The backyard chicken keeping movement has been growing steadily over the past few years, invading residential neighborhoods, but what you may not realize is that backyard ducks are quietly growing in popularity as well. ‘Quietly’ is the key word – and may be a compelling reason why you might want to consider adding some ducks to your flock.
Unlike a crowing rooster which can be annoying to neighbors, male ducks, known as drakes, make hardly any sound at all. The females do quack when frightened or excited, but don’t sing an ‘egg song’ like hens do. Ducks adhere to a far less strict pecking order than chickens and noisy squabbles are rare. On the whole, ducks are much quieter than chickens.
Another benefit: ducks tend to be healthier than chickens, and are not not especially susceptible to Marek’s or coccidiosis, two common pathogens that target chickens. Ducks are also more cold-hardy due to an extra layer of fat and waterproof feathers, as well as more able to handle heat by splashing around in a pool or tub of water on hot days.
Ducks are excellent layers and will generally lay year round even without supplemental light in the winter. Their eggs are higher in fat and protein but as a result are superior for baking, making baked goods richer and rise higher. Duck eggs also last longer than chicken eggs due to their thicker shells and membranes and are less apt to break, which can be a plus if you have small children help you collect eggs. Ducks are less apt to go broody than chickens, which is nice if you are raising poultry purely to eat their eggs and aren’t interested in hatching any.
Ducks aren’t nearly as hard on lawns as are chickens. They don’t scratch up grass by the roots or nibble it down to the dirt. While they will trample your lawn a bit and dig quarter-sized holes looking for grubs, worms and bug larvae, you won’t be left with a dirt wasteland like you would raising chickens. Consider the holes beneficial lawn aeration.
Whether you raise chickens already and are thinking of expanding your flock or are new to backyard poultry keeping, why not consider ducks?
This article shared with us by Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily. Lisa gives advice on raising backyard chickens and ducks on Facebook.com/FreshEggsDaily and Facebook.com/DucksToo as well as her blog Fresh-eggs-daily.com.