Over the last few years, there has been a major increase in the amount of backyard chicken keepers. But what about raising ducks? Do ducks make good pets or additions to the homestead?
Our first ducks were a complete impulse purchase. When picking up our chickens from the farm store the baby ducklings were just so-so adorable I had to have a few. Since that first impulse buy I have learned lots about how great they are and now I might just prefer raising ducks over chickens.
Here are my top 9 reasons that you need to start raising ducks on your homestead!
1. Ducks are better in cold weather.
Overall ducks are larger and have an added layer of fat that chickens don’t have. They also have waterproofing on their feathers to protect against the elements, as well as a thick down undercoat designed to keep them warm and dry in the water.
This makes them far more cold-hardy than chickens. Most of the time we think they are nuts, but ours like be outside in the frequent snowstorms and rain.
2. Ducks lay eggs more regularly.
Our ducks consistently outperform our chickens even through the winter without any supplemental light in their house.
We average 3-4 eggs from four female ducks daily and even with 22 laying hen we only get about 12-15 chicken eggs per day.
3. Duck eggs are superior to chicken eggs.
Ducks lay eggs that are larger, richer in flavor and excellent for baking due to their higher fat and lower water content. They are also slightly more nutritious than chicken eggs.
Due to their thicker shells and membranes, they also have a longer shelf life and are less likely to break. You can get an in-depth look at duck eggs vs chicken eggs in this post!
4. Ducks are wonderful for pest control.
Given the opportunity, ducks will eat every slug, worm, spider, grasshopper, cricket, fly and grub they can find. They are great for keeping the ticks down around the yard.
They are the best natural pest control. Chickens can get be kind of fussy about what they eat.
5. Ducks Are Easier on Your Lawn.
If you have ever owned chickens, you know they love a good dust bath, and usually, a favored dust bath spot is on your lawn or in your garden instead of in the chicken run or coop. Dust bathing chickens can leave large areas totally bare of grass or plants.
Ducks don’t really dust bathe much at all. Instead, they prefer to paddle in the water, which you can easily provide with a kiddie pool or a stock tank with ramp access.
6. Ducks Are Quieter Than Chickens.
Squabbles over pecking order, jostling over roost space, and cackling when laying eggs are all noises hens make throughout the day. Most of the time they also carry on for no apparent reason at all. Roosters, contrary to popular belief, don’t just crow in the morning.
On our homestead, we currently have two roosters it is pretty much nonstop crowing. Roosters are the most annoying men and seem to feel compelled to communicate their manhood, especially when another male is present.
Ducks on the other hand, although they will quack loudly when agitated or excited, normally just quietly chitter-chatter. Males, also called drakes, don’t quack at all. And they don’t have the same dominance issues that roosters have.
7. Ducks Are Super Friendly.
Chickens generally are flighty, skittish, and even aggressive. It takes quite a bit of work to tame chickens. One of our roosters has recently started chasing my kids down. Roosters are large and make quite a show when they feel threatened. So soon he will have to make his way to the stock pot because chasing my babies is no good.
Ducks? Not so much. They have a sort of bubbly, friendly, and calm manner. Domestic breeds are sometimes curious but never aggressive.
8. Ducks are generally healthier.
Because they spend so much of their time in the water, they tend to be far less susceptible to mites and other external parasites than chickens. Any parasites that might be tempted to latch on will drown.
They also have hardier immune systems which help them to stay in better general health and are less likely to contract diseases.
9. Ducklings are adorable!
Okay, I admit this comes down to personal preference. As cute as baby chicks are, baby ducklings are irresistible. There webbed feet are way too big for their bodies and they giant eyes will melt your heart. Ducks are truly entertaining. They love to swim and will have great fun in anything from a dishpan to a kiddie pool.
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I hope that when you are considering what kind of birds you want for your homestead you give raising ducks a try. They are great companion around the house and always entertaining to watch. They are simple to care for and the rewards are great!
So what about you? Have you thought about trying to raise ducks? Or do you have any experience with raising ducks?
Have you ever considered raising ducks? If so, what was your what is holding you back?
This Post Has 12 Comments
I have kahki Campbell’s. I love their personalities, and the about 320 eggs a year each girl gives. My sheep milk ice cream and baking is all the better for my eggs! I have Jersey Giants and a heritage Cornish rooster( not the rock cross or the bantam type. And love the girls but the ducks are not fussy and easier care. I milk my Wiltshire horn sheep. I love they are known for triplets. Shedding and milk and are a thrifty Pasture lambing mother. I have as my herd site a reg. Aussie dorper ram I chose as he and his grandfather’s not only sire many more females than males, but unique to Australia is the study of the booroola gene, in the Wiltshire horn and dorper that means many more lambs per ewe. My ewes raise their triplets, quads, and even a set of quints! I’m probably the ONLY one in Texas, let alone the U.S. breeding for the booroola gene, so easy care and healthy animals are a must. .The ducks fit right in. We have Pasture raised Heritage Large Black Hogs, lots of rocks and drought, chickens,ducks and Flemish giant rabbits..
Sounds like you have an amazing little homestead!!
Yes, your homestead sounds amazing!! What part of Texas do you reside? Best of luck with your operation.
I just started my journey of having ducks. My favorite thing about having them is watching them play in the water. They might have a little spiddle (small puddle) of water and they get super duper excited and wag their tails and jump around and about. They truly make me so happy to watch!!!
I totally agree I love sitting out and just watching them play.
My favourite part was when I wasn’t home one nighto put them in the barn. My neighbour later told me it was the funniest thing she had seen in a long time. My daughter had just finished washing her hair when I called to get her to tuck them in for the night. It was her first time doing it herself and headed outside. She made it almost to the barn , when all of af a sudden thebducks spotted her and all ran toward her her, all quite loudly I was told. She froze and my neighbour heard her say, “Alright guys settle down.” They just kept comming, so she whippedbthebtowel off her head and was snapping it at them trying to get back into the house. Well her little brother heard her and came out to investagate. She was eleven and he had just turned five. “That’s not how you put ducks to bed,, ” She just told him to do it if he thought he was so smart. He kept walking up to the ducks and as He was passing them called them to follow himnandbthey did. He tucked them in feed andbwatered them and went back to the house. His sister just stood at the barn door shocked that he did it so easily. His finale comment was “Never send a girl to do a boy’s job.” Then he ran laughing into the house while she chased and flapped the towel at him. My neighbour was sure if she had taped it it would have won “The World’s Funniest Video.
Yes that totally would have won 10gs on AFV! Love it!
Why don’t they fly away?
Hello! Actually, domestic duck are much too heavy to fly. They are much bigger and fatter than wild ducks!
I have 3 male Pekins and 1 female. Age about 5 months.
I was told to get more females , because they will hurt her. So, I just got 3 more baby Pekins to raise.
Can you tell the sex of them. I do not want to get attached to them. I do not want to give them away. I do not want
her to be hurt in any way. Please help…
Thanks Momma Duck
I have call ducks and female mallard crossed ducks. Only a male call duck. A few mixed chickens. 3 broody good mothers every spring and 7 other females and 2 free ranging roosters, and a single showy male of Peruvian descent. Eggs from green to assorted shade of brown. I’ve had chickens that lay freckled and pink. eggs, even olive green. But so far no bright blue ones. Perhaps someday. I also have rabbits. I’ve had 22 adults but cut it down to just 5 rabbits now. California’s 2 females and Netherlands 2 females and a male. Love them all but the ducks are the most entertaining and rabbits easiest to care for.
I share excess from my garden and cut volunteer alfalfa for them. I’m retired but work hard. Now I’m learning how to assemble, build racks and hookup solar power for my home. I’m caretaker for my husband with alzheimers. He loves to come and sit in the shade of an ancient apricot tree when I’m working outside if it isn’t cold. I love it when the weather finally turns and we can both be outside. I’m also building new coops and pens this year.
I loved reading this article. It seems all I’ve seen lately are “here’s why you should not get ducks” type articles. We are getting ready to add ducks to our homestead and I have started doubting our decision. Your article brightened my day and made my decision to go ahead so much easier. Thank you so much!