Khaki Campbells are said to be the most productive egg layers.
From the ALBC site:
Campbells are prolific layers and active foragers. Most Campbells lay their first eggs when 5-7 months old and will average 250-340 eggs of superb texture and flavor per year. With an age staggered flock, one may have eggs year-round.
On the other hand, if you'd like to help preserve a breed that's on the ALBC critical list, the Welsh Harlequin comes in a close second:
Harlequins are primarily raised for their wonderful practical attributes. "They are highly adaptable, outstanding layers producing 240-330 white shelled eggs yearly, active foragers, excellent producers of lean meat, beautifully colored and pluck almost as cleanly as white birds when dressed for meat." (Holderread 2001, 44)
what confuses me somewhat is that other breeds like the call duck are called magpie call duck. why is that is magpie also a color/pattern type thing as well and not just a breed? my parents got what were supposed to be a pair of magpies (they are a pair of drakes instead and almost solid black) but they look nothing like the pics i have seen of magpies. so what would i be looking for in that breed?
i have to build the pen still so there is plenty of time for me to collect info and decide on which breed i want to go with
I'm no duck expert, so I hope I can answer this in a helpful (and relatively accurate) manner!!....IF anyone else out there can offer a better explanation (and/or correct any errors in mine), feel free to jump in!!!....
The standard Magpie duck is a breed. Colors are typically either black, blue or white. In the case of the black and the blue, the majority of the body "should be" white and there should be just splotches of color (black or blue) on the head, back, wings and tail. Unfortunately, the markings on hatchery and "utility" quality ducks often ends up being more black than white. I have magpies from two different hatcheries and most of them are in the "mostly black" category. They're still good and useful birds, but not necessarily the best for breeding IF you want to follow APA standards. (Both black and blue magpies can have solid white offspring, which, when bred to another white, produces all white offspring.)
Now, the Call Duck, in my understanding, is a breed in and of itself. It's sort of the "bantam" of the duck world. The APA recognizes several colors of Call ducks, including blue, buff, gray, pastel,snowy and white. As with a lot of other animals, certain breedings/crossings can result in other colors and traits. So there are other colors of the Call duck, including magpie. So, in the case of the call duck, magpie refers to the color, whereas in standard duck terms, the magpie is a breed.
I know!!...very confusing.
If you do plan to sell your ducklings and care about the quality, do yourself a favor and invest in a good quality breeding pair or trio. ( Check http://www.holderreadfarm.com/index.htm . I've seen others recommend them in posts related to magpies. There may be other BYCers that have them availble too. ) If you want them just for eggs/meat, don't sweat the quality.
I have to vote Runners....I have 2 and they are the sweetest, most entertaining girls and very friendly.....they can be a bit noisy in morning when they want out and in the evening before bed, but mostly quiet. They are busy and bright-eyed and always greet me in the yard. They haven't started to lay yet, but I hear great things about Runners as layers. Oh and btw, their upright stance is the SILLIEST CUTEST EVERRR!
I vote Welsh Harlequins! I just started raising them this year in June, so mine aren't quite laying yet. But, they are beautiful, smart and funny. They lay as many eggs per year as Khakis do, but are much prettier ducks. Plus, if you wind up with too many drakes, they are big enough to feed a couple of people each.