You’ve been thinking about getting ducks for a while, but you’re not sure if they’re worth it. If only for the benefits, duck keeping can be an incredibly rewarding and beneficial experience.
Duck-keeping is worth it because it is inexpensive and provides plenty of tasty meat (they reach butchering age quickly) and huge, high-protein eggs. They help keep slugs and other pests out of your garden and provide plenty of excellent quality manure for your plants.
Ducks May Improve Your Garden
The greatest concern for most people with gardens is if keeping ducks will mean giving up on their lovely plants. Fortunately, ducks are less likely to cause harm in your garden as they don’t scratch as chickens do.
If you have vegetables make sure that the following plants are carefully protected, especially when they are young with lots of moist content, as those are the favorites of ducks: cabbage, spinach, lettuce, green beans, tomatoes, cucumber, and broccoli.Learn how to raise your own quail and have an unlimited supply of eggs and meat.
Among fruits ducks like berries, watermelon, bananas, and cantaloupe. If the plants have low moisture content water-loving ducks will not eat them.
However, you need to keep ducks out of a newly planted garden. Ducks’ large feet make it easy for them to trample fresh vegetation. A garden with new plants should be fenced off until the plants are tall or strong enough.
If you want to read more in-depth on the topic read this article on whether ducks destroy your garden.
How To Handle Duck Poop
Ducks frequently poop, with an adult duck pooping up to fifteen times each day. That’s a lot of poop, and it’d be helpful if you knew how to deal with duck droppings. One good news is that ducks don’t poop where they sleep.
The other good news is that duck poop is an excellent fertilizer, so if you have a garden with various plants in it the droppings will serve you a great deal.
Bird droppings are commonly contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella, and they can also cause diseases such as Psittacosis.
The deep litter technique is the most effective way to control duck poop. Choose a specific spot, fence it, and convert it into a duck playpen and housing space. Cover the entire area, including the duck coop, in your preferred litter.
Litter choices include hay, shredded dry leaves, straw, pine shavings, and dry grass clippings.
After the ducks have soiled a layer, you can add another layer of litter. You can scoop out their coop, clean up the ground twice a year, and then use the droppings as compost manure.
Ducks Make Great Pest Control
Ducks eat plants, but they’ll also eat slugs and other bugs and pests in your yard. For instance, Muscovy ducks will prefer eating rats and mice to eating plants. In general, one of their favorites is slugs.
If the plants are healthy, allowing ducks to roam your garden freely will help control pests like slugs and hornworms. They pursue grasshoppers flies and mosquitos that other birds won’t touch.
Ducks Are Excellent Eggs-layers
Pekin duck eggs are 30% larger than chicken eggs. Not only that but some duck breeds in the peak of their egg-laying capacity lay more eggs than chickens do.
Ducks when fully mature and old enough begin laying eggs between 4-7 months, with the smaller ones earlier, depending on the breed. This allows raisers to start recuperating their investment early and longer, too.
Duck eggs are generally bigger than chicken eggs. Depending on the breed, they come in various colors and sizes. Don’t be surprised to see brown, green, gray, or white eggs in the duck’s coop. Duck eggs have a thicker shell than chicken eggs, giving them a longer shelf life.
Apart from the size, the egg yolk differentiates a duck egg from a chicken egg. While the whites for the chicken have a yellowish tint, the ducks have a transparent one.
Once the duck is fully mature, you can expect 3-7 eggs a week from each duck. Unlike the rest of the fowl species, ducks lay their eggs all year, even in the winter, although the number decreases. Even the cold weather will not deter them from laying eggs.
Duck eggs are completely safe for consumption. Pastry chefs favor them due to their higher fat and calorie content.
Duck Meat, Is Tasty
Duck meat has a rich flavor that resembles red meat more than white meat. It is high in fat and proteins and rich in iron.
The skin of a duck is thicker and fatter than that of a turkey or chicken. To avoid a rubbery texture from the fat, try crisping the skin during cooking.
The portions of the duck that most people commonly consume are the thighs, wings, breasts, and liver.
Duck flesh has more connective tissue than other meats, which is ideal for slow cooking. When cooking duck flesh, the best methods are stewing and braising.
You can use any leftover duck fat for cooking other meats and veggies, giving them a delicious flavor.
If you would like to know more about duck meat read this article I wrote on this topic: Best Duck Breeds to Raise For Meat
Ducks Can Endure Harsh Weather Conditions
Ducks can survive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. They can withstand the heat as long as they have access to water and enough shade.
Ducks can withstand cold temperatures thanks to their body fat and waterproof feathers. Give them high-calorie, high-fat treats right before bedtime to keep them happy and healthy over the winter. They will stay warm overnight as they digest peanuts, heated oats, and cracked corn.
You must also ensure that their housing is appropriate for them during the hot and cold seasons. A well-ventilated duck coop with straw insulation will keep them warm at night and throughout the cold season.
Ducks are Inexpensive to Raise and Have Longer Productive Seasons
Ducks have a longer prime reproductive season for egg-laying than chickens. It starts on its 4th to 7th month of life and consistently produces up to its 7th to 9th year.
Though the production rate weans a bit at about 3rd to 5th year, you can still get a decent number of eggs up until the last years of its lifetime, or up to about 9 or 10 years.
Ducks are inexpensive to raise
It is important that you supplement your ducks with the right nutrition, a thriving environment, and extra attention as soon as they reach their maturity age to maximize their optimum years. And the good news is, that ducks are one of the least expensive livestock to raise.
Ducks are active foragers. They can stuff their bellies with tadpoles, insects, snails, and slugs that may already be abundant in their natural environment.
Ducks are naturally free-rangers but you can supplement them with feeds if you want to increase egg production or ensure a healthy diet.
If you would like to know more about the pros and cons of raising ducks you may read this article I wrote about this topic.