DUCKS AT THE RANCH
(RAISING DUCKS FOR EGGS)
A couple of years after starting our garden in Wellington, we decided it might be time to add some chickens, for eggs and perhaps for their meat. As we began researching chickens, how to raise them, what kind of housing they would need, what breeds we might want, and so on, we ran across some references to ducks, in books and on blogs. We began to think that ducks might be for us. There are several reasons we chose ducks:
- Ducks are generally healthier than chickens. Ducklings don’t catch the diseases chicks frequently do (such as coccidiosis), and therefore don’t require medicated feed, which is often found in chicken feed.
- Ducks have a longer life span than chickens.
- Ducks not only lay eggs for more years, they lay more eggs per year. During the lay season they lay nearly one egg per day.
- Ducks lay their eggs quietly, early in the morning.
- Duck eggs are superior, especially for baked goods.
- Ducks do not scratch and destroy the ground, they walk on top. They don’t destroy the garden as much.
- Ducks are wonderful bug-catchers. They catch mice, too!
- Ducks are more heat-tolerant.
- Ducks are more cold-hardy. (After all, what do they make jackets out of???)
- Ducks are cuter. Of course, that’s a matter of opinion.
All things considered, the verdict for us was DUCKS. Since then, we’ve raised three different batches of ducklings and have begun raising the fourth in August 2019. First, Welsh Harlequins, at our home in Wellington, 2011. Second, Golden Cascades, here in Guffey, 2015. Third, also in the high country, a “six-pack” consisting of two Welsh Harlequins and one each of: White Layer, Cayuga, Fawn & White Runner, and Chocolate Runner – 2016.