Khaki Campbell Ducks are great beginner ducks with fun personalities. You will fall in love with this egg making entertainer.
When I decided to dive into the world of duck ownership, I did a LOT of research. I was a bit nervous about this endeavor because it was a new and completely unchartered territory. After hours of reading and learning, I was set on trying out the Khaki Campbell breed. After raising several of these quackers, I feel confident in sharing what I learned with you!
So, waddle this way…let’s get started.
Top 3 Reasons to Choose Khaki Campbell Ducks
Okay, okay…there are several other reasons you might want a Khaki Campbell duck in addition to their egg laying abilities – but seriously, they are one of the best duck egg layers out there.
So if you are after a plentiful amount of duck eggs and adorable waddling talent shows around your place, then you should really consider Khaki Campbell ducks. More on their egg production in a moment.
Are Khaki Campbell Ducks Family Friendly?
Khaki Campbells have a great reputation for producing a hefty number of large eggs. On the other hand, they also have a not-so-great reputation (false, in my opinion) for being skittish. Let me explain.
Khaki Campbell ducks might be described as “Nervous Nellie’s” by some. Because they CAN (under certain conditions) be on the nervous side. Sure, they might get spooked or startled by something like….several children chasing them for no good reason. However, I think this is true of most fowl, ducks included, unless they are handled quite regularly as you raise them up.
That leads me to my own personal experience with this breed. My experience does NOT support any claim out there about them not being family friendly ducks.
My kids played with our ducklings all the time as little ducklings, including taking them in the tub for their evening baths when the ducklings were very small! No kidding. Perhaps this is the recipe you need to follow so you can enjoy all the other wonderful attributes of these sweet Khaki Campbells.
Benefits of Khaki Campbell Ducks
Khaki Campbell Ducks Are Great Egg Layers
We already touched on this, but now lets dig into some of the egg facts. This breed is known to have great egg production – they can lay up to (and even more than) 300 eggs per year. Wowzer! And they are large eggs to boot.
Of course, the number they lay can vary from duck to duck. Other elements that might affect their egg laying success is their age, their nutrition, and their health.
The hens start laying as early as 5 months old. Their eggs are white in color.
The Khaki Campbell gained even more renown due to the egg laying contests where it averaged up to 39 more eggs laid than the second best breed. One Khaki Campbell laid 346 eggs in 365 days while another laid one egg a day for 225 straight days!Credit: Metzer Farms Website
Khaki Campbell Ducks Are Multipurpose
If you are homesteading or trying to be more self sufficient, or if you are simply wanting to know how your food is raised and what you are putting into your own body – then you might be interested in a dual purpose duck.
I know the commercial meat industry has changed a lot over the years, some good changes and some bad changes. Many folks have legitimate concerns about what types of vaccines and antibiotics are given to the “meat” they will be eating.
Plus a lot of feeds out there are stuffed with fillers that are not meant to be food. It’s understandable that many of us are concerned and we, therefore, want to raise our own meat.
Khaki Campbells are egg-cellent egg layers, AND they are tasty for eating as well. They may not be the number one choice (such as Pekin or Muscovy) for exquisite French chefs, but it is known for being a good, tasty choice for meat.
Khaki Campbell Ducks Are Good Foragers
All ducks are pretty good foragers. But Khaki Campbells are definitely noted for being a great duck to hire for such a task. They are super active and LOVE running around eating slugs, ticks, worms, and most other insects. They also eat weeds! It’s just too bad we can’t train them to weed the garden without also eating some things that aren’t weeds!
This love of foraging also contributes to healthy eggs. That’s a bonus none of us want to turn down. Read more about duck egg nutrition here.
Khaki Campbell ducks are great for free-ranging as well. In fact, they are happiest when they can free range because they love looking for bugs. However, they are pretty content in a run as well if that is all you can offer them in your situation. If you can let them out, for even an hour or two, they would appreciate you all the more.
One warning of caution. If you let them out for an hour or two, it may be hard to get them to go back into their run. There is a way to remedy this….one word: TREATS! Train your ducks from a very young age to come running for treats and you will have them at your beckon call.
Khaki Campbell Ducks Have Good Temperaments
These sweet quackers are truly sweet. I don’t mean to say that you will find them rubbing up against your leg begging for love like your family dog, but they won’t be chasing you around hissing at you either. They will actively run around doing their job – eating bugs and weeds.
You can review the “Are Khaki Campbell Ducks Family Friendly?” section to read my explanation of friendliness. And don’t forget, if you have trained them to understand treats, they may approach you for goodies.
Khaki Campbell Duck Housing Needs
If you have an extra bedroom in your house, that will work juuuussst fine. But that might not work if you aren’t a “crazy duck lady,” so I’ll offer some other advice.
Duck Housing Needs
- Shelter that will protect them from weather, wind, and predators.
- Duck coop needs to have proper ventilation.
- Clean, fresh water for drinking.
- Some type of pool or pond for swimming.
Do Khaki Campbell Ducks Need a Pond?
No. Yes. Maybe. I didn’t have a pond during my first run with Khaki Campbell ducks. I will say that all ducks love ponds. They were made with webbed feet good for swimming after all. Have you heard the phrase “like a duck to water?” Yup, they love it.
They will be happiest with a pond…..OR some kind of water. It can even be a kiddie pool, but read on if you are going this route.
Ducks are messy little critters. They are worth it, but they are messy birds. If they are using a kiddie pool (in place of a pond) it WILL get dirty pretty fast. It will need to be dumped, rinsed out, and refilled regularly. How regularly?
Well, that depends on the size of the pool, the number of ducks, and your particular ducks. Generally speaking, I’d say every couple of days. On a positive note, it’s a great animal care chore for kids.
Khaki Campbell Duck Appearance
If you are new to ducks, you may not know this – the males are called drakes. Pretty manly sounding if you ask me. Khaki Campbell drakes are light brown and khaki coloring (hence the name). Their heads are a darker color, often in a range of olive to dark green. However, I have friends who have Khaki Campbells and their drakes do not have dark heads.
They typically have a green bill with a black spot on the end. Also notable are their dark brown eyes and dark feathers near the tail.
Their leg and feet color is hard to put a finger on because the color can change! Sounds odd, but it’s true. They have brown legs and feet as ducklings, just like the hens, but they can become more of a dark orange color as they mature…but wait! There’s more! Their hormones can slightly change the intensity of that color too. That’s pretty cool.
As with most things, the leg and feet colors can vary. But either brown or dark orange legs are pretty typical.
The absolute cutest thing you might notice about their appearance, is the little curled tail feather (called a drake feather)- usually a dark color. Not all drakes are blessed with this extra adorable feature, but the ones who do look like they are showing it off!
Female Khaki Campbell duck are often, but not always, slightly darker tan/khaki (darker than a drake) in color. They are more uniformly colored, without the dark head. The duck’s khaki plumage is penciled throughout, which means there are lines through the feathers. Take a look at the photo below to understand how this looks.
These lovelies have the same beautiful dark brown eyes as the males. Their legs and feet are a brown color. And their bill is a darker color than that of the male duck.
Initially they were a fairly mixed color breed but later an emphasis was placed on the current khaki color. It is interesting that at the same time the khaki color was being bred into the Campbell, there was a patriotic fervor for the British troops fighting the Boer War who also wore the khaki color. Once the “Khaki” was attached to “Campbell”, the breed gained even more popularity.Credit: Metzer Farms Website
Are Khaki Campbell Ducks Hardy?
Yes! It’s a definite plus to this breed. They are very hardy in all types of weather, from very hot to extreme cold. You can tell, by the quantity of eggs they lay each year, that they lay well even in cold climates.
Can Khaki Campbell Ducks Live With Other Ducks and Chickens?
Khaki Campbell ducks can be mixed with other ducks. They can also get along with chickens. But it’s important to note that ducks and chickens are very different in certain ways.
Ducks are super messy and they will play in water and soak whatever is around them. Your chickens may not fair well in a wet environment. Also, chickens like to roost at night, and ducks like to nest at night. You need to be sure they both have a place to live their best lives.
If you decide to put ducks with chickens, you will want to research the best tips on how to do that well.
What Do Ducks Eat?
Adult ducks can eat chicken feed. But feeding ducklings can be tricky if you don’t know what you are doing. Ducklings need starter that’s specially formulated for them. Ducklings require a lot of niacin for proper bone and bill growth, and most chick starters do not have enough.
If you have chick starter on hand, you can increase the niacin by adding brewer’s yeast. Add 1 pound of brewer’s yeast per 40 pounds of chick starter. You can buy brewer’s yeast for ducklings here.
Ducks, and ducklings, can eat many other wonderful things, like fruits and vegetables. You need to read up on what they can, and can’t eat. You can do that in this article we wrote, it’s packed full of goodness.
Khaki Campbell Duck History
History has always been a hard subject for me. So many things to memorize! But duck history is a different story. Here is the the Khaki Campbell story.
Way back in 1901 (or around there) a lady by the name of Adele Campbell of Uley, Gloucestershire, England, crossed a couple of different breeds to make the Khaki Campbell breed. She kept the details of her breeding as somewhat of a secret, so there is some controversy as to which breeds she crossed. Some say she crossed White Indian Runner ducks with Fawn ducks. Others insist that Rouen and Mallards were involved. Either way, the end result is great!
Even though this crossing occurred back in the beginning of the 1900’s, the American Poultry Association (APA) didn’t recognize them as a breed until 1941, of course – after they came to the United States.
Where Can I Buy Khaki Campbell Ducklings?
Due to the nature of these ducks, as well as their egg laying capabilities, they are pretty popular – and that makes this breed pretty easy to get ahold of.
Most hatcheries sell them, so it’s a matter of finding the best hatchery for you. We recommend using a quality, local hatchery if you can. That way, the birds don’t have to endure taking a forced US Postal Service “vacation.”
If you don’t live near a hatchery, then you can look online to find a hatchery that suits your needs and expectations. You’ll want to be sure they have good policies such as refunds if shipping doesn’t go well (rare) and sexing guarantees.
Shipping costs can be quite high, so I’m usually strategic about it. I may order a few more of something just because the shipping rate doesn’t change within certain quantity ranges. And that works out great for this crazy bird lady.
Khaki Campbells are one of the most popular duck breeds, mainly because they are an exceptional layer of eggs. But as you can see, they have plenty of other traits you can love them for as well. They are pretty easy keepers, so you won’t have to hold a PhD in Duckness to be successful.
You may be starting your first flock, or adding to your backyard zoo – either way you might consider giving Khaki Campbell ducks a try.
A happy wife, mother, teacher, writer, hobby farmer, lover of chickens, and contributor to Pampered Chicken Mama!