Top 13 duck breeds to raise for eggs. Learn which duck breeds are prolific layers, laying between 150 and over 300 eggs per year. In addition to this, it’s important to know what breeds forage the best. Ducks which forage well produce a better tasting egg.`
You have made the decision to incorporate ducks onto the property. However, which breed to add is the question. Should it be about egg color? The Cayuga duck has the ability to lay various shades of grey to charcoal colored eggs. Maybe the decision to raise duck is about egg production. Though it could be because you know that cooking with duck eggs creates a better dish, pasta, dessert, or bread.
Whatever the reason, ducks are comical and very independent. They require little attention, good feed, clean water daily, and time to forage. Let me also mention, ducks are a great source of entertainment and are extremely adorable!
Top 13 Duck Breeds to Raise for Fresh Eggs
This list contains heritage breeds found on the Livestock Conservancy list, as well as common breeds found through hatcheries and local feed stores. Included are two hybrid breeds. A hybrid duck consists of prolific layers bred to create an extremely prolific layer breed.
Many of the duck breeds listed here are dual purpose breeds. A dual purpose breed is raised for both meat and egg production. For many, egg color is important. A basket is more attractive with an array of colored duck eggs.
This breed originates from England and is excellent for a family with children due to their calm nature. Not to mention, the Anacona breed is suitable to many climate levels, making this breed ideal for duck keepers worldwide. In comparison to other ducks, Anaconas are a medium size bird weighing between 6 to 6 1/2 pounds. This breeds forages quite well, making for a more flavorful yolk due to the amount of greens and bugs consumed throughout the day. Anacona ducks will lay white, cream, blue, or green colored eggs. The amount of duck eggs received yearly will range between 210 to 280 large eggs.
Buffs, or Orpingtons, are also a great breed to raise alongside children due to their calm nature. Coming from England, this breed is a dual purpose medium size bird, weighing between 6 to 7 pounds. Much like the Anacona, this breed is suitable to hot and cold climates making this breed ideal for duck keepers worldwide. Buffs lay white to cream colored eggs and are good foragers. The amount of duck eggs received yearly will range between 150 to 220 large eggs.
Better known as Khaki Campbell due to its tan plumage. Campbell ducks originate from England, and are an active breed which enjoys meandering from one spot to the next. Another excellent breed for novice duck keepers and young children, this is another breed which does well in various climates. Campbells are better known for egg production, laying white to cream colored eggs. Because of its size and weight, 4 to 4.5 pounds, this breed is not considered to be a dual purpose bird. Khaki Campbells are excellent foragers allowing for a more flavorful yolk. The amount of duck eggs received yearly will range between 250 to 340 large eggs.
Cayuga ducks are famous for the possibility of receiving a charcoal colored egg. However, the color of this breed’s eggs range in various shades of grey. In truth, it is unknown as to what allows the duck hen to produce a charcoal colored egg. The origin of this breed is unclear. Some argue it originated in the USA, while others state the UK. Due to its size, 7 to 8 pounds, this breed is known to be dual purpose. Cayugas are docile and do great with young children. Because of their laid back personalities this breed is an average forager, and prefers being offered feed to looking for its food. This is another breed which tolerates hot and cold climates quite well. The amount of duck eggs received yearly ranges between 100 to 150 large eggs.
Magpie ducks are quiet and docile, with sweet personalities. This breed originated from Wales and is a dual purpose breed. Magpie ducks weigh between 5.5 and 6 pounds. This breed is the best forager of all duck breeds. Imagine the flavor of these yolks! Much like the other breeds mentioned, Magpies handle various climates quite well. On top of being an overall great duck, these ducks produce beautifully colored eggs. The colors range from white to cream, green, or blue. The amount of duck eggs received yearly range between 240 to 290 medium/large eggs.
The gentle masked Muscovy duck, originating from Nicaragua and Honduras, are a favorite breed to raise. This large dual purpose breed is large in every way. Muscovys lay white extra large/jumbo size eggs and weigh 9 to 13 pounds. Unlike any other breed listed here, Muscovy duck hens can fly. To control this situation consider keeping hens in a run or clipping flight feathers. This breed does enjoy foraging, and tolerates various climate changes well. This is a calm, friendly breed, but due to their ability to fly I would propose this breed be raised by seasoned duck keepers. The amount of duck eggs received yearly range between 180 to 200 eggs.
*photo credit Muscovy ducks goes to my sweet friend, Melissa of Every Growing Farmer
Pekin ducks are one of the oldest duck breeds originating from China and have been around for over 2,000 years. Through selective breeding this breed is a dual purpose duck weighing between 7 to 9 pounds. They are okay foragers and have a calm disposition. The Pekin breed is friendly and do well with children and those new to keeping ducks. This breed lays large/extra large white eggs. The amount of duck eggs received yearly range up to 200 eggs.
Runner ducks, also known as Indian Runner, originated from Malaysia. This is an active duck breed that free ranges and forages well. Runner ducks are not a dual purpose breed due to their small size and weight, weighing between 4 to 4.5 pounds. This breed is good for those just beginning with duck keeping, and are docile in temperament. Indian Runner ducks are capable of acclimating to various climates making them ideal for hot and cold areas. Runner ducks are kept specifically for egg production, laying white and blue-green eggs. The amount of duck eggs received yearly is over 300 eggs.
The Saxony breed originated from Germany and is a dual purpose breed. This is a larger breed in size weighing in between 8 to 9 pounds. The grow out of this breed is slow compared to other dual purpose ducks. Saxony are excellent foragers. Much like the other breeds listed Saxony ducks are docile and great for first time keepers and children. Saxony lay extra large white and blue/green color eggs. The amount of duck eggs received yearly range between 190 to 240 eggs.
Silver Appleyard ducks are a great breed for those who are new to raising ducks. This breed originated from England and are a docile breed which enjoys foraging. This is a larger dual purpose breed weighing between 8 to 9 pounds. Much like the other breeds mentioned, the Silver Appleyard is adaptable to various temperature ranges. Silver Appleyards lay large/extra large white color eggs. The amount of duck eggs received yearly range between 220 to 265 eggs.
Personally, one of my favorite breeds to raise. The Welsh Harlequin duck breed originated from Wales and has a calm, curious disposition and are a dual purpose breed. They prefer to free range and forage prior to consuming offered feed. This breed tolerates various climate changes well, and is an excellent duck to raise for novice keepers. Welsh Harlequin ducks are a medium dual purpose breed weighing between 5 to 5.5 pounds, laying large cream colored eggs. The amount of duck eggs received yearly range between 240 to 330 eggs.
Metzer Hatchery developed two breeds, the Golden 300 Hybrid Layer and the White Layer. On the market these breeds are known as industrial ducks, and kept for egg production. The Golden 300 Hybrid lays as many (if not more) eggs as the Khaki Campbell, but this duck has a better, calmer disposition than the Campbell. The White Layer duck was developed to have the same specifics as the Campbell but is a white duck which lays white eggs.
Cooking with Duck Eggs
As enticing it is to receive such a surplus of eggs one has to know what to make with them! Aside from the typical breakfast item, try these family favorite recipes:
Selling Duck Eggs and Tips for Keeping Ducks
Selling extra fresh duck eggs is a great way to cover the cost of feed. But before you begin, make sure your customers know what to expect when purchasing farm fresh eggs.
Ready to raise ducks? It all begins with setting-up a duck brooder. Learn everything one needs to know about brooding ducklings.
Are you now convinced to raise ducks is for you? Good! Learn more tips on raising ducks by Janet of Timber Creek Farms.