The Best Ducks for Laying Eggs
What Are the Best Breeds of Duck for Eggs?
This is a tricky question. To answer it properly, we first need to determine a couple of things. What do you want the eggs for? Do you live in an urban setting or somewhere rural? Do you like greenish-blue eggs? You need to know what you are looking for before you get started.
In general, Pekin and Campbells produce the most eggs. Runners produce a substantial amount of greenish-blue ones. The Aylesbury, a form of Pekin, produces a good number of eggs, but it is critically endangered according to the Livestock Conservancy.
For this article, I used the duck comparison chart data from Metzer Farms, my personal experience raising ducks, and research data. I hope that all of this information will help you decide on the best duck breed for your egg-laying needs.
The Best Ducks for Eggs
They produce the biggest eggs.
They are similar to the Pekin, but they are endangered.
They produce the most eggs, but their eggs are smaller than Pekin eggs. They are small birds, so they are ideal to raise in an urban setting.
They lay blueish-green eggs, however they produce fewer eggs per year than most other duck breeds. They are good gardeners.
Comparison of the Best Duck Breeds for Egg Production
Pekins, Aylesburies, (Khaki) Campbells, and Runners are the best ducks for eggs, at least in terms of production. The Pekin and Aylesbury breeds are nearly identical, except for their bills: Pekin ducks have orange bills, and Aylesburies have pink bills.
If you are looking to consume a lot of eggs, then the Pekin should be your number one choice. I say this based on two factors:
- It produces the biggest eggs.
- It lays an impressive amount.
- The Campbell lays, on average, eight more eggs per year than the Pekin. However, Pekin eggs are, on average, 15 grams heavier than Campbell eggs.
- For urban egg production, Campbells are the best choice because they are half the size of Pekin ducks, which means you can fit more of them into a smaller area.
- Their average egg production is a bit higher than the bigger ducks, but the eggs are about 15 grams lighter. This isn't too big of a deal for most people because Campbell eggs are around 10 grams bigger than the largest average chicken egg!
- Runners are farm birds that lay the sought-after blueish-green eggs, however they produce fewer eggs per year than most other duck breeds.
- Their eggs are comparatively similar to chicken eggs.
- They are bug-eating machines.
- Because of their taller stance and lighter weight, they can reach and jump higher than most other ducks, making them "garden ninjas." They have been gardeners for over two-thousand years.
Breeding: The Best Ducks for Egg Hatching
Breeding comes with its own set of questions.
Breeding for Meat
Are you breeding for meat? If so, the Pekin duck may be your best choice. Aylesbury ducks grow just as fast as Pekins do, but they are endangered. If you want to raise them, then maybe consider a conservatory.
Breeding for Profit
If you're looking to reproduce and sell ducklings, then Runners are the best. Runners are lightweight ducks averaging around 4.5 lbs. Their smaller stature allows you to raise more birds per square feet.
Cayugas and Campbells are just a little bigger than Runners (about a pound or two), but they are typically used as exhibition birds. Exhibition birds can get pretty expensive, especially rare or wild ones. I would have loved to add a section on them, but, with the exception of the Mallard duck, most exotic or wild waterfowl are not good egg producers.
Some farms crossbreed ducks to create a type of hybrid. Usually, the hybrid breed is capable of laying a very large amount of eggs and has a larger, cleaner carcass. One disadvantage, however, is that hybrids cannot produce the same version of themselves (if they can even mate at all). Hybrid ducks are typically only good for one-time use. This is why they do not make the best ducks for eggs.