Raising Ducks at Home
For those who have never tried duck, it is a most delicious meat. What makes it most appealing to me is that it does have a more rich taste when compared to the very bland taste of chicken breast. If you like the darker meat on chicken and turkey, you will probably like duck. The breast of a duck actually looks like red meat. It has a somewhat similar rich iron like taste. I find it very peculiar that this wonderful bird has not caught on more in the US. Most ducks are not raised in large production like chickens. I would imagine because they don’t do nearly as well in tight quarters. In comparison 8 billion chickens a year are processed, only 25 million ducks a year are processed. A whopping 320 to 1 ratio. On a per person basis that is only ⅓ of a pound per year. Duck in my estimation is highly underrated.
I have found raising ducks to be much easier and less costly than chicken. Now again if you’re talking about large scale production, i guess nothing beats chicken. However if the purpose is a family farm, than duck is an easy replacement. There are ducks that lay eggs equal to most chickens. Also most duck breeds are larger than chickens. So when i comes time to eat them, slaughtering them will produce more meat on an animal by animal basis. There are other reasons ducks should be looked into for a family farm. Some of the very productive breeds are also good sitters & mothers. Ducks are much better foragers than chickens. Even the good foraging chickens don’t compare to a duck. They scour the land eating grass, leaves, weeds, bugs you name it. The few ducks I have survive mostly of pasture and haven’t lost much weight since they switched. If you’re into hobbies, down from a duck can provide another resource to use. It can work even if you are a novice as stuffing for pillows.
There are other traits that make them a great animal to have around. Most ducks are very cute and soft to hold. Generally they can’t run that fast which makes them easier to catch and hold. Ducks run together in a small packed in bunch unlike chickens who scatter to the wind. You can easily walk behind them and get all 15 or whatever to go right where you want them. Just a joy to have around and in many ways can see how they could be a real pet. Many have stories of ducks who follow them around everywhere, and we have a similar story as well with our youngest boy. So even the pet sense, a average duck is easier keep than your average chicken. If your considering a small family farm, take my word for it, start with ducks you’ll be glad you did.