We went up to Corydon to visit our meat processor last Saturday. He had our cow and our pig all neatly packaged in butcher paper, and we were looking forward to some meat after a mostly vegetarian month. (We were also processing chickens that day ourselves. When it rains, it pours.) Anyway, we got to chatting and he mentioned he’d have some ducks hatching soon. Would we like to have them? We’ve been wanting ducks almost forever, with those webbed feet and rounded bills and soft eyes, so, of course, I said yes.
Then I came home and promptly wondered what I was thinking. Ducks? Special needs, special housing, special care… extra work. Then I started researching his ducks. He’s got Muskovy ducks, and they are a little different from regular ducks. Hardly related at all, actually. They work better for fly control than any trap or chemical. They don’t really swim much, preferring trees over water. And they’re not much on quacking. They are excellent mothers and will set and hatch large clutches of any eggs you put under them. And their meat, supposedly, tastes more like veal than duck. It’s considered quite the delicacy.
As far as the work goes, they’ll forage for nearly all of their own food, don’t require much in the way of housing, and basically take care of themselves without flying away. So we’ll see how this goes. They’re free ducks, right? Worst case scenario, I’m out the cost of a duck house under the trees near the barn and the pond. Best case, we’ve got a prolific meat source, a new income stream, free fly control, and endless entertainment.
I’m leaning toward best-case. After all, this is some kind of gift from God – and Gary the meat processor man.