Crunchy Mama's Urban Homestead

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Our experience with Pekin Ducklings for meat

My oldest son’s favorite animal is duck.  My boys were really excited when I announced at the end of April that we were going to Tractor Supply to buy some Pekin ducklings.  Unfortunately, they asked if we were going to eat the ducks.  I truthfully told them that we would be.  Protests abounded.  Boy, did they try to change our minds about it.  By the end of our 5-week stewardship of the ducklings, there was no way to change our minds that the ducks had to go to the butcher.  Yes, they are so cute but hubby and I could no longer stand the stink.

We’ve had chickens since 2008 and we also knew that they were easy to raise (we keep laying hens).  But boy we were in for a few surprises when we brought the ducks home.  Now, I did do a little research reading on raising ducklings from the book Barnyard in Your Backyard and read that you can raise ducklings without a pond or stream.  I don’t remember reading though how much they stink!  So, as is my style much of the time, I decided to just go for it (wing it).  It wasn’t a costly mistake but we don’t think that it would be worthwhile to get ducks again (unless we move to a property with a BIG pond or an easily-accessible stream).

The ducklings were $5 each (total of $30) then the cost of feed (boy do they eat a lot) and then since we decided to take them to a butcher instead of processing them ourselves (we’ve butchered a few layers before) it was $6 each (total of $36).  They weighed about 32 oz. each after butchering! YIKES!  That’s some expensive meat!  Oh and then I had to drive a half hour to the butcher and back.  How much was that in gasoline?  I don’t even care to actually calculate how much they cost.  However, it was overall a good experience.  And, for our homeschooling boys, I like for them to experience a variety of “real life” activities.  Those experiences are what they will remember when they get older.

Here is a 12-second video taken on the first day that we had the ducklings.  They are swimming in a rubbermaid tub filled with water.

Here is a video with the ducklings swim racing across a very small “pond” that hubby made and I talk about how ducks cannot store water in their bodies and so they wet their bedding fast and thoroughly.

Here is a 2-minute video of the ducklings swimming in a make-shift pond (a snow sled).

Here is a short video of our terrier Emmy with the ducklings; she wanted to mother them.

Here is a video of them at 4 weeks old; they are eating grass and I explain how they had been trained to sleep with the chickens in the coop.

A lot less meat than we were hoping for

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