Well, we decided to go with ducks and not chickens. You might be wondering, why on earth would you do that? Well, there are actually a lot of really great reasons. At least I think there are, but I've never actually had ducks, so we'll soon find out. Here we go!
Ducks are foragers. I don’t know about where you live, but here in the Pacific Northwest, slugs and snails are prolific and by that I mean even our retaining wall and garbage can will have a handful of these slimy fellas after a good rain. In the garden, well, now they must feel like exquisite diners! They just help themselves and really go to town munching on our tasty greens and baby pea vines. Dahlias, forget it. Several of our plants were mowed down and never fully recovered before we realized what was happening. For ducks however, no problem! Slugs and snails are a tasty treat. Indian runner ducks are especially adept foragers. Supposedly, they’ll wander around your vegetable beds munching the slugs and snails from the borders and leave your plants mostly untouched. I don't expect them to completely avoid our gardens, but supposedly they’re not quite as destructive as chickens can be.
Ducks are hardier and less susceptible to illness. Their downy feathers keep them warmer in the winter and in the summer, what duck doesn’t love a good swim? Anyone with chickens knows that mites can be a problem and for someone that has never owned chickens, this is not a problem I’m running to jump in to. Ducks are affected by these creepy buggers a lot less often.
Lastly, their eggs are more nutritious! They're larger than chicken eggs with a proportionately larger yolk, higher in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and richer which makes baked goods even fluffier.