EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: My Duck Keeping Days

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Duck Keeping Days

My Duck Keeping Days

by Patty of CatCalls & DogBarks

Indian Runner

I don't remember why I became so enamored with ducks. Initially, it was probably due to our desire to become as self sufficient as possible. I didn't care for chickens, so if I wanted eggs, ducks seemed the next best thing.

I just know that before I had my first of seven children, I ordered about six or seven from a hatchery, transformed the chain link dog kennel into a duck pen, and fixed them up with a nice little plastic pool to splash around in. The females would quack, and the males would preen their curly tail feathers. They were highly entertaining and didn't require much care and because they played so much in the water, they stayed relatively clean. And... after about three months, I was getting beautiful colored eggs :) How exciting!

Khaki eggs

Those first ducks were Indian Runners... funny looking, tall, quick moving quacking wonders. They were decent layers and gave mild flavored eggs. As time went by, I investigated many duck breeds.

They were all very personable, inquisitive, beautiful birds. But for egg laying, there were no better than the Khaki Campbell. These tawny, medium sized ducks would lay an egg a day in peak season when the days were long and plenty during the winter as well. They were mild tasting, though I mainly used them for baking.

These ducks were intelligent enough to be trained to go to the pond in the morning and come back up in the afternoon for feeding, then into the barn at night. Ducks are not known to be good 'sitters' and it was a rare year indeed if we ever had a duckling hatch from a mother. We would have to incubate the eggs ourselves if we wanted to see any ducklings.


But we did have two exceptions... after placing three or four eggs in an incubator one year, only one hatched. Since we were the first and only living things the duck saw, we became her parents. She truly thought she was one of us! One of my sons named her Gramu (gram-oo). Gramu would take walks with us down to the creek... about a half mile and she would let us pick her up and pet her. She came into the house and would have loved to stay there if we let her :) She was truly a pet.

Another time, Desiree, a female Khaki, was obviously laying eggs somewhere during the spring which was not unusual. What WAS unusual is that she actually SAT on them! None of us really expected that any would hatch, but to our complete surprise, one day a few little fuzzy bodies appeared on the grass by the pond. How cute! We were thrilled! But that wasn't all of them. Later that day a few more toddled out. Wow... six or seven! But that wasn't all of them either. The next morning another bevy appeared.... making it a total of 13 ducklings! What a treat to see all of these little feathery wonders being raised by momma duck instead of by us in the bathtub!

Khaki ducklings-swimming

Eventually our duck days ended, but the memories live on. If you are considering an egg laying bird, don't overlook the Khaki Campbell duck. It may be the perfect addition to your family for providing both food and fun!


  1. I'm a huge duck fan! Thanks for the great read!

  2. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful story! I have always wanted to have some sort of farm bird - I don't eat eggs or meat, I just like the look and sound of them - this is one of those stories that makes me REALLY want to get my butt in gear and have some birds in our back acreage. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  3. That Kakhi drake is so adorable with that little curl on his tail. You must have had a huge flock after the 13 little additions. How long do ducks usually live? That must have been quite an endeavour!

  4. Meghann...I admit to not eating eggs or meat either. The truth for me was that I just loved them as pets! They are so entertaining and add such a nice homesteading feel to your place.

    Scrappy...our ducks would live 5-6 years. But you MUSt take them in at night!

  5. I would so love to have ducks. But, within city limits no farm critters allowed unfortantly. I find ducks more pleasing than chickens and especially geese. Ducks are way more friendlier.

  6. Patty~ You are a marvel at every turn! What a sweet story and so thrilling to see a mom take care of her offspring!

  7. They are so cute! I love going to the park behind our house in the spring and watching the ducks :)

  8. Patty, I just love this story. I so enjoyed reading this. I love birds of all types. That must have been so wonderful seeing all those baby ducks. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Great story Patty! Quite a few people in our town keep ducks and they always look like such happy creatures.

  10. What a great story about ducks! I really enjoyed reading this and I'm so glad the memories live on.

  11. So nice to hear about your "duck days" Patty!!
    Sounds like so much fun!! Both the khaki and indian are wonderful-looking ducks!!

  12. Just wonderful, I loved learning about the ducks and seeing their ;ics, I love the tail too! The ducklings are so adorable :)


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