Though the ducks are laying cheerfully, I did find most of the receipts for the ducks and well, even if we achieved peak production for this month and December (daily laying from the Khakis and the Cayuga finally laying a couple eggs a week this month and next), we’d be in the hole on the ducks by quite a bit.
The waterers endlessly leaking and being super expensive was the problem. We dropped a lot on waterers designed for indoor poultry, though we didn’t really think that part through when we got them. So, sucky! We’ll have to do some kind of hanging thing sometime in the next few weeks and see how that goes.
We spent about $120 on various feeding and watering contraptions, mostly waterers. The ducks themselves cost $47 and one had to be killed for severe congenital problems. The first 75lbs of feed was just starter ration to get them to laying age. We’re now at 120lbs of layer ration used so far.
The starter was about 20 a sack, the layer 14 or so a sack.
Without projecting the additional costs of more feed (we buy layer 80lbs at a time, and in a week or two we’ll be through 160lbs of feed), we can only “earn” about $170 in market value for the eggs this year. But we’ve spent about $240 all told and have to buy more feed to get them to year-end. Figuring 80lbs/month, we’ll close the year out having spent about 300 dollars on all costs for the ducks, with a maximum of about 170 dollars in egg value from 4 layers.
And peak laying is 8-9 dozen eggs per month with that many. Current market value of a dozen duck eggs is about $7, so each month the ducks would be producing (if all four lay) 56-63 dollars worth of eggs.
If we have to kill the second Cayuga for being a dud, we won’t get to 170 bucks this year and our laying max is 7.5 dozen, or $52.50/month in egg value.
So, even at peak laying, we don’t see a breakeven on the ducks until sometime in March. Now, doing it this way loads all the expense at once, amortizing the ducks’ purchase price and the equipment over 3 years (reasonable laying lifetime at good high numbers per month) makes that 170 for the year look a lot nicer.
- All expenses at once– $170-$300= $130 loss at peak laying numbers.
- Amortizing equipment and animal purchase price over 3 years– $170-$100= $70 profit at peak laying numbers.
We may not get peak laying, I’ll revisit this in January and obviously if I have to kill the Cayuga, I’ll note that as well.
Our labor is negligible, the ducks take a couple minutes a day, even moving the run takes seconds. I was pretty surprised, it seems longer some days, but 5 minutes is a long duck-tending day. Water costs are a few dollars annually. And of course, feed is the biggie. They eat a variable amount daily, sometimes a quart, sometimes three, they clearly get a lot out of the fresh grass and bugs they have access to. But right now a safe guess is 80lbs/month, or about $340/yr, rounding a bit.
So right now, next year the ducks would bring in $625-750 in eggs at peak laying, which compares ok with the feed estimate above.
I am less depressed now, yay!