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Ducks or Chickens?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by millefiori, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. millefiori

    millefiori New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2017
    I am very new to chicken and duck raising and have not yet decided whether to get all chickens, all ducks, or a mix of both. I have all the supplies necessary for raising ducklings or chicks but am struggling with the decision as to which to buy.
    I live in a place which has cold winters which can get into the -10's and I am attracted to the cold-hardiness of ducks. I also have an extensive organic vegetable garden and have read the ducks are great for eating bugs off of plants while chickens will tear them up. We have a large natural pond and a coop area with plenty of shade. My primary worry with ducks is getting too many drakes. Our local farm supply store only offers unsexed ducks and given that I want them for egg laying and have read about males over breeding, I am worried that I will be unable to control the genders of the ducklings.
    Chickens, while they tear up gardens and are less disease resistant, come already sexed and offer predictability as well as consistency. Chickens also appear to be less messy which is always a bonus.
    Any advice on which way to go? My local farm supply store is getting a shipment of ducklings and chicks today and I am hoping to pick up my birds this weekend! Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. CascadiaRiver

    CascadiaRiver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The only reason we only have chickens (and other dorky chicken type birds) is just because of the mess. Our friend has them and its so much work to keep them clean for shows and to change their water and with it getting so cold here sometimes I would not look forward to having to break the ice on their pool xD I also would be kind of scared of diseases? I am a chicken only person so no personal experience or anything, and maybe what I've been told is wrong but I've been told that ducks (mainly/especially wild ones that can come down and bug your pet ones) can carry bad germs that dont effect them but will devastate a flock of chickens :(
     
  3. LeiaLayers5

    LeiaLayers5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    My husband and I have both. He tends to favor the ease of maintenance with chickens and his only issue with ducks is they tend to create a bit of mess with water. Having said that, the mess can be managed by the type of setup you have for your birds. Since trying ducks, I have found that I prefer them because I feel that they are cuter to raise from babies and they are very fun to watch grown up and learn to bath and swim and all. The chickens are less work raising wise, but since having them, we have had to deal with lice, worms, and illnesses. The ducks we only had to worry about predators and one case of seizures that was quickly remedied by vitamins and correcting nutrition after purchasing her from elsewhere. Ducks are also more hearty as mentioned and this past winter, did not even go in at coldest times of year or during snow. They preferred to stay outside in weather and play. The only thing that bothered them, was when their pools would freeze but if you can keep access to water for them to play/bath in, then they are happy no matter the weather. The chickens on the other hand, did not come out of coop the whole time we had that bad weather and preferred to stay in near heater we had to install in coop to keep it tolerable temperature for them when the temperatures started to drop at night. (usually only turned on heater when it was low 20s or worse) I would suggest not buying either chicks or ducklings from feed store unless you do not mind getting males, as it is better to order online and have both sexed in my experience. I know sometimes you can get chicks sexed, but that usually means you are limited to the breed and that is no fun to me. I did get my original ducklings at feed store and they were not sexed and I ended up with 4 males to my 1 female. We are about to get some more ducklings this year and this time around, I found local farm who gets them sexed from hatchery and we are making sure to get all females. Another note I want to add, we no longer have 3 out of the 4 males, due to a bad batch of straw which caused respiratory problems and killed them in a week. So be cautious when purchasing supplies, we had to change straw suppliers due to this issue. (in case you will use that for coops as we did, but many alternatives to that too).
     
  4. Ducks4us

    Ducks4us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2015
    North Idaho
    Lots of people raise both together successfully. I have had both, chickens for two years and after a sad incident we have no chickens and are doing ducks only. I have 13 ducklings right now. I ordered straight from the hatchery sexed ducklings, that way i didnt end up with drakes. They ended up being $10 a peice. Well worth it.
    Ducks have way more pros to me . Only one con... water...
    bur compared to all the cons of chickens, i would rather deal with water.
    Ducks are better in cold
    Better in heat
    No lice/mites( or very rare )
    Less respitory disease
    Healthier
    Easier to contain
    No aggresive pecking order
    Easier on gardens
    They dont kick and fling food everywhere . Im shocked at how much less feed my ducks have went thru in 2-3 weeks compared to chicks. Because it stays in the bowl. Lol
    Plus i think ducks are cuter and look nicer. And they dont hurt when they peck at you like chickens.
    We had a bad winter this year and then chickens dont come out into the snow at all. But ducks deal with cold and snow and rain much better. Thats another reason i did ducks only this time :)
     
  5. Ashleymarie529

    Ashleymarie529 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Katy (Houston), TX
    I think ducks are more fun to watch, but I can hold my silkie chickens and pet them. My ducks hate being picked up, even though I raised them from babies... lol I feel like I'm not that helpful in this situation. Maybe just Assess your lifestyle and decide based on maintenance.
     
  6. LeiaLayers5

    LeiaLayers5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Speaking of hatcheries, what are some good ones for ducklings? Sorry to veer conversation this way but I have been wondering. We got our first ducklings at TSC then from swap, and now we are looking at farm that gets them from hatchery themselves to sell, just wondering if the farm does not work out, what are the best options?

    Could be good for new owners to know too.......
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  7. Ducks4us

    Ducks4us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes the first two years in a row i bought from tsc and ended up with all males the first time and mostly males the second
    This time i ordered from metzer farms. They seemed to have the best reputation from all my research.
    And i ordered 10- sexed female runner ducklings.
    Ended up being $10 per duckling. Which compared to $5 at tsc and getting all boys this route was much easier.
    And if you order yourself you get to pick all breeds you want too!
     
    1 person likes this.

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