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Metzer’s Is The Place To Shop For Ducks, Geese
Looking to add variety and color to that poultry pen in the backyard? You might want to consider ducks and geese, says John Metzer, an owner of the family-owned Metzer Farms.
  “We are a unique hatchery in that we focus on waterfowl and specialize with over 15 breeds of geese and 15 breeds of ducks,” Metzer says. Shipments range from two birds for hobbyists to thousands for meat producers to wholesale orders to other hatcheries that sell mostly chickens.
  Raising ducks is similar to raising chickens, Metzer says.
  “Incubation takes 21 days for chicken eggs and 28 days for duck eggs. Ducks aren’t as good at keeping eggs clean so we wash all our eggs. Some are sold fresh, some as balut and some for hatching,” he explains.
  The Pekin duck is the most popular for meat production. Metzer offers newly hatched Pekin ducks throughout the year, while other breeds are seasonally offered.
  “We have flocks coming into production every three months, and they lay for about 45 weeks before they are out of production,” Metzer says. “Our peak is from March through June when we handle about 1,900 orders a week.”
  The Metzers have about 9,000 breeding ducks in pens in open-sided buildings with natural ventilation. Wire floors over a concrete pit near the waterers along with wood shavings help keep the ducks dry and clean.
  The 2,800 breeding geese live outside in 8-ft. tall netted pens.
  “We create a nice environment and enjoy seeing a happy flock,” Metzer says.
  With the help of his son, Marc, who joined the business, the Metzers utilize technology in incubators and software to manage the orders they ship out weekly. A USPS truck backs up to the loading dock to load the prepared rolling containers of as many as 25,000 day-old birds that will be delivered via FedEx within a couple of days anywhere in the continental U.S.
  The farm raises some breeds known for egg laying such as Golden 300 hybrid layers, as well as less common breeds such as Black Swedish, Saxony and Silvery Appleyard ducks, for example. Charts on the website list traits to help customers choose specific breeds. Or, they can order mixed duckling packages.
  Prices vary according to breed and there are significant discounts for large orders. For example, a straight run (male and female) of 24 or less ducklings costs $5.03/bird. They cost $1.76/bird with orders of 1,200 or more.
  Metzer adds that though the company is best known for ducks and geese, they also sell pheasants, pearl guineas and a few chicken breeds.
  “We are customer centered and do everything we can to make sure the customer is satisfied. It’s our policy that we’ll replace any losses during shipment or within 48 hours of arrival,” he says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Metzer Farms, 26000A Old Stage Rd., Gonzales, Calif. 93926 (ph 800 424-7755; www.metzerfarms.com; metzinfo@metzerfarms.com).

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #3