You’ve probably noticed that more and more people living in suburban and urban areas are buying and keeping chickens. They do it for the eggs, ostensibly, but also, they seem to regard their birds as family pets.
And while I’ve seen my fair share of videos with seemingly docile chickens who love being cuddled, my mother grew up on an actual farm – I’m not buying it.
This Redditor has a list of reasons they believe ducks would make both better pets and better farm animals, and is wondering if Reddit can change their mind.
CMV: Ducks are a better pet and/or farm animal than chickens.
This is a slightly silly one, but hear me out. I love chickens, I do, but ducks take the crown. Here are my arguments:
They’re significantly cuter. No offense, chicks, but ducklings will win every time. Even as adults they’re hilarious to watch – they just stumble around all day long.
They might have loud quacks, but there’s no crowing to wake you up at 4AM. Every morning my chickens wake me up before the sun comes up, but my ducks are chilling the entire time.
Their eggs are superior – typically larger, better for baking, and people with egg allergies can often actually eat them.
Their meat is delicious and just as versatile as chicken.
(Mild gore warning) Chickens will cannibalize each other if one dies and if they see blood on even a minor wound they will absolutely terrorize their former chicken friend. Once worked on a farm with pasture-raised hens that had plenty of space, no stressors, and when one chicken got a little nick on her head her companions literally pecked it further open until she had a quarter-size opening on her head and her skull was visible. She ended up dying. Meanwhile I had a duck that got a cut on his back and his companions literally did not care – he got plenty of time to heal up and they didn’t peck him to death like assholes.
The only con is that they’re messy, and you know what? I’ll take messy over pecking each other to death.
CMV? Bonus points for convincing photos/videos of chickens doing good chicken things.
Let’s see if it happens!
14. Well argued.
What constitutes a “better farm animal” really can’t be looked at outside of the economics of farms, because farms are businesses in the trade of efficiently generating food for people that meet the people’s needs at the best price.
As long as chicken meat and chicken eggs are more popular, and as long as feeding chickens is more efficient in yield of market product per dollar input, ducks will never be “better farm animals”. Their behavior, cuteness, etc., is only relevant to the degree that it helps or harms selling meat and eggs.
Ducks’ supposedly “superior” eggs are a value judgement I won’t comment on except to say that the marketplace does not agree with you. People buying eggs want cheap protein that works well in a variety of recipes. Duck eggs being identifiably “flavorful” is actually a downside when you’re baking with them, and the cost is higher (because of the yield).
But one of the biggest things against your thesis is, ironically, that ducks are indeed cuter. People don’t like eating cute animals.
13. Ducks aren’t as reliable at laying. Apparently.
My mother in law has chickens and ducks and the ducks barely lay at all during the winter months. But you are correct about the superior nature of duck eggs.
12. This person has opinions.
Ok I can finally chip in. Ducks are so Fucking stupid and easy to kill. Their main self defense is diving into the water, or swimming away. If you don’t have a deep pond, all of your neighborhood critters will be dining on duck.
You can trap/kill most of the mammals that are eating your ducks. But you can’t shoot your neighborhood eagle for eating your incredibly stupid, loud, delicious ducks.
My dogs/turkeys/geese can typically protect my chickens from predators but the ducks are impossible to protect.
Oh and they’re disgusting. They need some form of water for enrichment and if you have anything less than a large riparian ecosystem, their disgusting little bodies will instantly muck up the pool you created for them. A duck has to spend approximately 45 seconds in a kiddie pool to shit/piss/muck it into a black sewage pit.
I hate ducks.
11. There are pros and cons to each.
Feeding duck eggs to those not accustomed to the taste has not gone well for me. I prefer chicken eggs for taste as well.
I have also found ducks to be better pets purely because they succumb to disease less often, Hyline chickens are not so resilient, although the breed and brooding can be an important factor.
Which one is better? Cats Vs Dogs debate. Chicken meat can be leaner (breast). Duck meat is delicious. I’ve found chickens easier to train, but ducks more placid.
Agree on the rapier sentiment. I had a Drake that had his way with the hens. Never had a rooster try to jump a Duck.
10. Chickens are smarter.
Oh dear. Great thread! I sometimes have the chickens vs. ducks discussion in my circle of friends.
Once saw one male duck (adult) rape his dad. I am VERY VERY happy that no one recorded the look on my face when I witnessed that. Rape happened quite often, mostly to the females. It changed permanently how I see ducks.
I also find our chickens more intelligent. They learn our behavioral patterns and draw conclusions based on their observations. They know when it‘s feeding time – they group in front of the door. The ducks got fed every day same time as well – always behaved like we‘re Mike Meyers.
Anyway. I loved our ducks all the same (especially the females).
9. Ducks have a smell…
Ducks stink, require large amounts of water, and your argument about noise isn’t as valid with only hens. Yes they make noise, but far less than roosters. An enclosure for ducks would have to be much larger than one for chickens. With a smaller output of eggs, higher upkeep, (and seriously ducks smell far worse than chickens).
Also your first argument is completely subjective (and wrong. jk) because obviously chickens are more adorable.
8. And they’re higher maintenance.
Ducks require a water resorvior to be happy, do they not? I see that as higher maintenance and why I went with chickens. High maintenance plus fewer eggs, and probably require more space (not sure on that one) in a pen, and more often cleaning the pen.
Also, my chickens go to bed to roost at night, I don’t have to chase them and put them away, they do it on their own. Do ducks do that?
7. Ducks also eat slugs!
Additional supporting point for your original argument:
If your garden is plagued by slugs, ducks are a great solution!
6. Why not both?
Ok I have literally zero experience in poultry rearing but that’s not gonna stop me from throwing my hat in the ring lol.
I think ducks require bathing water, whereas chickens are dust bathers, so if one lives in a place that has very harsh winters and needs to confine their birds for the season, chickens would be the better farm animal to take care of.
The only other point I think it’s debatable is the taste. I mean, I love a good roast duck but IMO duck is way fattier than chicken, a poultry I would feel guilty/overstuffed eating on a regular basis. Chicken meat could be preferable for people who want a less calorie/fat rich source of protein.
5. An argument for chickens.
I like that chickens are effective at killing ticks and bugs.
4. For the college sports fans.
Here is a slightly silly rebuttal.
Although Ducks have many good qualities, they have a strong association with the University of Oregon. Chickens on the other hand are not associated with any collegiate or professional teams that I have a strong disdain for.
Unfortunately, this also makes Huskies (UW) one of the worst types of dogs.
3. They lay all over.
I had another thought, from my limited experience with farm ducks they tended to lay their eggs anywhere in the yard, resulting in a more difficult gathering process and in the case of my friend, an egg sucking dog.
2. It’s complicated.
We eat a lot of chicken, but you are right in that duck tastes better. Although, it could be because it is a treat and we don’t have it very often. I won’t the chickens or ducks we raise.
I have had both as pets and backyard farm animals. Both of them are lively and have their personalities. They are both very fun to watch. Chickens learning how to scratch is hilarious. In my setting (not a farm), I cannot have a rooster so no early morning calls. The hens have no pecking order and often preen each other. 14 hens give me about 10-15 eggs per day so everyone in my life is pretty happy about that. Ducks do not lay as much but the ducklings are cuter.
The hens I have are given names and they hang out with us when we are outside. One likes to sit in a chair when we are eating and get hand-fed scraps. She knows her name and comes running when we call. I was never able to get ducks to act like that. I did have neighbor who raised a single duck and it was definitely part of the family. They would bring it to a local lake and it swam with them and snuggled them in their blankets.
Both ducks and chickens can be a bit mouthy, but when a duck is mad, they grab on and try to rip. It hurts more than a single peck.
Messy- both are. Ducks are worse because it is this layer of green slime and it gets all over. You really have to work hard to keep their water clean.
Chicken breeds have traits that make them better or worse suited for pets, eggs, and food so it is hard to generalize about them too much. We have Barred rocks (super friendly), Buff Orpingtons (broody and take care of the flock), Rhode Island Reds (hang out with each other and are kind of aloof but great layers), and Easter Eggers (not much personality but colored eggs).
Tl;dr I love my chickens, but it’s complicated.
1. The taste thing can be subjective.
I personally love dark meat, but the fact that you get both white and dark meat off of a chicken is an advantage when you take into account the broader preferences in society, health concerns and diet considerations for specific persons, etc.
I’m not certain that duck meat is as versatile as chicken, broadly speaking.
I kind of want a duck now, I’m not going to lie.
Would you own a duck? A chicken? Do you own a duck or a chicken? If so, please weigh in down below in the comments!