The primary reason for ducks on our farm is slug management. However, the simple joy that ducks have in water (and mud and rain), makes the endless cold rains of winter here more bearable. Watching ducks is more fun than watching chickens or turkeys, and you can’t discount the entertainment value of your livestock.
Living in a dry climate in southern Oregon, it was hard to see the appeal of ducks. But when we first arrived here, the slugs were a nightmare – they ate an entire tomato plant to death the second spring. And when hand-picking… how to dispose of 50 or more 4″ slugs was a problem I hadn’t considered.
Carol Deppe’s book “The Resilient Gardener”, recommends a rare breed, the Ancona, as easygoing and excellent foragers. These are indeed excellent ducks, the best I’ve known (especially I find the drakes more gentlemanly than usually is the case amongst ducks). They lay fairly well, but for eating, they are a little small. Since currently we don’t have a reliable butcher, surplus ducks are only available live.