Are Khaki Campbells the best duck breed for you to keep?
Updated: Feb 14
Introducing the AMAZING Khaki Campbell Ducks.
Laying well over 300 tasty eggs per year, there is little doubt that Khakis are the best egg laying duck breed around, but is there more to them than just these impressive egg production figures?
We have compiled a list of 10 things to consider before choosing whether or not the Khaki Campbell is the right duck for you. We also look at how they compare up against other other popular domesticated breeds.
1. Class (Bantam / Light / Medium / Heavy)
Khaki Campbell - Light
Being classed in the light category means that if space is limited, keeping Campbells requires less room per bird compared to a heavy class of duck such as the Pekin.
When your available space is minimal then a Bantam class duck, like the Mallard would be a preferable choice.
Other breeds - Mallards, White Crested Medium and Pekin Heavy.
2. Temperament (Very Calm / Calm / Nervous)
Khaki Campbell - Nervous
When it comes to nervousness in ducks, the Campbells do not fair well. They are extremely skittish and easily spooked. Over time a Khaki will start to become calmer, but will never be as easy-going as a Mallard. If you are looking for the most chilled of all the duck breeds, then look no further than a Jumbo Pekin, they are laid-back they are practically horizontal.
Other breeds - Jumbo Pekins Very Calm and Mallards Calm.
Note: Even things like the breeder wearing a different hat at feeding time can cause a commotion. When frightened ducks scatter in numbers, injuries such as leg breaks, often result in birds having to be unfortunately dispatched.
3. Weight (kg)
Khaki Campbell - 1.3 to 2.2
Weighing in at approximately 2kg, a Campbell duck is relatively easy to handle.
More often than not it is the unwanted, surplus drakes and old egg laying birds which end up for the table.
When you are looking to raise ducks mainly for meat the Campbell fairs well compared to the dainty Mallard.
However, they are no match for a muscle-bound Muscovy or the ultimate heavy-weight the Jumbo Pekin (weighing in at more than double the Campbells size.)
Other breeds - Mallard 0.72 – 1.6 and Jumbo Pekin 3.6 - 5.
4. Egg laying (per year)
Khaki Campbell - 300
Egg laying is where the Khaki Campbell excels, almost putting the other breeds to shame.
Once they reach six months old, you should be collecting an egg a day. If well fed and cared for correctly you can expect about three years before numbers begin to drop off noticeably.
If egg production numbers are not a priority for the breeder and keeping ducks is more from a garden pet aspect then White Crests make a good choice. Alternatively, Indian Runners are a good egg laying duck, with some reports of 250 eggs being produced per year.
5. Egg size (grams)
Khaki Campbell - 75-85
If egg size is an essential factor when keeping ducks, then Campbells hold their own. At approximately 80 grams they are larger than a Mallard egg and significantly bigger than an average sized chicken egg (Extra Large chicken egg - 60 grams). If you are aiming for the biggest duck eggs on the planet, look no further than the 100-gram egg from the Jumbo Pekin.
Mallard 65-75 and Pekin 90-100.
6. Mothering (Poor / Fair / Good / Very Good)
Khaki Campbell - Good
If kept in relatively small numbers (approximately 10 or less) Campbells make good mothers. When held in larger groups they seem to have less of a tendency to sit on the nest. If you are looking at breeding Campbells, we would recommend using a Mallard or Muscovy for hatching the eggs or even incubate them indoors for around 28 days.
Other breeds - Pekin Poor, Buff Fair, and Mallard Very Good.
Note: If using Muscovys to hatch Khaki Campbell eggs be aware that Muscovy eggs take approximately 35 days to hatch.not 28. Mixing the breed of eggs for a hatch that differs in the number of incubation days is not recommended.
7. Fertility (%)
Khaki Campbell - 87
If you are looking to increase the numbers of ducks you are raising, then the Campbell has impressive figures when it comes to fertility. Whether you intend to let your ducks sit on the nest or incubate them indoors, you should expect fertility of around 87%. We recommend keeping one drake to 6 females to ensure a good fertility ratio. Breeding Welsh Harlequins will give you fertility of approximately 75% and the top of the pile are the impressive Mallards.
Other breeds - Welsh Harlequin 75 and Mallard 90.
8. Foraging Ability (Very Good / Good / Fair)
Khaki Campbell - Very good
All ducks do a decent job of foraging and are more effective than using chickens to clear land.
Watching Khaki Campbells foraging and hunting is impressive to witness. They are agile, quick across the ground and have incredibly good eyesight. Combined with their love of a varied diet, including, snails, insects, weeds and seeds, they make a great addition to integrated farming set-ups.
Muscovys are reasonably good but a little slower across the terrain. Whereas the Pekins are more of a plodding breed who get there in the end.
Other breeds - Muscovy Good and Pekin Fair
9. Flying Ability (Fair / Good / Very Good)
Khaki Campbell - Good
All ducks can fly to some degree, but most are very limited in the distance and height that they can achieve Campbells usually only get off the ground for about 10m and remain low (often when spooked). The larger framed Muscovy and Pekin struggle to get off the ground and usually show no interest to do so, while the Mallard could fly to another continent!
Other breeds - Muscovy Fair and Mallard Very Good.
10. Meat quality (Fair / Good / Very Good)
Khaki Campbell - Good
Duck meat is delicious whatever the breed, but one stands out above all others. Although the Khaki Campbell is probably a little better eating than a Mallard, it does not compare to the Muscovy (it is many chefs favorite meat to cook with).
Other breeds - Mallard Fair and Muscovy Very Good
Pros of keeping Khaki Campbell ducks
Keeping any breed of duck is a pleasurable experience, but for us, the Khaki Campbell duck ticks the most boxes.
Small enough to keep when space is limited and light to handle easily.
You will get a medium-sized egg almost every single day.
They make good mothers with high fertility if you are looking to increase your number of ducks.
For anyone looking at integrating duck farming these ducks will be a great addition in helping you clear your land of bugs and weeds.
The also won't fly away when you're not looking!
Cons of keeping Khaki Campell ducks
There is no getting away from the fact that these ducks are very nervous, but with effort and the right set up, this can be significantly improved by the owner.
For those wishing to raise ducks mainly for meat, then there are better options available, in weight and taste.
OVERVIEW OF THE KHAKI CAMPBELL DUCK
Campbells can come in three colour varieties: khaki, dark and white. The Khaki Campbell drake is mostly khaki coloured with a darker head usually olive green lacking the white ring of its Mallard ancestors.
The Khaki Campbell duck has a more modest plumage of Khaki covering the entirety of the body.
A good family duck
Despite popular misconceptions of skittish or flighty behaviour Campbells are a very gentle, passive and friendly breed when raised by hand until maturity.
They are a good choice of breed for young families and children to raise.
The duck that keeps giving
The egg production of the Campbell breed can exceed even the most efficient of egg-laying domestic chickens, with the breed laying an average of 300 eggs a year.
When provided a moderate "duck conscious" environment to live in they will lay more than a modest number of eggs per week.
Egg laying after 180 days
Khaki Campbells become mature at approximately six months.
Not very broody
They seldom hatch out others' young; however, in very communal situations do hatch large broods together.
Most brooding behaviour has unfortunately been sacrificed in exchange for prolific egg laying ability in this breed. The ducks, when raised by hand, are not usually defensive of their eggs or nests, making the collection of eggs very easy.
Use an incubator to hatch out fertile eggs
Mechanical incubators or broody chickens are used to hatch out Khaki Campbell ducklings when ducks are not present in the process.
Incubation takes approximately 23 to 28 days for a Khaki Campbell duckling to hatch. The eggs need a regular inspection for ducklings that have not emerged from their egg completely.
HISTORY OF THE KHAKI CAMPBELL DUCK
Mrs. Adah Campbell began poultry-keeping in 1887 and later purchased an Indian Runner Duck which was an exceptional layer and which formed the basis in developing the Campbell Ducks.
She cross-bred Rouen, Indian Runner, and Wild Duck to produce them. The resulting birds were prolific layers. The Khaki Campbell breed was officially introduced to the public in 1898.
In an attempt to create a more attractive buff-colored duck Mrs. Campbell resorted to further cross-mating.
5 Health benefits of eating duck eggs
Including just one duck egg into your daily diet will give you over 25% of your RDA for:
Vitamin B12 - To protect against cancer and heart disease.
Vitamin A - To maintain the health of our blood and skin and protect our sight.
Selenium - Enhances our body's immune system.
Choline - To stop liver damage from cholesterol and fats, help with muscle control, and our memories.
Riboflavin (B2) - To give us energy, is a powerful antioxidant (cleanser) and enhances our bodies use of other vital micro-nutrients.
Why you should eat duck meat
Duck is nutritious meat that offers several beneficial nutrients, along with a great taste.
Here are 6 health benefits of eating duck meat:
Contains a moderate amount of protein.
High in different B vitamins.
High in phosphorus.
High in iron.
Duck skin contains a large concentration of glycine.
Rich source of the essential mineral selenium.
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