can chickens eat duck meat

Can Chickens Savor the Flavor of Duck Meat? 🍽️🦆

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I still remember the day my friend Ricky came by with a fresh duck he’d hunted.

He was excited to cook it up and have me try some duck for the first time.

But when he went inside to start prepping, my chickens swarmed him!

Before we knew it, those crazy chickens had devoured half the duck raw.

Ricky and I just stood there stunned.

Who knew chickens loved duck meat so much?

The short answer is yes, chickens can definitely eat duck meat and most love it.

Duck contains nutrients chickens need and provides variety to their diet.

Chickens Go Quackers Over Duck

can chickens eat duck meat

Ever since that incident with Ricky’s duck, I’ve experimented more with feeding duck to my flock.

I now know that duck meat, raw or cooked, makes for a great occasional treat for chickens.

Most chickens get really excited when they see me coming with duck.

They literally start running around quacking when they smell it!

Just last week, I got a whole fresh duck from a buddy who went hunting.

I decided to hang it up by the chickens’ pen to see what they would do.

Immediately all 12 of my chickens flocked toward it, jumping up trying to reach it.

It was hilarious watching them try to fly up to nibble bits of the dangly duck.

Finally, I took pity and hacked off a wing to toss down to them.

You should’ve seen the duck feather explosion from the chickens ravaging that wing!

Their little chicken faces were covered in duck grease, but they looked so satisfied.

I made sure to chop the rest of the duck into strips I could throw into their pen over the next week.

Every time I walked out with a new duck piece, the chickens went nuts chasing and pecking at the meat.

They never seem to get tired of it – even eating the bones and skin I figured they wouldn’t like.

Health Benefits of Duck for Chickens

can chickens eat duck meat

Duck contains lots of protein, amino acids, iron, zinc, and B vitamins – all nutrients essential for chicken health.

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Iron helps chickens produce red blood cells to transport oxygen efficiently.

Zinc boosts immunity against diseases and amino acids form strong bones & feathers.

Feeding bits of bony duck provides calcium for proper eggshell development too.

And all those delicious fatty acids give them an energy kick to scamper around the coop.

Those extra omega-3s in duck meat also make the eggs I collect even more nutritious!

The change of pace from chicken feed also helps keep their digestive system in order.

Egg layers can get burned out on the same grain formula every single day for years.

The variety of duck, turkey, beef and other scraps excites their appetites and intestinal tracts.

These meaty morsels act like a tasty digestive scrub to clear out their systems.

Just like humans, a bland repetitive diet causes chicken health issues after awhile.

The extra protein boost supports egg production in laying hens, too.

I always notice a spike in daily eggs for a few weeks after giving my ladies a good fatty duck or steak snack.

The high calories and nutrients of duck, turkey and beef get incorporated into luxurious yolks and whites.

Plus all that licking and chewing action on meat scraps strengthens their beaks and jaw muscles for improved feed eating and seed scratching the rest of the time.

They just feel energized and start pumping out more gorgeous eggs to show it!

Best Ways to Feed Duck Meat

can chickens eat duck meat

I recommend moderation, as duck has a very rich flavor.

Truthfully my chickens would gorge themselves into a stupor on duck if I let them!

Fowl species don’t have the same self-regulation instincts that mammals do when it comes to rich food sources.

Chickens inherited from wild junglefowl ancestors the urge to cram in as many calories as possible when meat is available since it’s a rare commodity in the wild.

They will literally eat duck meat until their crops burst if I didn’t limit the portions.

So for their health and safety, I only share duck delicacies 1-2 times per month as a supplement to their normal feed.

I either chop cooked duck I baked myself into bite-size pieces for them.

Or I hang whole raw duck carcasses I got from hunter friends for the chickens to pick at.

If I toss a whole duck out, the chickens go to town ripping off tiny shreds of meat.

Watching 12 chickens vie for neck skin and tail feathers is better than TV!

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Make sure to remove any remaining duck once your chickens lose interest, as leftover meat can rot quickly in summer heat.

Nothing stinks worse than putrid poultry!

Plus it draws flies, rats and predators that threaten my flock.

I check on unfinished duck and discard it if they abandon it after a day or two.

Watch your flock and adjust the frequency and portion sizes of duck meat according to their needs and reaction.

Pay attention to any changes after introducing new treats into their diet.

If their eggshells get thin or energy drops, back off the rich indulgences.

But in my experience, sensible splurges in duck, turkey, and beef give my ladies nothing but “fowl” joy!

Preparing Duck for Your Flock

When getting ducks to feed my chickens, I always inspect the meat fully before offering it.

Check for any odd colors, textures, or smells that would indicate spoilage.

Fresh raw or cooked duck should have a light pink or tan hue without slimy areas or putrid odors.

Discard any duck with greenish tints as that indicates bacteria growth.

For raw ducks, pluck out all feathers which can choke chickens or get stuck in their crops.

Use a sharp knife to remove the skin and trim off excess chunks of fat on the carcass.

Too much fat can cause diarrhea.

Chop the boneless meat into bite-size bits no bigger than 1-inch cubes.

Bigger chunks pose a choking hazard, especially for juvenile chickens and bantams.

Duck Bones: To Feed or Not to Feed?

The bones of cooked ducks splinter into small fragments perfect for adding calcium to your chickens’ diet.

These bone bits also help clean their crops and promote healthy digestive tract peristalsis.

However, raw duck bones remain quite hard and can potentially puncture chickens’ delicate digestive organs.

So I only feed raw duck meat pieces, reserving the whole carcass frame for after I simmer it into bone broth.

Once duck bones have boiled for an hour, they soften enough for chickens to break apart and swallow safely.

Let the broth cool completely before pouring it into feeders so your flock doesn’t scald their beaks drinking it hot.

Integrating Duck into the Flock Diet

When first introducing duck meat, go slowly to allow your chickens’ systems to adjust.

Start by only supplying a handful of chopped duck mixed into their grain ration for the initial week.

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Gradually increase the duck portion every few days as you decrease the commercial feed amount accordingly.

Watch to ensure they completely finish each mixed meal before serving more.

This prevents pileup of unfinished grain that attracts pests.

Once your chickens become accustomed to duck over 2 weeks, you can feed whole carcasses.

Safety Tips for Raw Duck and Salmonella

Like all poultry products, raw duck does pose a slight risk of passing salmonella or other bacteria to your flock.

To reduce infection risks, always wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly after handling the raw meat.

I use antibacterial dish soap followed by diluted bleach solution.

Keep an eye out for symptoms like lethargy, diarrhea, or sudden death after feeding raw duck or other meat.

Though rare, these can indicate a contamination issue so remove any remaining meat immediately.

Also isolate and monitor any sick birds closely for several days.

Storing Duck Safely for Chickens

Always refrigerate fresh raw duck meat right away until ready to serve.

Prepare and chop into chicken portions within 1-2 days of acquiring the ducks.

You can freeze cleanly packaged, chopped duck in airtight bags for 1-2 months.

Thaw frozen duck overnight in the fridge before feeding out.

Wrap leftovers securely and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Cooked duck bones can also be frozen for 6 months for later broth making or reheating.

Just remember to never leave any meat out too long, especially in hot weather.

Neighbors May Not Approve!

One last tip – duck feeding can get a bit messy, so beware of upsetting neighbors!

Remember that not everyone enjoys the sights, sounds and smells of ravenous chickens tearing apart hunks of meat.

Position duck carcasses out of view from nearby homes and communal spaces like sidewalks.

Bury any discarded inedible remains instead of trashing visibly.

Consider feeding duck inside an enclosed run if feasible.

Washing the area down after with gentle soap prevents lingering odors.

Following these duck feeding guidelines will keep your feathered ladies thrilled while maintaining neighborhood peace!

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