View Full Version : Keeping ducks instead of chickens

02-11-2008, 02:09 PM
For those interested in homegrown eggs, you might want to consider keeping Kakhi Campbell ducks instead of a laying breed of chicken. These ducks lay as many eggs as the best chickens, are WAY cold hardier, eat slightly less feed, stay productive to an older age and are (in my completely biased opinion) more fun to have.
If you live where cold is an issue in the winter, ducks are definitely the better choice because it's nex to impossible for them to get frostbite. Chickens will get frostbite on their combs and wattles, and sometimes on their toes, whereas ducks have no skin other than their legs and feet exposed. These they will tuck into their down when they get cold, and comfortably lie on their insulated bellies.
We just had a cold snap into the -40s here. A few tips on keeping ducks (or chickens) comfy in these temperatures (it never got colder than just below freezing in our duckhouse, and we don't heat it):
-keep the square footage to the bare recommended minimum for the size and amount of birds you have
-have a large double-pane window on the south-facing side
-do not make the building any taller than 4' max (VERY IMPORTANT), that way the heat won't be able to escape upwards so much
-do not muck out in the wintertime, but keep adding straw/moss/sawdust every day, it will start to compost and provide floorheating for the birds in the winter, plus be almost garden-ready by spring
-bank snow around the building to the rooftop
-you can also hang a bucket of hot gravel into the coop on the coldest night - do not set it down on the floor to minimize firedanger, and to prevent birds from sitting on it and injuring themselves

02-11-2008, 04:02 PM
But chicken tastes better than duck:D

02-11-2008, 06:09 PM
They have more taste cells on their tongue that's why.

02-11-2008, 06:40 PM
They have more taste cells on their tongue that's why.

Who wants to eat a tough old greasy duck? ;)

My chicken survive just about any temp. I like your list but I believe the most important is good venting and no drafts. Drafts are a big killer and if there is no ventilation you get frost build up and they get lung illness from the ammonia buildup. I wouldn't want to crawl around in chicken crap to collect eggs.

Here is a pick of some of the sexy girls:

Cold and comfy.

02-11-2008, 06:48 PM
Oh and keep wood chips on the floor instead of straw.....seems alot drier and easier to clean in the spring.

02-12-2008, 08:50 AM
And when it gets to the point where their production slows down or too many roosters are in the hen house you can always throw a couple on the wood fired barby....:cool:

Spatchcocked whole spicey chicken: