Waterfowl vary from chickens and other gallinaceous birds such as quail and pheasants, which live on land. Their flesh is completely black and their plumage is oiled to prevent water. They have a layer of fat beneath their skin that helps them remain warm in chilly water. All of these distinctions might be advantageous, but they also need different management.
They’ve all interacted with human culture and cuisine for a long time. For nourishment, Neolithic hunters hunted geese, ducks, and swans. Ducks and geese were highly prized by ancient Egyptians, both those that traveled through their Nile flyway and those that they caught and bred. Because of their natural origin, many ducks and all geese remain seasonal egg layers. A number of duck varieties have developed into egg producers, while China geese are excellent natural egg layers.
Indians no longer consume as much duck and geese as they formerly did. Pekins are the most common table ducks, while Muscovies are also available. The goose that is sold commercially is generally an industrial hybrid. Although the Embden is a substantial meat breed, all geese make excellent table birds.
The roast goose is the centerpiece of the traditional Christmas meal, but it is so rarely served that many cooks are unfamiliar with it. Most people are concerned about its obese reputation, which stems from the additional layer of insulating fat beneath the skin. That is taken care of through preparation. The fat drains out by pricking the skin and even par-boiling the bird, creating natural basting and allowing the goose grease to be preserved for future cooking. Goose fat, according to NPR analyst Bonny Wolf, is the “creme de la creme of fat.”
It is possible to grow chickens, ducks, and geese together. Chicks and ducklings must be handled with caution, as ducklings are attracted to water that would drown a chick. To avoid drowning, you can use drown-proof waterers.
Waterfowl are robust and adapt well to harsh environments. They stay warm and dry thanks to their increased layer of fat and insulating downy feathers. Goose down is the warmest and most precious type of down.
Waterfowl, swimming peacefully across a pond, have a different charm than active hens on a farm. Keeping them is beneficial and provides a variety of markets and benefits. Perhaps this is the year to incorporate them into your poultry husbandry.