Raising ducks instead of chickens for eggs

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Triplecross, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Triplecross

    Triplecross Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,
    I'm new here and have been seriously looking into different duck breeds. Can be a bit overwhelming, but I'm starting to see a few favorites emerge.

    I've raised chickens for eggs many times, but when researching about raising poultry for meat, ducks intrigued me. Now, I'm thinking about raising ducks for eggs and meat!

    Can ducks like Khaki Cambells be better layers than Leghorns? Do they forager better? I guess what I'm getting at is if the ducks lay better and find food better, wouldn't that be a cheaper way to raise eggs?
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    My Welsh Harlequins outlay my chickens, and they seem to eat less. They're a breed derived from khaki campbells, so that's no surprise! They're supposedly calmer than the khakis, though I can't say for certain since I've never had a khaki. Welshies also have white underfeathers which makes them good for meat. Not trying to sway you towards welshies (although I do love my birds) - just giving you my experience :D

    Also, you can sell your extra duck eggs for more than you sell your chicken eggs. I can get $4 a dozen around here.
     
  3. Triplecross

    Triplecross Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Overrun with Chickens; Welsh Harlequin is the breed I'm most drawn toward!

    People around here sell duck eggs for $4.50 - $6.00 a dozen. I'm going to have to buy some so I can try the eggs. Nice to know they will bring a nice profit.

    Do you have a hard time selling the duck eggs to people?
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Not all all! People like to use them for baking, since they taste richer and make everything so fluffy :drool Also, I'm just about the only local supplier for a lot of my customers, so that helps.

    And yes, Welshies are so nice! And so pretty. My drake Crackers recently passed away after protecting his girl from a mink, but he was such a gorgeous bird. Hershey, the drake I've just gotten to take his place, is just as beautiful. And the girls are stunning too. I have pictures I can post, but I don't want to hijack your thread. Oh, and it's Pyxis, actually ;) Overrun with Chickens is my user rank, like yours is New Egg.
     
  5. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

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    I have ducks, chickens and geese. I have to say that it is hard to find buyers for duck eggs. I have a lot of people that want chicken eggs but when I try to sell them duck eggs they get a sick look in there eyes and say no thanks. I've only sold one dozen duck eggs EVER. I think you should do some research on your area and see if you have a market before jumping into a breed that gives you lots of eggs.

    In my case I'll be getting Silver Appleyard's because I want meat duck, (still on the waiting list at Holderreads). They lay eggs too but not so many that I'm not able to use them or get rid of them. I can't even give duck eggs away around here.
    I have Blue Swedish and Silkie ducks right now for eggs and I still have composted or fed the duck eggs to my chickens and dogs.

    JMHO and experience. You may have better luck in your area. I do know that the Asian community prefers duck eggs.

    eta: oh and yes ducks forage MUCH better. For meat Ducks and Geese cannot be beat for meat to feed ratio. They eat lots of grass and can sustain themselves and still lay eggs by forage and VERY little grain. If you free range that is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I have trouble with selling duck eggs, i am up to 3 a day now, i have only Muscovy, so not prolific layers, i've starting scrambling the eggs to give the chickens lol It probably does depend on your area, here it's a bust.

    I don't disagree, ducks are better foragers and the larger breeds like i have are less prone to air predators than smaller chickens would be.. but again depends obviously on the breed and so forth.
     
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would do more research on raising ducks. Very similar to chickens but they have their own needs.

    You need to really decide the attributes that you want ducks to have. For instance, there are a number of ducks that are great layers but those breeds are usually light-medium in size so wouldn't be the best for meat. Again, a number of meat breeds but they typically don't lay a ton. Khakis can lay around 300 eggs per year, similar to leghorns but like leghorns they are smaller. Khakis weight 4-4.5 lbs. Ducks have a higher bone to meat ratio than most chickens (so they have more bone weight). A khaki would be a meal for 2.

    Mothering ability varies with breed too. So, if you want meat and eggs and don't want to incubate, you need a good layer of good size that forages and broods/mothers well. This is why I have Muscovy. I raise them for meat, they aren't the greatest layers but excellent foragers and mothers. I don't have an incubator, nor do I want one. Nor do I want to brood babies. So, I have chosen breeds that will do it themselves. Less work for me.

    Many of the smaller breeds forage well but depending on where you are, you will need to supplement feed in winter. Also, to get top performing egg layers and meat production, foraging alone is not recommended

    Also, ducks are louder than chickens, in my opinion. Except for muscovy. You get a flock of girls quacking up a storm and wow! :)

    They are also messier but you can figure ways around water problems.

    .
     
  8. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had many many inquiries for duck eggs. Actual sales? Not lots. But I think it is a very niche type market, if a supplier were to find a few regular customers, well maybe that is just enough. What concerns me about selling uncooked eggs is no matter what steps I take or how careful, sanitary, prudent I am, there will always be the salmonella risk and you can not control what your consumer/customer does. In my area, there are food safety regulations, also. Just something to think about. Is the risk worth the benefit?

    But on the other hand, I am a baker myself, and I love love love those duck eggs! I can use fewer duck eggs in place of chicken eggs, and the taste is absolutely richer. But some people do not like that richness. I've heard it described as gamey or wild. In a cake, they won't taste it. But sunny side up, you may hear complaints.

    One last thing to consider with duck eggs, I've heard that people who are allergic to chicken eggs are usually able to eat duck eggs-- but there is a lot on that here in these forums.
     
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good points.
    Every state has different regulations on selling "food" products. I'd look into that too.
     
  10. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

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    I forgot to add that the interest I have had in duck meat is for free range. In my area duck is consumed by higher income families, they tend to know the value in a free range bird whether chicken, duck, turkey or goose. Free ranging is cheaper, that goes without saying of course and you will get more per pound for a free range duck than a grain fed one. To me it makes more sense to free range if you have the land and water ways for them, and of course LGD's. I can turn my Geese and ducks out and let them forage for themselves for months without having to water, worry about putting grain out every day etc. The LGD's keep them from harm and the price to grow out is very minimal. When I free range I don't see any drop in egg production.

    I am planning on doing some market research before I fill my bators up this spring with anything.
     

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