This Week's Podcast: Start Your Own Duck Dynasty with Lisa Steele
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People all over the USA are raising chickens. Coops are appearing in suburban and country backyards and even in cities. The major reason, I suppose, is to have fresh eggs. Chickens are useful, and often beautiful. It’s your call as to whether they are good for the garden or troublemakers: scratching and eating plants isn’t helpful, but aged manure is. If you have the time to discover their personalities and bond with some of the friendlier individuals, chickens can be rewarding pets. I have to admit, however, I’ve always been little afraid of chickens – maybe it’s their pointy beaks. Perhaps they know this, because whenever I have had to care for some when friends are away, the birds seem to sense my fear.
As for ducks, I think they are adorable, amusing and a lot less terrifying.
Want to know more? Lisa Steele is the author of an enormously popular book on keeping chickens – Fresh Eggs Daily, and now she has turned to ducks with Duck Eggs Daily. The book is fun to read and packed with old-time wisdom and Lisa’s own discoveries that will help anyone keeping fowl, or hoping to, succeed. Lisa’s Face Book pages have a combined readership of over 600,000 fans. And her blog was named among the top ten by Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
If you’ve never seen call ducks, look them up. And Indian Runners, they look like people or penguins standing upright on two legs. Lisa says they were bred to roam rice patties, and be able to see over the plants for possible insect meals. I think they look like bowling pins.
Lisa’s main reason for keeping ducks is their eggs, which unlike chickens’, are laid year-round. “They are so, well, more eggy,” she says, and she has pretty much given up the chicken kind.
People don’t really know much about duck eggs, except that they are super large. How do you calculate for recipes? “Two duck eggs equal three chicken eggs, but, I just use them like chicken eggs, one for one.” Lisa includes recipes in her book.
I really like the way they look, interact with each other, walk in a line, shake off like dogs – but not the way they mess up their water. In my limited experience, you put the fresh, clean water bowl in with them and in ten seconds, it is completely messed up with bedding and feed and more. Lisa tells us how to deal with this, but perhaps the most useful information is how she deals with health, opting for a holistic approach over prophylactic medicines like antibiotics.
Duck is a popular item on restaurant menus, and every predator finds these animals delicious, too. Lisa admits that precautions must be taken, and even more than for chickens. She has some suggestions and Duck Eggs Daily has that and much, much more.