Ducks are birds that are commonly known as waterfowl because they spend so much time around places with water. They are usually found in ponds, streams, and rivers. The body of the duck is broad, elongated, and they are also relatively long-necked. The body shape of the ducks varies somewhat from this in being more rounded. They eat a diversity of food sources such as grasses, aquatic plants, fish, insects, small amphibians, worms, and small mollusks.
- Ducks are mostly aquatic birds living in both freshwater and seawater.
- Ducks can be found on every continent except for Antarctica.
- Ducks can live from 2-12 years, depending on species.
- Ducks have featured as popular cartoon characters over the years, such as Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and Warner Brothers, Daffy Duck.
- Ducks can sleep with one eye open
- Ducks have highly waterproof feathers
- Ducks have a particular counter-current blood vessel system in their feet/legs so their feet will not feel cold.
Drake: A male duck.
Hen: A female duck.
Duckling: A baby duck.
Raft: A group of ducks.
Mating: The action of animals coming together to breed
Duck Buying Guide
The meat of the ducks can be bought mostly in the markets. Most of them are commercially raised and are between 3 and 6 pounds. Duck meat is available fresh and frozen, whole, or in packages of breasts only. When buying a duck, look for USDA Grade A duck with a plump, firm breast. The meat should have a deep red color, a good layer of fat on one side, and no indication of drying out. Always remember that the darker the flesh is, the older the duck.
Duck Production & Farming in Texas
Raising ducks is like raising chickens or any other poultries. They are grown under a wide variety of conditions, ranging from a backyard coop for a few ducks to housing for large flocks on a commercial duck farm. Ducks can adapt well to a wide range of ways of care provided, and they receive essential primary care except for the early stage when ducklings require a higher temperature and individual attention by the farmer.
With their well-oiled feathers and a thick coating of down, ducks are resistant to cold and wet weather. In general, a bedded windbreak usually provides sufficient protection in areas where temperatures occasionally drop to 0º F. For laying ducks, feed conversion and egg yields can be improved if ducks are housed at night time, whenever temperatures regularly fall more than 5º to 10º F below the freezing level. To keep ducks laying the year around, they must be supplied with an adequate amount of laying feed that provides a minimum of 15 to 16% crude protein.
Around 3 billion ducks are being slaughtered each year worldwide for their meat, eggs, and feathers. They are also kept by aviculturists and often displayed in zoos.
Most of the duck breeds that we have today can be traced back to the wild Mallard. There is only one duck which isn’t a descendant of the Mallard – the Muscovy duck. It’s a large, heavy duck, originating from Central and South America.
Eating their meat dates back to the Egyptians around 1300 B.C. The Southeast Asians were also raising ducks in captivity before 500 B.C, and there is evidence the Romans also enjoyed eating roast duck. Until the 19th century, ducks were kept mostly for eating rather than their eggs, but now duck eggs are becoming a popular alternative to chicken eggs.
Duck is one of the most underrated poultry products that have a rich and delicious flavor and can be a nutritious alternative to chicken. Duck meat is known for its distinctive, earthy taste and dark, moist meat. The breasts are delicious, whether it is sauteed or roasted. The legs, adds richness to stews and succulence to salads while the wings make a knockout stock.
Once you get the meat home, keep it in the original packaging from the supermarket. Do not open or tear the plastic wrap at all to preserve the sealed package. Place the original package into the freezer bag and squeeze out as much air from the bag before closing it. The freezer bag will provide additional insulation around the original packaging of the duck meat. Place the container into the freezer. If kept frozen continuously, it will be safe indefinitely for up to one month.
Duck has a thick coating of fat under the skin, which makes the meat incredibly moist. Make sure to prick the skin before you roast or grill a duck to allow the fat to escape. If you’re cooking duck breast, score the duck in a diamond pattern before seasoning, then cook with the skin side down. Be sure you cook it until the skin is browned and crisp before turning.
Whole duck is usually roasted in one of two ways; Chinese-style where the skin is dried and lacquered as it cooks, or in the same way as a roast chicken in a hot oven. A 4- to 6-pound duck must be roasted at 350 degrees F for about 1-3/4 to 2-1/2 hours. You can also broil a 6- to 8-ounce duck breast, with the skin removed, for 15 to 18 minutes.
If you want to eat healthily, the duck is the protein for you. Its lean meat is comparable in fat and calories to a skinless chicken or turkey breast. It’s also an excellent source of selenium and zinc, both of which encourage proper cellular metabolism. Since it is also considered red meat, the meat of the duck contains higher amounts of iron than other poultry.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin A: It is vital for healthy vision, the immune system, and reproduction.
Vitamin B6: It’s significant to protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism and the creation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters.
Vitamin B12: It is essential for the healthy formation of red blood cells and the health of the nerve tissues.
Calcium: In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat.
Magnesium: A mineral that is important for standard bone structure in the body.
Iron: An essential component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body.