If you are a vegan, vegetarian, or someone who likes to pretend that meat spontaneously generates out of styrofoam trays covered in plastic, you may want to skip this post.
Ok, lets talk about ducks as a meat source. The main reason I have ducks are for the eggs, but when you raise ducks, there is always an issue of not enough hens and too many drakes. Since you only need 1 drake for every 4 or so hens, and ducks hatch out at about 1/1 male to female, what happens to those extra boys?
This is where the meat thing comes in. Lets face it, duck is delicious. Duck breast has a flavor closer to steak than chicken. The duck fat you get off a roasted duck can be used to cook other meals. The thigh and leg meat makes excellent sausages. The carcass makes a fantastic, nutritious bone broth. To put it simply ducks = yum.
The only problem with getting the duck to the point of being meat is that you have to kill the duck. Killing something is hard enough. When it is cute and you know it on a first name basis it is even harder. But the cold hard reality is that if you eat meat, something had to die for you to get a meal. Eating meat from an animal you know has received the proper food, lived in uncramped conditions, was perfectly healthy, and was allowed to live as naturally as possible is reason to be happy, not sad.
Meat that is raised on fresh air, sunshine, and natural food is going to be way more nourishing than factory raised meat fed corn and soy that is typically available in the super market. Butchering an animal might not be something most people are able to do, but it is something anyone who eats meat should consider. A chicken had to die for you to eat a McNugget, even if you can't identify what part of the chicken a McNugget is. Meat comes from somewhere, and it isn't from those yellow trays.
Having butchered 2 ducks so far, I can say that the quality of meat and knowing how the animal was raised is a big consideration. I am confident that the ducks had a great life, I know what they ate, and I know that is reflected in the nutrition value of the meat. As we get to the time of year when we hatch out more ducklings, the excess drakes will end up as food. I doubt many of my friends will be able to eat duck meat if they know I raised it. Even discussing butchering makes them uncomfortable. This is sad really. Why can they eat store chicken and not a chicken they saw walking around? What makes my duck inedible but crispy duck at a restaurant perfectly OK?
By removing themselves from the true origins of their food they can live in ignorant bliss. I guess I am much happier living in reality. I know where my food came from. Do you?