Ducks are an extremely popular bird species across the world, as they provide eggs, meat and down which all come in very useful. Unfortunately, there is not a big duck community in Australia. This makes it difficult to buy or sell ducks.
I’m currently going through the process of buying ducks, and I’ve quickly begun to realise just how much information I need to learn! There are a number of factors that need to be considered when buying or selling ducks. I’ve listed some information that I’ve found well worth considering if you want to buy or sell ducks. If you’re after more information, check out the Victorian Waterfowl Association who may be able to help.
Purpose of your ducks
What do you want your ducks for? Most people just want a cute little egg-layer that can waddle around the backyard. If this is the case, then it may be worth trying to buy one of the foraging and egg-laying breeds. An Indian Runner duck or a Khaki Campbell would probably suit this purpose quite well. If you’re looking to grow a duck for meat, then some of the larger meat breeds are the way to go. Note that some breeds are able to do both reasonably well – I’ve read that some strains of Khaki Campbell in particular.
Some people enjoy showing birds at fares across the state or country. Are you interested in getting top quality birds and trying to win prizes? If so, it’s well worth looking into a breeder’s manual and show guide, which are available through waterfowl or poultry societies. It’s also worth contacting some of the best breeders available, to ensure that you are able to procure birds from the best lines. Otherwise it will take years to mould your birds into the top performing show birds.
With fewer people keeping ducks in Australia, and strict quarantine on importing animals, it can be difficult to source certain duck breeds. One of the most popular breeds available in Australia is the Indian Runner duck. These are cute little penguin-like ducks. They run on their hind legs and lay lots of eggs. Indian Runners come in a range of colours from black to fawn and white. I’m looking at getting some of these in the near(ish) future for their egg laying ability.
Another great egg laying breed is the Khaki Campbell. These ducks will lay you lots of eggs, and will be reasonably sizes (so you could pop it in the pot eventually if you were so inclined). Khaki’s are pretty good foragers – so you won’t need to spend too much on their food as they’ll be able to get much of it themselves. At the moment I have one awesome egg-laying Khaki Campbell called Tonks.
Muscovies are another popular breed, and are apparently significantly larger than the other two. My understanding is that Muscovies are bred mainly for meat or showing (rather than their egg laying).
As you can imagine, there are plenty of other duck breeds which can be researched online. Pure bred ducks are relatively rare, and you will often find that any ducks available for sale will have a number of bloodlines in them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because if you will buy or sell ducks, they could include a range of favourable traits not normally associated with the breed.
Quality of the ducks
During my research I have found that there are three levels of duck quality and pricing, and it’s well worth thinking about the quality of bird you’re looking to buy or sell. The quality of the duck will determine its price. Take into account your requirements so that you can maximise value, and only pay for what you need.
Backyard quality is exactly what it says. It means that the duck is good for the backyard. It will lay eggs reasonably often, and may be an old or a young bird. Backyard quality is the cheapest, but also the most likely to have a dud. Don’t expect too much from a backyard quality bird, but don’t expect to pay too much. Depending on the breed and age, you should be able to pick a duck up for less than $20. These are advertised on Gumtree predominantly.
Laying quality are the least common. Very few people are farming ducks for the production of duck eggs. Unless you’re looking at bulk buying from a hatchery, I’ve yet to come across any breeder willing to sell ducks for laying purposes. But it may happen in the future!
Show quality birds are always the most expensive. Birds that are considered show quality are entered into competitions across the country and can win prizes. The more prizes a duck wins, the more valuable the bird. Show quality birds will exhibit the features that the breed is supposed to exhibit. For example, your duck will be judged on its stance and posture as well as the colour of its feathers amongst other features.
If you’re interested in showing ducks, then it’s worth contacting a respected breeder like Akers.
Where to buy and sell ducks
Facebook groups are also a popular place to buy and sell ducks directly with other backyard duck enthusiasts. One of the best groups that I have found is this one. These are great groups because you can ask questions and have a look at what other people are doing. With a great community you can learn quickly and get some of the birds you’re after. The only downside is that duck Facebook groups are often relatively small and the group members are spread out over large areas of Australia, so it may be worth finding a local Facebook group.
There are a range of poultry auctions that are held throughout Victoria and Australia. These auctions are usually advertised on Facebook pages and on your local industry association website.
Occasionally ducklings will be for sale at markets. In Victoria, there is a gentleman who sometimes comes and sells ducklings at the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne. I’m sure this would be the same in other states too.
As mentioned at the start of this post, I am always looking to add to my duck collection. I am not looking for show-quality ducks as I focus on egg production. I am interested in introducing new breeds of ducks and learning more about the intricacies of the species. If you’re interested in selling ducks, please contact me!