Duck meat is not only delicious but also versatile to cook.
Duck meat is often juicier and gamier than chicken meat and uses rendered duck fat to fry other foods.
If you love the taste of duck meat, you may be wondering why it is so expensive.
Duck meat is expensive because ducklings cost more, take longer to grow, and need more space than chicks. Fewer poultry processors will accept ducks. They are more difficult to process, and there isn’t much demand for duck meat, so the supply is lower.
Read on to learn more about the costs going into duck meat production.
Why Does It Cost More To Buy Duck Meat?
Ducklings are expensive
There are many reasons duck meat is expensive.
Ducklings cost about twice as much as the cost of chicks.
A duckling costs an average of $5-$10 per bird, whereas chicks cost between $2-$5 per bird.
This initial cost may not seem like much, but the price difference rolls over to the cost of the meat.
Ducks take more space and time to raise
Ducks take 28 days to mature, and chicks take 25 days.
This extra week means more poultry bird feed and upkeep expenses for the duck farmer.
Then, the extra costs get passed to the consumer.
You need more space to raise ducks.
You need 3′ square feet per duck of space.
They also need a water feature to splash in, which isn’t always easy to provide.
Ducks are harder to process
Fewer poultry processors are willing and able to take duck meat.
Ducks have more feathers, so feather removal takes more than chickens.
Their pin feathers are incredibly thick and difficult to remove.
So, the act of processing duck meat takes longer and is more difficult.
Many poultry processors only take chickens.
Processors who take duck meat often get booked up quickly.
Then, they ask for more money because they are in higher demand.
The average cost to process a duck is $9.50 per bird.
The common price to process chicken is $3.50 per bird.
This is a considerable difference in price for the butchering process.
Ducks are not as profitable as chicken
Duck meat has a higher fat content.
It may be a five-pound duck, but the market weight is less.
There is more fat and less meat content per pound than there is with chicken.
Duck is also dark meat, whereas chicken has dark and white meat.
Many Americans prefer white meat.
Unfortunately, few people are familiar with how delicious duck meat is.
So, people don’t buy as much duck.
Many people think duck meat is greasy and gamey.
Consumer markets thrive on supply and demand.
Not as many farmers want to invest in large-scale duck production.
Duck meat businesses might not be as lucrative as operations for chickens.
It’s more expensive to produce ducks on a large scale.
All those dollars spent along the way add up to higher duck meat costs.
The wealthy buy duck meat
Duck is a delicacy served at many upscale restaurants.
These establishments market the duck meat to the wealthy.
High-end restaurants serve duck foie gras, duck confit, Peking duck, and other favorite duck dishes at outrageous prices.
Since these buyers are willing to pay more for these dishes, it drives up the cost of duck meat.
Is Duck Meat Good For You?
Duck meat is a source of protein, vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron.
There is a high-fat content to duck.
Most of the fat is in the skin.
If you want a healthy alternative, remove the skin to reduce fat intake.
The skin has benefits of its own, however.
Duck skin has amino acids.
These can promote better sleep and aids in wound healing.
Duck meat, especially the delicious duck liver, is an excellent source of B vitamins.
B vitamins promote energy, better focus, stronger muscle, and red blood cell production.
Duck contains a significant amount of selenium.
This nutrient is an antioxidant and boosts your immune system.
Can You Raise Ducks For Meat In Backyards?
To raise ducks in your backyard, you will need many of the same supplies as you would for chickens.
You will need a brooder, a heat source, bedding, food, and freshwater.
The homestead meat duck will also need shelter and water to swim in.
Ducks are herd animals and will even come when you call them.
They are gentle on lawns and don’t scratch them like chickens.
Ducks take about 10 weeks to be ready for meat.
Process and butcher your ducks and save money.
It is time-consuming, but duck raisers can either dry or wet pluck the birds.
The Peking duck is the most common meat duck for backyards because it grows quicker than the other varieties.
Commonly Asked Questions
Why is chicken meat more popular than duck meat?
Chickens are more popular than ducks in the US because chickens are easier to produce on a large scale.
Chickens grow quicker.
Chickens produce more eggs per bird than ducks.
They process quickly and in large quantities.
Chickens also need less space to grow than ducks.
Chickens need about 1′ square foot per bird.
However, many other cultures value duck meat.
China is the largest producer of duck meat.
France follows behind at a close second.
Is duck meat dark meat?
Duck meat is not red meat, but it is dark white meat.
Dark meat contains higher myoglobin (a red protein storing oxygen in muscles).
Chicken breast meat does not contain much myoglobin, which is why it is white.
Duck meat has more myoglobin than chicken meat because ducks fly and swim.
As the bird exercises, its body supplies more myoglobin to the muscles at work, such as the duck’s breast muscles.
These muscles then have a darker color when cooked.
What are the best duck varieties for meat?
Muscovy ducks are a quality meat duck and a favorite duck breed in France.
These ducks are similar to geese.
Since these ducks are so large, they produce more meat and are the duck of choice for meat.
Their meat has a milder flavor.
The cuts of meat resemble roast beef.
This variety of ducks is perfect for duck confit.
If you want breeds with flavor, Pekin ducks have a strong flavor.
They are fast-growing, and their meat is tender and juicy.
Mulard ducks are a cross between Muscovy ducks and Mallards.
They are infertile but known for high meat production.
Their meat is healthier than other duck meats because it is so lean.
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