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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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