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I love spring. I love planning for spring. It brings plans and potential for new things to the homestead. It brings new life, new dreams, and a chance to improve from last year. Ducks are definitely on my list this spring. Don’t get me wrong, I love my chickens but ducks. Seriously, who can resist an adorable duckling?
The fact is, there are a lot of ways that ducks are superior to chickens. I know, I know… chickens are thee gateway homesteading animal of choice, but hear me out. Ducks hold a place in the homesteading lifestyle that chickens can’t begin to fill.
8 Reasons You Need Ducks on Your Homestead
They Aren’t Picky About the Weather
Chickens are so picky about weather. If there’s the least bit of snow on the ground they’re hiding in their coop acting like the world will end if they step foot on that white stuff. Ducks on the other hand? They do not care. They’ll go out running around just as much in the winter as they do in the summer. They’re also more hardy when it comes to frigid temps. You’re not going to have to worry about frostbite because they don’t have combs and wattles and they can naturally keep their adorable feet from succumbing to the cold. In my eyes after the winter we’ve had… that is awesome.
Ducks don’t get sick often, if at all. While other fowl are more susceptible to disease (though still pretty resistant) you’ll rarely (if ever) have a sick duck. They’re definitely less likely to get things like fleas, lice, and mites because they spend time in the water which kind of ruins it for the parasites….
Ducks don’t make a lot of noise. My neighbors ducks make a ruckus once a day, I’ve never heard them any other time. My chickens, and theirs, on the other hand can be pretty loud whether we’re talking about the hens or roosters. If you leave the ducks to their own devices and don’t bother them too often, they’ll pretty much stay quiet.
Drakes Aren’t Jerks
My rooster, Stew, is a jerk. We have a new rooster, Pepper, who isn’t. However, finding a rooster that isn’t a jerk is difficult. Whether you raise them from chicks or not, some roosters are just jerks. Drakes (male ducks) on the other hand are super laid back generally peaceful birds. They don’t care if you walk into the coop or look at them funny. They won’t bother you if you put food down. They’ll just hang out and do their thing.
The Incredible, Edible (duck) Egg
Want consistent eggs? Get a duck. They lay eggs more reliably than chickens do. Other than a few weeks out of the year, they lay a lot more consistently than chickens. Duck eggs have higher moisture content than chicken eggs and they have a higher yolk to white ratio. This makes for some amazing baked goods (chocolate cake, anyone?). You can just sub duck eggs for chicken eggs in a recipe 1:1 no need to worry about there being more egg. While they will make you hunt for them, it’s a worthwhile trade.
They Are a Great, Healthy Source of Meat
Ducks grow quickly (even dual purpose breeds), and their meat is delicious because it is full of fat and proteins. It’s super healthy and you can definitely render some of that beautiful fat. You may even like it better than chicken meat!
They’re Awesome at Pest Control
Ducks do best when they’re able to forage for bugs, slugs, snakes, and even spiders. They love them all and will eat to their hearts content when given the opportunity. An added bonus? Once your garden is an actual garden and not a seedling plot, they won’t destroy your gardens. Ahem… I think I know another fowl that will….
They Create Awesome Fertilizer
We all know poultry poop is better than miracle grow! And if you don’t, you do now. Clean out their house and run, throw that stuff on the compost pile and you’ll have beautiful, nutrient dense fertilizer for your garden. All natural and so much better than that synthetic stuff.
Ducks are Adorable, Beautiful Creatures
C’mon… you know they are. I’ve yet to see a duck I didn’t think was beautiful grown, or not. Drakes are handsome, colorful birds and ducks are just as beautiful. They’re also incredibly friendly. I’ve never met a mean duck (geese and a few chickens, yes, ducks, no). This reason alone was enough to convince me!
Ducks are awesome, friendly, beautiful creatures. Seriously consider adding them to your homestead this year!