Ducks vs. Chickens

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Not wanting to start a debate, I wanted really to get info. on ducks.

I was directed through one of the DG threads to check out a community call Earthhaven. On that website, I read that some type of duck was raised instead of chickens. I can not find the reference to the type/species of duck I have tried 3 times now, sorry.

I was wanting to know more about the species and Pros/Cons to raising them vs. chickens.?

Pros:1. 2. 3.

Cons:1. 2. 3.

calvin

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

bump

Lakeland, FL(Zone 9b)

Chickens are cleaner then ducks LOL

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Also, although ducks don't require a pond, I have heard that they are much happier if they have one... a pond entails a whole new set of chores -- but if you were planning for one anyway, it might not be a big deal... sorry, don't know anything about ducks because I wasn't planning on having any and haven't headed the reasearch department (me) in that direction yet :-)

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

What is the feed cost difference if you use only feed and no natural foraging?

Gamleby, Sweden(Zone 7a)

The reason duck is as stated above :0)) dirtier is that most often people forget that ducks actually ARE water animals. They cant clean their feathers with that broad beak as chickens can without water. when their feathers get dirty because the dont have an adecuate watersorce they have a harder time to keep warm and therefor also consume more food/energi. They need a pond, stream or damm not just a plastic "bowl" to play around in.
So unless you are willing to give them a big pond or such I would recomend to keep chickens.
Janett

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I understand. guess since I have no real source for water chicks it should be, huh. I will start studying the care and raising of chickens.

Lakeland, FL(Zone 9b)

Janet are you native to Sweden?

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens (Ducks, Pigs or anything of their other books, for that matter) is an invaluable source. Or you might get Storey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance and that will give you a little overview of ducks and chickens (and a whole bunch of other stuff). If you really like ducks, there may be a way - you just gotta get creative. There are a number of reasons you might want a pond to begin with - raise a few catfish, water for the wild life, emergency water in case of fire (you'll need a floating pump for that), and maybe a few ducks to boot. Since you're in the planning stage, you have time to get creative about it and see where you can shave off costs and still maintain quality for your flock. I'm not a duck person, myself, preferring chickens, but if we ever turn the hole we dug into a pond, I'm thinking geese...

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I purchased Story's raising ducks. Saw the book for chickens but really wanted to know about ducks. I really am in the planning stage. I live in the city on about 1/5 of an acre. when I get the land I plan on having both. I was just wanting to get used to care of them now, starting with 2 (company for each other) and then progressively add to that. A pond is not a good idea in my little back yard (30' wide x 60' long and a 6' high fence). I think the chicks are a better option. Will have to go and buy Story's book for chickens.

Thanks so much everyone for the advice and helping me understand and pointing me in a good direction.

calvin

Gamleby, Sweden(Zone 7a)

Yes I am born in Stockholm the Capitol of Sweden, but my heart have always been to country living. Homesteading have been a lifetime dream of mine. I do live out in the countryside now but i do look for a more suiteble place to rent so I really can grow more food and have more animals.
During a couple of years I did live in the countryside in a house containing just 2 apartment and I had the possibility to have animals. Had a dog, two horses, 120 chickens (sold eggs) I raised 5 slaughterpigs (in two years). A friend there slaughter them for me but circumstances due to my horrible X force me to leave that place. Now he is dead(good riddens) I hopefully can persue(sp) my dream.
I have always had dogs and I now have a huge (220 lb) rescue dog from Lanzarote Spain. I bought 2 chickens a couple of weeks ago and I want more chicks. I havent given them a proper pen yet and I dont know if I am going to "overwinter" them in my huge garage since I dont have a car. I also have a tame dove that moved in this spring. Someone got spooked of the avian flue and tossed him out.
I want to raise pigs again, there is a huge differense in that meat compared to the storebought meat where the pigs are so stressed out and have been raised in those small pens.

Calvin......another downside with having ducks is that you can loose some when the birds move south or you have to wing clipp them a cople of times a year if you dont have all they need and want regarding space and pond and you can still looose some to the wild.
Janett

Lakeland, FL(Zone 9b)

I grew up on a big farm in MA. ive grown things all my life i use to raise chickens turkeys. i go to europe every few years i have family in Germany. they have a big farm there Regards Paul

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

well I guess I will ad an update,

It might upset some to know that I have added 6 chickens and yes 2 ducks to my family. Though I really do not know how I will keep them all. the Ducks are are 15-16 weeks old now and I have had them for 1 week come this Saturday. It was an opportunity I ( my heart) could not resist. they were sitting there, no one wanting to buy them and at the end of the dy going back to their home where they were fed and watered but not wanted. So. I gave them a home where they are wanted. My wife is loving them as much if not more than me. Though they are not given all the naturalness that they would have received in the wild they are loved, wanted, and cared for. I plan on adding a pond later. I just could not bare seeing them go to their old home. I received 6 chickens from the same seller. He prefered chickens over ducks. Stating he received them from someone who dropped them off at his place in exchange for chicks... at least that is what I understand him saying. They are living with me and family and 6 chickens.

they can not fly yet and appear happy and content.
calvin

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

If they are domestic and roaming your backyard, you better hurry up and clip one wing or the neighbor's dogs will have them. Also don't ever feed them close to the house or they will hang around your back door making the worst mess you can imagine. They are bottomless pits for food but are affectionate and appreciative. I've learned these things the hard way.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

LOL

you say this to late..jhehehehehehehehe. I have lost one to the dogs, but not because they flew over the fence. The dogs came under the fence. The one remaining still roams free and measures have been put into play to keep the dogs where they belong.

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

I was glad to see Story's book refered to. I purchased the one that included chickens, ducks, turkeys....wild birds - basically anything to do with fowl. It is extremely informative. I'm planning on waiting til next spring before getting chickens. I admit, I've been around them and gathered eggs and such but have not had the day to day care for them and there are times it seems a little - well....intimidating for lack of a better word. Any good advise would be welcomed hahaha

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

Nivlac,

The only opinion I can post is about the flavor of the meat. Perhaps I am just conditioned to liking chicken more but we did duck one year for Thanksgiving and I had NO IDEA that it was all dark meat AND VERY greasy. DH liked it but I did not care for it. So it's all a matter of preference on that.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

A month later and the dogs are at it again. i lost four chickens to those dogs three days ago. I started a big chicken pin and am almost finished. I will replace the chickens I lost. I am determined to have my birds. hehehehehe. I am being really light hearted here. I was really LIVID with the dogs. I now have 1 chicken buff orpington and 1 duck. Both are put up in Kennels now. Safe and sound. A little cramped but Safe.

I got a surprise today fromm the duck. She layed an egg. I found 2 eggs half-buried in the hay. She must haee layed the first yesterday or the day before. I cleaned up bth eggs and theyare beautiful. The kiddos really were interested and happy. I , myself, an beyond Over-Joyed! WOOOOOHOOOOO.!

just an update and thanks you for reading,

calvin

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Calvin, are these dogs yours or do they belong to a neighbour? What type of dogs are they? Dogs can be trained to guard the poultry, not eat them.

My dog and duck were great pals (see photo). Hadji the duck laid so many eggs that I just know that she thought she was going to have puppies.

We had a fiberglass children's wading pool setup in the garden to provide water for her. It did need to be cleaned and refreshed regularly, but the duck "pond" water was great for the veggies and landscaping. She would dive under the shallow water and swim in fast circles as soon as we cleaned & refreshed the water. Ducks can be very companionable. Not to mention the great work they do in keeping snails and slugs out of the garden.

Thumbnail by garden_mermaid
San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

garden_mermaid,

The dogs belong to my neighbor. They are rat terriers. When I had my dogs the terriers stayed out of the backyard. Now that I have the birds, they dig a new hole under the fence after I block a hole. The birds are not eaten, just torn up like the dogs are just trying to play and get over zelous and kill the birds.

I finished the big pin and put the ducks and chickens in together. They co-habitat nicely, or at least mine are. They are very leery of me and others but are safe now. The dogs can not get in the pin. The pin sits about a foot of the ground and half of it has a floor and hay for bedding and the other half is 1/2" wire mesh. the dogs can not get through the wire mesh. One of my ducks started laying and I am getting 1 egg a day. When all the birds are laying I expect about 4-5 eggs a day. This is such an exciting time for me.


calvin

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

garden_mermaid -do you live in an area that is "free range" or has a leash law. If you live in a "leash law" area - your neighbors are responsible for the behavior of their dogs and owe you for the death of your "livestock". Dogs kill for the fun of it.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

YankeeCat, calvin is the one who lost his birds to the neighbors dogs. I agree with you that his neighbors owe him for the cost of the lost chickens and the damage to his fence and lanscaping.

I have to disagree with your statement that dogs kill for the fun of it. That really depends on the breed and how they were raised. Calvin said the dogs in question were rat terriers. As a breed class, terriers are rodent and small animal hunters. That will be a very strong instinct within them. Our duck flew into the neighbor's yard once to check out his jacuzzi. The neighbor had three adult Gordon Setters in his back yard who were trying very hard to "retrieve" our duck. They were having a very difficult time of it because she wouldn't stay still. The Gordon Setters were trained as duck hunting dogs. Like retrievers, they are supposed to bring the duck back unharmed (no puncture wounds). The three setters were following the duck around the yard trying to gently pick her up. Our duck wasn't cooperating with them and kept walking away. The three dogs made no attempt to harm her.

edited for grammar

This message was edited Nov 24, 2006 1:02 PM

Aberdeen, NC

Just thought I would add my experience to the thread. I love chickens and ducks. I have dogs and cats that recognize the birds as pets and don't bother them. I kept the chicks protected until they were good size. Then they free ranged. I to have lost many birds to neighbor dogs and my ducks recently to coyotes. I have never clipped the duck wings hoping they would be able to get away if anything tried to get them. Raising them from chicks, they seemed to understand where their home was. Many days they would fly over to the neighbors ponds but always return home. I have a wading size pool for them to splash around in and keep it washed out daily. The fun of ducks seeing new babies hatched. I have had more luck getting ducks hatched then chickens. My chickens free range also. I found I could not keep them in a pen unless I clipped their wings. Two of my chickens are over 4 yrs. old and roost in the barn eaves at night. I am waiting until spring to get more. Both the chickens and ducks are very tame and will eat out of my hand and I can pick them up without any problem. They are a lot of fun and nothing is as good as a fresh egg. I had a cat that was raised on fresh eggs. She would turn her nose up at store bought ones! LOL

Vegas,NV Filbert, SC(Zone 7b)

Is there a difference in the taste of chicken eggs and duck eggs???????

I think I also read that ducks don't destroy a garden quite a quickly or as bad as a chicken will. Any truth to this????

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Well, I am happy to be reading everyone's posts.

The ducks are domestic breeds and have not tried to fly away or over the 6 foot fence. The man who sold them to me kept them in a 2 foot high fence and they did not try to go beyond those boundries either. For now though, i keep them in the pin until my days off from work and school. Then I let them out , all the birds, to romp and play for awhile. Then put them up inthe pin again.

Unitl the neighbors dogs understand that the birds are off limits and not food and they, the dogs, are not supposed to be in my yard, I will continue to house them this way. I have not sought payment from my neighbor for the loss. She has offered, but I will not take it. The dogs , I believe are doing what dogs do. Upsetting and outraging as it is, they are Dogs. Holding the responsibilty of the dogs to my neighbor, I am. She has offered repayment or replacement. She could pin the dogs or put up chain ffencing on her side to show more responsibility, but how would I feel if I were in her shoes? I wander. Dogs are more accepted in the city than chickens and ducks. the city folk norm, though I think I fall short of this, is that birds, rabbits, and such are pinned and dogs and cats roam free. Me being the exception to the norm puts me in a different light than the city norm. Hence I pin my little ones and take further measures to keep unwanteds out of my space.

All this just adds to my desire to get out of the city and off the grid. Then I can do want is the country folk norm. hehehehehehe. wish me luck on getting freedom. In the city you really are tied down and have little freedom. course some would say I am wrong about that. But, I geuss it is all in how you look at it. With blinders on or without. LOL.

take care everyone and keep writing,

calvin

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Carat,

I don't know about the egg diference yet. We are saving the eggs till we get enough for a family breakfast.
But, the garden bit. Well............ My chickens go crazy over fresh green leaves and my plants have really suffered because of it. the ducks though really sem to go after the fallen leaves and half decaying ones. they forage in the dirt for food too. I see it as free aeration. hehehehe/

Since pinning, the plants are returning but winter is coming and nights are cooling off. they may not make it to full health. I can live with it. knowing I have free fertilizer now and aerated soil for next spring. I will watch the birds more closely then.

calvin

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Calvin, I don't know about San Antonio, but most cities I have lived in require dogs and cats to be on leash when they are outside of their own property. It is a violation of our county animal control ordinances and a sign of an irresponsible pet owner to allow your dogs and cats to roam free. Your neighbors dogs sound like they need obedience training. They are not just doing as dogs do, they are behaving like canine deliquents!!! Your neighbor has failed to raise them as good canine citizens. I have owned or lived with the following dog breeds:
Dachshund
German Shepard
Poodle
Golden Retriever
Doberman Pinscher
Malamute
Siberian Husky
Samoyed
America Pit Bull
Welsh Corgis
West Highland Terrier
Chihauhau
Irish Setter

As you can see, this is a wide mix of canine class and personality. NONE of our dogs would ever behave as your neighbors dogs have done. She needs to fence her yard if she is going to let them out without a leash. I hate to sound harsh, but if your neighbor allows her dogs to continue to behave as they have done, she is an irresponsible pet owner who gives a bad reputation to those of us who ARE responsible for our pets. She is also doing a great disservice to her dogs by keeping them among humans without teachng them the skills to needed to live comfortably in our society. If anything were to happen to her, her ill behaved dogs would be more difficult to adopt out to a new home.
I'll get off my soapbox now and return to the garden element here.

Chickens like to eat sprouts and lettuces. They will quickly pluck and eat many of your veggie garden plants if you let them in it while the plants are small. Ducks on the other hand, are less likely to eat your plants, although they may pull our a sprout in the process of trying to get to the slug on it.

The flavour of the eggs depends in large part on what they eat. Duck eggs can have something of a fishy taste if they are snacking on a lot of pond fish. This doesn't usually happen with farm raised ducks.

Here is a link to a site with information about some difference types of eggs.
http://tinyurl.com/y23hc5

Aberdeen, NC

Country life is no guarantee that your birds will be safe. Besides dogs that roam loose, fox and coyote can also get your birds. My chickens can make a mess out of a flowerbed or garden. The ducks like to uproot plants trying to get at the slugs or bugs in the soil. They also like the freshly turned soil because it is easier to dig through.
To me, duck eggs have a richer taste then chicken eggs--it might be the extra protein they get from the slugs! LOL .

Years ago, I had a black lab that would bring a neighbors chickens home. The chickens wouldn't even have any feather ruffled. The neighbors thought it was funny, too, because I constantly had to bring their chickens back to them. Eventually my dog got tired of it. One of the dogs that has recently gotten my chickens is a brown lab.

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

A few days ago we had to put our brown lab to sleep but he would try to "play" with the chickens. He never hurt any but they got pretty wet and eventually he didn't do it so much.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

mistyrose, I am so sorry to hear that you had to put your lab down. I really feel for you. Our prayers will be will you.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

To me the duck eggs have a much stronger egg taste. I'm a nut I guess because even when I had a bunch of chickens and sold eggs, I would get my breakfast eggs from the store. I fed the family the homegrown and used them for baking. I couldn't eat one of my chickens either after going to the trouble of dressing them.

Nivlac I have a surefire way to cure the neighbors dogs of bothering your birds. If it ever happens again, save the dead bird until you neighbor is not home. Tie up the dog(s) and beat him with the dead chicken until your arm is tired. It has worked for me more than once.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

twiggybuds,

Hilarious, LOL............................ what a picture that paints in my mind.

love it

calvin

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

So, nivlac, are you going to keep us in suspense or are you going to post some photos of your brood and those duck eggs?
:D

East Bethel, MN(Zone 4a)

I have to agree with the cure-the-dog method. It seems really traumatic but it really does work. BUT the sight of my future father-in-law running around the yard hitting the dog with a dead rooster and yelling at the top of his lungs almost made me reconsider marrying into that family!
I would love some duck photos!

Aberdeen, NC

That image of hitting a dog with a dead rooster is something else!! LOL Believe me, when the dogs got my birds I would have gladly beat the dogs but not sure I could have with my birds. I was just to attached to them. I wonder what the neighbors thought or anyone passing by, to see someone chasing a dog with a dead bird!! LOL I know I would sure have second thoughts if I saw something like that.......

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Pictures? I will have to work on that. please wait a little longer. Khaki, my surviving duck has been laying eggs now daily. on the 11 th day we collected her egg and made omlets with homegrown tomatoes and onions. What a treat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will get pics in soon

calvin

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)


I once heard of a guy that broke his dogs from killing chickens by putting the dead chicken in the dog's mouth and duct-taping around his mouth to keep it there. He made him wear it all day.
By the time he had that chicken taped in his mouth all day, he wouldn't even look in the direction of the other chickens once they took it out. He didn't want any more chicken. LOL That poor dog must have pawed, rolled, ran, and did miserable acrobatics all day trying to get rid of that chicken. I can just visualize how it must have driven him crazy. Poor dog, some lessons come hard learned.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Duct taping the mouth of a dog can land a person in jail for animal abuse, and deservedly so. There are much kinder ways to train a dog not to attack the chickens.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

In the early 80s my house was about 1500 feet back from the street and the front yard dropped sharply. My neighbor had 30 white geese in a well fenced area with a little stream that I loved to look "down on". It was such a peaceful scene. I saw 2 hounds slip under the fence which was normally under water at the stream. I immediately started phoning with no luck. In 5 mins. or so, they killed 29 of them.

The neighbor tracked down the owner and he told her he just very rarely let them out for a treat. You can't blame the dogs for going wild in their joy at freedom and never having been taught. I hate to see a dog constantly penned and chaining is worse. I don't have the answers but there will always be an irresponsible neighbor somewhere in the mix and seemingly getting worse.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Calvin, I agree that raising chickens and/or ducks in the country is no safer. If I can scratch up the money to build a chicken tractor this summer, I'll get chicks then. If not, then the following year.

If you aren't familiar with chicken tractors, go to Google and do a search. I only plan on a few layers so a moveable chicken tractor will work great for me. Plus, it will be great for the yard... get rid of bugs, fertilize and help the chickens be healthier.

There have been chickens and ducks here before. The barn still has a nesting box area and a fenced-in outside pen (even the top was fenced). However, it became quite nasty over the years and I don't think it's healthy so I'm cleaning the area slowly but surely.

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