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!
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!
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!