Raising ducks for their eggs means you should choose the most productive breeds. And the good news is, you have plenty of options.
Some of the best duck breeds that are also prolific layers include the Pekin, Khaki Campbell, Indian Runner, Ancona, and Welsh Harlequin. When choosing the breed, consider other factors like the nature of their raising environment, the size of the space, or your egg size preference.
If you are confused as to what best duck breed you should choose to raise for its eggs, here’s a guide. Considering other factors not only trims down your options but also increases your success rate.
Which Breed Gives You the Most Eggs?
If you are after quantity, then you can raise duck breeds that can produce an average of 200 to 300 eggs per year. Breeds included on this list produce a mix of small to large-sized eggs.
Aside from egg-laying productivity, some duck breeders also consider dual-purpose breeds so they can maximize their investment. Choosing breeds like the Ancona, Pekin, and Magpie provides you with meat and eggs at the same time. This is great for backyard or small-scale duck breeders.
The Khaki Campbell is a superior egg layer that can give out about 250 to 340 eggs annually. A Campbell averages 4 to 4.5 pounds and lays colored cream eggs. To date, it is the most productive egg layer among other duck breeds.
Campbells love to forage a lot, which also makes the yolks of their eggs tastier. They are also adaptable to different climate types and are relatively easy to raise that even first-time duck raisers can handle. They are also friendly and calm around children.
Next to the Campbell is the Welsh Harlequin in terms of egg production. It has a yield of about 150 to 330 eggs per year. Meanwhile, it weighs about 4.5 to 5.5 pounds.
The Welsh Harlequin is said to be more resilient than Campbells. This enables it to handle stress better, thus, decreasing the chance of dropping egg production. At this point, it becomes then more productive in laying eggs.
This duck breed is one of the most favorite duck breeds because it matures fast, is generally temperamental, and is safe to be around children, making it friendlier to backyard duck raisers.
Not falling short is the Magpie Duck. It produces an average of 250 to 300 eggs annually. Each Magpie Duck weighs about 5.5 to 6 pounds, making it a dual-purpose breed – which means it can be raised for both its meat and eggs.
Magpie Ducks are black and white varieties. They are also amicable, calm, and somewhat quieter than other duck breeds. This makes them a good option for backyard duck raisers since they are less likely to disturb neighbors. They are also excellent foragers, thus, allowing them to provide tasty eggs.
Which Breed Gives You the Largest Eggs?
Fortunately, some duck breeds can give you the best of many worlds. Some breeds are not just excellent layers but also produce larger eggs.
Aside from producing a significant quantity of eggs per year, duck breeds like Indian Runners, Orpingtons, and Silver Appleyards also yield larger eggs. However, if you prefer extra-large eggs, then these two breeds top the list:
More popular in Asian Cuisine, the Pekin Duck may be cooked on special occasions, but its eggs also make an impressive statement due to its size.
Each Pekin Duck can reach an average weight of 7 to 9 pounds, with eggs weighing between 90 to 100 grams each. It originated in China and is one of the oldest breeds raised for meat and eggs.
In terms of quantity, you can expect up to 200 eggs annual production from a Pekin Duck. That is an impressive feat, considering that this breed is also dual-purpose.
Without regard to production quantity, the Rouen is also a good option if you are after extra-large eggs. However, they can’t produce even half of what Pekins can.
Rouens are also popular in exhibitions and even as pets. They are beautiful and are fairly large, making them more prized for their meat.
Which Breeds are the Most Popular for Their Egg?
Duck eggs come in different sizes and colors, which make them unique from each other. Some duck eggs are also said to taste better or differently depending on the breed. But in general, are nutritious and make an excellent alternative to chicken eggs.
Aside from being productive egg layers, Indian Runners produce eggs that come in different colors like green or blue. You may also spot gray-black eggs, but the most common is still white.
Runner eggs are also great sources of profit. Given their size, you can raise more ducklings in a smaller area.
As mentioned, Magpies are excellent layers. However, this breed is already rare, making them and their eggs coveted. The Livestock Conservatory now lists Magpies as a “Threatened” species.
Even though Magpie ducks are listed as “Threatened” they are very much popular among those dedicated to keeping and breeding them.
Pekin duck eggs are popular for their size, which is considered extra-large compared to other breeds.
Meanwhile, Pekin ducks are more known for their meat, considering its size, taste, and faster maturity rate.
Aside from being superior egg layers, Campbells produce eggs that given their size, provide optimum use of space. The eggs are neither too big nor too small, allowing you to fit more in less space while maximizing their egg production rate or capacity.
Another Campbell’s edge is its beauty. Campbells are also used in exhibitions wherein breeds on their league are priced higher, especially if they are rare.
Which Breed Gives You the Tastiest Egg?
Duck eggs taste similar to chicken eggs. They also contain similar nutrients and can be used interchangeably in various recipes.
But, if you are eating both side-by-side, duck eggs have a richer and more intense flavor profile. Some will describe it as more “eggy” and is creamier and smoother in the mouth than chicken eggs.
In terms of content, duck eggs contain more fat. In terms of appearance, they also have more white parts than the yolk.
In general, all duck breeds lay eggs that taste very similar. You may produce richer ones by altering their diets or at least ensuring that their needs are met and you raise happy and content ducks.
Ways to Improve Egg Production
Getting the best duck breed for egg production does not automatically translate to optimum harvest.
Other factors can increase or decrease production. Thus, it is important that you know how to maximize the raising period to produce the most number of, and highest quality, duck eggs.
Make sure you use mature ducks
Ensuring that the ducks already reached their maturity before allowing them to mate increases the production and hatchability rate.
Provide enough light
Adding 14 hours of light exposure to mature ducks can increase the production rate and bring them to their optimum efficiency. You can use artificial light to complete the requirement, particularly during colder or winter seasons.
Ensure a healthy diet
Diet can also help encourage more production and ensure high-quality duck eggs.
A combination of commercially-mixed special feeds and meals of bugs, small reptiles, and other creepers in the garden can improve egg production and increase the hatchability rate.
Provide a safe breeding environment
Make sure there is ample space for incubating eggs that are also safe from predators. You should also provide food and water that can be easily accessed by the layers and sitters.
Have a good male to female ratio
One male to six females is the ideal ratio to ensure high fertility and hatchability rates.
Raising ducks for their eggs is a very rewarding experience. To improve your success rate, make sure that you choose the right breed that fits your space, breeder level, and goals. You can also improve egg production by providing the right raising environment and proper diet.