5 Reasons You Need Backyard Ducks on Your Homestead

I’m here to talk to you about backyard ducks. Why? Because ducks just rock. They might be my favorite fowl (shhh, don’t tell the chickens).

Backyard ducks hanging out beside a pond.

Hey there! You have found a hidden gem in the world of homesteading: backyard ducks. This could be your next big project. In this post, I will talk about five amazing reasons why ducks should live in your backyard, including how peaceful they are, how well they stay healthy, how little damage they do to landscaping, and how good their eggs are. 

These tips will help you understand the special benefits ducks bring to the table (or should I say, the garden), whether you are an experienced homesteader or just starting to think about it. Find out why getting ducks for your homestead could be the big change you have been looking for below.

#1 You can have boys, and no one will care.

It’s so fun to hatch your own poultry, but many non-traditional homesteaders are in a position where roosters are a no-no. Even if ordinances and neighbor relations aren’t stopping you from rooster ownership, self-preservation might be. The majority of roosters are just plain nasty. That’s the reason that Why Is My Rooster Being a Jerk? is one of my most popular articles. Drakes (aka: boy ducks) are super quiet—quieter than hens (aka: girl ducks)—and they don’t have a mean bone in their body. I never met a drake I didn’t like.

#2 Backyard ducks are garden-safe pest control.

I love my chickens, and they clean up the garden in the fall like no other bird can, but holy moly, they can cause mass destruction during the growing season! One escapee and my carrots will be dug up, and the kale will be missing. Ducks will pull up seedlings, but once the garden is established, they won’t bother anything—except the bugs. Got slugs? Get backyard ducks. Slugs are like duck crack.

#3 Ducks are fitter than fit.

Quail have very sensitive systems and go from healthy to dead seemingly overnight. Chickens are hardier, but illness will spread through a flock like you wouldn’t believe. Ducks hardly ever get sick. In my four years of duck ownership, I’ve never lost an adult duck to illness. They also have fewer topical parasites than most poultry. Their time in the water takes care of that.

#4 You can have ducks and still landscape.

Now, landscaping might not be of the utmost importance to all farmers, but I live in a village where people’s properties are nicely manicured. I’ve already swayed from the norm, having over half my property growing edibles and a big chicken coop beside the driveway, so I do what I can to still fit in. The pollinator garden has pretty edging, and I mulch the front gardens. When the chickens are out, they dig up my tender plants and fling mulch all over the place. All the ducks do is create little, quarter-sized holes with their bills while they dig for bugs. No harm, no fowl ← see what I did there.

#5 Eggs: Rich, wonderful, predictable duck eggs.

Duck eggs top chicken eggs. There, I said it. They are bigger and richer, and the yolk to whites ratio is just better. Ducks also lay more predictably than chickens. My chickens are freeloaders, taking months off at a time. Yeah, they are getting up there in years, but that’s no excuse. My ducks are the same age, and they still lay like champs almost every day year-round. They take 2-3 weeks off in late September during their big molt, but then they’re back in action. Now, they do make me hunt for their eggs, but it’s worth it, in my opinion.

A muddy duck egg in the grass.
They may be a bit muddy, but duck eggs are excellent for baking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ducks don’t necessarily need a pond to thrive, but they do require access to water for bathing and drinking. A large, shallow water container that allows them to dip their heads and clean their nostrils will suffice. For those who can provide more, a small kiddie pool or a constructed pond enhances their living environment and allows for natural behaviors like swimming and diving.

The amount of space needed depends on the number of ducks you plan to keep. As a general rule, plan for at least 10 square feet of outdoor space per duck. This ensures they have enough room to forage, roam, and express natural behaviors without overcrowding, which can lead to stress and health issues.

Now that you are sold on the idea of getting backyard ducks, you might be wondering what kind you should get. Let me help you with these tips for choosing the right duck breed for your homestead. The right breed makes or breaks your duck-raising experience. 

And about that molting, ducks have three molts, each focusing on a different type of feather. You can learn more about these seasonal molts here. Make sure you check for seasonal molt before panicking that something is wrong with your flock. Duck molting is much more intense than chicken molting and can cause undue panic. 

You might be thinking, “I can’t get backyard ducks; I only have one coop, and there’s chickens in there.” Well, good news! Chickens and ducks can co-exist with a little planning. Having said that, however, if you are homesteading in the city, there are seven things you should know before taking the plunge. 

And if you’re not sure about feeding ducks, check out When to Switch Your Poultry’s Feed. It talks a bit about feeding a mixed flock and has information you need to know about feeding ducklings. The most important dietary conditions are related to medicated feed and niacin.

If you’ve found value in this blog post and enjoyed reading it, why not share it with your Pinterest community? Pin the image below and spread the love!

A Pinterest-friendly graphic for why you should add ducks to your homestead.

Embracing the idea of backyard ducks can transform your homesteading experience, offering benefits that extend far beyond the breakfast table. From enhancing your garden’s health to enriching your homestead with their gentle presence, ducks prove to be an invaluable addition to any outdoor space. Their low maintenance and high reward nature make them a perfect choice for both beginners and experienced homesteaders alike.

Have you considered adding ducks to your homestead, or do you have any heartwarming stories to share about your feathered friends? I’d love to hear your experiences or any questions you might have about starting your own duck journey in the comments below!

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  1. Kristi Wheeler says:

    Chickens made us happy but ducks are even better! We love our ducks, and we wished we got them sooner! They are so fun to have around! We love their eggs.

  2. Elle Meager says:

    Hi Jessica, we used to have Muscovy Ducks, inherited with the property we purchased. They’re the gutsiest animals I’ve ever encountered, no trouble with telling the dogs where to go! These 2 were no trouble whatsoever, no digging up gardens, never bothered anyone with noise, rather cool creatures to have around. Elle

  3. Why does my big ducks not quack ?

  4. Mike the Gardener says:

    and here I thought reason #1 was going to be to really get my neighbors mad at me .. lol