Ducks or Chickens

DSC_0433I have been debating over chickens or ducks for eggs for a little while now.  It seems that there are many reasons for ducks over chickens, but I was scared about the taste.  I tend to be a little on the picky side with my foods.  Duck eggs aren’t the easiest thing to find, but the co-op we shop at just started carrying them.  They are delicious!  So now that it’s settled, here are all the reasons I found why I’m choosing ducks:

The eggs are much better in many ways.  They are more nutritious than chicken eggs.  Check out this nutrition comparison chart I found.  The eggs are bigger and tastier. The shells are thicker which allows them to store longer and be less fragile.  Ducks also lay more eggs than chickens.  I found a couple sites that said they can lay almost twice as much and through the winter.

Ducks are easier to keep for a few reasons.  They are heartier in heat and cold than chickens.  They have an extra layer of fat to keep warm, waterproofing on their feathers to keep dry, and they just go swimming to keep cool.  Swimming also helps to keep them healthier because it keeps mites off of them.  In addition to this mite proofing, ducks have a heartier immune system than chickens.  Heartier immune system means healthier, happier ducks and less visits.  Ducks are also said to be less aggressive towards other ducks.  They are more welcoming to new companions.

The reason I first became interested in ducks was for pest control.  Ducks are excellent for running around your garden eating slugs and other bugs that are lurking in the shadows just waiting for the moment to emerge and eat your beautiful veggies.   Ducks like to hunt and will go after mice and snakes too.  This also means that they can better forage for themselves and need to be handed less food.  Chickens will eat bugs, but are picky about it.  They are also much harder on your lawn and garden while they are eating the bugs.  Ducks will do some trampling and eating  of your plants, but chickens will peck and scratch until nothing remains.

The problem that I have found with ducks seems to be that they need a pond.  Not just a bucket of water, but a decent sized pond.  Luckily, I want a pond anyway, so this won’t be a problem for me.  I would like to raise some sort of fish in the pond, so I will have to do more research in this area.  I don’t see why ducks and fish couldn’t share a pond like they would naturally, but I’ll have to investigate anyway.  Either way, I will be getting myself some ducks as soon as I can!

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Hello,
First off thank you,thoroughly enjoyed your blog,I especially enjoyed the post on growing your own shitakes as well as the book/link to underground homes.
Scott

I had no idea that ducks were hunters! I used to keep chickens and yes, they did a real number on the gardens, especially when they wanted to take their’ ‘dirt baths’. Amazing project you have going there! Have read a lot about permaculture and I am looking forward to following your projects:)

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