The Backyard Duck Book

Paperback - June 2012 - AU $39.95

eBook - June 2012 - eRetailers Google Books Kobo

An Australian guide to duck husbandry for hobby farmers, breeders, exhibitors and pet owners.

The Backyard Duck Book is a revised edition of Nyiri Murtagh’s popular book, For the Love of Ducks, but with colour photographs of the duck breeds. It covers all aspects of duck husbandry, from selecting a breed and buying ducks to housing, breeding, feeding and health. It includes a description of each of the duck breeds currently available in Australia, the standards for each breed, their egg-laying capacity and their potential as table birds. + Full description

The book also has a comprehensive section on artificial incubation of eggs that includes step-by-step instructions on how to test eggs for fertility and defects. Crossbreeding, developing your own lines and raising ducks for meat are also covered.

Backyard poultry farmers, small-acre farmers and hobby farmers will find this book an enjoyable and useful reference.

- Short description


"This revised and comprehensive edition is definitely a useful reference for those who keep pest-control ducks or have a small meat or egg business – it’s not a guide to commercial duck keeping."
Australian Organic Producer, pp. 38, Summer 2012/13

"Good information on breeds along with helpful illustrations on techniques such as holding, sexing and cutting flight feathers are among the highlights of this guide to duck ownership."
Simon Webster, Organic Gardener, pp. 90, November/December 2012

"The descriptions of the various breeds available in Australia are comprehensive and well illustrated, with details of colouration, body shapes and sizes, defects which a show judge might be looking for, and some notes about personality types typical of the breeds."
Nick Goldie, Summit Sun, p. 4, July 2012


Paperback | June 2012 | $ 39.95
ISBN: 9780643106512 | 168 pages | 245 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour photographs

ePDF | June 2012
ISBN: 9780643106529
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers

ePUB | June 2012
ISBN: 9780643106536
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • One of the only Australian books on duck husbandry
  • Written and published for Australian conditions
  • Contains comprehensive information on artificial incubation and prevention and treatment of pests and diseases
  • Full colour photographs of each duck breed discussed in the book


1 Introduction: for the love of ducks
2 Duck anatomy
3 Duck breeds and their standards
4 Selecting a duck
5 Buying a duck
6 Duck behaviour
7 Duck management
8 Duck housing
9 Duck diet
10 Duck health
11 Duck egg incubation
12 Hatching and rearing ducklings
13 Crossbreeding ducks
Appendix 1. Breed selection table
Appendix 2. Growth rates of Pekins and Muscovies
Appendix 3. Determining sex by incubation temperature

View the full table of contents.


Nyiri Murtagh was raised in a semi-rural environment where there was always a chook, duck or peacock wandering past the front door. He remembers being fascinated by his pet Muscovy duck at the age of three, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that he began to look for another hobby aside from his car, and he discovered the wonderful world of waterfowl.

At that time, books on waterfowl were pretty much the same as they are now, hard to get, and when Nyiri did find some, they never answered his questions. So he began going to shows, purely as an observer, and spending all his free time watching his birds. It wasn’t long before he was travelling all around Australia, purchasing ducks and geese to add to his collection.

While Nyiri doesn’t show his birds, quite a number of the ducks and geese that he breeds are purchased for showing by exhibitors from around Australia.