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Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Salt and Light, Nov 15, 2010.
1. What does duck meat taste like?
2. Do ducks require water, other than for drinking?
1. If I remember right - like dark meat and dryer than chicken. But I will find out soon as I have too many drakes and need to get rid of 8+
2. They don't, BUT they need a LOT more water than chickens and deeper water to blow out their noses. Be prepared that when they get to their water they get messy. And they are happier when they can swim in the water.
I have had a very big learning curve with the ducks. We have only had them since Aug and I for some reason I thought they would be as easy as the chickens have been. For the most part my learning has been what will work with the water as I have had to adjust the water level and what I dish I give it to them. What I have done is for winter I have 10 rubber buckets inside in a place that can get wet - I am having to muck that spot out quite often. And then 4 lower buckets- 2-1 gal dish washing buckets and 2 rubber feed pans that are 3 gal so that they can wash themselves outside. So far it is working but we have yet to get a big freeze. The next step for me is to butcher one and cook it (that will by far be the toughest)
1.I tried some duck meat at a resteraunt,It was very fatty but overall it tasted great.If you do want nice fatty duck meat go with pekins if not get muscovys they are very lean. 2.As long as you have a deep water dish so they can clean out there nostrils they are fine,but I do like to have them swim atleast once a week so they can clean out there coats and also becouse its just so much fun for them.
You will get a wide variety of answers on question #1. Duck meat is highly variable depending on the breed and how it was prepared. There can be big differences between the domestic Mallard-derived breeds (all domestic ducks basically minus Muscovy), Muscovy, and Muscovy-hybrids.
Domestic duck meat other than Muscovy meat can be rather oily and gamey in taste. If you cook it in the rendered fat (one of the more common ways to cook duck), it can taste almost like dark turkey meat (like braised turkey leg) to me personally. If you prepare it in the traditional method for crispy duck where you separate the skin with air, it can taste almost like chicken. That is my personal favorite way to eat duck. The difference with Muscovy meat is that it is leaner. I have heard some people that love Muscovy meat describe it as similar to a nice, lean steak. So, it all just depends.
As far as raising ducks, no- they don't need swimming or bathing water. Of course, they love it, but they will do fine with or without it. They do need a water receptacle deep enough to submerge their head in if at all possible though.
Store bought duck is very oily and greasy, I don't like it at all. Our meat duck of choice is Muscovy and they are very lean and tasty. Some people compare the meat more to veal than waterfowl. Ducks need at least enough water to get their head in it. When they eat they go back and forth from the feed to water, without enough water they can choke on the feed. We use the small "kiddie" pools for them.
I raised 20 giant pekings this summer. I did not let them go long enough so they were a little on the small side (3lb carcass). The meat is light dark meat, very tender and was very tasty. The skin seemed to absorb the flavors that my wife added much more than chicken. I will defenitley raise them again for my own table, I have not figured out the economics yet to sell.
They drink water water like crazy. I had two five gallon poultry wateres and filled them at night and the morning and they were always close to empty.
Regarding messiness, how do ducks compare to meat birds? I've raised both Freedom Rangers and X-rocks.
As far as the messiness, there is no comparison. Ducks are about a million times messier than chickens. Ducks go through about 10 times the water that chickens do. If you have never had them before, it is quite an awakening. What works for us and lots of other breeders seems to be keeping the water out of their living/sleeping area if at all possible, so that they cannot create a nightmare with wet liter. We make extensive use of outside waterers and water porches in order to keep the water out. This year, we have built even more water porches that are basically troughs that the waterers sit on top of (on wire floors). This catches the water and drains it out of the building. With ducks, there is almost no other way unless you only have a few of them. There is almost no adequate way to describe how much dirtier they are than chickens.
Let me put it this way,I tried raising 5 duckings in the winter in my basement.There was 4 mallards and a pekin I had to clean the whole brooder EVERY day and let them swim in the bathtub EVERY day.This was a huge brooder too.From my personal expieriences raise them in the late spring and get them outside as soon as possible.Let them graze over your lawn in the summer months then before 2 weeks of butchering put them in an enclosed run and fatten them up a little.