As hard as it may be for backyard chicken owners to believe, raising chickens are not everyone's cup of tea.
We think we can convince beginning flock owners, and even devoted chicken owners, to choose ducks instead of chickens.
Take a look at seven reasons to choose ducks instead of chickens:
1. Ducks Outperform in Egg Laying
Do your chickens lay year-round without artificial lighting? We didn't think so. Chickens may lay through their first winter, but then laying tapers off to a halt each winter after, unless you add artificial light, and we don't recommend doing so.
Ducks, however, lay through the winter without artificial light and have higher egg production. Ducks are more consistent egg layers than chickens, and duck eggs are a little larger size than chicken eggs, taste a little richer with more Omega-3 fatty acids, higher Vitamin b12 levels, and 75% more Vitamin E than chicken eggs, have a thicker shell, and have a longer shelf life. Duck eggs are also an alkaline-producing food which is said to help prevent cancer.
Duck eggs are frequently found at Farmers Markets so why don't you just have your own fresh eggs in your backyard? You cook a duck egg like a normal chicken egg, and while duck eggs have higher saturated fat content, most think duck eggs taste just as good.
2. Ducks Are Quieter Than Chickens
Before I got chickens, I never realized how noisy chickens can be. Squabbles over pecking order, jostling over roost space, cackling when laying eggs, and screeching at the sight of predators are all noises hens make throughout the day.
Some breeds are louder than others. I have Ancona chickens which tend to be pretty loud. And then roosters. Roosters crow night and day whenever they please, not just at dawn. Our rooster loves to sound the alarm...we mean greet all visitors with a lovely loud crow. Every. Single. Time. And yes, he usually crows at five AM at this time of year. Thankfully, we usually sleep right through it.
Ducks are far quieter than chickens, and male ducks do not crow. If you like peace and quiet, ducks are definitely for you.
3. Ducks Are Downright Adorable
Ducks are so darn cute and adorable that they'll melt your heart. They come in many colors and duck breeds and all of them are wonderful. Chickens may be beautiful and unique in their own way, but no chicken can complete when it comes to silly bills and floppy webbed feet of baby ducklings. Raising ducks will make you smile, guaranteed.
4. Ducks Are Super Friendly
While we love chickens, they can be flighty, aggressive, and skittish. It's sometimes quite a bit of work to tame chickens. Ducks? Not so much. Ducks have a sort of unflappable, friendly, and calm manner. Domestic ducks are sometimes inquisitive but never aggressive. If you want a friendly flock, choose ducks instead of chickens.
5. Ducks Are #1 at Pest Control
Got slugs? Get ducks. Free range ducks eat pests that chickens tend to ignore. Giant worms, slimy slugs, spiders, you name it, ducks eat it. Chickens have a reputation for passing up slugs and other pests, so your poultry pest control isn't really complete without some ducks.
6. Ducks Are Cold Hardy and Heat Tolerant
Ducks need the same shade during summer heat that chickens do, but ducks are far less likely to overheat than chickens. Why? They can generally pop into a tub of water or a pond to cool off. Ducks are about as cold hardy as chickens, although ducks can be a little messier with water and you do have to watch out that high moisture levels don't cause frost bite in cold weather.
Ducks also tend to have stronger immune systems and less susceptible to external parasites like mites.
7. Ducks Are Easier on Your Landscaping
If you own chickens, you know they love a good dustbath, and usually, a favored dustbath spot is on your lawn or in your garden instead of in the chicken run or coop. Dust bathing chickens leave shallow (and not so shallow) depressions totally bare of grass or plants. Your yard can very well become a barren wasteland with a flock of chickens
Ducks don't really dust bathe much at all. Instead, ducks prefer to paddle in water, which you can easily provide with a kiddie pool or a stock tank with ramp access if you don't have a pond or a big puddle.
In short, backyard ducks are really awesome for eggs, pest control, and landscaping. Plus, they are adorable, quiet, friendly, heat tolerant, and hardy.
Are you convinced to choose ducks instead of chickens? Let us know in the comments below!
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