The virtues of backyard ducks

June 11, 2009 | By | Comments (6)
                Nicole Goss’s ducks: a Khaki Campbell (left) and a Cayuga.
She says they’re both quiet breeds.
They look enticingly strokable.

The other day I read an inspiring bit of reader mail about egg-layers who quack instead of cluck. With the writer’s permission, I’ve copied it here.

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The April edition of Sunset couldn’t have had more perfect timing for my backyard projects. I had just finished planting my vegetable garden in my raised planter beds, and was looking forward to home grown eggs from my newly purchased chicks. The only difference being my chicks had webbed feet and bills.
Ducks are often overlooked as egg producers but depending on the breed lay as many eggs as chickens. Their eggs are larger and are good for general eating. They have slightly higher oil content which makes them great for baking. They are also easy to raise, and more disease resistant and withstand a wider temperature range than chickens. Best of all they will take care of your bugs AND weeds! They love to forage around the backyard for snails, slugs, and whatever else they can find.
They make great pets and most cities that allow chickens will also let you have ducks. They don’t need a pond but love a shallow tub or “Kiddy pool” to splash in. Some breeds like Pekins can be loud so just make sure you research breeds before you buy. Ducks make great pets and their hilarious antics are a nonstop source of entertainment in my yard.  — Nicole Goss

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She sent these pictures too. They look like happy ducks, don’t they?
Flappy Duckinrain


  1. Kat

    I just got my first ducks! I am starting my first garden this year and thought that the perfect addition would be 2 Blue Runners (they are just the cutest!). My Puppy can’t stay away from them. I’m looking forward to introducing them soon .

    April 30, 2010 at 12:00 am
  2. Nicole Goss

    Some people keep ducks and chickens together. They do need a safe pen and shelter. They also need to be kept safe from predators like hawks and raccoones. So a pen that is completely enclosed with chicken wire running about 1-2inches underground is what I have. Also raccoones have been known to reach in a 1×1 inch square and kill a sleeping duck so the smaller the grate size the better.

    June 16, 2009 at 2:18 am
  3. pedroza family

    My most loyal pet was a duck! I got him as a gift when he was cute and yellow. He followed us everywhere! Then one day Lucas grew up and became Snow White, he was a white girl duck!! We discovered this when he began laying egss!

    June 12, 2009 at 5:17 pm
  4. KathyG

    One question about ducks: what kind of shelter do they need? Could they co-exist with chickens in a chicken pen (coop)?! or would they need a separate house? Also, would they (and do chickens) need protection from the family cats? They seem big and strong, and chickens, at least, have sharp beaks, but ……..

    June 12, 2009 at 2:31 pm
  5. George

    Nicole is so right about ducks. They are great egg producers and they have a higher protein content. Best of all ducks do not scratch deep holes in the ground like chickens. I love my ducks.

    June 11, 2009 at 3:17 am
  6. Allyson

    My mom has ducks and loves them! They waddle around the yard and eat bugs and play with the dogs. They are a fun addition to the family!

    June 10, 2009 at 10:50 pm

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