Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder),
Bred animal myself
Pennsylvania, United States
Posted Jun 23, 2013
My first Bali ducks came to me from a hatchery where they were substituted for Indian runners that I ordered. I have found Balinese ducks to be slightly calmer than Indian runners, but this may have been due to the strains I have raised. Otherwise, their care and characteristics are very similar to Indian runners.
When beginning with ducklings, keep them in a brooder (I used a wooden box with a 1/4" hardware wire floor over a plastic tray, and a 60 watt lightbulb in a clamp-on reflector) at 90F the first week and 5F less each week until the ambient temperature is reached.
Feed an unmedicated duck or gamebird starter, crumbles are good to begin with but try to switch to pellets as soon as they are big enough (6 weeks) as there is less waste with pellets. Also be sure to keep fresh, clean water available for drinking at all times, preferably in a wide-based chick fountain. Ducklings do not require access to swimming or bathing water until they are feathered at 8 weeks. Change water in the brooder daily as the warm temperatures encourage bacterial growth.
When they get adult feathers, they can be kept outside. Be sure to protect from predators if they are a problem. Chicken wire is not sufficient for keeping out raccoons, dogs, etc.; use welded wire instead. It is best if ducks are shut into a closed house at night -- a small shed is fine, but with a wider door than a chicken coop.
Bali ducks enjoy foraging and will spend a lot of time on grass if available. They do not require a pond, but they do need water they can get into to bathe and wash their faces. A cement mixing tub works well, change the water daily. A pond is ideal too. Bali ducks were traditionally walked from their night housing to rice paddies each morning, and back in the evenings, so they will learn to walk to a pond or range in a yard once shown where to go (encourage them by feeding them around the areas you want them to go).
Bali ducks are an egg breed and they will lay an egg a day each; often the eggs are green or blue tinted. They are excellent quality for eating, especially baking, and making pasta.
Bali ducks are a crested breed. Crested duck breeds breed best if a non-crested one is mated to a crested one. Crested x crested results in about 25% of the embryos dying. Non-crested x non-crested will result in only 25% crested offspring. Crested x non-crested will result in 50% crested, 50% non-crested offspring.
Females will sometimes go broody. I once had a female go broody on 17 eggs (her own and those of her flock-mates) and hatch 7 of them. If you have no broody female, collect the eggs daily and store them in a cool place (65-70F) and turn them daily until incubating. Incubate at 99.5F in a forced-air incubator or 101F in a still-air incubator, at 65% humidity. Turn the eggs 4 times a day or use an automatic egg turner, for 25 days. At 25 days stop turning, and increase the humidity slightly. The eggs will hatch at 28-29 days, but Bali ducks can take up to 30 days in my experience.
I hand-raised my ducklings that I ordered and they became very tame. They imprinted on me and followed me everywhere. The ducklings hatched by their mothers were far more wary of people.
Bali ducks are interesting to me because of their incredible colour varieties. I had white, fawn-and-white, penciled, blue-and-white, and chocolate-and-white individuals in my flock. Some of them had crests right atop the head, others had crests slightly slanted on the head, like a cockily-placed beret!
Hard to find but would be excellent show birds if kept well.