Choosing a Duck Breed for Beginners

Choosing a Duck Breed for Beginners

There are a variety of duck breeds that make adequate layers. However, for top efficiency and year ’round production, Campbells, Welsh Harlequins, Indian Runners, Magpies and Anconas from strains selected for egg production are usually the best choices.

Pekins are good seasonal layers of jumbo-sized eggs, but due to their large size and corresponding hearty appetites, they require nearly twice as much feed to produce a pound of eggs when compared to the above mentioned breeds.

Campbells, and their close relative the Welsh Harlequin, are generally considered the best layers of all domestic poultry. Individual females have been known to produce 360 or more eggs in a year’s time, although flock averages are nearer 275 to 325.

Choosing a Duck Breed for Beginners

Egg-bred Campbells are available both in Khaki and White color varieties.

Khaki Campbell drakes (males) have iridescent greenish-bronze heads and khaki bodies, while ducks (females) are varying shades of khaki brown with dark seal-brown, silky white plumage, orange feet and legs and bills that range from pink to yellowish-pink in color.

Along with their fine laying prowess, the graceful Indian Runners are some of the most entertaining of all domestic ducks. Tall and slender, they have often been referred to as “Penguin ducks” due to their nearly vertical carriage. Mature weights of the ducks and drakes are similar to that of Campbells—in the four- to five-pound range.

With proper care, Runners, Magpies and Anconas from good laying strains can produce 200 to over 300 white or blue eggs yearly that average approximately two ounces larger per dozen than Campbell eggs. Runners are bred in a rainbow of colors, including White, Fawn and White, Penciled, Solid Fawn, Black, Blue, Chocolate, Buff and Gray.

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