Raising ducks for eggs is no more difficult than raising chickens for the same reason – in fact, it might just be far more accessible.
Although ducks do make noise, they are sometimes far less noisy than chickens … especially if a rooster is included in your backyard flock.
Unlike mature male roosters, male drakes rarely ever become prone to attacking their keepers.
Ducks are probably even better free rangers than chickens. These adorable little egg producers love to eat mosquito larvae, ticks, and their all-time favorite. Tadpoles.
If you have a pond or even lots of deep mud puddles on your land, dozens of loudly croaking frogs can invade your serenity every spring – that is, if you do not keep ducks for eggs.
Why Raising Ducks For Eggs Is Such A Good Idea
But duck eggs bring so much more flavor to any baked dish and produce creamier and fluffier scrambled eggs on your morning breakfast plate.
Raising ducks for eggs is one of the reasons you should look into owning ducks.
- The lower water content and higher fat levels in duck eggs make them perfect for cooking and especially baking.
- Duck eggs may be a little more nutritious than chicken eggs because their whites contain a significantly higher degree of protein.
- On average, duck eggs have a longer shelf life than chicken eggs because of the thicker membranes and shells they are housed in, making duck eggs far less likely to accidental breakage.
- As long as the chicken coop has a light source (which chickens need), ducks often produce more eggs during the winter month than commonly available chicken breeds. In fact, on my homestead, the duck hens typically have four more eggs per week than the chicken hens.
- Duck hens are usually far less likely to turn broody than chicken hens.
How Many Ducks Do You Need To Raise Them For Eggs
Ducks are inherently social creatures, typically far more so than chickens.
A bored duck can become depressed and frustrated and stop or reduce the number of eggs.
Keeping at least three ducks at a time, but preferably five or six is a good ratio for proper socialization.
If you are keeping drakes, the best ratio is four to five laying hens to ever mature drake. You don’t need a drake for the duck hen to produce eggs, only to fertilize them.
Is It Difficult To Raise Ducks For Eggs?
There is a straightforward and short answer to that question … no. Ducks are as easy to raise as chickens, if not more accessible.
Duck farming is identical to chicken husbandry, with very few exceptions.
If you are already raising chickens for eggs now want to raise ducks for eggs, you are not alone.
Many folks interested in raising their egg birds often opt for chickens from the start because they are a more traditional choice for eggs and meat.
you can raise ducks and chickens together. The housing and habitat need some slight adjusting to do so.
There is no need to build a second coop and run to house duck egg breed birds unless you genuinely want to.
Simply adding a water feature to a spacious run, such as a baby pool or shovel dug garden pond, can serve as the necessary water source for a small flock of ducks.
Both mature ducks and chickens can eat the same feed. If you plan on hatching ducklings to grow your flock, they can share a brooder and feed with chicks only if a NON-medicated chick starter is used.
Ducks will drink a lot (I mean a whole lot) more water than chickens. It would help if you supplied a second waterer when adding ducks to an existing coop of chickens.
The type of waterer that has a holding tank that is placed on the outside of the coop and fountain-style attachments on the inside will help keep the coop or run area far tidier.
Ducks will attempt to get inside of even a tiny bowl-style waterer and dirty it with their muddy feet – even if they have a nice large baby pool only a foot away.
Ducklings should not be allowed to get into the water until they are at least two weeks old because the oils that will enable them to dry quickly and not become chilled or waterlogged have not yet come in.
Top 7 Best Egg Laying Duck Breeds
There are hundreds of domestic duck breeds that can provide delicious, large, and creamy eggs.
But, some duck breeds are far better than others at laying top-grade eggs consistently throughout the year – including during the winter months.
This mild-mannered duck breed is known for its khaki-colored feathers as well as the ability of the hens to lay an abundance of eggs.
Unlike some tremendous egg-laying duck breeds, Khaki Campbell hens are almost always diligent sitters, as well.
Khaki Campbell hens typically lay roughly 340 eggs annually. They are hardy to various climates and are beautiful additions to any free-ranging flock.
While they tolerate coop and run life well, these ducks become avid foragers when allowed to free-range for at least part of the day.
Hens of this duck breed usually produce between 200 to 250 large white eggs each year. Unlike the Khaki Campbells, Pekin duck hens are rarely good sitters.
Even though Pekins produce fewer eggs than Khaki Campbell hens, I still keep many of this breed because they are a brilliant breed that learns to avoid predators and the “put up” and “turn out” routines healthy – teaching them to the rest of the flock members.
They are also hardy to a wide range of climates and, in my personal experience, against the majority of common poultry parasites, as well.
While my Pekins are kept for eggs and as farm pets, many keepers choose them because of their large size to have a dual-purpose egg and meat breed poultry bird.
Ancona hens produce approximately 240 eggs each year. This dual-purpose bird is highly regarded for the quality of the eggs they lay and the meat they have.
Not only are the Ancona excellent layers, but they are also an overtly friendly and wonderful breed of duck.
Ancona laying hens do best in a free-ranging environment or at least a considerable coop and run. They forage like pros even when they are mere ducklings.
Due to their large size, they are less prone to attack by hawks and small barnyard predators.
This classic duck breed creates hens capable of laying about 300 eggs each year.
Indian Runner ducks are excellent foragers, hardy to a vast array of climates, and will quickly rid your yard of bugs when allowed to free-range.
Indian Runner ducks were traditionally used in China to patrol rice patties to remove snails, weeds, small reptiles, and insects from the marshy growing plots.
These ducks are best kept in a free-range husbandry style but thrive in a large coop and run.
The breed is intelligent and friendly once they become accustomed to their keepers and the new environment.
For centuries, these generous and lightweight ducks have been kept exclusively for egg generation. Magpie hens commonly lay roughly 290 eggs on an annual basis.
Unlike the vast majority of domestic duck breeds, Magpie eggs come in a series of beautiful shades, from creamy white to hues of both green and blue.
If you keep backyard ducks in a small town or rural environment, so fresh eggs are always at your fingertips, the Magpie breed may be your best choice.
These ducks are often regarded as the calmest and docile and the quietest keepers.
This heritage duck breed is prone to producing more than 300 large white eggs annually. They are often regarded as a dual-purpose breed due to their large size.
In addition to being superb layers, Welsh Harlequin hens are also known for their steadfast sitting abilities.
This duck breed was created by selectively breeding some Khaki Campbell ducks born with unusually light color mutation.
Thanks to their Khaki Campbell heritage, they are prone to being not only a dependable laying and sitting breed but hardy in most climates, as well.
Members of this dual-purpose and large duck breed typically lay between 200 to 250 eggs per year.
Both mature hens and drakes are the same color, except the “seal” brown shade of the male’s head.
These are great easy keepers for a newbie to duck husbandry.
They are a relatively quiet breed, adapt to coop, run exclusive living quite well, and are generous with their human keepers and other poultry birds.
How To Use Duck Eggs
Adjusting your recipes is the only issue you will likely experience when transitioning from farm-grown chicken eggs or store-bought eggs to duck eggs.
Typically, you use a ratio of two duck eggs for every three standards to large chicken eggs called for in a recipe.
While duck eggs do offer a far more rich taste than chicken eggs, they can become rubbery when overcooked.
It takes a little more elbow grease to beat duck eggs whites than chicken egg whites because the gel inside of the egg is thicker and more prominent.
Bringing the duck eggs to room temperature first or tossing a pinch of baking soda on them can help the egg white beating process go a lot smoother and quicker.
Once the egg whites are finally beaten, they become wonderfully frothy and whip up quite well.
Plan on adding a few minutes to the cooking time when making hard-boiled duck eggs.
It usually takes 12 minutes to hard boil large duck eggs, like Pekin ducks.
Hard-boiled duck eggs can be kept in the refrigerator unpeeled when covered with cold water and a handful of ice cubes.