We are Saxony Ducks named Jack and Lilly and we are on the Livestock Conservancy list of Critically Endangered Heritage Breeds.
We love to talk to each other and have fun all day playing on the pond. You should come out to see us soon and bring those salad greens that might be starting to turn and we’ll gobble them up. We also eat laying pellets (chicken non-medicated only) because we are laying eggs and hoping for baby ducklings before too long.
We don’t cost very much to keep and can fit very nicely in a back yard with a baby pool. If you’d like to help save our breed by adopting one or two of our babies when we have them, that would be so great! If you can’t have one of our baby ducks for your very own, would you consider sponsoring us?
The Saxony weighs between 8-9 pounds at maturity, is an active forager and excellent layer with typical egg production at about 190-240 large white eggs annually. Saxony don’t grow quite as fast as some ducks, “but they have interesting plumage, produce meat with more flavor and less fat, are better foragers, and are more likely to incubate and hatch their eggs. Saxony’s are one of the best large all-purpose breeds of ducks and adapt well to a wide range of environments.” Their lifespan is generally 9-12 years.
What do you feed them and what do they naturally eat?
Special waterfowl pellets are available but regular chicken laying pellets are fine for laying ducks. However, ducks (especially growing ducklings) need more niacin than chickens do, so adding brewer’s yeast to their feed in a 5% ratio is recommended. Ducklings grow extremely fast and the niacin helps their bones develop correctly.
Feed should be set out in wide tubs or containers that can’t be tipped over. A grown duck will eat 4-6 ounces of feed per day so we try to measure out the correct amount, but that amount varies by time of year (they eat more in the winter, less in the summer when weeds and bugs are more readily available). Water should always be provided near the feed. Leftover feed at the end of day should be discarded if it has gotten wet. Leafy greens are an important part of a duck’s diet. They like weeds and grass, lettuce (not iceberg) and Swiss chard. Ducks won’t eat wilted greens, so we put the ‘salad’ in their water tub. It stays nice and fresh that way and keeps them occupied dabbling for the leafy treats. Ducks also enjoy fresh peas or corn kernels, cucumber pieces, watermelon and cut tomatoes. Grit (coarse sand or dirt) should always be provided to ducks to assist in grinding the food in their gizzard. Once your ducks reach laying age (generally around 6 months), crushed oyster shell or eggshell should be provided in a separate container free-choice so each duck can eat what she needs for strong eggshells.
What kind of environment do they need to live as a pet?
Ducks can do well as a backyard pet if they have a habitat that is created just for them. Elements of their habitat design include a pond, good substrates, and protection from the sun, wind, rain, and predators. For a couple of ducks an in ground pond that is well filtered and easy to drain for daily cleaning is a good option. It is best to surround the pool with gravel to prevent the ducks from making the area too muddy. Their yard space will need to have grass areas, a sandy area, and logs to perch on. They will need a night house that will protect them from predators. Straw can be used for bedding in their night house but must be replaced regularly and any time it gets wet.
What health concerns should you know about if you own a Saxony Duck?
Ducks are generally healthy and hardy. They don’t need vaccinations or annual shots and don’t need preventative worming. They aren’t quite as susceptible to external parasites (such as ticks, lice and mites) as chickens since they spend so much time in the water which drowns any parasites that might be present.
Annual Cost for each Saxony Duck is about $100 if there are no veterinary issues or emergencies.