I’ve always loved ducks. #1 reason… because they are so stinking CUTE! But, cute doesn’t pay the bills or feed the family so I decided to do a little research about these adorable little waddlers. Turns out, not only are they great eye candy, but they serve a very useful purpose on the homestead.
I bet every person in America has tried a chicken egg at some point in their lifetime, but how many have eaten a duck egg? I hadn’t until my dad insisted I try one of his Pekin eggs. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only are they rich and delicious, they are bigger than a chickens egg so you get more “bang for your buck”.
2. Pest Control.
Ducks are like little feathered vacuum cleaners, sucking up and devouring a number of pests that aggravate homesteaders and gardeners alike. They enthusiastically devour insects and grubs, including (but not limited to) mosquito pupae, Japanese beetle larvae, potato beetles and grasshoppers.
3. They are quiet.
Even if you were not raised around chickens, you could probably identify the cackle of a boastful hen after she’s laid a prized egg. Or the rousing call of a rooster at the crack of dawn, alerting everyone on the homestead (and the next door neighbors) that the sun is up and there is work to be done. Chickens are loud and proud. Ducks are humble and quiet. A duck hen lays her eggs under the cover of darkness just before sunrise, and no one is the wiser. She humbly goes about her duties, feeling no need to alert the entire world of her egg laying accomplishments. Male ducks, known as drakes, are even quitter still.
4. Easier to raise.
Ducks are heartier and easier to keep alive, especially if hatching the eggs yourself. Because they are bigger than chickens at the time of hatching, ducklings have a lower mortality rate than chicks. Another benefit is their water-resistant feathers. They are less likely to chill after hatching because of these “magical” waterproof feathers. Their body temperature is feverishly hot by nature and therefore less prone to disease and infections.
5. Ducklings are adorable
I’ve never raised ducks before, but I was eager to set a few of my dads Pekin eggs in the incubator. Truth be told, I’ve not had much luck hatching healthy chickens… so I wasn’t holding my breath. I set 4 duck eggs. And 28 days later……
Welcome to the homestead Zippy, Tippy, Daffodil and Luna.
100% hatch rate. It doesn’t get much better than that!