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Ducks vs. Chickens

 
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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We have a slug problem and we want eggs. I hear ducks are good slug hunters and that some breeds are excellent layers, so we are considering getting some.

However, while I have experience with chickens, I have very little with ducks. We kept some when I was a kid, but apart from the fact they are messy with water, I don’t remember much.

Here are some pros and cons I can think of for both chickens and ducks.

Chickens

Pros
- Lots of people raise them. I.e lots of information about how to raise them.
- They can jump pretty high to get away from predators
- Lots of chicks available for sale

Cons
- They are destructive in mulched gardens with their scratching.
- They are sensitive to very cold weather.

Ducks

Pros
- Very hardy to cold
- Good layers
- Don’t scratch
- Good layers

Cons
- Need access to water to clean themselves
- They will make a mess of mud and poop with the water.
- Apparently can be loud.
- Not as readily available, so they can be more expensive.

Am I missing something?
 
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I think your parameters are maybe a bit too general? I use to live in MI, in 5b zone, and we had all. The. Fowl. Our chickens generally laid better (about 290 - 320 eggs//yr) - but were rougher on the garden. But, breed makes all the difference in the world, too. My personal advice would be to search out information on different breeds of both types of bird, for hardiness in your zone, micro climates on your land, the local geology(lots of sharp rocks are harder on ducks, than chickens), your own temperament, and what type of housing for them makes the most sense, for you. Ducks are kinda clumsy, and don't climb or roost. Even if you provide nest boxes on the ground, for them, they're less likely to use them, than chickens. You could provide 20 nest boxes for chickens, and they'll all use the same 2 or 3. Chickens, to me, are less work - especially when they're young - than ducks.

Almost all are great for insect control. Our ducks are quieter, by far, than our chickens - male or female. Ducks, I find to be much messier and stinkier. Chickens are fantastic at turning compost - ducks are gentler on the garden... Our chickens all come home at night, but we often have to hunt for our ducks.
 
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We made a video about our top five reasons that we chose ducks.


Overall your pros and cons seem accurate.

I would add, from what I've learned from others, that if you plan to have any male ducks- drakes- then be careful to ensure that they don't harm your chickens.
 
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