Ducks not only make great family pets, but they lay extra-large eggs with nearly double the nutrition of chicken eggs. They also provide a wonderful hands-free way to fertilize the rest of your farm or backyard garden.
We’ve been breeding Muscovy ducks over the last six years, and they’re a hearty breed almost impervious to the elements.
Helping Feed Neighbors During Times of COVID with Ducks
We try to keep our flocks under 20 birds to keep feed costs down while providing us with eggs, all-natural pest control, and fertilizing our many Teak and tropical fruit trees.
And because we had several sets of hatchings this spring and last, we were getting close to one hundred baby ducklings, providing food for neighboring families-in-need who continue to suffer because of ongoing COVID restrictions.
We also have friends currently helping us raise our ducklings for the sake of our community’s mission efforts.
It’s a great way for other neighbors to dispose of unwanted fruit and veggie trimmings that they would normally toss out as waste. However, ducks can survive on these and all the bugs found in our yards.
Ducks: All-Natural Pest Control & Hands-Free Crop Fertilization
Ducks will eat many bugs and rodents for sport and nutrition, keeping even the worst disease-carrying mosquitoes at bay. Because they love the water and the bugs that the sitting water will attract, we don’t worry about disease, or overpopulations of spiders, bugs, and ants, even the big ones found in our cleared jungle area.
Allowing ducks to roam our half-acre farm, scouting out, and eating their favorite bugs, not only protects us from disease, they’re adding extra protein to their diets.
They quickly swallow pests whole and don’t seem to get stung. This chart shows what your pet ducks will eat, courtesy of “FeedingNature.com“.
As they wander the grounds, they fertilize our tropical fruit trees and crops of teak trees (a buoyant hardwood used by furniture craftsmen and high-end boat manufacturers) throughout the harsh winds, rains, and triple-digit heat. We’ve never needed to compost any of our trees, as the ducks do all the “dirty” work for us.
Better Nutritional Value: Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs
Duck eggs are almost twice the size of chicken eggs, with a huge, vibrant-orange yolk, and are therefore more nutritious, as per a nutritional-data chart in the Healthline.com article; “Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs: Nutritional Benefits and More“.
Prepare duck eggs in all the same ways as chicken eggs, whether baking, frying, or cooking up recipes calling for eggs.
Duck eggs taste identical to chicken eggs when cooked as above, and the yolk is mildly creamier. However, because of the gelatinous content required for duckbill formation, hard-boiling them can be a little disappointing – just too chewy.
Ducks Make Wonderful Pets For All Ages
When I lived in Hawaii, years ago, our markets offered a wonderful marinated Peking Duck, which I prepared as Duck a’ l’Orange for my family every year at Christmas. But since we started raising ducks, I shudder to think of ever having to eat duck meat again if times get rough, even though it would make a delicious meal.
Unlike other livestock or pets, when friends or neighbors come by, you won’t need to worry if a toddler, teen, or in-between chases a duck down, because they’re difficult to catch, but is always fun to keep the kids occupied. Ducks won’t attack, hurt, or scare even the smallest children, but they can easily form lifelong bonds when raised together.
Unlike roosters, ducks won’t crow as the sun comes up, or as a dog barks through the night at unseen predators, ducks have a sweet whistling noise they make to call one another, and for keeping their ducklings gathered. And each duck has their own personality.
Some ducks will laugh with you, others will nip at your ankles (in lieu of kisses, as they have no teeth in their long bills), and they truly believe they’re part of the family. All fun aside, they may try to take over your patio, porch, or stairs – instead of fertilizing the yard.
Ducks are not only a superb source of protein, with the abundance of eggs they produce, but they will benefit your expat family in ways you never thought possible, like keeping everyone well. If you’ve raised ducks before, tell us what you and your family enjoyed most about them!
by: Cheri Majors, M.S.