Sunday, September 20, 2009

My experience with ducks

I've been thinking about adding ducks to my farmed products. I like the idea of ducks because they're grass eaters, and prolific egg layers, and are pretty easy to care for.

These are Peking ducks, a meat/eggs breed. I'd guess they weigh in at 10lbs now. I'm curious to see how they lay, and how duck eggs compare to goose and chicken eggs.

Brooding and raising the ducks isn't the part that I'm really concerned about. It's how difficult it is to sell them, and to pluck them. I've had 2 or 3 people ask me about duck, and in that same timeframe I've sold about a thousand chickens. With no demand, I probably won't keep more than a few. I like eating duck -- and duck confit is one of the greatest things on the face of the earth, but that's just me. For my immediate friends and family I haven't been able to find anyone who's eaten a duck in the last year.

I broke the basic philosophical rule of my farm with these ducks: Only animals that I and people I know eat. I forgot to poll the other folks.


Gin said...

Well, I can tell you me and my family are duck lovers and in fact that is what we have for lunch many Sundays but we are originally from Spain and I don't know if they are a very popular product outside Europe. I do know here in Montreal they seem to sell well but they are quite expensive! Good luck with it!

sheila said...

Please advise how to butcher the darned things. Years ago I raised a few and getting the feathers off them was not fun. Chickens I can do easily. Ducks, I don't know the first thing about. The only duck I've ever cooked is the one that I messed up butchering. I thought it wasn't worth the effort. Especially since I didn't even know how to cook duck right. The only duck I've ever eaten was that one (I ended up skinning it because the plucking was a disaster). Needless to say it wasn't very good.

I'd love to try duck again. I raised 4 Khaki Campbell ducklings this year, but unless I learn how to butcher them they will just be pets. Which is unfortunate since there are 3 males and only one egg layer out of the 4. My sister raised 3 Pekings and ended up with 2 females and 1 male. She wants to eat them, but neither of us knows how to butcher the darned things. We processed 10 turkeys and 40 chickens a few weeks ago. We have already cooked 2 of the 30 lbs turkeys (had to they wouldn't fit in the freezer) and they are delicious! The ducks and the geese (yeah I raised 3 of them too) are in danger of becoming pets unless we can figure out how to pluck them.

I think people would eat more duck if they were introduced to how to deal with them. Cooking recipes, etc.

damae said...

I get a lot of requests for muscovies, but what they are willing to pay and what's being asked for them on craigslist is pretty far apart. Plus they want the muscovies close to a year old. I hear they are pretty hard to pluck if they haven't replaced their baby feathers yet. They say the meat is very good, but it is all hearsay as I have no personal experience. I guess there are a couple of hatcheries that sell muscovy hybrids and I may order some in the next few months to see if I can turn a profit with them.