One duck egg is about the size of 1.5 chicken eggs, but 1 duck egg yolk is about the size of 2 chicken egg yolks! They are much more rich-tasting and are excellent for baking. Also, when most of our chickens stop laying in the winter, we can rely on our ducks to keep on cranking out their eggs almost every day. The only chickens who can even come close are our Buckeyes, who lay just as often, and our Chanteclers, who lay eggs almost as massive as duck eggs.
A duck’s favorite thing in the world is water – they are nothing like chickens, who need to stay dry and love taking regular dust baths. Water needs to be at a minimum head-deep for waterfowl such as ducks and geese. They need to use it to clean their nares and eyes. They also use it to wash down their food, play with their food, and to procreate. If they are without water for more than a few hours, they can literally gorge themselves to death once they have access again.
While we’re on the topic of duck/chicken differences, we’ll add in another important one – ducklings and goslings require niacin that chicken feed lacks. They need either waterfowl-specific starter, all-flock, or unmedicated chicken feed with added brewer’s yeast (one of the medications in chicken feed can kill other birds). If juvenile waterfowl do not have enough niacin as they grow, they will start to develop leg issues, where their feet twist in or their legs start to bow.
One of the newest heritage duck breeds and under Watch by the Livestock Conservancy, Welsh Harlequins are friendly, good foragers, and excellent egg layers. They’re small but have tasty meat that is leaner than most other ducks. And they are autosexing! During breeding season, we have hatching eggs, ducklings, and adult ducks available.