Raising Ducks has many advantages, as do Chickens. They both lay eggs, they both provide meat and they are generally raised in the same way. My goal in writing this blog is not to tell you that one is better than the other, but rather to show the differences between Ducks and Chickens, pros and cons of Ducks and to clear up common misconceptions about Ducks.
Differences between Ducks and Chickens
Aside from the obvious differences between Ducks and Chickens there are a few key differences to consider if you are interested in raising Ducks. First are the eggs. Duck eggs, for the most part, are more “yolky” then those of a Chicken. Duck eggs are slightly larger than Chicken eggs as well. Other than that they both taste the same. Many chefs actually prefer to use Duck eggs for Pastries. If you want to know the reason why, just ask your local pastry Chef because I don’t know. When it comes to egg production Ducks are more productive. The average Chicken will lay eggs for a good three years or so. Some Duck breeds will lay eggs for upwards of 12 years! Two such breeds that are great egg layers are the Khaki Campbell
and the Indian Runner. If you want egg production, these Ducks will deliver! An interesting fact is that many people who are allergic to Chicken eggs find that they are actually not allergic to Duck eggs. As far as Duck meat goes it does taste different than Chicken. Generally it is more oily and “gamey” tasting. Some have even described Duck meat as tasting like Liver. Some breeds do taste better than others, Muscovy (pictured on the right), for example, tastes a lot like beef.
Pros and cons
Ducks love bugs. Chickens will eat bugs as well but Ducks LOVE them. If you want to save time killing weeds in your yard then get some Ducks. Ducks will eat weeds in your yard before they eat any grass. Ducks will also eat almost any table scraps you give them which make them great garbage disposals. This next pro is debatable but I personally believe that ducks are just cuter when they hatch. They are naturally born swimmers and will have a ball if you put them in your kiddy pool or bath tub.
As was already stated Duck meat just does not taste as good as chicken. Ducks do tend to be a bit noisier with their quacking, though male ducks are much quieter and don’t quack very much. Ducks are messier than Chickens. Ducks will play in the mud till the cows come home!
There are a few misconceptions about Ducks that I wish to clear up. First is that you do not need to have a pond or kiddy pool for Ducks to play in. As much as they do love it they will do just fine without it. Second is that Ducks do not need to fly South in the winter time. Wild Ducks will fly South for winter not because the temperature drops but for food. As long as your Ducks are being fed they won’t have any desire to fly South… or North. Ducks do not need any special “Duck feed.” They will eat anything any ordinary Chicken would. What Ducks do need though is a water source to drink from that they can dip their bills into. Ducks will drink water to wash down the food they store up in their throats. It helps to have a deeper water source to make this easier to do. I would recommend watching this video to see what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoUH5mUeKL8. Many people assume that because their city doesn’t allow Chickens they don’t allow Ducks as well. This, for the most part, is not the case. Many cities will specify that Chickens are not allowed but make no mention of Ducks or other birds. Just be sure to check with your local City Hall before making any plans just to be on the safe side.