely, then skip straight to page 142, and "Acquiring stock". Skim through the duck breeds when you have more time, and completely ignore "Understanding duck colors" unless you're bored.
That all sounds a bit negative, but you'll note, I gave this book four stars, and I called it "excellent" in the title of this review.
Now we get to the meat of the book as far as the title is concerned, it's "Raising Ducks" not "Showing" or "Breeding"... over 150 pages concerning the actual raising and care of ducks. And Holderread seems to have his ducks in a row, based on many years of experience. Throw out all those parts I recommended you skip and I'd still pay cover price for the remainder.
As of this writing, I have eight beautiful, ten-day-old Khaki Campbell ducks. I've read most of the latter half of the book twice or three times. Holderread has answered most of my questions, given me a good foundation, and confidence that I'm taking care of my ducks well. Sometimes he doesn't seem to have a lot to say on a subject, but he does say that ducks are simple creatures to care for... in these cases, I think there just isn't anything more of use to say.
He does repeat himself, but it's a good thing... you'll find specific nutrition information in the chapters on raising ducklings and managing adults, and again in a separate chapter on nutrition. I find this handy... when reading about ducklings, the information is right there. And when wanting to survey nutrition as a whole from hatching to laying, it's all right there, with no flipping between chapters.
All in all, I'm very glad to have this book available to me. I checked it out from the library and after reading only part of it ordered my own copy. It was clear that I needed this resource in my personal collection.
I would have given this book five stars if:
It had color photos of the breeds. Plumage color is talked about extensively, but no photos of the color in question are provided.
Holderread's writing had been a tad clearer. There's one place concerning the feeding of ducks a lower-protein ration for health reasons if you don't need maximum growth, but it's very unclear as to whether that applies during the first two weeks. There are a couple very minor places where he may be contradicting himself, or he may be referring to the same thing in different circumstances.
If it'd given more attention to what does and doesn't work for ducks... bedding, equipment made for chickens, etc. I've done a lot of trial and error... I still haven't found a bedding material I'm happy with, both the first waterer and feeder didn't quite work for ducks (all the waterers and feeders are made for chicks, which don't have big bills). Yeah, a little more hand-holding here would have been helpful.
UPDATE: (06/2011) (It's three years later, and my opinion of this book remains unchanged. Holderreed is my bible, and it got me through three good years of keeping Khaki Campbells. When I gave my ducks to another family (we needed a break, they had a lone duck that needed friends) I made sure to give them my copy of "Raising Ducks". If I decide to get another flock in the future, the first thing I'll do is buy another copy of "Raising Ducks". I wouldn't keep ducks without this book at hand.)
In addition to positive points mentioned by other reviewers, I'd like to note that the detailed nutritional charts have been of great help.
If you plan on owning ducks, you must buy this book. If you balk at the price of the newest edition I found this printing to be a bargain.
Would make a fantastic gift for a duck fancier this winter along with a gift certificate for mail order day olds in the spring from the farm of the book's author:(...), or from another reputable duck hatchery like (...)