CITY CHICKENS & DUCKS

Duck portrait

Duck eggs!

Duck Eggs

This morning, while doing our regular morning maintenance of the chicken/duck house, I spotted four duck eggs! That means all four of the new duckies are laying. That should be a welcomed load off our older duck, Dawn, since she’s been laying since 2003. I can just hear her say ‘”about time you brought is some new girls in!”‘ We lost our best layer and Dawn’s companion, Dixie, just this summer. Dear Dixie was doing all her regular ducky things up till the afternoon when I noticed she was “just a little off.” I immediately went to get Jordanne and as soon as Jordanne picked her up and cradled her in her arms, Dixie knew it was ok to let go. She passed away quickly and peacefully in Jordanne’s arms. So our timing to replace our older ducks this year couldn’t have been planned any better.

When we first started raising ducks back in 2003, Jordanne did extensive research about what breed of duck would be best suited for a small city lot. She was attracted to the Khaki Campbell’s because they are small, listed on the endangered farm animal list, are great layers and less destructive (their web feet is less destructive in the garden) and temperamental than chickens (meaning they don’t go all wild eyed and bitc…. er broody)

As for noise, they are relatively quiet unless they get excited to see you or there’s a male duck in the vicinity and they all want to vie for his attentions. Male ducks are less vocal than females; but, either way, these ducks are relatively quiet.

Let’s talk about eggs… ducks eggs are extremely rich. When our first ducks laid back in 2003, we learned to incorporate duck eggs in our cooking and they are especially delightful in baked goods. Cakes, brownies and pancakes turn out wonderfully divine and extremely moist. Having a higher fat content than chicken eggs, there is slight difference. when scrambling them. But as for taste, well, we’ve had no objections. These ducks were bred for egg production and there’s no gamey/wild bird taste at all. For those allergic to chicken eggs, duck eggs offer an alternative.

Another positive attribute of Khaki Campbell’s is that they are considered land ducks and don’t need to be constantly in water. A small kiddy pool will suffice for their daily bathing rituals. Ours like leafy greens thrown in and they go to town, shredding and gobbling up the leaves in no time.

As for association with other animals here on the urban homestead:Our ducks live in a sizeable and roomy animal enclosure, along with our chickens and goats — one big happy animal kingdom.

Bantam vs Standard egg comparison

Assorted Bantams, Belgian Bantams and Standard Chickens

Eggcitement

One of the Belgian “booted” banties is finally laying. We were anticipating to see how big these Belgian banties eggs are compared to our regular sized bantams and, of course, our one standard.

A few weeks back on one cold morning, we found Lucie (a.k.a “lucie goosey”) in the nesting box. This time there was an egg. Finally! A few days before, we’d found her fiddling in the nesting boxes only to be disappointed with the false alarm. We knew that her first egg laying eggperience was getting closer because she’d scrunch her neck down and pick up her wings (the “chicken squat” we call it). With all her antics, we knew it was only a matter of time before she laid. Jordanne and I were especially looking forward to her laying to see how big an egg these tiny banties would lay and, boy, were we in for a shock! Sizing up the stature of these Belgian banties, we anticipated a quail size egg. After much straining, scrunching, pushing, out plopped a decent regular sized bantam egg! My face was plastered with disbelief – how the heck could this little chicken lay such a big egg? I gave her an encouraging, congratulatory pat after she laid because I felt she deserved it.
I took the egg, still in shock at its size, and brought it over to show Jordanne, saying “Lucie finally laid” and “guess how big” and I opened my hands to reveal Lucie’s egg. Jordanne’s eyes got big as she exclaimed, “ouch!” followed by “you got to be kidding!” Jordanne went on to say, “are you sure it’s her’s?” “Yep,” I replied. “I saw her plop it out – there’s no mistake.” We both stared at the egg in eggmasement. Pretty good for a chicken her size – which is that of a pigeon. We’ll have to wait to compare her egg size to the other Belgian, Estella, to see how the both measure up in egg size.

Wondering if such an egg size was normal for such a small bird and since there’s not much information on the internet on this heritage breed, Jordanne shot off an email to the lady that sent us the fertile eggs.

The Belgian banties are such characters, for those of you who listened to the radio program where the host was out with the animals. You may have heard Estella’s (who has a walk similar to Charley Chaplin) high pitched cooing. These chickens don’t sound like ordinary chickens; they have more what I would describe as “bird-like” sounds.
Hmmm, I get this sneaking feeling that now everyone’s going to want one? So, for all you local city chicken lovers, hopefully, this coming spring Jordanne will be expanding her city chicken services.

Answers From the Urban Homestead

I really love the ducks. We are planning on getting some and I think we want KCs as well. I don’t suppose you’re planning on selling fertilized eggs? And do you know if they can they cohabitate with chickens, or do we need to build them a separate house? – Lauren

A. Our ducks live comfortably and very sociably with our chickens but, of course, they have separate nesting boxes. Since chickens are able to fly,. our chickens reside above the duck house. As for fertile eggs, that may be something to look into offering in the future. Right now, Jordanne & I are too busy with working on the new PTF website to properly store and send out fertilized eggs. Sometimes farms on Local Harvest LocalHarvest offer fertile eggs.

More “Answers” coming soon….

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Comments(2)

  1. salmonpoetry says:

    nice photo of the belgian bantam egg! (i had four of these and we called them millefleurs). unfortunately all 4 of mine turned into roosters, so no eggs for me, though my silkies lay pretty small eggs at the moment.
    thanks for the info on city ducks, too. there are so many of us in small spaces trying to get the animal homesteading thing going!

  2. Christine Mallory says:

    Have ya’ll ever done research on Welsh Harlequin ducks, they originally came from the Kakie Campbells.. The Welsh harlequins lay really well too !!!!

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