To duck, or not to duck?

I really, really want to get some poultry by the springtime. I get so excited at thought of cute little chicks running all around, smooth eggs nestling in grass for the collecting, and home-grown free-range roasted fowl at dinner. But at the same time, I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m nervous that I’ll mess it all up or won’t like it. So I don’t want to get a huge flock of all kinds of birds at once – I’d like to start out fairly slowly with either ducks OR chickens and maybe expand later on.

There are a lot of pros and cons to either species, though. Can you help me decide?

DUCKS CHICKENS
Duck pros:

  • yield meat and eggs
  • yield down
  • more delicious meat
  • non-stinky poop
  • produce offspring without a loud rooster
  • quieter than chickens
  • love to eat slugs and mosquitos – can be let into the veggie patch for pest control
  • waste dilute enough for immediate garden use
Chicken Pros:

  • Yield meat and eggs
  • yield more eggs
  • more versatile meat
  • help turn/fertilize compost
  • easier to keep (no water/mud required)
  • I’m more familiar with them
  • easier to butcher?
Duck Cons:

  • messy and wet.
  • smaller than chickens.
  • less versatile meat.
  • not as many eggs
  • stronger flavored eggs.
  • harder to butcher?
Chicken Cons:

  • Stinky.
  • Waste too strong; needs to be well-composted before it can be used in the garden.
  • more destructive in the veggie patch, have to be more closely supervised.
  • only dual-, not triple-purpose
  • have to buy new chicks for meat every year, unless I want a crowing rooster around (the neighbors would sure love that!). Not self-renewing.

Usually making a chart and laying everything out in black and white helps me decide pretty easily, but not this time. What do you think?

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