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17 Reasons to Raise Ducks Instead of Chickens

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Ducks are better than chickens.

I know; it hurt me a little to say it too. But it’s true.

It’s a pretty bold statement to make. And I’m sure I’ll have angry chicken ladies on my doorstep for saying it. But let’s take a look at all the reasons why ducks are the perfect fowl to have around, and maybe by the end, you’ll agree with me. Ducks are better than chickens.

Yellow and brown ducklings sit on the edge of a bowl.

Or maybe by the end of this piece, I’ll have to change my name and move to some remote location.

No matter the outcome, I think you will agree ducks are an excellent choice for the beginner bird owner or the expert chicken keeper looking to branch out.

Let me lay out my case for you, and we’ll start with temperament.

1. No Pecking Order? No Problem.

A group of five ducks walking in green grass. The ducks are all different colors, cream and gray or cream and brown.

Unlike chickens, ducks don’t really care about a pecking order. This means you don’t have to jump through hoops trying to sneak a new duck into the mix without the other ducks pecking it to death. Ducks will happily welcome another member into their flock with little fuss.

2. Drakes are Gentlemen

A white duck looks up at the camera. The sun is shining. It's orange bill is bright.

Male ducks rarely consider you a threat to their ladies. They’re quite happy to have you around, especially if you brought snacks.

When it comes to roosters, you’d better skip the snacks and bring something to defend yourself. Their bad temperaments often lead to mean, aggressive birds that are just waiting for the opportune moment to attack – you, the kids, the dog, anything over three feet tall that moves.

3. Got kids; get Ducks.

a small boy holds a brown duck under his arm. The boy is smiling.

Kids love ducks, and ducks love people. These good-natured birds are some of the friendliest and most docile livestock you can find. There’s no need to worry about scratches, pecks or bitten fingers when it comes to keeping ducks. They’re just happy to be a part of the party.

4. Ducks Won’t Tear Up Your Lawn

Three ducks forage for food in a grassy lawn. Two ducks are white, one is brown.

Unlike chickens who scratch and dig and leave a wake of destruction wherever they are in the yard, ducks are pretty good at finding food without making a huge mess. They don’t scratch to forage; instead, they use their bills to feel out food, and they nibble.

Nibble, nibble, nibble.

While they will eat up small, tender plants, they rarely touch larger ones and will forage without making a huge mess.

5. Ducks are Easy to Contain

Nine white ducks are sitting on straw over snow in a fenced in pen. There is a white barn behind them with yellow doors. There are Christmas wreaths on the doors.

Domesticated ducks aren’t fliers. Because they’re earthbound they are much less likely to cause trouble by flying off to areas they aren’t supposed to be. And keeping them in one spot is much easier to do as they can’t clear even the lowest fences.

6. Ducks Won’t Eat Their Own Eggs

Close up of a feathered duck nest. There are five eggs inside, the sun is shining on the eggs.

If you’ve ever kept chickens, you know about this rather unpleasant business. You also know how easy it spreads through the flock. Ducks are much more civilized in that regard, and this weird habit rarely shows up in ducks.

Of course, it helps that their eggshells are naturally harder than chicken’s eggshells.

7. Early Morning Egg Layer

Ducks generally lay their eggs in the morning, just before the sun comes up. This means you can collect the eggs all at once. With chickens, laying happens throughout the day, which is okay until it’s January and you start collecting frozen eggs from the nest boxes.

8. Cold-Hardy and Heat-Tolerant

Two white ducks standing in the snow. There are pine trees covered in white snow behind them.

Ducks are built for nearly any weather. They really are meant to live wherever there are people. Their extra body fat and down keeps them warm in the winter. In the summer, you can provide them with shade and a kiddie pool, and that’s all they need to stay comfortable in the heat.

9. Naturally Disease and Pest Resistant

A green, sunlit field with trees and hills in the background. There are about a dozen ducks walking in the grass.

One of the biggest reasons ducks are better than chickens is how healthy they are. Chickens play host to a myriad of pests such as lice, ticks and mites; and some pretty scary diseases, like bird flu and Marek’s disease.

Ducks, on the other hand, are rather impervious to disease because of their naturally high body temperature and metabolism. And because of their love of water and mud, they stay pretty much insect-free.

10. Excellent Insect Eaters

Got a mosquito problem? You clearly need ducks in your life.

Ducks are excellent insect control for your lawn and garden, snacking on mosquito larvae, fly larvae, grubs, snails and slugs. Skip the citronella candles for your next party and get yourself a flock of ducks instead. Your guests will thank you for the entertainment and the bug-free event.

11. No Annoying the Neighbors

One brown duck with a dark brown bill looks at the camera, other ducks in the background are eating from a container, the background is out of focus.

If you live someplace rural, chances are you’ve got at least one neighbor with a rooster that’s happy to let everyone know he exists. While chickens are fun to keep, they can be incredibly noisy birds.

Happily, ducks are a fair bit quieter. And unlike roosters, the drakes are quiet too. They often make soft, throaty noises rather than the traditional ‘quack.’ Although, they do that too. These happy birds rarely make enough noise to have your neighbor on your front step complaining.

12. Need a Nest? This Spot Looks Good

A female duck sits on eggs in a straw nest on the floor of a coop. There are other ducks around her.

Ducks aren’t fussy nesters; they’ll happily lay their eggs in the straw on the ground of their coop. You don’t need any sort of nesting boxes for them to lay in. This is good news for the new duck owner who wants to start a flock on the cheap.

It’s just one more way in which ducks are better than chickens.

13. Duck Eggs Are Highly Nutritious and Prized in Cooking

Two duck eggs sitting on a piece of burlap on a piece of rustic wood. One egg is cut in half, it's been hard boiled. The yolk is deep orange.

When it comes to overall nutrition, duck eggs have more vitamins and minerals by weight than chicken eggs do. They also contain more protein, more fat, and less water, making them the ideal baking egg.

Many people prefer the taste of duck eggs to chicken eggs, too, making ducks the obvious winner if you want a bird that lays a larger, tastier egg.

14. Year-round Egg Production

Ducks will give you eggs throughout the year. Unlike chickens, which molt in the fall and stop laying for a while, ducks generally produce eggs all the time. They molt several times a year, but this rarely affects their egg-laying.

Aside from molting, a good egg-laying breed of duck can easily out-lay a chicken giving you more, larger eggs.

15. Ducks Make You More Money

Chicken eggs are common; you can get them in nearly any grocery store, even convenience stores; however, duck eggs are harder to find. Their scarcity and exceptional cooking quality mean people will pay a premium to get their hands on duck eggs. If you plan on selling your eggs to make a profit, go for the ducks.

16. Ducks Are a Great Meat Bird

Two glazed duck breasts on a white plate. They're topped with rosemary springs and rainbow peppercorns.

There’s a reason we say everything tastes like chicken. It’s because even at its best, chicken is kind of bland, not so with duck meat. Duck meat is tender, juicy and flavorful. Like their eggs, duck meat has a higher fat content, giving the meat a better overall flavor. And speaking of all that fat.

17. Excellent Fat for Cooking

A small ramekin holds duck fat. A small wooden handled spreading knife has a scoop of duck fat on the blade.

If you love to cook, you’re going to want to raise ducks. Duck fat is a highly prized cooking fat and with good reason. It’s got a ridiculously high smoke point, giving you the ability to get the fat super hot (380 degrees F), which cooks foods faster while sealing in flavor and moisture.

You’ve never had french fries until you’ve had french fries cooked in duck fat.

There, see? I told you ducks were better than chickens.

No matter what your flock-owning requirements are, ducks fit the bill.

Get it? Fit the bill? Because ducks have a…

Okay, I’m done.

If you’re considering raising backyard ducks, then you may want to read this first: 11 Things You Need To Know About Raising Backyard Ducks.

If you still want chickens, here are the 10 Most Productive Egg Laying Chickens – 300+ Eggs Per Year

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Tracey Besemer

Hey there, my name is Tracey. I’m the editor-in-chief here at Rural Sprout.

Many of our readers already know me from our popular Sunday newsletters. (You are signed up for our newsletters, right?) Each Sunday, I send a friendly missive from my neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. It’s a bit like sitting on the front porch with a friend, discussing our gardens over a cup of tea.

Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 18 years.

I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead, where I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.

I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.

Whether it was pressing apples in the fall for homemade cider, trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, or canning everything that grew in the garden in the summer - there were always new adventures with each season.

As an adult, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. And I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.

These days, I tend to be almost a homesteader.

I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood as they suit me.

I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.

I’ve always had a garden, even when the only space available was the roof of my apartment building. I’ve been knitting since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. If you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. And I can’t go more than a few days without a trip into the woods looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

You can follow my personal (crazy) homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram as @aahomesteader.

Peace, love, and dirt under your nails,