I've had my heart set on Campbell ducks for a while now. But going to the local supplier/ farm shop the other day, all the ducks kept running away (they were in a big group) when we approached (quietly) but the chickens seemed much friendlier and curious. I hadn't expected it so I went back to check and it happened again half an hour later so I don't think they had been recently startled.
I can't believe I'm typing this.. But are ducks more aloof? Do they get friendlier as they settle in?? Or could this have just been gang mentality/ boys at a party?
We have a cat and 3 young children so we need birds that won't startle too easily, the cat should be OK, it's more the noise from the kids which can get a bit 'much'..
We have a big enough space set aside in the garden for up to 6 birds, we will probably start with 3 birds as I am complete novice.
Knowing this, would you go duck or chicken, any breed you could recommend?
Chickens. Ducks make a terrible mess and are very loud. Unless they are very well socialised from the start they don't tend to like being picked up, and as they do very wet poos this is a risky process.
We have both. Chickens do seem more human friendly to start off with, but ducks settle down, although the only duck we can hand feed and get close to is the one we hatched out. In a garden I think chickens would be better. Ducks are incredibly messy and will destroy any grass, unless the garden is huge - ours have an enclosed pen they are shut in overnight, then the run of half an acre during the day. In winter we have to fence off boggy patches or the ducks play in them and the areas become enormous! Chickens can be messy, but not to the same level as ducks. Some breeds are less friendly. As starter chickens, you can't beat one of the brown hybrids (various names - ISA brown, warren, lohmann) if you find a local chicken dealer they'll probably have some. They are prolific layers, docile and friendly, don't tend to go broody. The downside is that hybrids don't tend to live as long as purebred chickens, but they are lovely. If you don't want to go down the hybrid route, we've found wyandottes (bantams or large fowl) to be lovely, as are faverolles, which are also useful egg layers, but not as many as a hybrid.
We had ducks when I was a child, my job to collect the eggs. I used to cuddle them (not appreciated, but resigned to me), we got ours as adults. We had a quack less variety (Muscovy) so they were almost silent. And didn't really need much water to go into.
Friends have chickens & they seem so much tidier!! But also destroy grass I seem to observe.