In your opinion - ducks or rabbits for 1st meat animal?

miss_thenorth

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My scovies don't fly. They did for a while when they first feathered out, and flew--not high, and not far, for maybe a month, two months. Now the only time I see one fly is when a horse or a kid or a dog comes running by them, and then they only fly far enough away to get out of the way.
 

ohiofarmgirl

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Oh! How hard is it to clip those feathers?
easy peasy. just use garden shears
;-)

we love our ducks .. well ** I ** love the ducks. their breed like rabbits (ha! that was a joke i dont have rabbits), they are extremely winter hardy, we barely feed them b/c they free range and they eat anything including bugs, mice, and grass...and you get eggs. you dont need fancy housing and a bucket of water makes them happy.

and the 'scovy ducklings are totally up and at 'em... even a bad momma can raise them or you can brood them easily. and the scovies are really meaty.

our drakes couldnt fly with a boarding pass and a frequent flier card. the hens can fly when they are young but seem to give it up once they have their own broods. ours tend to stick near home and we rarely have to track any of them down when its time to go in.

the only downside is what Bee said.. they are harder to um.. er.. dispatch than chickens or turkeys. however, i dressed some ducks with my pal Bourbon Red, and once you have a good technique its really no harder.

the downside to turkeys is that only the heritage breeds easily reproduce naturally, i'm not convinced you get as many eggs as you do with ducks, and sadly - the poults can be hard to raise. sometimes they just flop over dead for no reason. the only ducklings we've ever lost were for ridiculous barnyard accidents.

we have a low fence for our turks (4 ft?). when the males are young they can fly - like eagles! - but once they get heavy, forget about it. the hens tend to stick around unless they find some crazy place to have a nest. generally closest to a fox or completely dug deep in the brambles and impossible for you to get to (dont ask me how i know this). but once you get a flock going the turks are great and we love them.

FC - we've really only had on time when our turks went on walk about. our main toms were going nuts so i looked where they were looking and screaming.. and some jakes took THE WHOLE HERD of hens around the pond and were headed out across the good neighbor's field! they just waltz out thru an open gate and headed for greener pastures.

me and the dog had to go running after them and herd them back. the good news is that they are easy to drive...with a good farm dog and a beatin' stick
;-)
 

FarmerChick

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Dunkopf said:
FarmerChick said:
turkeys are kinda true forgarers

they do wander over a broad range of terrain, like grazing animals do ya know.....a wild turkey flock just travels a good bit of the day, so I would think a domestic turkey would have that wander instinct also.

not sure tho, I never had loose turkeys around lol

chickens are more homebodies while I would think a turkey would venture out more? maybe???? :/
They go wherever the food is. They come to our front door and beg for food. They also run in packs. They are funny to watch chasing the cats and dogs around. Kind of like geese. I have 8 ft fences. Once they figure out how to climb out they are impossible to keep in.
good gravy --they climb out of 8 ft fences yikes :th
 

FarmerChick

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LOL Ohio---they just waltzed out on ya cause they saw greener pastures...and didn't give a look back at you I am sure :p
 

ohiofarmgirl

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to tell the truth their pastures werent much greener - i think they just wanted to get closer to Foxy Brown
;-)

and sure they looked back.....to give me the finger.

but then ... you know.. the dog and i ran faster after them.... then it wasnt so funny anymore
;-)

you gotta be the boss turkey you know...and i'm the big turkey around here!

HA!
 

Beekissed

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Yep, never kept any bad mothers. I culled for hardiness, temperament, mothering, productivity....just like with chickens.

I never had any expensive rabbit setup and we had three NZ does and one NZ buck....plus a few more at any given time. I found cages at a very cheap price...a lot of people get a pet rabbit, get tired of it and want to sell the rabbit, cage and all. Get rid of the rabbit, keep the cages....simple. Sometimes I would build my own.

They weren't a mess, as I had a great system going...had chickens and deep litter under their cages. In the summer, they were out under a carport. One can funnel feces and urine into a bucket if one is so inclined.

I had my cages suspended from the ceiling and never had to clean out a cage....the cages with trays are a mess, they stink and they are hard to pull out when they have urine in them without spilling or splashing~my sis had these and they were awful!

Next to my sheep, they were the easiest livestock I've ever kept. Fill the continuous feeders and water bottles, fill the hay bunkers....sit on a haybale and watch them eat, listen to the munching and meditate.

I finally got a watering system that made it even easier.

We raised meat rabbits for 4-H and for sale. Never had any diseases or illnesses except a few kits with matted eyes now and again. Just gave ACV in the water a few days and this disappeared.

Sold my young rabbits for $5 a piece to a man who would buy as many as I could raise. He liked only the white ones, which made it easy for me.

I've only ever raised ducks free range and mostly Scovies but also a few runners. They are messy, they eat a lot and I found I didn't really like the taste of duck enough to repeat that again.
 

savingdogs

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Your thread interested me because we added ducks last year and are buying four rabbits this weekend, so we have been pondering this.

We have muscovy ducks and really like them. We loved the meat. We did not especially like plucking however and ended up skinning most of them. We kept aside all the females and one drake to have a whole passel of ducklings to eat next year and maybe sell some females. They are laying eggs at a fairly good rate considering what time of year it is and there is not much light.

We found ducks fun and easy.

We also wanted to have another meat source as we find that we cannot eat duck every night nor is there enough meat with just them (and chickens, although we have layers). I was debating turkeys, guineas and rabbits in another thread and the posts really convinced me that I ought to try rabbits. We are bringing ours home this weekend! We are not finding the investment too bad so far but my husband is the consummate recycler and is creative in his use of materials.

I do think I will add a couple turkeys in the spring, especially if I can get them locally, but mostly because I think I can raise a few in the same space I currently have the ducks and chickens.
 

tortoise

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savingdogs said:
We are not finding the investment too bad so far but my husband is the consummate recycler and is creative in his use of materials.
That's a big part of rabbits being "profitable" or worth it. I have $800 worth of rabbit cages, stands, trays, urine guards, crocks, bottles, resting mats, nest boxes, resting mats, etc. (From the photo you can tell how fussy I am about everything look "just so."

But I paid a FRACTION of that! I got my cages (yes, ALL of my nice matching cages) off of Craigslist for 1/2 price or less. They almost always came with accessories.

My biggest expense was water bottles - don't use them. An automatic watering system cost less than the bottles. And a crabby rabbit can't throw off a water bottle and break it.

I added to what I have gradually over a year, waiting for the deals and sales. My fiance thought I would never stop bringing home cages. He flipped out at the last few thinking there was no end in sight, lol. I wanted 9 cages - he didn't realize I was done. :rolleyes:

I add a little bit more as money allows. I want them to earn their keep. When I finally finish with upgrades for them, I'll start making sure they are earning their feed costs. Right now I am not counting that.
 

CrimsonRose

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tortoise said:
I add a little bit more as money allows. I want them to earn their keep. When I finally finish with upgrades for them, I'll start making sure they are earning their feed costs. Right now I am not counting that.
Then don't raise Flemish Giants! :gig They are by far my favorite rabbit to raise Always good moms and so laid back great temperament... but boy those things are pigs! but I love my big bunny butts! :bun but with that said I can get double sometimes triple the price out of selling them that I can my new zealands... So I guess they do earn their keep... (or maybe I'm just in denial because I love them so much! :hide
 
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