just wondering... WARNING contains armchair intellectualism

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by v.cyr, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. v.cyr

    v.cyr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok, so I have been doing research on ducks in anticipation of getting some this year, and got to thinking(a vice, like philosophy, that I really should give up in favor of a more socially acceptable one... especially considering I am not particularly good at either;), historically speaking, how did chickens ever become "the" bird... you know what I mean.. the when people think poultry, they think chicken... not that I plan on giving up on my chooks any time soon, but when you look at them side by side with ducks

    -ducks apparently lay better... the laying breeds, like campbells, are right up there with, or even above the average for leghorns, and even meat breeds, like the pekin, lay better than a lot of dual purpose chickens...
    -they grow faster(reaching mature weight almost twice as fast as chickens, according to one study I found), and the meat breeds get at least as big as the largest chickens(13+lbs)...
    -the wild mallard, from which all the domestic ducks(excepting of course, the muscovy) are descended, is found practically everywhere in the northern hemisphere, while the jungle fowl, the ancestor of the domestic chicken, is limited to SE asia...

    it just seems to me that the ducks have some distinct advantages as a domestic animal over chickens, both from production viewpoints to sheer probability of development, and yet as far as I can tell, they have never enjoyed the success that chickens have... heck, the superiority of chickens is so ingrained in our culture , that it even shows up in cartoons(really think about Foghorn Leghorn and Daffy Duck, and which one gets the short end of the stick more often)... again, I am not badmouthing chickens... I have a bunch and truly enjoy having them... but from a purely intellectual point of view, you really have to wonder what about them allowed them to surpass ducks as domestic poultry... is there some huge disadvantage to ducks that I am missing?..
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Probably has something to do with a "chicken in every pot" campaign... and the fact ducks smell stronger due to the water that they need to eat/wash out face.
     
  3. RaeRae2

    RaeRae2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am considering getting a couple of small female ducks just for fun, but the idea of the dirty water really scares me. They make such a mess, from what I can understand. From a logistics standpoint, I think it is harder to keep ducks happy than chickens just because of the swimming requirements.
     
  4. grawg

    grawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks come with considerably more mess than chickens. I think if you start off aware of the mess and with a plan in place to manage the mess you would be better off with ducks.

    Hens also tend to be quieter and more adapted to close confinement.

    And if you start considering the duck vs chicken in a historical context, chickens could roost in trees making them less likely to be taken by predators. So it would have been easier for settlers to manage a flock of chickens that flew up into the surrounding trees rather than secure a larger duck house.

    But I agree with you overall, if you were to compare 3 ducks vs 3 hens as backyard poultry, I think the ducks come out ahead in the modern home.
     
  5. v.cyr

    v.cyr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I dunno... I know a few farmers that have ducks... only one went out of his way to provide water for swimming... the others didn't and the ducks really don't seem to mind... they just wander around the barnyard like the chickens, happy as can be...
     
  6. v.cyr

    v.cyr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok, the predator security thing is a good point... I can see how that might be a disadvantage that would hinder their historical significance...
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  7. grawg

    grawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Might be interesting to look at the introduction times of domestic chickens vs ducks into Europe as well. Also, the duck didn't gain popularity or even superiority until the indian runner duck was introduced. Before that you had breeds like the aylesbury duck in england and from what I've read that was a very specialized lifestyle that allowed folks to be "duckers"
     
  8. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    I think they're probably wandering around looking for water. [​IMG]Just kidding.
     
  9. v.cyr

    v.cyr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that was my point about the mallard... the domestic duck had the potential to develop and be refined in europe(did any varieties actually originaly develop there... I am a tad unclear on that point) and elsewere too, for as long as most other domesticated animals(cattle, pigs, etc) had, where the chicken had to develop in SE asia, then travel all over the eurasian continent...
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  10. v.cyr

    v.cyr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ha... good one[​IMG]

    I think the desire to swim is a combination of instinct and learning... the farmer that gave his a swimming hole had to after one wandered of and found a stock pond in one of his pastures...until then(several years, in fact) they had been fine without having a place to swim, but once they learned after, they wouldn't leave the water... the had to build a small pond in the barnyard to keep them there(were they were safer)... I think once they learn about swimming, they get hooked...
     

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