Ducks

There is a small flock of Khaki Campbell ducks here, which besides producing eggs, also serve a more important purpose as flock shepherds of the sheep, which I will explain further.

Khaki Campbell ducks were developed in England in the early 1900's. They are prolific layers, often out laying most chicken breeds. They are very social and readily come when called, looking for special treats. Their eggs are white and the size of a large chicken egg. I had always heard that duck eggs were too strong and were only used for baking. Nothing could be further from the truth! Their eggs are excellent for eating and once someone has a Khaki Campbell duck egg they often prefer them to chicken eggs. They will not set on their own eggs, thus their eggs have to be hatched under another breed of duck, chicken, or in an incubator. I had ducks as a child and teenager but none of any great laying varieties and had always found them easy to care for.

Ducks do not require special care and are excellent foragers. Their foraging ability is the main reason ducks came to the farm as they eat vast quantities of slugs and snails. The eggs they produce are an added bonus. The life cycle of the meningeal worm (often refered to as "deer worm") requires snails or slugs as intermediate hosts. Sheep become infected by eating snails or slugs in the grass which are infected with the larvae of the meningeal worm. The meningeal worm is an internal parasite of the white-tailed deer and is shed in the feces which are eaten by slugs and snails. When sheep, goats, alpacas, and llamas become infested with meningeal worm, the parasite moves to the spinal cord and brain which causes neurological problems that are usually fatal. Losing one of the very best Corriedale ewes here was reason for the ducks, hence the earlier reference to ducks as "flock sheperds of the sheep."  An infected sheep will become paralyzed, usually in the rear quarters. If treated quickly enough some will recover. Since the ducks arrived, snails and slugs are seldom seen within the pastures, and there have been no more sheep infected with meningeal worm.

Khaki Campbell ducklings are easy to hatch in an incubator and are very easy to care for, requiring no special care. In one week you marvel at how much they have grown and are sometimes in disbelief in such a short time they were so much smaller the day they hatched. They thrive and grow quickly. I have excellent success with hatching eggs and there is a high fertility rate. Hatching eggs are available.

Drake and Hens

One of the Khaki Campbell drakes and two hens that reside here.

ducklings-12-13-09

Khaki Campbell ducklings.

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