Waterfowl, ducks and geese, are an excellent choice for preppers. Chickens are the “standard” fowl most people keep in their backyard or on their farms. However, ducks lay larger eggs, and can lay as many as 300 eggs a year. Ducks mature quickly making them ideal for eating .
People often think of ducks only as living in ponds and lakes. The fact is ducks don’t need to live on water. They only need food and drinking water like any other creature. But, if you decide to give them a kiddie pool, use their water to water your garden and put fresh water in the pool. Everyone is happy!
If you house your fowl in a coop and pen, to prevent them from flying away, you can either clip their wings often or put chicken wire over top. Installing the wire is a good idea if you live in an area where predatory birds fly overhead. Its frustrating to have birds go missing after hawks have circled your property.
Some people keep chickens and ducks together as hatchlings. The ducks don’t know they’re ducks until you put them in water. They will liven like chickens if they are raised like chickens. It wouldn’t do to combine the flocks at a later age. Geese need their own space and can peck or bite people.
Use care when raising chickens, ducks, and geese, making sure to handle the babies every day. This reduces them from running from you and reduces the geese from pecking on you since they know you. Always wear closed toed shoes since chickens think toes look like worms. Polished toenails invite pecking. You would think people would know, but surprisingly, they don’t.
Three varieties of ducks that lay well are Khaki Campbells, Welsh Harlequins, and Anconas. Ducks do go broody, but not as often as chickens, so if you want to increase your flock, you will need to pay attention to ducks hiding their eggs, or need an incubator for duck eggs.
People enjoy ducks and geese for various holiday meals, or special events in restaurants because it is expensive. Your ducks will be affordable! Given the fast maturation time, you will be able to sell ducks to interested people or restaurants. Ducks and geese raised for meat should be butchered at 85 days.
You can find a good market for your eggs and use them yourself. It won’t be difficult either. Just post a few signs in the right locations, publish some online ads, and in the local Penny Saver or Thrifty Nickle, and people will be looking for you. Be sure to keep a list of contacts so you can keep your supply sold out. If you increase your flock, or a customer drops out, you can use your contact list to increase sales or replace a customer.
Male chickens and geese are noisy, but most ducks are quiet. Be sure to look up the breed of your choice to be sure which one you choose.
Duck eggs are better for baking than chicken eggs, and prized by chefs everywhere. Their flavor is described as richer than chicken eggs, but you need to decide for yourself.
Goose eggs taste similar to chicken eggs, are larger, and do well in cooking. Since duck and goose eggs are larger than chicken eggs, you will need to measure them when substituting for chicken eggs in your favorite recipes.
One chicken egg is about 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons. They weigh about 2 oz or about 50 grams. If your recipe calls for 2 eggs (approximately 1/2 cup chicken eggs) just break some duck or goose eggs and measure them. Here is a handy conversion chart.