What animal is hardier, lays more eggs, has a longer and more productive life than the popular backyard chicken? A duck, of course. They are more willful and require a different management style.Anyone who has ever owned  a duck will agree that they are worth it.

hen my mum moved to a farm upcountry, the first thing she wanted was a flock of chicken. The small property borders a large pond –it’s in Southern Nyanza after all, and immediately I started looking into ducks. The more I looked, the more I liked and convinced her to get ducks instead of chickens instead. I liked the idea of raising ducks over chicken based on the following reasons.

Ducks are practical and highly productive

When you think of a duck, you may imagine an all-white duck begging for bread scraps at the local pond like  in Hollywood films buts that not the case. It’s hard to imagine such an entertaining creature also being practical.

Duck hens bred for egg-laying ability can lay up to 350 eggs a year, each of which will weigh 20 percent to 35 percent more than a chicken egg. Furthermore, they will produce longer than a chicken, well into a fifth or even sixth season – long after chicken hens have already been eaten.And if you’re worried about whether those eggs will taste “strange” or not work in your recipes, never fear. Ducks fed a healthy balance of layer pellets and forage will produce an egg that tastes similar to a fresh chicken egg and provides better loft in baked goods.

As if their productivity are not impressive enough, these little birds are efficient in gathering much of their own food as they work. The year we moved here, the garden was completely ruined. Fortunately, our little flock of six ducks began an effective eradication program the moment their mouths were large enough to swallow the destructive pests.

Easy to manage and infection resistance

Ducks are tougher than chickens, both as babies and as adults. Thanks to their larger size and the fact that they naturally run at constant high temperature, they are resistant to most diseases.

When fully feathered, ducks are practically weatherproof. Their waterproof down coats keep them warm and dry in even the worst of weather. On wet, tedious days, your ducks will make you smile with their cheerful, puddle-splashing antics. They do fine in hot weather too, as long as they have access to shade and bathing water. Moreover, Ducks are easier to keep confined in simple pens, whereas chickens are escape artists that seem to find every hole.

My mother has raised a small flock of ducks from which she obtains eggs and sells. She keeps on insisting that she will get more of these productive creatures because they have proved to be beneficial.

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