We are not afraid to try some new things here on the farm. Most of the time we start small and learn from our mistakes, of which there are plenty. This year our small experiment was ducks. I have never raised ducks, but we had people asking for duck eggs so we decided to give it a shot. Our first documented mistake was purchasing straight run ducks from the hatchery. While it is no great revelation that male ducks do not lay eggs, my mistake in clicking the wrong button during the ordering process has been well chronicled around here. FYI, the duck egg project went pretty well and we intend to expand that flock next year.
Now, what to do with the half of the ducks that will definitely never lay an egg (the males). We decided that we would catch them and process those for Christmas duck. The catching was a challenge, because they had already been turned out on the pond. With some persistence and farm ingenuity we got most of them caught, and soon we were off to the processor. Which brings me to my second documented mistake. Even males from an egg laying breed do not get very meaty. We had ducks posted online for a week before they were processed, and they were advertised at 4-6 lbs. This is what we found was an average through our online research. Remember, we've never done this before, so how would we know what to expect. Unfortunately upon returning from the processor, our ducks averaged around 3 lbs each. So, lesson learned...twice. Order females for laying eggs. Order meat breeds for meaty ducks. For those of you that ordered a duck, thank you for being willing to experiment with us.