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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Sunday, 22 February 2015
Did you know that ducks rival chickens in every way?
If you are looking for egg layers, you may want to check this out!
Photo Credit:
We are still buried under the snow, but our spring plans are underway!
We are expecting 14 day old ducklings mid-April.
Yep. Ducks.
For eggs.
photo credit:

Rowan has been planning for her own flock of egg layers for nearly two years.  She has saved her money and done her research. We have listened to chicken talk almost daily.  We chose a coop style (the Woods Open Air) and we were prepared to start building as soon as the snow clears.

I started looking at the (few) hatcheries available to us, and for those which could provide the heritage breeds Ro had chosen for cold-hardiness and egg laying.  Having grown up raising chickens for meat, I was not enamoured of the species, although I was willing to allow that raising egg layers *might* be a very different experience.  I was also quite concerned about our long winter and keeping chickens safe and warm. In my secret heart I wanted a couple ducks, and figured I could sneak them in on our order.

Concerned about our lack of a pond and the co-dwelling of hens and ducks, I dug a little deeper. And woah. Woah. Hang on one minute.  Ducks ROCK.  Check out this article for starters: 10 Reasons Why Raising Ducks Might Be a Better Choice.

Photo Credit: Bainbridge Farm Goods on Etsy

They love the rain and can tolerate (and even enjoy) the cold and snow.
They don't need a pond, just access to water (ie. kiddie pool).
They are quieter than chickens, lay longer and some even lay *more*!
They are social and many enjoy handling and being pets.
They are pros at bug control and foraging without destroying your garden or yard.
They don't roost~ coop design is so much simpler.
Drakes can co-exist.

{Not in love yet? Check out this infographic from , click to view larger}
Now, it isn't all perfection.
Ducks (domestic) are much slower on land, and lacking the ability to fly are more at risk from predators.
They are social and may enjoy hanging out on your porch.
This, combined with the fact that they are much messier (wet everything!) than chickens can be a turn off. (I'm told my grandmother waged an ongoing, and losing, battle with the ducks and their mess on her porch on the farm).
From anecdotes of other duck lovers, the mess is worthy of noting twice.
Photo Credit:
Rowan was an easier sell on ducks than I had imagined~ her dreams of becoming an Egg Baron happily embraced the idea of being the only duck egg seller in the area (vs. competing with many chicken eggs) and our acre (fenced) is quite suitable for pasturing ducks in daytime and housing them safely at night. And given that last summer we had goats on the shelves in our back porch and on top of our BBQ, we aren't too concerned about dealing with ducks.  {More on duck eggs in a future post}.

So we took the plunge!
The hatchery required an order minimum of three per breed (sexed, thankfully!) and we ended up with 4 breeds, three hens each and two drakes. Given the relatively few ducks in our area, selling ducklings may be a reasonable offshoot of the egg plans.
Here is what we chose:
The very prolific egg laying Khaki Campbell duck (3 hens):
Photo Credit:
The friendly and broody Cayuga Duck (3 hens + drake):
Photo Credit: Nik Mortimore via Pinterest

The Indian Runner (hilarious, right?)~ great egg layers (3 black hens):
Photo Credit:

The hardy, medium yield Buff (3 hens + drake) :
Photo Credit: McMurray Hatchery
So what do you think? ♥♥
{Not convinced? Just look at this post and fall in love!}


TulipGirl said...

We've been reading "Make Way for Ducklings" and I'll have to come back to show my toddler the duck pics!

(And there's no way we're keeping ducks... apartment living for now, moving in 6 weeks... and I'm so not a homesteader! But I love other's adventures!)

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