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Group Title: Bulletin. New series
Title: Ducks and geese in Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00014982/00001
 Material Information
Title: Ducks and geese in Florida
Series Title: Bulletin. New series
Physical Description: 24 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Blake, R. C
Stoutamire, Ralph
Florida -- Dept. of Agriculture
Publisher: Dept. of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Tallahassee Fla
Publication Date: 1930
 Subjects
Subject: Ducks -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Geese -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by R.C. Blake and Ralph Stoutamire.
General Note: "October 1930."
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00014982
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA7376
ltuf - AKD9399
oclc - 28534358
alephbibnum - 001962722

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    Table of Contents
        Page 3
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    Main
        Page 5
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Full Text




Bulletin No. 38


Ducks and Geese

In. Florida


By
R. C. BLAKE
And
RALPH STOUTAMIRE












State of Florida
Department of Agriculture
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Tallahassee


T. J. APPLEYARD, INC., TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA


LIBRARY
PL-RIDA eXPE.r'i STAtOW


S0?


0


October, 193(


New Series


&A--


-


























DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture .................Tallahassee
T. J. Brooks, Assistant Commissioner .......................................Tallahassee
Phil S. Taylor, Supervising Inspector ....................................Tallahassee










CONTENTS
PAGE
Introduction ........................................ ................... ................................... .................. 5
A daptability of F lorida to the W ater-F ow l ...................................... 5
E conom ic F actors ................................................................................ ..................... 7
D U C K S ....................................................... ......... ................. ......... ................... ........... ......... 8
B reeds of D ucks ............................................................................................................ 8
M a ll a r d .... ............................. ........... .................... ............................................... 8
P e k in ................................. ................ ............................................8........... ...... 8
A y le s b u r y ............................................................................................ ........ 8
R o u e n .... ....................................................................................... ............. .............. 9
M u s c o v y ............................................................................................................. ...... 1 0
B u f f .......... .. .......................................... ... ............... ..................... ............... 1 0
C a y u g a ..................................................... .................................... ........................... 1 0
Indian R unner ................................................................................................... 11
M anagem ent ........ ............ 12
G getting E established .................................................................................................. 13
F e e d in g ................................................ ................ ..................................................................... 1 3
E arly M marketing ................................................. ................................................... 14
I n c u b a tio n ....................................................... ........................ .................. .................... 1 4
B rooding and R hearing .............................. ..................................................... .... 15
Tw o M ethods of D uck F arm ing .................... ............ 16
R raising D ucks on a Sm all Scale ... ............................................. 17
G E E S E ................... .................................................................... ............................................ 1 9
B reeds of G eese .... .. ........................ ........... ..... ....................... 20
T o u lo u s e .................................................................................................. .............. 2 0
E m dem ........... .................................................................................. .......... 20
C hinese ...................................................... ............................................... 20
A f r ic a n .................. .......................................................................................... ...... 2 1
M anagem ent ............................... ................................................................................ 22
Incubation ........................................................................................................................... 22
B brooding and R hearing ............................................................................................ ..... 22
M marketing ...................................................................................................... 24
A cknow ledgm ents ....... ...................................................................... 24














Ducks and Geese in Florida
By R. C. Blake and Ralph Stoutamire
THE fascination of raising ducks and geese lies largely in the
response they give to moderate care and feed. No other
domestic fowl develops, commercially, with the same
rapidity. The weight of well-bred and well-developed ducklings
at from six to eight weeks of age is about 6 pounds. Geese re-
spond even more quickly, weighing from 10 to 12 pounds at the
same age. Under the same conditions of feed and care the
chicken would weigh only from 11/2 to 2 pounds. As this is the
most profitable age at which to sell poultry for meat purposes-
the pounds of feed necessary to develop extra weight after this
age increase greatly in proportion as the age of the bird ad-
vances-it is easy to appreciate this advantage of the duck or
goose over the chicken.
It is a well-known fact that ducks and geese are less
susceptible than chickens to diseases under the more intensive
methods of production that are common today. Consequently
the amount of land required for this type of enterprise is smaller
than for chickens.
These factors strongly appeal to the prospective poultryman
who is interested in the production of a delectable table fowl on
as small an outlay as possible.
Unquestionably it would not be difficult to create an attractive
demand for ducks and geese in this state. By producing a
quality product and giving customers the right attention and
cultivation, certainly one should be able to quickly build up a
nice business of this nature. However, the authors earnestly
desire to stress one point in this connection: Do not undertake
such a venture, unless you can go into it with more than a mere
desire or idea that you would like to raise ducks. You must
have the determination to work hard and to study hard and the
grit to stick through early adversities. And remember that after
you have produced a quality product, you must keep your
customers convinced that it is a quality product and that they
are being given fair treatment. "Satisfied customers mean more
business." To succeed in such an undertaking, you must be a
good salesman as well as able to produce the right product.
ADAPTABILITY OF FLORIDA TO THE WATER-FOWL
Florida is unique in this respect. Located as it is below the
31st degree of latitude, it has a climate surpassing any locality
in the United States for the profitable development of water-
fowl. Our mild winters and moderately cool summers greatly









DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


facilitate the problems of housing and feeding. Many wild fowls
avail themselves of our mild winters by migrating here to pass
the colder months in the warm sunshine of our winters. This
factor of climate enables one to start with a much smaller outlay
for buildings and other overhead equipment.
The state has a very decided advantage in respect to markets,
due to the fact that large numbers of vacationists from all over
the United States spend several months of the year here. These


Fig 1. Flock of Emdem geese. The goose of this breed, though much
like the Toulouse in many respects, will sit and is frequently used to
hatch its own eggs.

markets are now supplied mainly from outside sources, but they
would readily welcome satisfactory products raised within the
state.
The adaptability of our soils and the presence of small bodies
of water would greatly tend to facilitate this enterprise. Scat-
tered throughout the state may be found many very desirable
locations for the development of water-fowl, either as a branch
of diversified agriculture or as a specialty. The former type of'
culture is usually the safer and more profitable.
From the varied soils of Florida, locations may be selected
where this undertaking might be conducted. The presence of
numerous lakes is another favorable point. Acreage within
relatively close proximity to our markets is comparatively cheap. -








DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA


Ready access to local markets over a highly developed system of
improved highways makes the prospect most pleasing as well as
encouraging.
ECONOMIC FACTORS
The economic factors relative to the production of water-fowl
are naturally divided into three groups. These are: 1. Meat
production; 2. egg production; 3. pleasure and fancy. They are
discussed separately below:
1. It must be recognized that the American palate responds
with dollars to the right kind of encouragement. One of the
reasons for our failure to consume a satisfactory amount of this
food may be traced directly to the inability to obtain a palatable
product on the average market.
In these localities where the supplies are of a desirable quality,
duck and goose consumption is steadily increasing. This fact
is indicative of the possibilities along this line.
Aside from palatability of this meat is its nutritive value. As
compared with other forms of meat the flesh of water-fowl has a
very high nutritive content.
2. Certain breeds of ducks, among them the Indian Runner,
have been highly developed for egg production. This is especially
true in Great Britain and its provinces. In fact, an official
record in New Zealand shows that an Indian Runner duck laid
over 363 eggs within a year. As yet this record has not been
equaled by the domestic fowl anywhere. At least, there is no
evidence that such has ever been done.
In England considerable satisfactory work has resulted from
the development of Pekin ducks for egg production. This breed
is also most widely noted for its ability to produce "green duck"
at an early age.
3. The third branch of the industry, which is assuming con-
siderable proportions, is the supplying of stock for the decora-
tion of water courses on large estates, parks and preserves. The
beautiful combinations of colors and the natural grace of the
many varieties of ducks'and geese, particularly the former, lead
to their use as a part of the ornamental program of many public
parks and private estates.








8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

DUCKS
Between ducks and geese it seems that the former enjoys the
greater popularity and distribution. They are usually more gentle
and are never so vicious as are some individual geese; par-
ticularly is this true of the males. Also there is a stronger
demand for duck eggs and meat than for that of geese. These
factors mean that the duck should receive first and greater
consideration.
BREEDS OF DUCKS
Under this heading it seems advisable to discuss only the more
common breeds. For a more lengthy discussion see the many
interesting and valuable bulletins on ducks and geese issued by
the federal government and which may be had free by writing
to your senator or congressmen or the United States Depart-
ment of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
Mallard: The domestication of the Mallard duck has led
to the development of practically all of our improved and unim-
proved types of ducks. Although we have no authentic records
showing at what date ducks first became domesticated, the fact
that the Mallard lends itself to control leads us to believe that
it must have been at an early date. Furthermore, the fact
that certain characteristics are common to the important
standard breeds of today confirms this belief.
Pekin: Originating in China, it is quite probable that this
breed is one of the oldest to be developed from the Mallard.
However, it was not introduced into America until about 1874.
This breed has been adapted and improved to the point where it
is today the most important of our commercial breeds. The
yellow legs and skin have satisfied a market characteristic which
is peculiarly American. The "green duck" market of today is
dominated by the Pekin. American breeders have considerably
altered the stance of the Pekin, showing a marked contrast to
birds of this breed developed in England. It is a peculiar coinci-
dence of the Pekin that it was originally developed to satisfy
a particular market in China from which it has derived its name.
In this country this breed has reached its highest perfection,
at least from the standpoint of demands in the immediate
vicinity of New York.
Aylesbury: This breed is the white duck of England and in
some respects it resembles the Pekin. However, the white skin
and legs, typical of English poultry, has greatly limited the
progress of the Aylesbury in America. Another factor which
has led to the loss of popularity in America of this breed has
been the over-emphasis on strictly fancy points which has led









DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA


to loss of vitality. The horizontal carriage of the body and the
depth of keel enable one to readily distinguished it from the
Pekin and it is not nearly as nervous a breed to work with or to
control.
Rouen: Another branch of the Mallard, which was developed
in France and which is spoken of as the "king" of French
ducks, is the Rouen. Edward Brown, in "Races of Domestic
Poultry,"'' says, "''The Rouen duck, in flesh qualities, is the finest


Fig. 2. Rouen drake. Its slow maturity makes it unpopular with the In-
tensive raisers of ducks, but this characteristic makes it desirable as a
general farm bird.

of the domestic races, in that the meat is not only abundant,
but fine in flavor."
The objection to this breed as a source of market duck is its
slow maturity. Consequently we find it the most practical as
a general farm duck. Its hardiness and ability to thrive well
where range and water are available make it ideal as such. The
ducklings are easily reared, though they are somewhat slow in
maturing. The loss of popularity of this breed is due to the


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


abnormal development of the Pekin for market purposes and the
Indian Runner for egg production. But if given a good range
on which it may forage for most of its living, the Rouen is a very
attractive and satisfactory duck for the general farm.
Muscovy: This breed differs from the other domestic ducks
in that it is supposed to have originated from a South Ameri-
can species. When crossed with ducks from Mallard origin,
its offspring are sterile. Owing to the fact that it does not
closely resemble either the duck or the goose, Brazilians in
whose country it is thought to have originated, have given it a
name all its own. This is "Pato." It is sometimes called
Brazilian duck. The American Standard of Perfection specifies
two varieties; namely, White and Colored.
The face and head of the Muscovy are partly free of feathers,
the skin being red, rough and carunculated (fleshy). The
body is long and broad, with greater breadth than depth, and
it has less keel or breast development than has the Pekin.
The weight of the drake should exceed that of the duck by at
least one-third, as the standard weight of the adult drake is
10 pounds while that of the adult duck is 7 pounds. The
plumage of the white variety is pure white, with pale orange
or yellow legs, and a pinkish, flesh-colored bill. The colored
Muscovy has a lustrous blue-black plumage. The bill is pink,
shaded with horn, and the legs may be yellow or a dark lead
color.
Muscovy ducks have not proved satisfactory for commercial
duck farming. They are only fair layers, and because of the
difference in weights of drake and duck there is difficulty in
marketing them. Furthermore, they are good fliers and the
average poultry fence is not sufficient barrier to keep them
inclosed. However, due to their ability to fly they make good
foragers and are, therefore, better adapted to general purpose
farming. They are much less noisy than Pekins, and this is
another factor in their favor for the general farm.
Cayuga: This breed derives its name from Cayuga County,
N. Y., where it probably originated, about 1850, and was
developed. It is a pound lighter than the Pekin, though it
resembles that breed in shape. It has not succeeded as a
market breed, due to the color of its plumage, which is green-
ish black throughout, except that the drake may have brown
flight feathers. Eyes are dark brown, and toes and shanks are
black or dark slate colored. The Cayuga is a fair layer and
answers the requirements of a general farm duck very satis-
factorily.
The Buff is commonly called the Buff Orpington duck, be-
cause it so closely resembles in plumage the breed of chickens








DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA 11

bearing that name. It originated in England. This breed was
admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1915. It
-was created by the crossing of several breeds, among them the
Indian Runner. This has produced a breed of ducks whose
egg-laying ability has been increased over that of the strictly
meat duck, without, at the same time, lessening its qualities as
a good market duck.
The Buff has not received the attention it merits. Because
of its duck attainments, eggs and table quality, it should fill
a very satisfactory place among our breeds of general farm
ducks. Its attractive plumage of an even shade of rich, fawn
buff, except on the head and upper portion of the neck of the
drake, which is seal brown, adds another color to our farm
scheme and renders this breed adaptable to a program of farm
landscaping.
Indian Runner: So far in this discussion of the different
breeds of ducks we have dealt mainly with birds kept almost
solely for meat purposes. The Indian Runner, however, has
been developed along the lines of fecundity, or the tendency
to lay eggs. The origin of this breed is somewhat confused.
Though its name implies an East Indian origin, some claim
that it was a common type of Belgium and Holland. Its longer
legs and upright carriage make it easily distinguished from
the other breeds of ducks.
There are three standard varieties of Indian Runners: Fawn
and White, White, and Penciled. The Fawn and White is
fawn or gray and white, with the upper part of the neck
white and a line of white running up to the eyes and extending
around the bill. Its back, shoulders, upper part of breast, and
wings are fawn, but its lower part is white. Breast is full;
body is long and tapers into the neck. The upright carriage
of the body and its shape resembles somewhat that of the
penguin, a bird common to the Antarctic region. Toes and
shanks are orange-red. The bill of the young drake is yellow;
it later becomes greenish yellow.
Plumage of the White variety is pure white throughout, bill
is yellow, and toes and shanks are orange-red. Plumage of the
Penciled variety somewhat resembles that of the Fawn and
White, except that the head of the drake is a dull, bronze-
green and white, and the back has a soft fawn under-color
finely striped with a darker shade of fawn.
This breed is the best laying duck and its activity and non-
sitting characteristic have earned for it the name of "The
Leghorn" of the duck family. The egg is of good size and
is white in color. Runners do not make good "green duck,"
but their early maturity produces a quick growth to fryer
size, weighing from 21/2 to 3 pounds.








12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

MANAGEMENT
Before discussing care and management of ducks, a few brief
remarks regarding the magnitude of commercial duck farming
might be of interest. The greatest development of this industry
has taken place within the outskirts of New York City, and the
proximity to this city was probably responsible for the magni-
tude it reached. From a modest beginning in the middle of the
eighteenth century, duck farming in that vicinity has grown to


4;ty


Fig. 3. Rouen duck. This probably is one of the leading meat ducks from
standpoint of quality as well as quantity.
become a tremendous enterprise. The number of ducks grown
on some of those farms varies from 25,000 to 130,000. It must
be kept in mind that a large proportion of these are sold
as "green duck" at from eight to ten weeks of age. Production
seems to be limited only by one's ability to keep a corps of
trained men to carry on the work. Under Florida conditions


tbrci








DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA


such extensive development would be unwise; a more conser-
vative scale would be adequate and more satisfactory.

GETTING ESTABLISHED
In selecting a location in Florida several factors should be
kept well in mind. The chief ones are market, neighbors, ample
land bordering on water, and accessibility to good roads. Try
to select a site near a center of population where large numbers
of winter tourists from the eastern states congregate during the
winter months. Near neighbors are not an asset, owing to the
disturbance to the ducks caused by curious, careless and some-
time pilfering persons. A gently sloping site, bordering on a
lake or running water, with soil not too high or too low, is the
best location. Light sandy soils are ideal.
Probably the safest stock to start with is the Pekin. It has
been thoroughly tested and has proved itself satisfactory. How-
ever, there are those in the state who prefer the White Muscovy.
Realizing that the start should be made on a small scale, the
question of buildings is one of small importance. It should al-
ways be kept in mind not to invest too heavily in fixtures and
overhead. Moderate buildings erected from undressed lumber,
which is readily available at reasonable prices, is most practical.
As the plant develops, this question will solve itself if care and
judgment are used.

FEEDING
The question of feeding is complex and a brief discussion here
must suffice. The beginner will do well to avail himself of valu-
able information on this subject published by the federal govern-
ment.
Feeding methods vary as widely as in chicken raising and the
fundamental policy to be kept in mind is that proper feeds,
easily obtained and easily fed, give best results.
Water should be available at all times, night as well as day.
During the first three days a mixture of 2 parts of bran and 1
part of corn meal (yellow preferred), and 1 part of sharp sand,
mixed to a moist consistency with milk, fed five times a day in
flat or shallow plates for the first three days, usually will be
found satisfactory. From the third day feed this mixture four
times daily until the end of the fifth week, when the feeding
periods are reduced to three times a day. A gradual increase
in the richness of the feed begins on the fifth day.
On the fifth day beef or meat scrap is added to 5 percent
of the mash, and a gradual increase is made regularly until 10
percent beef scrap is being fed at the end of the fifth week.








14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

The grain mixture consists of equal parts of corn meal and
shorts. This is mixed with chopped green feed. This is salted.
Enough water is then added to make the mash quite crumbly.
After this the feeding is done three times a day, care being
exercised that no more be fed than the ducks will clean up.
Satisfactory results are only possible when the feeder uses the
best of care, supplies plenty of grit, and makes sure that the
birds have easy access to shade and freedom from fright.
EARLY MARKETING
The proper time to sell ducks, where they are raised intensive-
ly, is when they are from 10 to 12 weeks old, when they will
dress from 10 to 12 pounds per pair-the average market re-
quirement. The marketing of this type of product is a problem
to be carefully studied and a beginner will do well to give this
branch of his business considerable careful attention and study.
INCUBATION
As the Pekin duck is not naturally broody, incubators are
necessary to hatch its eggs, if one is engaged in the business on
a large scale. Otherwise hens may be used. The equipment is
the same as that used for chickens. The amount of incubator
capacity depends upon the size of the plant and the volume of
business undertaken. The duck egg takes 28 days to hatch and
the amount of tray space is only slightly less than that for hen
eggs, although the eggs weigh nearly 50 percent more. Well-
formed and well-sized eggs should be selected for incubating, but
little attention is paid to color. The temperature is held at from
101 to 102 degrees, Fahrenheit, for the first five days. The eggs
are then tested. This test, the only one made, is quite similar to
the testing of hen eggs. However, care should be taken to
remove all eggs which die during the subsequent period of the
hatch. These may be easily detected after little experience by
their change in color. Duck eggs are not turned until the fifth
day, and from this time on they are turned twice daily.
With respect to moisture the duck egg requires considerably
more than do hen eggs, and the practice is to spray them with
cool water twice a day from about the seventh day until they
hatch. Care must be exercised at hatching time to make sure
that there is plenty of moisture in the machine, as the duckling
has more difficulty in emerging from the shell than does the
chick. As soon as most of the eggs are hatched the ventilators
are opened and the ducklings allowed to dry.
A well-hatched lot should be ready to move from the incubator
by noon of the 28th day. Move them to the brooder which
should have been heated and made ready for the ducklings.








DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA 15

BROODING AND REARING

Fortunately brooding is accomplished with much less dif-
ficulty than with chicks, due to the fact that young ducklings
are more sturdy and adapt themselves to the brooding process
more readily. Wait until they are thoroughly dried off before
attempting to move them from the incubator. Be sure that
the brooder is set up and'running properly, then place the


Fig. 4. Cayuga duck. This breed is not common and is of relatively little
commercial importance, though it is of considerable interest to breeders.

ducklings in baskets lined with paper and covered with cloth
to insure their remaining warm during the transfer.
If the brooder is placed in a house with considerable floor
space, it is safer to surround it with a wire enclosure which
will keep the ducklings within a prescribed radius of the heat.
This may be removed after a day or two and from then on
little trouble will be experienced from the youngsters' huddling
away from the source of heat, as chickens do frequently.


. gI-" w-7








16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

There are many types of brooder houses, which fact enables
one to select the house most suitable to his tastes and pocketbook.
Some form of litter should be placed on the brooder house floor
to absorb the droppings. Sand with a light covering of coarse
alfalfa-leaf meal is very satisfactory for this purpose.
As the ducklings develop the brooding area is enlarged until
the entire floor space is utilized. This does not take long, as
the young grow rapidly. The season of the year and the weather,
partly at least, control the length of time necessary to keep the
ducklings in the house. At the end of three or four weeks they
should be large enough to be let out on a limited area. The
size of the run is gradually increased until the entire yard is in-
cluded. After a few weeks the ducklings can do without heat,
depending on the season of the year, and they then can be
moved to more suitable quarters. In these larger runs shelter is
all that is necessary in the form of housing, but care must be
taken that plenty of shade is available.
Shallow metal plates or pans are used for feeding and water-
ing the young ducks. Metal receptacles are more satisfactory
than wooden ones because they may be more readily cleaned.
The method of feeding has already been described but it will
be of interest to note that it takes from 5 to 7 pounds of feed to
produce 1 pound of marketable duck. Breeding stock is selected
from the young market stock prior to finishing and is put on
open range to stimulate the growth of sturdy and hardy speci-
mens. They are fed a less concentrated ration.
TWO METHODS OF DUCK FARMING
Let us consider briefly the two principal forms of duck
farming-specialized and diversified farming. The practices of,
and outlook for, these two types of duck raising in Florida
warrant special consideration.
1. Specialized Duck Farming: Here the operations are car-
ried on as a manufacturing process. The outlay for buildings is
considerable, especially in northern states. It should not be large
in Florida. Operations are intensive, requiring the attention of
especially trained men. Disposing of the product presupposes
the presence in the near vicinity of markets sufficiently large
to consume a considerable volume of "green ducklings." Other-
wise the undertaking can not be successful.
After noting carefully the above requirements and after a
thorough survey of conditions in the state, such a development
should be approached only after careful study and thought,
especially at the present time. However, there are a few locali-
ties where such a plant might prosper on a limited scale, as at
points on the east or west coast near the larger tourist centers.








DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA 17

2. Diversified Farming: Where duck raising is made a part
of a diversified farming program, it probably stands the fairest
chance of success. A small flock of ducks kept on the farm is a
source of meat and eggs, home-raised, for home consumption
primarily. The surplus usually can be readily disposed of
locally, insuring for the farm a moderate source of income.
The methods employed .vary considerably from those used on
the specialized farm. The size of the flock should vary from ten
to twenty ducks and from three to four drakes. If one is looking
for a moderate egg yield, one of the meat breeds will answer the
purpose quite satisfactorily. Pekin, Aylesbury, Muscovy and
Rouen come within this group. On the other hand, if a higher
egg yield is desired, the Indian Runner probably will answer
the demand.

RAISING DUCKS ON A SMALL SCALE
In order to get a start on a modest scale it probably is best to
purchase a small flock of the breed desired. Then, by using
hens to do the hatching and brooding many difficulties will be
avoided. The average hen will cover satisfactorily from nine to
twelve duck eggs. Be sure that the hen is free of lice by dusting
or dipping with sodium fluoride, that the nest is protected and
ventilated, and that there are no mites to bother. Remember
that it takes longer to hatch duck eggs, therefore, the sitting
birds must have greater protection and comfort.
Be sure that the hen is carefully fed and watered during
this period. A good feed is whole grain, 2 parts of whole corn
and 1 part each of wheat and oats.
It does not injure duck eggs to wash them with warm water,
and some think that it even increases the chance of hatching.
Test on the fifth or eighth day and remove all dead or infertile
eggs.
Sprinkling the eggs toward the latter part of the hatch, while
the hen is feeding, materially aids the ducklings in getting out of
the shell. When they are well dried off, move the family to a
coop with slatted front. This type of coop will allow the young
ducklings to get out, while yet confining the hen. Otherwise
the hen will range too far for the young birds. During mild
weather they will require, normally, little brooding except at
night. The coop should be large enough to give the hen enough
ventilation and exercise to keep her healthy. After a few weeks
the ducklings will be independent of the hen.
Feeding young ducklings on the farm is practically the same
as on the commercial plant, except on a smaller scale. It consists
of giving them a moist mash of crumbled bread and milk.









DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


If this is not handy, a mixture of 2 parts of bran and 1
part of corn meal (yellow is preferred), and 1 part of sharp
sand, mixed with milk to a consistency of mush, will answer.
This should be fed in shallow plates five times a day for the
first three days after which the feeding periods may be de-
creased to four times a day.
As these ducklings are not intended for the "green duck"
market, do not try to force them too fast, or you will increase
the cost of feeding and of caring for them. A modification of
the feeding operations suggested above will suffice. Further-
more, some feed will be secured by ranging, particularly if the
ducklings have access to a good grass lawn or field. Some meat
or beef scrap should be added to the feed mixture to insure
steady normal growth, and this should be gradually increased as
the ducklings increase in size.
Surplus ducks are marketed at maturity and are usually sold
alive. A small market for such is found in near-by towns.
Frequently a desirable and profitable sideline may be built up
in this way, if a little attention, effort and patience are given to
the raising and marketing of the product.


Fig. 5. Flock of Toulouse geese. This breed originated in France. It is
a good layer but does not like to sit on eggs. Hens are usually employed.
to hatch its eggs.







DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA 19

GEESE
Since a large part or practically all of the sustenance of the
goose is gathered from pasturage, its possibilities under Florida
conditions can hardily be improved upon. This fowl is frequently
a valuable asset to the farm because of its habit of grazing upon
and exterminating weeds or other undesirable plants. Our open
mild winters and moderately cool summers, with frequent


w 4


Fig. 6. Toulouse gander. This is perhaps the most popular breed on
American farms. It produces a high-grade quality of flesh for market.
Note the quiet manner.
showers to insure the growth of luxuriant grasses, solve the feed
problem, in that abundant green pastures are available the year
around. This continuous source of cheap home-grown feed
should make the raising of a few head of geese an attractive
undertaking on almost any farm. It should especially appeal
to many farm women who could tend them at odd times.








DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


The amount of labor necessary to expend in caring for a small
flock of geese is slight. The capital involved is moderate. The
general hardiness and freedom of geese from disease reduce
losses in raising them to a negligible consideration. The fact
that geese live and breed for a much longer time than do other
forms of domestic fowls, enables one to market a much greater
percentage of the young each year.
This method of supplying the table with another source of
meat at a very small outlay for feed, plus the fact that the sur-
plus may be sold at a fair profit, should induce the raising of
more of these valuable weed exterminators on more farms. Of
course the fact that the ganders are more or less vicious neces-
sitates a little more care when youngsters are on the farm. How-
ever, this disadvantage may be largely overcome by training
young children to avoid geese. Frequently the gander is only
bluffing and getting away with it. Therefore, if the child can
be induced to show no fear but only respect for ganders, there
should be little, if any, trouble from this source.

BREEDS OF GEESE
There are six breeds of geese recognized by the American
Standard of Perfection, four of which are the more common in
this country. These are Toulouse, Emden, Chinese and African.
The Wild, or Canadian, and the Egyptian are rarely kept ex-
cept for ornamental purposes.
Toulouse: This breed originated in France and received its
name from the city of Toulouse. It is the most popular of the
different breeds. Its body is large, massive, broad and deep,
and almost touches the ground. Individuals lay from 20 to 36
eggs a year, but are usually non-sitters, the eggs ordinarily be-
ing set under hens. The color of the Toulouse is dark gray on
the back, shading to light- gray on the breast edged with white,
and white on the abdomen. This is the quietest and gentlest of
the breeds.
Emdem: Originating near Bremen, Germany, this was one
of the first breeds to be introduced into this country. It is a
pure white goose slightly smaller than the Toulouse, is a better
sitter, and will hatch part of its own eggs. It matures early and
makes a good market product.
Chinese: This breed is much smaller than any other breed
of geese. There are two strains, the White and the Brown. It
carries its body more erect than other geese, which gives it a
swan-like appearance. As it is quite noisy it is not as well
liked as the other three common breeds.









DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA


The African is about the size of the Emdem. It has a brown
shade of plumage. This breed, and also the Chinese, have a
distinctive knob on the head at the base of the beak over the
eyes.


Fig. 7. An Emdem gander. This breed originated in Germany and is an
excellent bird for market purposes. It matures early. Note the beautiful
white plumage.








DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


MANAGEMENT
As geese are natural grazers the problem of caring for them
is reduced to the minimum. It is inconsequential. Then, when
furnished with a body of water in which to swim, the adults
readily care for themselves throughout the year in this country
with practically no other feed or care.
Geese should be selected for size and .vitality. And as mat-
ings are not changed from year to year, unless results are un-
desirable, selections and matings should be started in the fall
so that mates may become adapted to each other before the
breeding season. A gander may be mated with from.one to four
geese, but best results are obtained when he is mated with only
one or not more than two. It is customary to mate older gan-
ders with young geese and young ganders with older geese, if
most satisfactory results are desired. As these matings may
extend over a period of from 15 to 20 years, great care should
be exercised in the selection of the mates that they are temper-
mentally suited to each other.

INCUBATION
Best results are obtained when early eggs are taken from the
nest and set under hens. The same careful care should be taken
of the hen sitting on geese eggs as of the hen sitting on duck
eggs. The period of incubation is about the ii-. Set from
four to six eggs under the average hen, making sure that she, as
well as the nest, are free from insect pests. If the nest is not
set in a damp place, it is necessary to soak the eggs in warm
water (it should be about 100 degrees, Fahrenheit), from half
a minute to a minute once a day, beginning on the fifteenth day
and continuing to the last two or three days of the hatch.
Young goslings hatch slowly, and individuals should be removed
to a warm basket as they hatch until all are out. Then return
to the hen. Heads of the young should be greased to prevent
the appearance of the head louse.

BROODING AND REARING
Confine the hens so that they can not take the young goslings
out into the wet grass. After a week or ten days the hen may
be removed from the goslings. However, young goslings are
kept confined until the grass is dry for a period of from two to
four weeks, by which time they should be partly feathered.
They ought to be given a separate range from the adult stock,
in order that they may be protected from trampling feet and
that they may be assured of a constant supply of fresh green
pasture.







DUCKS AND GEESE IN FLORIDA


41I,




















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Fig. 8. This proud-looking African gander must be the "head man" out his
way. Note the long neck and the knob or lobe on the head.







DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


Goslings should not be fed until they are 36 hours old. Then
feed a crumbly mash made of stale bread, mixed or soaked in
milk, with finely chopped boiled egg added. Continue feeding
from two to four times daily, adding gradually increased
amounts of chopped grass with a small amount of fine grit.
Plenty of clean fresh water should be available at all times, day
and night. If the goslings are on a good grass range, one feed-
ing a day of a mash composed of 2 parts of shorts and 1 part of
corn meal (yellow is preferred) or ground oats is ample after
the third week. At six weeks of age, they should be able to
graze for their entire living.
MARKETING
As a general rule geese are marketed just prior to Thanksgiv-
ing and Christmas. They are fattened by confining in small lots
and being fed corn on the cob, the husks serving as roughage.
Geese are usually sold alive, which eliminates the difficulty of
plucking and dressing.
Living geese are sometimes plucked, the feathers being used
for pillows and cushions. But more frequently they are killed,
scalded and then picked. The feathers, in the latter instance,
are spread out and dried and then sacked loosely in burlap bags
and hung up so that they will not gather moisture and spoil.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Acknowledgment is made of information drawn on, in pre-
paring this bulletin, from the many publications of the United
States Department of Agriculture. Also many bulletins pub-
lished by various state experiment stations were found to
contain much interesting and useful data. The books, "Ducks
and Geese," by Lamon and Slocum, and "Growing Ducks and
Geese for Profit," by Robinson, were likewise referred to fre-
quently. All of these books and bulletins would be found of
value by the person interested in either ducks or geese.




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