10 Best Duck Breeds to Keep for Eggs
Most people seeking to venture into egg farming consider chickens the best poultry to keep for eggs. Ducks are, however, some of the outstanding poultry birds to keep for eggs, especially for anyone who wants richer-tasting and large-sized eggs.
Not every duck species out there is suitable for egg production, though. It helps to understand the best duck breeds for egg production if you keep ducks for eggs. Check this list of the ten best duck breeds to keep for eggs.
1. Khaki Campbell Duck
Talk of an efficient egg-laying duck, and you are ultimately talking about the Khaki Campbell. Some of the best laying ducks can’t match this breed’s egg productivity. Khaki Campbell hens lay approximately 325 large-sized eggs annually. Your Khaki Campbell hens can lay astounding eggs weekly if you accord them a suitable laying environment.
They can be outstanding layers as long as they live in a peaceful environment. Khaki Campbell is an extremely hard duck breed. Hens start laying between five and seven months old, making Khaki hens some of the best and most efficient egg-laying duck breeds.
Young hens can lay more than mature Khaki Campbell hens in the first few years of their laying cycle.
2. Welsh Harlequin Duck
Welsh Harlequin is another awesome egg-laying duck breed. It lays around 300 eggs annually. Welsh Harlequin ducks are well known for their pleasant temperament and docile nature. Besides boasting high egg productivity, Welsh Harlequin hens also lay some of the largest white eggs, weighing between 75 and 85 grams on average.
Welsh Harlequin hens mature fast, with most young hens starting laying between six and seven months. Some hens can begin laying eggs as early as five months old. It is pretty easy to take care of Welsh Harlequin ducks, which sets them apart from other egg-laying duck breeds.
3. Indian Runner Duck
Many duck enthusiasts know Indian Runner ducks for their charm and striking appearance. These ducks are also prolific layers, with hens annually laying around 300 large-white eggs. The ducks are ideal for duck keepers with plenty of backyard space and seeking to keep ducks for commercial egg production.
Indian Runner ducks are fairly early layers since most India Runner hens start laying as early as five months. However, some hens can start their laying cycle at slightly four months old. Indian Runner ducks are among the easiest egg-laying ducks to keep, manage and feed.
Indian Runners also lay persistently, and they have a long laying cycle since they can lay consistently for years, although egg production decreases significantly in winter.
The most exciting part about keeping Indian Runners for eggs is that these ducks eat less compared to other prolific egg-laying ducks. Their eggs are also bigger since hens lay eggs weighing 78 grams on average.
4. Magpie Duck
While Magpie is a poor choice of duck breed to keep for meat, it is an awesome breed if you want tons of duck eggs. Although Magpie ducks are lightweight, they aren’t short of great egg productivity. These ducks lay between 250 and 300 eggs yearly, which makes these ducks some of the most productive egg-laying duck breeds.
These ducks start laying between 25 and 30 weeks old. Magpie hens lay large-sized olive-brown eggs among the biggest brown eggs. Their eggs weigh around 80 grams on average. Magpie hens rarely go broody, unlike female ducks from other duck breeds.
The other advantage of this breed over other duck breeds is that it is quieter than most breeds, making it an ideal choice of a duck-laying breed for small-scale farmers. Better still, Magpie ducks are disease tolerant and less likely to succumb to various duck health conditions.
They have an attractive appearance since their plumage color can vary significantly from one Magpie subspecies to the other. Magpie ducks can either be cream, green, blue, or white.
5. Ancona Duck
Ancona is an excellent dual-purpose egg-laying duck breed. People keep the duck for either meat or egg production. Ancona ducks are awesome layers when it comes to laying since hens lay between 210 and 280 eggs annually.
Their eggs are large-sized and come in multiple colors. The eggs can be either white, blue, or cream. Hens don’t go brood quickly, and they also don’t show any interest in sitting on the eggs in readiness for hatching.
Ancona ducks are also early layers since hens usually start laying around five months old, although some Ancona hens can take a bit longer to lay. Ancona hens lay for between 5 and eight years.
This breed’s egg productivity reaches its peak during the first two years of its laying cycle. Ancona duck eggs become bigger as the ducks grow older. Their eggs are decently large, weighing roughly 70 grams on average.
6. Silver Appleyard Duck
Besides having a calm temperament, Silver Appleyard ducks are decent layers. Silver Appleyard is a large egg-laying breed, laying around 270 large eggs a year. It is suitable as both meat and egg bird. The heavyweight duck breed matures quickly since it starts laying around nine weeks on average.
Silver Appleyard ducks lay some of the largest duck eggs, with their eggs weighing between 80 and 96 grams on average. These ducks lay extra-large white eggs, although they get broody quickly. Silver Appleyard eggs have a rich, flavorful taste, and so does the meat from this breed.
If you want a beautiful duck breed with a combination of size, beauty, and high egg productivity, then Silver Appleyard can be an excellent duck breed for you. While some Silver Appleyard ducks are pretty quacky, most ducks from this heavyweight breed are quiet, making them great backyard egg-laying ducks.
7. Pekin Duck
Pekin duck breed is one of the best-laying dual-purpose duck breeds. Although most people keep this breed exclusively for duck meat, it is also a decent layer, laying up to 200 large eggs per year. The beauty of keeping Pekin ducks for eggs is that these ducks lay for over ten years, perhaps the longest period of any other laying breed. Some Pekin hens can lay for over a decade.
Pekin ducks usually start laying at approximately five weeks, although some hens will take a slightly longer time to lay. Besides laying a reasonable number of eggs annually, Pekin ducks are also wonderful pet birds since they are pretty friendly and non-aggressive.
Pekin ducks lay extra-huge white eggs. Pekin ducks’ extra-huge white eggs weigh between 90 and 100 grams. Due to their dynamic nature, Pekin ducks are wonderful free-range birds that thrive well in any backyard.
8. Saxony Duck
Saxony ducks are active foragers and wonderful layers. These ducks lay between 190 and 240 large white eggs. Although some people opt to keep these birds as pets, they are also suitable for meat. They rarely quack, unlike other duck breeds. They prefer spending time outdoors foraging for foods, including snails, spiders, and slugs.
Saxony hens can start laying at around five months old with proper care. However, some Saxony hens take longer to mature sexually. Such hens can take over five months to start laying. Their large white eggs weigh about 80 grams on average. Saxony ducks have a longer lifespan, although not as long as Pekin ducks’ lifespan.
9. Abacot Ranger Duck
The Abacot Ranger is a utility duck breed suitable for meat and egg production. Although the duck is lightweight, that doesn’t stop it from being a decent layer. It can lay approximately 200 white eggs annually. This hardy breed isn’t known for getting broody quickly. Neither is it keen on sitting on its eggs.
Abacot Ranger ducks are peaceful birds, and they are pretty friendly to their keepers and visitors. Furthermore, they are the easiest ducks to tame, making them fantastic exhibition birds. Abacot Ranger hens start laying between five and six months, making them relatively early laying ducks.
These ducks don’t lay extra-large eggs like some of the best egg-laying duck breeds due to their relatively small size. However, the size of their eggs is still somewhat bigger since the eggs weigh between 65 and 75 grams.
10. Orpington Duck
The Orpington duck is another domestic breed of duck that is ideal for egg and meat production. Orpington ducks boast a longer lifespan since most Orpington ducks live between 8 and 12 years. Some Orpington ducks can live up to 15 years with good care. Orpington ducks are decent layers, for they lay around 220 large eggs annually.
Orpington ducks mature quite early, unlike some heavier egg-laying duck breeds. On average, Orpington hens start laying between 17 and 24 weeks old. Heavier duck breeds start laying around 20 to 30 weeks old. Orpington ducks lay large tinted or white eggs.
Their eggs are large, considering they weigh between 80 and 90 grams. Although these ducks are moderate layers, they are known for broodiness. They will sit on their eggs after laying a good number of eggs. That notwithstanding, Orpington ducks will lay consistently for many years.
Although ducks aren’t terrific layers compared to chickens, some duck breeds still make excellent layers. These breeds lay more eggs compared to other duck breeds. They also lay large eggs. No matter the egg-laying duck breed you choose to keep for eggs, ensure you accord the breed proper care to boost its egg productivity.