Our “Six-Pack” of ducklings arrived in early August 2016. Many mail-order companies require a minimum of ten ducklings, but we didn’t want that many. We wanted only layers and no extra drakes we would have to butcher. We found that Metzer Farms will send a smaller order of ducklings (for an extra charge we were willing to pay).
These six were a beautiful selection of ducks. Although we rarely knew which ducks were producing which eggs, we usually had 4-6 eggs per day during the first two lay seasons. One duck never molted the first year and laid continuously through the fall. Coco, our Chocolate Runner, laid green eggs, so we always knew which one was hers. Blackie, the Cayuga, laid black eggs at the beginning of the season, but within a week they became white like all the others. The egg production the first two years was as expected, and we generally enjoyed having these ducks.
Whitey – White Layer
Whitey was perhaps our best duck. I believe she may have been the duck that never molted the first year, although I am unsure. She was generally calm and I could give her a pet when she came to the food trough.
Blackie – Cayuga
Blackie was a beautiful black duck with greenish highlights in the sunshine. She laid black eggs at the beginning of each season, which later turned to white. I had a hunch she was not one of our best layers, but couldn’t say for sure. She was a noisy duck and seemed to be the ring-leader of the others, inciting more quacking from everyone else. After she was culled they all seemed a bit calmer, for a while anyway.
Harley & Quinn – Welsh Harlequins
I had a hard time telling these apart, but one had a slightly darker head than the other. I believe they were consistent layers until the last year. One of them (Quinn) seemed to stop laying eggs early in the last season. We separated her for a while to be sure, and culled her from the flock. I just didn’t want to be feeding 5 ducks only to get 3 eggs. Late in the last season we were only getting 2 eggs out of the four remaining ducks and determined that Harley was either egg-bound or having some respiratory difficulty. She constantly heaved and never laid another egg. After soaking her in warm water and massaging her vent with oil, it seemed there was no egg within. We put her out of her misery.
Fawn – Fawn & White Runner
Fawn was a fun girl who also allowed me to pet her at mealtime. She had the most endearing personality. I enjoyed watching both runners run—very cute. During most of their last season, she seemed to only lay soft-shell eggs, and they came rarely. She would often lay later in the day, finding a nest spot somewhere outside of the paddock. It was like an Easter egg hunt to find her soft eggs. We retired her near the end of the last season, after we determined for sure she was only laying soft shells.
Coco – Chocolate Runner
As mentioned elsewhere, Coco became a noisy, crabby duck in the end. Prior to that, she was a good layer, and her green eggs always allowed us to know which were hers. The first couple of years she had an even temperament and was a fun duck to watch, running along with Fawn.
Should we get more ducks, or chickens next time?
Before we got our new ducklings of 2019, we considered getting chickens instead, due to the crabbiness of these ducks their third year. After consideration, we decided to stick with the ducks. Our duck housing is not suitable for chickens, and after reviewing our original reasons for raising ducks (listed on the home duck page) we decided to stick with ducks and do all we can to keep them as calm as possible.