The Ducks

We are very excited that we will soon be adding 3 Ancona ducklings to our family. They are due to hatch in April. Ducks make great pets and gardening allies and they produce delicious eggs; about 250 per year. Our ducks will be straight run, but we are selecting chocolate coloring which are more likely to be female, so we are hoping we will get all or mostly girls so that I can expect about an egg a day when the days are long and maybe a bit less during the short days of winter. Other good laying breeds are Khaki Campbell (these are supposedly the best layers though I am told they tend to be super nervous), Runners (very cool ducks, but also nervous), Harlequin and Buff Orpington. There are also a number of hybrid layers in production at various hatcheries. I am personally most fond of Anconas. They are friendly, mellow, each one is unique in its coloring and patterns so I can easily tell them apart and they lay plenty of eggs.

Ducks or Chickens?

Ducks are easier, in my opinion, to keep than chickens. They are nicer, for one. Chickens can be very aggressive toward children and other pets and they're mean to each other (there are friendlier breeds, the older breeds, Dorking and Sussex and the ridiculously cute Favorelles for example). Chickens also require special housing and next boxes whereas ducks just need a spot to duck out of the wind and a pile of hay to hide their eggs in. Yes ducks enjoy water, but they don't need a pond to swim in. They need daily access to a large water dish to splash about in (big enough to dunk their heads) and occasional access to a kiddie pool to play in is appreciated. Some people keep ducks in their house and let them play in the tub.

Choosing ducks over chickens was almost a no brainer but we did have once concern - What do duck eggs taste like? So we brought some home from our local Ancona breeder (from whom we are adopting the above-mentioned trio). I'm going to blog about this in more detail at some point, but the verdict is this- they a very similar in flavor, but there is some textural differences. The yolk is thicker, so over medium fried duck eggs is a little chewier, maybe not so pleasant. However, if you're making scrambled eggs or an omelette (which is usually what we're doing), you get a much fluffier texture, like you added some cream to the mix. Very nice.

Ducks as Gardening Allies

Ducks love to forage in the garden. They enjoy slugs, beetles, grubs and other critters that aren't so welcome in the garden. They will munch on baby greens and berries, so it's important to fence some areas but they are more than welcome under the fruit trees!

My grandmother says ducks keep snakes out of your yard. I don't know the facts behind this but she swears it's true.

See Also

http://www.witchipedia.com/beast:duck
We are adopting our ducks from (and have purchased eggs from Pato Loco Duck Pond

Coming Soon
Gardening Allies from the Animal Kingdom
Building a Duck House
Caring for Ducks
Training Ducks
Duck Treats & Snacks
Caring for Ducklings

The Duck Journal

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