When you decide to build a country life, their will be others that don’t really get it. They will ask you a million different questions about what you are doing. Believe it or not one of the most frequently asked questions about my country life is “Why do you have ducks?”.
When people think of birds on a farm most picture chickens and don’t consider ducks to be an alternate form of poultry. Many people don’t know that ducks can be kept on a farm for the same reasons that people keep chickens. If having chickens on your farm is something you have considered, you should also consider ducks. Here are 10 Duck facts to help with your decision. Like with any other animal addition, do you homework on breeds, temperament, and purpose.
10 Reasons, Why to Consider Ducks
Ducks Are Low Maintenance
Free range ducks are usually happy to roam your yard and fields foraging for food during the summer. Usually ducks are happy to go back to their houses for the evening where they are protected from nighttime predators.
Winter months can be slightly different if you live where there is a good amount of snow and cold temperatures. . They can be a bit messy when they are cooped for the winter. During this season you will need to provide warm housing, water, food and dry bedding.
Like chickens, ducks lay a good amount of eggs. Duck eggs are better for you and they come in a much larger size. If eggs are what you are looking for be sure to consider a duck breed known for their egg production. We have always had good luck with the Khaki Campbell breed for egg production.
If you aren’t interested in eggs, then growing ducks for meat can also be a good alternative. We usually grow a few to butcher for ourselves, also to give to people for holidays and special occasions. Again, you should look into what breeds would be best for meat production. Most breeds can be used for meat, but we stick to the basic Pekin Duck breed for our meat production. The pekin duck is the big white ducks seen everywhere.
Duck Are Trainable
If you set a routine for your ducks, they are eager to follow it. Ours are trained to come back to the barn door in the evening, from there we open it to their pen. They are so good at following their schedule that if we are late to let them in, they sit in front of the door and wait until we arrive. (Our chickens wander off )
Slug and Bug Control
Ducks are very good at foraging for food, they will reduce the amount of creepy crawlies where ever you let them roam. Using a mobile pen is useful if you have specific places you would like them to keep pest free. Most ducks are good at foraging, but there are specific breeds that are more active then others.
Ducks are generally docile birds and not easily excitable. If you have kids or are worried about chickens with bad attitudes, then ducks are a good calm choice, I have rarely heard of ducks being overly aggressive. We have 4 small kids that run around our farm and it is nice to know that they won’t get chased by our ducks.
We let our ducks’ free range, so they can be seen anywhere on our property. They eat, roam and fertilize everywhere they waddle. In the fall when your garden has been harvested open it up to your ducks they will forage, clean your garden space and Fertilize it while they go.
Ducks are Cold Hardy
Ducks have more fat and their feathers help insulate them, so they are not bothered by the cold weather. They don’t care for the snow and it can be hard on their feet but if provided with a warm place to sleep they should be able to with stand some pretty cold weather. We have put a heat lamp in their winter pen on those -30 degree days to help out.
Each duck has it’s own unique personality, it is entertaining to watch them. They chase each other around the yard, play keep away with worms and play tag in their pond or swimming pool.
It is always fun to sit and watch your ducks as they waddle about the yard and fields. During the summer one of my favorite sights is our ducks coming around the side of the barn quaking as they prepare for their morning swim. It adds a special country feel that can’t be replaced.
Ducks are just as much a part of our farm as our chickens. Chickens and ducks can serve the same purpose with a few slight differences. Before you choose to get chickens because they are “The Farm Bird” consider getting a few ducks too.