Chickens are all the rage right now for people wanting to hobby farm in their back yards. Cities are even allowing them back into the neighborhood, but you might want to consider a duck instead. Here is why.
If you are not a fan of bugs, ducks are the feathers you should be after. They are a natural form of pest control. Indian Runner ducks are among the best foragers, gobbling hordes of pesky bugs every day.
Ducks are connoisseurs when it comes to slugs, snails and a wide array of bothersome — and potentially dangerous — insects and grubs, including (but not limited to) mosquito pupae, Japanese beetle larvae, potato beetles and grasshoppers. With the variety of diseases that mosquitoes can spread among avian and mammalian species, the duck’s ability to stop mosquitoes at the non-feeding pupa stage is a feat that a chicken cannot boast about.
They are wonderful for your garden. Duck poop is one of nature’s best fertilizers. Worms love molted feathers -- they slurp them up pulling them into their holes as they consume them. Just like pasta.
The egg size is significant -- compared to chickens they are much larger and tastier. They contain more protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and pretty much every major mineral than chicken eggs. Wouldn't you like to make a light fluffy cake? Duck eggs will give you exactly what you are after.
If you have egg allergies some people find that duck eggs don't produce any kind of an allergic reaction. You would of course consult with your doctor first.
You don't have to put a lot of energy into a duck. They herd much more easily than chickens which wander all over the place. You can lure a duck and his friends with a little food and they will follow you anywhere. You'll need a secure shelter in which to house them and protect them from wildlife (and neighborhood dogs), but just three to four square feet per hen is enough.
Ducks are extremely entertaining. They're very funny and have great personalities. They love water and you can give them even just a pan to duck their head in and it is sure to inspire a laugh.
Do some research and find the best breed that will be suited for your environment. Some ducks fare better in humid climates and others in dry areas. Look for a breeder in your area or your local feed store. Even Craigslist in the farm and garden section has ducks.
If you find your neighbors don’t like the quacking sound of a duck, tell them to just deal with it -- like water off a ducks back.