We talk a lot about chickens here at eFowl, and for good reason! Chickens are amazing pets that are useful to have. However, more and more people are starting to think about backyard poultry more than just backyard chickens. Raising ducks can be incredibly rewarding, and even may be a better fit for you than chickens! Here’s why:
1. Ducks are hardy
Ducks are generally healthier and have stronger immune systems than chickens. Since they keep their bodies at 107 degrees, they’re inhospitable to parasite and bacteria. Most common chicken diseases, such as Marek’s disease and the avian flu, don’t affect ducks. The fact that they spend a lot of time in the water makes them less susceptible to mites and other parasites.
Depending on the breed, ducks can also incredibly hardy during the winter. Breeds like the Ancona and the Cayuga are specially winter hardy. Some ducks wake up in the middle of the snow waiting for their feet to unfreeze from the ground to start their day.
Ducks really take hardiness to the next level.
2. No eggs like duck eggs
Duck eggs are larger, have a tougher shell than chicken eggs, which gives them a longer shelf life. They have a larger yolk which makes them more nutritional and caloric dense.
Duck eggs don’t taste like any chicken egg you’ve ever had. They have a very intense flavor, but can be used in anything regular eggs are used for. Although some ducks don’t lay as often as some chicken breeds, they lay before sunrise, which will make the job of collecting easy.
Plus, ducks don’t eat their eggs!
3. Quiet and easier to raise
You don’t need a fancy chicken coop for ducks. Any dog house with a predator-proof door, proper ventilation and cheap insulation will do the trick. There’s no need for nesting boxes. And as we mentioned before, they’re quite hardy so you’ll need less trips to the vet.
Plus they’re very reliable when it comes to getting rid of bugs from your yard! There’s a reason why you often see ducks in beautiful, privately owned gardens. Since they’re good foragers, some people keep ducks just for their insecticide capabilities!
Just as with chickens, you can make a profit selling ducklings during the spring and you can easily hatch your own eggs. However most people would rather go the easier route and sell ducks’ eggs.
As we mentioned, duck eggs are rarer and have a stronger taste than chicken eggs, mostly due to their higher fat content. This makes them very valuable to some people, including some of the top restaurants that are willing to pay top dollar for them, specially when it comes to Asian cuisine and pastry shops. Just take a look at your local farmer’s market to see how expensive these eggs are in comparison to chickens’! That means adding the best and most expensive restaurants of your area to your other ways to sell eggs.
Now you may be thinking “well yes they’re more expensive, but that’s because they lay less eggs”, but that’s not true if you get the right breed. Khaki Campbells for instance, can lay over 300 eggs per year!
5. Easy-going and quiet
Having a pet duck has a lot of perks, and one of them is how quiet they tend to be. Male ducks don’t quack so it’s only the females that will make a noise. And unless they’re scared or excited, they’ll keep it down.
A lot of people may complain about the cackle of a chicken flock or about a rooster waking them up at sunrise, but who doesn’t love some gentle quacking?
Ducks are incredibly adorable, resilient and useful. Is a pet duck the right fit for you? Let us know your experience with ducks in the comments below!