One of the fun things about homesteading is experimenting. I am an inquisitive person and like to know the whats, whys and hows of many things that interest me. Notice I said 'that interests me.' That is key. How a car engine runs or what the latest cell phone app is does not interest me in the least.
But homesteading, now that is my passion! It is one big experiment really. We are constantly learning new things, some good and some bad. They say that is supposed to keep our minds young. I figure with all of the mind-boggling stuff going on here, I should live to about 200.
So, the latest experiment is with Khaki Campbell ducks and Rhode Island Red chickens. We have two ducks now that really don't have too much of a purpose other than waddling around, eating bugs and looking cute. The drake is a Blue Swedish and the hen is a Rouen, both meat ducks. The female has laid eggs for us and hatched some out herself. They were slightly bigger than chicken eggs, but tasted pretty much the same other than being a little bit richer.
We noticed that theses ducks did not eat grain during the spring, summer and early fall. They foraged and kept their weight on nicely. That got my 'young' mind to thinking. Are their egg-laying duck breeds that don't eat a whole lot of grain, yet still lay plenty of eggs?
Khaki Campbells ducks seem to be the winner in egg laying among the duck breeds. They are said to even lay as much as chickens, and eat less grain. Where have I been all these years?
So, the experiment is on! Who can give us eggs consistently and who eats less grain? That's what it boils down to. I chose my favorite chicken breed for laying and the most well-known egg-laying duck breed. I have heard mixed results for the number of eggs laid. Some say chickens outlay ducks, some say their ducks outlay the chickens.
I am also looking at this as a marketing opportunity. At first, I felt that I could sell more chicken eggs than duck eggs. But, I did not realize that some health food stores sell duck eggs for a dollar a piece! So, I could possibly sell a dozen duck eggs for the cost of 2-4 dozen chicken eggs, depending on the average prices in my area. Plus, many who are allergic to chicken eggs can tolerate duck eggs.
In a few months, I will hopefully have results and update this post!
Any duck and chicken owners out there? I'd love to hear your results if you have egg layers!