Crew Duck or Crew Hen?

Interested by including a laying flock to your yard, however having hassle deciding between geese and chickens? Agonize no extra.

Geese are simple to herd, have routine egg laying hours, and are superior to chickens when it comes to pest management. Chickens are extra available, normally cheaper to buy, and are a greater confinement animal, which is a crucial issue if area is a matter. Now, are you crew duck or crew rooster?

The next is an excerpt from The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe. It has been tailored for the net.

Essentially the most ecologically well-adapted livestock for the maritime Northwest is the duck. One of the best-laying duck breeds lay higher than the best-laying rooster breeds. Geese can free-range year-round in our area. Geese forage far more of their diets than chickens and eat a bigger number of pure meals widespread right here. Geese eat snails and slugs, and are higher for yard and backyard pest management. Geese love our climate. (I ought to maybe point out my biases. I’ve stored 5 breeds of chickens, two breeds of geese, and 7 breeds of geese. The geese are my favorites, particularly Ancona geese, and at this level, I hold solely a flock of thirty-two Ancona geese. However I like chickens too.)


Many people who find themselves allergic to rooster eggs can eat duck eggs. A number of individuals are allergic to each. I’ve additionally run into occasional individuals who declare to have issues consuming duck eggs who can eat rooster eggs, although this sample appears to be uncommon. Geese from the better-laying breeds and strains can lay properly sufficient to earn their hold for years. Laying chickens are normally not producing economically past the second 12 months.

Geese are a lot simpler to manage than chickens. Geese of laying breeds may be simply confined with a fence solely 2 toes excessive (so long as they’ve meals and water and their buddies with them). Many of the egg breeds of chickens can fly properly sufficient to recover from any fencing. Maintaining them out of the backyard or the eaves of the porch usually requires wing-clipping each fowl.

Geese have a tendency to put eggs which might be greater than rooster eggs from a breed of equal measurement. Some dual-purpose duck breeds (resembling Anconas) lay eggs which might be very massive for the dimensions of the fowl.

Geese usually lay their eggs between 4:00 a.m. and eight:00 a.m. each day. This implies they lay their eggs within the nests of their night time pens as an alternative of hiding a nest within the yard. You possibly can decide up the duck eggs simply as soon as per day, on the identical time that you simply let the geese out to forage. Chickens have a twenty-six-hour laying cycle, which means every hen lays slightly later every day. So a flock of chickens is laying always of the day and night time. When allowed to free-range, they generally come again to put of their nests and generally don’t. So recovering all of the eggs may be problematic.

Pest Management

Chickens may also help with pest management in yards, gardens, and pastures underneath sure circumstances. However chickens don’t eat massive slugs or snails, two of crucial backyard pests within the Northwest. (Some chickens could eat small slugs or snails.) And the scratching of chickens tears up plantings and scatters manure and dust over the remainder. Geese are thought-about the premier critter for pest management. All of the laying breeds of geese are sufficiently big to eat even 8-inch banana slugs, and achieve this with enthusiasm, swallowing them the best way a sword swallower does a sword.

Shifting Your Geese and Chickens Round

Geese are simple to herd. You should utilize one or two herding staffs, or you’ll be able to simply stroll behind the geese along with your arms prolonged sideways, making scooping motions within the course you need the geese to go and saying, “Let’s go, geese.”

In Asia, the free-range egg business is predicated upon geese which might be stored in safe everlasting quarters at night time and herded to numerous separate foraging areas in the course of the day. Since chickens can’t be herded, the night time pen or home normally must be in or adjoining to the foraging space. To rotate rooster forage, you progress their home, which have to be moveable. To rotate duck forage, you simply herd the geese to a distinct spot in the course of the day, leaving their everlasting pen in its everlasting spot.

The crowing of roosters is way louder than any noise geese make. Neighbors are much less more likely to hear or object to the sounds of geese.

Local weather Concerns

In lots of areas free-range rooster eggs are solely seasonal, however free-range duck eggs are year-round. Right here within the maritime Northwest, the free-range duck is glad foraging outside all the 12 months, and geese of acceptable breeds are good winter layers. Geese enjoyment of chilly rain. Chickens are so depressing in chilly rain and use a lot power protecting heat that they both don’t lay or their egg manufacturing isn’t economical. The duck is the one method to get economical, year-round, free-range egg manufacturing within the maritime Northwest and different areas with chilly, moist winters. (In areas the place the bottom is frozen a lot of the winter, there isn’t a method to get winter free-range egg manufacturing from any poultry.)

Food regimen

Geese can forage a bigger a part of their eating regimen than chickens. Chickens eat largely grain and animal life, with greenery as a salad. Geese eat grain and animal life but in addition significantly extra greenery than chickens, together with grass, so long as it’s succulent and rising.

As well as, geese could make glorious use of wetlands, waterways, lakes, and ponds.

Geese are extra proof against illness than chickens. Ducklings are hardier than chicks. Ducklings are extra closely feathered and have a layer of subcutaneous fats. They’re designed for chilly, moist climate. Ducklings may be outside earlier in spring than chicks. If allowed to waterproof themselves correctly, ducklings may be out foraging of their third week. Chicks are usually stored indoors the primary six to eight weeks.

Geese, nevertheless, are far more susceptible to four-footed predators than chickens, particularly chickens with intact wings. Some folks with marginal fencing or night time housing can hold chickens however not geese.

Chickens are far more available and normally cheaper. Day-old chicks of many breeds are sometimes offered sexed, so you may get precisely as many of every intercourse as you need. Most laying breeds of geese are a lot much less obtainable and are normally offered as straight-run solely, which means you don’t know what number of of what intercourse you’re getting.


Geese want bathing water. Chickens preserve their pores and skin and feather situation through mud bathing. Some folks discover it a lot simpler to supply a dry mud tub than a showering pool. Books generally say geese may be raised with out bathing water. Though that is technically true, elevating geese that means isn’t type. Geese hold their pores and skin and feathers in situation by bathing in water and preening and coating their feathers with wax. All you want for a handful of geese is a kiddy pool of water modified a few instances per week. My geese have a small pond I made by propping up a bit of pond liner on the hillside so I can open one aspect and drain it and hose it down simply. In case you are unwilling to supply bathing water for geese, I recommend you get chickens.

Chickens are a a lot better confinement animal than geese. Geese drink way more water, have a a lot looser, extra liquidy poop, and wish more room when confined than chickens. Some folks must confine their poultry and produce the backyard produce and meals to the birds. Chickens are normally the higher alternative for that state of affairs.

In areas the place winter is harsh and the bottom is frozen or coated with snow for months, any poultry needs to be confined. This truth can translate into chickens being probably the most workable possibility. If I lived in Minnesota or Wisconsin, or upstate New York, I feel I might hold chickens as an alternative of geese.

Don’t Put Geese in a “Hen Tractor”

The “rooster tractor” is a small moveable home with no ground that’s moved round to recent floor on daily basis or so. There are a lot of books and articles about this fashion of poultry protecting. It’s truly a confinement state of affairs wherein the birds get slightly greenery however not truly very a lot animal materials. It really works greatest for business broiler chickens, which don’t forage very actively or transfer removed from the feeders anyway.

Laying hens in rooster tractors produce eggs which might be extra a commercial-diet-based egg than a free-range one. Nonetheless, rooster tractors are the one possibility many individuals have for his or her laying flock, and the rooster tractor, managed optimally, produces eggs which might be higher tasting, in all probability extra nutritious, and positively extra moral than these from business caged layers.

Hen tractors work greatest with chickens. You possibly can’t simply substitute geese. Laying chickens roost on raised perches at night time and can use nests stacked in a financial institution in opposition to the wall. So the chickens use three dimensions of the area in a small movable home. The “rooster tractor” normally has one wall of nests that may be accessed from the aspect with out getting into the pen and a built-in roost on one aspect or finish. A rooster tractor for geese is problematic.

Geese use solely ground area, and so want far more ground area than chickens, even earlier than making an allowance for that their manure is way wetter. They want additional ground area for nests and resting. They want far more water and greater water containers and bathing water. By the point you might have given the geese a sufficiently big pen to be comfy for them, it gained’t be capable to maintain many birds in it, and it’ll not be very moveable.

In America and Europe, rooster eggs are the usual. Most individuals don’t know tips on how to cook dinner duck eggs. Over the last twenty years, I’ve developed cooking strategies and recipes for an American fashion of duck egg cookery. Should you promote duck eggs, you have to to do some buyer schooling on how they need to be cooked.

Many individuals will take pleasure in making an attempt each chickens and geese. Typically, the 2 species shouldn’t be brooded collectively or housed in the identical night time quarters (except they’re in separate pens). They’ve totally different necessities. Nonetheless, chickens and geese can normally share their daytime foraging space.

Beneficial Reads

The Significance of Nutrient Biking

A Cluckin’ Good Time: Why Chickens Rule the Roost

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