Some years ago in southern oregon we tried raising ducks (it was during the period where Jay had to limit me to one new species per month). We got 3 Khaki Campbells and raised them in the master shower in the mobile home. They were very stinky. They were nervous and high-strung. They got moved to the orchard, where they messed up the tree mulch. Their wading pool water was always filthy. One lost to a hawk, one disappeared, so we got 3 Indian Runners. They were even more nervous, and at least two of them were males resulting in some inapproproiate behavior :-). Finally we gave them away to someone with a pond. It was Not A Success.
So, moving ahead 8 years and 200 miles, to the Willamette valley. I’m reading Deppe’s book, “the resiliant gardener”. She’s in Corvallis, less then 30 miles from me, so her observations are more relevant to me than they used to be. She points out that ducks eat slugs. Hey, we have lots of slugs here, all over the greens! She notes ducks like rainy weather. Well, we have that in spades now! It won’t stop raining! She claims not all ducks are nervous and unfriendly – well, we’ll wait and see, but perhaps I’ve been unfair to duckdom. Hey, you can eat ducks! Last go round, I was still pretty much vegetarian; but now we’ve learned how to smoke poultry, which makes even fatty meat like turkey legs delicious.
Our ducks used to hide their eggs in the grass and they were always filthy, so I’m not that enthusiastic about duck eggs, but they are a bonus.
Jay has always liked ducks, and I guess he’s on duty to change their water. Ducks do have the ability to hang out and be happy in a way chickens never are. I think ducks are type B personalities, while chickens are type As and are only happy when they have projects to work on. Perhaps I identify too much with the chickens…