“Got Duck Eggs?”
June 22, 2012
Rebecca Rohrer of Rohrganics, East Troy, has been selling her duck eggs in our farm stand. We asked her about the ducks she has, and the following is her response…” Most of her information comes from Storey’s books on ducks.
We keep 5 different types of ducks: khaki campbells, cayugas, runners, pekins, and muscovys. They are relatively new to the farm and we are still experimenting. Domestic ducks are about the most predator-vulnerable creatures ever raised in a barnyard setting (although chickens are right up there). They can be difficult to convince to go into their home at night. Their natural defense is to slip into the water. We don’t have a body of water to offer them, instead we supply buckets large enough for them to dunk their heads into. This is sufficient for them.
Khaki campbells lay the off-whitish/champagne colored eggs. The campbell was developed in the late 1800s in England. They were a color that reminded their developer, Mrs. Campbell, of the British military uniforms, thus the name Khaki campbell. They are a good dual purpose breed, and among the most prolific layers of all the duck breeds.
Cayugas lay the darker blue eggs. Their feathering is beautiful. Both the drake and hen are a shiny green that appears iridescent in the sun. They were developed as a roasting bird, but lost out to the pekin due to their slightly smaller size and dark pinfeathers. They have a great docile personality and are quite hardy.
Runners lay the light blue eggs. They are hilarious to watch. Even the worst day can be made better by taking a few minutes to watch the runners. They walk upright, like a person. Runners were developed in Indonesia to help control pests in the rice paddies. They are excellent foragers, and cover a lot of ground each day (this is not good as far as trying to protect them from predators). This breed is also a prolific layer,
Pekin is to ducks what the cornish-rock cross is to chickens. They are raised almost exclusively for meat due to fast growth and large carcass size. They have good feed conversion, and are easily cleaned due to their white feathers. Pekin ducks are fine layers, ours are not laying yet.
Muscovys descended from the wild muscovy, a duck native to South and Central America that does not migrate and uses its sharp toenails to nest in trees. Natives were already keeping domesticated muscovys when the Europeans arrived. The muscovy is a very large breed, raised for meat, that is thought to be less greasy than some breeds derived from the mallard. They are excellent foragers, and great for pest control. They are omnivores and are known to eat rodents. Our muscovys are also not laying yet.