Egg-Laying Duck Breeds [Explained In Detail]

Egg-Laying Duck Breeds [Explained In Detail]

Egg Laying Ducks

Egg-laying duck breeds are specific ducks that are known for their prolific egg production. These ducks are often chosen by farmers and hobbyists who are interested in raising ducks for their eggs.

Here are the top egg-laying duck breeds:

  • Indian Runner Duck,
  • Khaki Campbell Duck,
  • Welsh Harlequin Duck,
  • Magpie Duck,
  • Ancona Duck,
  • Silver Appleyard Duck,
  • Pekin Duck,
  • Gold Star Hybrid Duck,
  • Crested Duck, and
  • Rouen Duck.

Let’s now talk about each one of them.

Indian Runner Duck

The Indian Runner Duck stands out due to its high egg-laying capabilities. Annually, a hen of this breed can lay 300 to 350 eggs on average. Besides being plentiful, the large eggs add a dash of color to your basket with their pastel green hue. Don’t raise your eyebrows yet, sometimes they can be white too.

Maintaining an Indian Runner duck isn’t too diffcult. They’re very independent and their knack for foraging makes them great for natural pest control. Give them to a pond, and watch them swim gracefully. However, a pond isn’t a must for these ducks.

The Indian Runner Duck might have prolific egg production, but broodiness isn’t in its nature. These ducks have a drop-and-go policy with their eggs, often leaving them wherever they please with little to no nesting. And don’t count on them for motherhood. Their maternal instincts don’t quite kick in after the eggs hatch. So, you’ll need to cuddle the ducklings in a brooder yourself.

Egg production of Indian Runners can vary. Some strains might lay an impressive 300 eggs in a year, while others could settle at around 200. Age also plays a role. Expect a regular supply of eggs for a solid 4 to 5 years. After this, production levels begin a downward trend.

Khaki Campbell Duck

A healthy Khaki Campbell hen can lay between 180 to 300 eggs annually, with some reports pushing that average high up to 320.

If you crack open a Khaki Campbell egg, you’ll find an extra-large, creamy white delight. Weighing in at roughly two and a half to two and three-quarters of ounces, their eggs offer substantial value. Keep an eye out for those with a indistinct green tint– a fun variant in Khaki Campbell eggs.

While not broody birds, they’ve been known to sit on their eggs. For effective hatching though, use mechanical incubators or enlist broody chickens. Their mothering instincts don’t quite match their laying talents.

Khaki Campbell Duck is a superb forager too. Backyard flock owners cherish these ducks for providing a steady stream of fresh eggs. High-energy and independent, these ducks need space to expend their energy effectively.

Up to age nine, a Khaki Campbell duck still has her egg-game on, although production levels decrease gradually. Age slows them down, but rarely stops them. Quality remains prime, even as quantity slows, making Khaki Campbells a top pick for persistent, high-quality egg output.

Welsh Harlequin Duck

The Welsh Harlequin Duck is a champ egg-layer. Renowned for their high egg production, a healthy Welsh Harlequin hen can lay between 100 to 350 eggs per year. On average, expect 250 to 300 eggs annually. What’s more, these eggs are typically large and come in shades of pearly white or subtly tinted.

These ducks aren’t simply egg-layers. They’ve got personality too. Known for their calm demeanor, Welsh Harlequin Ducks are often described as docile. They are excellent foragers and thrive when they can search out an insect-loaded buffet that includes tadpoles, small frogs, and grasshoppers. They’re often quieter than many other duck breeds.

But wait, there’s more. Unlike other duck breeds that stick strictly to egg-laying duties, Welsh Harlequin ducks earn gold stars as mothers. These ducks are reputed to be good sitters and attentive parents.

That said, if you’ve set your heart on a year-round egg supply, a simple trick involves placing a coop light (preferably solar-powered) in their house. This gives your ducks 10 or more hours a day of sunlight, a little trick to keep their egg factory running even in cold weather months.

As the ducks age, egg production will slow, but it rarely stops altogether. A healthy Welsh Harlequin hen could lay eggs for up to 8-9 years. So if fresh eggs are the goal, Welsh Harlequin ducks are a sure bet.

Magpie Duck

The Magpie Duck, known for its impressive egg-laying skills, is another breed to add to your top list of egg laying ducks. Like the Khaki Campbell, Indian Runner, and Welsh Harlequin breeds, Magpie hens stand out with their annual production of 220 to 290 large eggs. These eggs even have a unique touch, with shades of green and blue – but don’t be surprised if you find a white one.

Magpie ducks are real food explorers. They have a well-known love for hunting a range of food, like tadpoles, tiny frogs, seeds, slugs, berries, snails, small crustaceans, and wild greens. They even go after small lizards and bugs like mosquitoes or their larvae. These ducks are not just good at foraging. They’re calm, mellow birds who are easy to handle and raise, making them a great choice for your flock.

While many duck breeds shy away from sitting and mothering, some Magpie hens rise to the occasion. They can make good sitters and attentive mothers. But remember, this isn’t true for all hens of this breed. So, you might want to invest in an incubator to boost your flock numbers.

The egg-laying prowess of Magpie ducks is slightly different based on the specific strain. You will find some strains laying up to 290 eggs per year while others may stop around 220. Typically, a Magpie hen will continue laying eggs for about 4 to 5 years, after which her production starts to dip. You’ll want to bear this in mind when planning your long-term egg supply.

Ancona Duck

On average, Ancona hens can lay between 210 to 280 large eggs per year. Their eggs vary in shades from cream to snowy white, and even blue. Even their size stands out. At roughly 70 grams per egg, Ancona duck eggs fall into the large category.

In the wild, Ancona ducks boast admirable foraging skills. They have a knack for finding diverse food items like insects and seeds. This ability is preserved even when capped in farm environments. In fact, they love to indulge in this practice of searching for their own food.

Some ducks have strong maternal instincts, going broody and sitting on their eggs to hatch them. But one of the unique aspects of Ancona ducks is how they don’t tend to be as broody. If you’re looking to increase your flock of Anconas, you’ll likely need an incubator for this purpose.

Over the years, the egg laying rate of Ancona hens does reduce, but it’s intriguing how it never stops entirely. The productive egg-laying period of these ducks normally lasts for about five to eight years.

Silver Appleyard Duck

The Silver Appleyard Duck is known for its exceptional egg-laying skills. A Silver Appleyard hens can lay between 100 to 270 large, white eggs each year. On average, each egg weighs about 2.5–3.7 oz. (70–105 g) – they’ll certainly satisfy your need for sizable eggs.

Besides their egg-laying talent, Silver Appleyard ducks exhibit a peaceful temperament. They’re calm and docile, making them an easy addition to your flock. They’re pretty good at finding their own grub too. As excellent foragers, they’ll happily scour the area for a wide range of food items.

While it’s common for some duck breeds to shun motherhood, that’s not the case here. Some Silver Appleyard hens go broody and have shown tendencies to be decent mothers. They might just surprise you and start caring for a brood of their own. Nonetheless, if you’re set on increasing your flock size, it’s wise to have an incubator on hand.

The Silver Appleyard hens can lay eggs for up to five to eight years. But as with all good things, their egg-laying prowess doesn’t last forever. As they age, egg production may slow, yet rarely ever stops entirely.

Pekin Duck

A Pekin hens lays between 125 to 225 eggs each year on average. Some sources even claim that they can lay as much as 200 to 300 eggs annually. These hens lay extra-large, white eggs. They’re so large that they even tip the scale even more than your average jumbo chicken egg.

The Pekin Duck isn’t just an amazing egg layer. These ducks come with a pretty easy-going and calm temperament, making them docile and manageable birds. They’re not really the foraging type when compared with other duck breeds but they more than make up for it with their high egg production.

Unlike a lot of breeds, Pekin hens don’t have a knack for brooding or show consistent desire to hatch their eggs. The best way to add to your Pekin flock is to use an incubator.

When you keep Pekin hens, you can expect a steady stream of eggs for about five to eight years. Just remember, egg-laying will slow down as the hens age, but they never really stop laying altogether.

Gold Star Hybrid Duck

The Gold Star Hybrid Duck lays an impressive 200 to 290 white eggs each year. That’s not all, these eggs are larger than those laid by the notable Khaki Campbell Duck breed. This high yield, coupled with the larger egg size, reinforces the Gold Star Hybrid Duck’s status as a highly productive breed.

Similar to Silver Appleyard and Pekin Ducks, Gold Star Hybrids have a peaceful temperament making them a popular choice for those looking for a manageable and high-yield fowl. However, unlike the previously mentioned breeds, a Gold Star Hybrid Duck’s unique characteristics won’t pass on to their offspring as they are a one-generation breed.

Despite these ducks not being as large as others – they average between 4-6 pounds when mature – they are grand foragers. This characteristic can directly impact your feed costs by driving them lower.

Crested Duck

The Crested Duck lays around 100 to 130 eggs every year. Large in size, these eggs impress with their unusual color range, coming in white or even striking blue shades. The eggs weigh from 80 to 90 grams, on an average.

Don’t get misled though, the Crested Duck hens don’t express too much of the broody behavior that you see in many poultry birds. They’re not the very attentive mothers that ducks are generally known to be. So you might end up needing an incubator, especially one with a self-turning arm mechanism.

The Crested Duck is a good forager too. Always on the lookout for a variety of food items, these ducks enjoy their search game. They also don’t much temperament tantrums. These ducks are calm and docile, perfect for those looking for easygoing poultry pets.

Rouen Duck

The Rouen Duck breed lays about 35 to 125 eggs per year. However, reports vary as production Rouens are known to lay 140 to 180 eggs annually. In some cases, they’ve been noted laying up to 150 eggs in a year. These eggs weigh between 80 and 95 grams, often having shades of white, green, and blue.

Their egg-laying capabilities may continue for five to eight years. Despite egg production decreasing over time, it rarely halts completely. But don’t mistake the Rouen for a high-capacity egg layer like the Crested Duck. They maintain a consistent balance, not straying too high or too low with their annual yield.

While these ducks may not be the top foragers, they’re known to be fairly calm and docile. This makes them a great fit for settings where a relaxed temperament is essential.

On the brooding front, Rouens are less inclined than other breeds. This means they’re less likely to sit on their eggs to hatch them. The female Rouen’s hefty size may even lead to egg crushing during nesting. So if you’re looking to increase your Rouen population, you might need to shell out for an incubator.

Rouen Ducks aren’t particularly attentive mothers either. So an additional effort on your part is required to ensure successful hatching and growth of ducklings.

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