Happy Hens’ Happy Ducks
This week, I am beginning a series of posts about our ducks. The series will include the history of the ducks on our farm, their habitat, the eggs, and their diet. If you have not tried our duck eggs, try them this week! They are delicious!
Khaki Campbell ducks received their name from the person who bred them in 1901 – Mrs. Adele Campbell of Gloucestershire, England. She developed them by crossbreeding three types of ducks, but she did not ever reveal their specific genetic makeup. By crossing the different breeds, she developed a breed that produced many more eggs than previously achieved by other ducks.
The reference “khaki” was added to their name during the English Second Boer War. England was feeling particularly patriotic during this time, and since the color of their uniforms was khaki, as was the ducks, the name made them even more popular.
Our Khaki Campbell ducks were less than 24 hour-old ducklings when they came to live on the farm. All of our fowl come from the Lancaster County Pennsylvania area where they are hatched by Mennonite farming families. We chose this variety not only because they produce a large number of eggs, but also because they are hardy and do well in all seasons and weather. This breed of duck is docile and is easy to work with because they do not fly. Only nature knows whether this is a choice or impossibility. They are a big part of our farm family, and we enjoy watching their daily habits.
When the Khakis were ducklings, they were very dark. They appeared slate gray rather than khaki; however, when fowl molt, they can change their color completely. In the case of the Khaki Campbell, they have lightened to a cream color, and the darker head distinguish the boys. Male ducks are called drakes, and females are called hens. Our flock is 100% female. We do not like to sell fertilized eggs, and the only way to prevent that is not to have any male ducks. We have culled them at various times and sold the males to other farmers.
Some of our ducks are rescue ducks. While it is not our habit to take in animals, the black ducks in the photos were rescued from Washington, D.C. because a customer at the market brought them to me and asked that we adopt them. They have gotten along well in our flock. We are happy to have them.
Come back soon to learn about our ducks’ farm habitat.
Thanks for reading.