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Country Discussion Topics
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Ducks vs Chickens
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Paula    Posted 07-29-2003 at 08:50:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
So far well into my book "barnyard in your backyard" it
seems to me that ducks are easier than chickens. I was
considering raising plymouth rock as a good dual
purpose (meat and eggs) bird, but now I'm thinking
khaki campbell ducks for eggs and rouen for meat (plus
they're cool looking).

Any thoughts?

Regarding ruminants: Thinking about the boer for meat.
Wanted to use the african pygmy because they're
smaller, but darn it who could wack something that
cute. So now I'm feeling boer whethers.

The question remains: winter over or butcher at the end
of the season? On the one hand during the growing
seasons they would browse and get hay. In the winter
they'd need more hay and concentrate. Not to mention,
housing becomes more complicated (heat, heated
water bucket, etc). Also, if you keep a whether his
natural life and it comes time to dispatch him could
you? By that time isn't he a pet?

Any feedback on this?

ray    Posted 07-29-2003 at 19:47:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have chickens & ducks. The chickens are by far easier - given enough room the coop only needs cleaning 2/yr. On the other hand ducks are quite messy with their water, making an indoor permanent coop unfeasable. Therefor they have an 4x8 movable coop with the pasture for a floor. This makes it pretty difficult in the winter - water heaters, etc. The Chickens require a water heater - a 25 watt bulb in a pot that the water tower sits on. The ducks get a pond deicer in the kiddie pool - it gets pretty gross around mid Jan. By then the coyotes usually get our ducks but the chickens put themselves up at night and are less likely to become a meal. On the otherhand the pekins will lay prolifically and are an excellent meat bird. Duck eggs do taste different from chicken eggs, and I haven't found a market for them.
Good luck in your choice

Tom A    Posted 07-29-2003 at 10:44:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Paula:

Lot of good questions, many of which we asked just a couple of years back...still asking some, in fact.

We opted for chickens, and got Dominiques an old old dual purpose breed. Had them for 4 years now, and they've worked well for us. Very gentle, not even the roosters are agressive. Ours produce eggs exceptionally well for 2 years. We've honestly just been keeping the flock for laying until this year; we now have about a dozen half-grown roosters that'll go in the freezer in a few more weeks.

We have looked at ducks for years, but so far haven't gotten any but not for any good reason. Khaki Campbells are one breed we thought would do well for us, and are in the running whenever we get off the dime and get the ducks.

We have 10 goats. We quit breeding them this year because, darn it, they all turned in to pets. Goats are better 'n dogs if they're raised right, but you are absolutely right that makes it just about impossible to butcher them. Goat milk is good, not at all like what they sell in the health food stores...ours tastes very much like rich, creamy cows milk (not at all "goaty" which is a result of poor handling normally), and they save me hours a year on the bush hog so it isn't like they don't earn their keep but...

The boers don't appeal to me at all. Most of ours are alpines, but we have one saanaan and one nubian dwarf (now *there's* a pet!!). A boer might be easier to butcher but I don't know. From a purely economic standpoint, you'd want to have little ones in early spring and butcher in late fall, although they really don't eat much. When it was just the goats, we could feed them all winter on very little hay...but getting the equines has taken care of that as they are eating machines.

good luck,

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