The Disadvantages Of Raising Ducks
If you have never raised laying ducks, you’re probably asking, “Okay, what are their drawbacks?” After raising and comparing all species of domestic poultry over the course of the last 20 years, I’ve yet to run across a major disadvantage in ducks under most small flock conditions.
Waterfowl do like to wash their bills and heads frequently, so their drinking water should be changed at least several times weekly—and preferably daily. If crowded in a small pen with a dirt floor during wet weather, they will turn their quarters into a muddy mess. But, adequate bedding (such as sand, straw or wood shavings), larger pens or the use of wire floors takes care of this problem.
People who have close neighbors are sometimes concerned about noise. On the whole, ducks of the egg breeds are no noisier than chickens, especially when raised in small flocks consisting of six to eight birds.
“But aren’t duck eggs strong-flavored?”
is a common question. The flavor of eggs is controlled by the diet of the producing birds. If ducks (or chickens) are fed a ration containing fish products or the birds are allowed to feed in bodies of water or pastures where they can pick up pungent natural foods, the eggs can be tainted.
When duck and chicken eggs are produced with similar feeding and management, the taste of the end product is virtually indistinguishable. Over the years, we have served thousands of scrambled, fried, poached, deviled, soft boiled, souffleed and creped duck eggs to meal guests and at potlucks, picnics, wedding buffets and youth camps. In my recollection, not once has anyone suspected they weren’t dining on chicken eggs until we told them otherwise. Interestingly, before being told that they were eating duck cuisine, we’ve had numerous people mention that the eggs were exceptionally good.
The shells of duck eggs are slightly more difficult to crack and are pearly white rather than chalk white as in chicken eggs—but I can’t see these as disadvantages. The albumen of duck eggs is somewhat firmer and usually takes slightly longer to whip up for meringues and angel food cakes than the white of chicken eggs.
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