Can Chickens Fly? Yes….And No.

Can Chickens Fly? Yes….And No.

Wondering “can chickens fly?” Well, like most things with chickens: it depends.

 

Some chicken breeds can fly and some can’t. And even within a specific breed, some individual chickens can fly, and some cannot.

 

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the question “can chickens fly!”

 

What Is A Flightless Bird, Really?

Flightless birds are comparatively rare – there are only about 60 species of flightless birds on Earth. One of the most iconic of flightless birds, the ostrich, is the largest bird and can run at speeds upwards of 40 mph (64.37 kph). 

 

These massive runners live in Africa, and use their 2-inch diameter eyes to spy out threats like lions, leopards, and packs of hyenas. While it might not be clear when these incredible birds lost their ability to fly, there is evolutionary precedent for this: ostriches are ratite, which is “any bird whose sternum (breastbone) is smooth, or raftlike, because it lacks a keel to which flight muscles could be anchored. All species of ratites are thus unable to fly.” Other ratites are the emu, cassowary, rhea, and kiwi.

 

Right up there with the ostrich as the most iconic of flightless birds is the tuxedo-sporting critter: the penguin. Unlike ostriches, penguins are not ratites. They possess the keel on their sternum to which their wings attach. 

 

Whereas volant birds use their wings for flight, penguins have adapted to underwater explorations, and instead use their wings as fins that allow them to effectively navigate in the waters where their food lives. In a way, because of this adaptation, penguins might be considered volant birds that just happen to fly through a vastly different environment than most other volant birds. 

 

So where does this leave us with pet chickens?

 

Are Chickens Actually Flightless?

So, what does all this say about chickens? Your chickens have all of the right tools for flight. They (generally) have the feathers and the keel on their sternum which their wings attach to, and they certainly have the muscles for it. With all of these details, the question remains: Can chickens fly?

 

Yes, kind of. And it depends on the breed. 

 

All chickens have strong muscles, and flight is one of the few ways this species can keep safe from predators. Most breeds are capable of “burst flights”, which are quick and can carry chickens to safety within moments. At night, as you probably know, they like to fly up to their roosts, which gives them a good vantage point to see if any raccoons, dogs, etc are coming their way.

 

Since they’ve been domesticated, they’ve largely lost this ability. Why is that? 

 

Chickens are most commonly bred for two things: eggs and meat. White meat is muscle, and it’s white meat that our ancestors favored. Selective breeding for meat has maximized the size of our chickens’ chest muscles. In theory, this should make chickens fantastic fliers. In reality, however, this is counterproductive. In order to fly, birds need light bodies with muscles strong enough to carry their own weight. 

 

The ideal flier will have a lean – almost sinewy – body: one that is strong enough to propel itself off the ground and light enough to stay aloft. Sustained flight also requires endurance. Human-bred chickens seldom are bred for strength, leanness, and endurance. 

 

Unlike ostriches and penguins, modern flightless chickens are not tied to the Earth because they don’t have the muscles to fly, but because it’s been bred out of them. In other words: We have bred our birds to be too large to support much of a flying ability. The average chicken can fly for about 10 feet, and about as high off the ground.

 

Being similar in flight skills to game birds, chickens were never the greatest fliers, and lack the skills for sustained flight, but they have been known to fly for as long as 13 seconds and a distance of 301.5 feet. It might be a short flight, but it likely is plenty enough to do its job: to get the chickens away from danger. 


Which Chickens Can Fly?

Larger chicken breeds are far less likely to even hover, as the energy required for even minimal flight can be preventative, but there are a number of breeds that are more inclined to flight:

 

 

are the most commonly known fliers. 

 

They have leaner bodies, and this is better suited for the short flights attainable by chickens. Our own Leghorns love flying into trees. 

 

At night, Araucanas occasionally roost up in the trees. Originally from Switzerland, the Spitzhaubens are a flighty bird that sometimes takes that adjective literally. Thanks to their smaller size, some bantam hens can achieve high heights for roosting purposes or when spooked. 

 

Which Chickens Can’t Fly?

There are some breeds that, no matter what, simply won’t get liftoff. Either they lack the feathers, or are just too dang heavy.

 

Some breeds, such as Silkies, can’t fly at all – they simply don’t have flight feathers on their wings. To keep them safe, you have to give them a place to climb up to. Ours can get lift off of maybe 12 inches, and that’s pretty much a big jump for a silkie.

 

Our Mille Fleur bantams and Cochin bantams can’t fly either – although they have wing feathers, their wings are too small. 

 

Other chickens, such as Orpingtons or Brahmas, have been bred to be so large, they simply are too heavy to fly.  

 

How Can I Stop My Chickens from Flying?

 

A few times a week, a person in my Facebook group asks how they can stop their flock from pooping all over the neighbor’s yard. There’s some easy ways to keep your chickens from making unwanted visits.

Build a Fence

The easiest way to prevent your chickens from flying away is to build a sizable fence around your chicken coop. This will stop most birds from flying out of their homes. 

 

For the heaviest breeds, you will not need anything taller than a 4-foot fence. For the slightly less heavy – the Mediterranean breeds, for example – you might need to build a 12-foot fence. 

 

Clip Their Wings

If you want to stop a bird from flying, one more adage comes to mind: “clip their wings,” which really means to trim their feathers. 

 

When done correctly, trimming feathers is painless. Once clipped, your chicken’s feathers can’t provide the lift needed for flight.

 

Do you still wonder “can chickens fly?” How far have your own chickens flown? Leave a comment below!

 

Frizzle Chickens: Buyer’s Guide & Care

Frizzle Chickens: Buyer’s Guide & Care

Looking back at the first time I ever learned about frizzle chickens, I remember I was REALLY excited to add these crazy looking creatures to my flock!

 

I finally added some this year, but learning about this particular breed has been a lesson in math.

 

You might ask: “what do math and chickens have in common?” On the surface, nothing really. (Unless we’re talking about chicken math, but I digress…..) 

 

If we follow the simplest equation of 2 or 3 hens in the same back yard, then you’ll likely get eggs. 

 

Put a rooster into the same coop, and then there will probably be chicks. 

 

Math and chickens really shouldn’t extend beyond that, but where Frizzle chickens are concerned, math becomes a far more important part of the equation than we might think! 

 

Today, we’re going to delve into just what makes a Frizzle so frizzley. 

 

We’re also going to be sure that we don’t let them Frazzle (because it is a thing!), and in the process, we’ll look at some other important details about this special chicken breed.

 

What Is A Frizzle Chicken?

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when discussing Frizzle chickens is the fact that the Frizzle isn’t one particular chicken breed. 

 

Instead, it is the result of careful or selective breeding and a whole lot of patience. Its defining feature is the curly feathers which makes these chickens reminiscent of a feather duster with a beak! 

 

They are very striking in appearance, but Frizzles take their genetic and shape cues from their originating breed (such as cochins or silkies). 

 

If, for example, you breed a Jersey Giant chicken with Frizzle genetics, it would big a big floofy critter with all the size and mass of the Jersey Giant (not that it is a very common occurrence.) 

 

Indeed, it appears to be a purely speculative breed. But this would hold true in theory! 

 

Just as with their baseline variety, Frizzle chickens can come in a wide variety of colors ranging from black, blue, buff, white Columbian like the Wyandotte, duckwing, black-red, brown-red, cuckoo, pyle, spangle as in the Old English Game and red as in Rhode Island Red.

 

Temperament is another area that Frizzle chickens are generally pretty consistent with. They are a friendly and lovable bird that are delightful to have in any backyard flock. 

 

So if you’re willing to add a Frizzle to your collection, here is everything you need to know about this curly chicken breed.

 

What Is Frizzling?

Frizzling is what happens when a chicken feather curls upwards and outwards from the body, and it’s a mutation resulting in imbalances in the genetic pool. 

 

Most chicken feathers lay flat against the body, but frizzling is special – it creates a very distinct-looking bird that some say resembles a muppet. 

 

It is the result of an “mf” gene which, if present, will result in your chick taking on either a normal-feathered chick or one that sports that “Frizzle look”.

 

Keeping track of which chicks have the gene is a very important task, as it is only through the mating of a Frizzle with normal-feathered fowl that results in the Frizzles that you are looking for. 

 

And herein lies the math that could potentially be so irritating (keeping really good records is a must!)

 

The outcome of the matings can result in three distinct varieties of chicken: 

  • Two of which are wonderful and a delight, but the last of which… well, that’s something that is best avoided. 
  • If you mate one Frizzle with another Frizzle, there is a 25% chance that the result will be something called a Frazzle

 

Frazzles are almost too delicate for their own good, and indeed, their feathers are almost brittle to the touch; Frazzles often suffer bald spots where the feathers have broken away. 

 

Not good because feathers play an important part in maintaining body temperature!

 

For these and other reasons, including heart and other physical issues that often prevent Frazzles from living to maturity, Frazzles are best avoided. 

 

When I first started researching Frizzle chickens, I spoke with various breeders who have experience breeding these creatures.

 

My friend Katie at Itty Bitty Chicken Farm in South Carolina told me it’s very critical to only mate a normal feathered chicken with a Frizzle (and to avoid a Frizzle/Frizzle mating at all costs.)

 

If you decide you want to hatch Frizzle chicks, here’s what you need to know:

 

Normal x frizzle = 50% frizzle, 50% normal
Frizzle x frizzle = 50% frizzle, 25% normal, 25% frazzle

 

While the science isn’t overly complex, good note-taking and controlled breeding is important to ensure all your chicks get the chance to live healthy lives. 

 

Luckily, the genetic chance of getting a Frazzle isn’t too hard to remember. 

 

What is most important is exercising care and caution with your birds, so that the Frizzles you’re looking for are the best quality bird that you can develop. 

cochin frizzle chicken on white

What chicken breeds have Frizzles? 

Common Frizzle bantam breeds:

  • Cochins
  • Silkies
  • Orpingtons (Buff, Lavender, etc)
  • Plymouth Rocks
  • Japanese Bantams
  • Polish Bantams

 

Cochin

Cochin chickens are one of the most popular breeds among beginners because they’re hardy, lay brown eggs consistently, and enjoy human company. 

 

Both the full-sized cochin and the bantam variety have been known to produce Frizzle variations. The standard sized cochins have big and beautiful bodies that can weigh in at about 5 pounds and have an abundance of fancy soft feathers. 

 

They are gentle giants that are easy to handle, and this temperament makes them great pets for families while also making them great foster moms for hatching and brooding. The bantam variety weighs about 2 pounds, and is exceptionally friendly. 

 

They are common in black, white, and red varieties. You can read more about cochins here.

 

Plymouth Rock

A dual-purpose bird that is one of America’s oldest chicken breeds, the Plymouth Rock is an excellent egg layer. 

 

This breed also has a distinct black and white bar plumage, which is a beautiful addition to any Frizzle flock. Both roosters and hens are generally calm, and these birds get along well with everyone. 

 

The roosters are good protectors for their flocks, and aren’t aggressive towards people. They’re curious and generally will prefer to free range and find morsels in the yard, although they do tolerate confinement well.

 

They come in the standard colors: Barred, Blue, Buff, Colombian, Partridge, Silver Penciled, and White. You can read more about Plymouth Rock chickens here.

 

Silkies

Silkies are a special, fully-bantam variety of chicken that are almost perfect for a Frizzle. Their legs are completely covered in feathers, so if you get one of these Frizzled up, you’ll have a feathery friend whose unique curvy feathers stretch from toe to top! 

 

A Frizzle silkie chicken is an adorable sight to behold!

 

With their super-soft plumage and easy-going temperaments, these beauties make for wonderful pets. Other details that make these birds such oddities (as far as other chickens are concerned) are their black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and feet covered in five toes each. 

 

If you don’t want to have your Silkies lounge about as pets, they can average at about 150 eggs a year, which makes for a sizeable contribution to the pantry.

 

They come in black, blue, buff, white, partridge, splash and gray varieties. You can read more about silkie chickens here.

 

Japanese Bantam

Japanese bantams are known in some parts of the world by another name: Chabo. Whatever their name, they got their start in the Land of the Rising Sun, and are a true bantam breed. 

 

These birds are distinctive for their upright tails that often stick up higher than the peaks of their combs! These beautiful birds are mostly decorative, as their small stature isn’t ideal for meals, and they only produce about 75 eggs per year. 

 

These fuzzy babies are born to strut the catwalk! 

 

Japanese Bantam Frizzles come in all the standard colors: black-tailed white, black, mottled, black-tailed buff, and gray. You can read more about bantams here.

 

Polish Bantams

Another show bird is the Polish Bantam. These sweet birds were originally developed as egg-raisers who can produce a solid 200 eggs each year! However, their primary function soon went to the wayside because of their telltale crest of curly feathers that engulf their heads. 

 

These crests have made them distinctive enough for chicken lovers around the world to covet them for their visual appeal. They are sweet – and oftentimes quirky or flighty owing to poor vision resulting from their crests – chickens whose unique qualities make them ideally-suited for a Frizzley offspring. 

 

The colors for the Polish Bantam Frizzle run the whole list, and as it is a show bird, the list is vast: white crested black, golden, silver, white, buff laced, white-crested blue. And then there are also the bearded and non-bearded varieties as well as the unrecognized varieties, too! 

 

You can read more about Polish bantams here.

 

Orpingtons

Originating in the UK, the Orpington is the quintessential chicken breed whose round body and distinctive buff coloring is often envisioned when one thinks of chickens. 

 

These chickens are hardy and rugged, and are ideal for confinement or small yards (like are most common on the small islands of Great Britain). These birds are consistent egg-layers, grow rapidly, and make for a tasty 2- to 3- pound bird. 

 

Although there have been sightings of all varieties of Orpington Frizzles (including black, blue, white, and the unrecognized splash and lavender), the buff variety is by far the most common.

 

You can read more about Orpington chickens here.

 

Is it a Frizzle rooster or hen?

So, how do you tell the males and females apart? Just like other chickens, there’s some easy and not so easy ways to tell frizzle hens from roosters:

  • Roosters will have redder combs/wattles earlier (about 4 – 8 weeks old)
  • Roosters will have longer tail feathers
  • Roosters will crow! (starting anywhere from 3 days old to 16 weeks)

You can read more about how to sex a baby chick here.

 

frizzle rooster and hen

 

Additional Frizzle Facts

Do Frizzles lay eggs?

Yes, frizzle chicken breeds do lay eggs, however, some breeds produce more than others. The amount of eggs laid will depend on the breed – for example, Cochin frizzles will produce about 200 eggs a year, while Japanense bantam frizzles will only lay about 75. 

 

What color eggs do Frizzles lay?

The color is dependent upon the root breed of the Frizzle. Cochins and Buff Orpingtons lay brown eggs, while Silkies lay white eggs. If you have a frizzle Easter Egger, than who knows what color eggs she’ll lay!

 

Are Frizzle Chickens good egg layers?

Across the board, the Frizzle chicken breeds are gentle and good layers, though some breeds produce a sizable quantity more than others. 

 

Can you breed Frizzle to Frizzle? Can you breed two Frizzle chickens?

Technically, you can, but with a one in four chance that it will produce a Frazzle, the practice is discouraged. Frazzles have feathers that are so brittle that they often break off the birds’ bodies and leave unsightly bald spots, making them more susceptible to cold in winter. These Frazzles also suffer a number of other health risks like organ problems. If you’re looking for your Frizzles to enjoy a long healthy life, it is best to breed them to non-Frizzles. 

 

Are Frizzle Chickens cold hardy?

While some breeds of the Frizzles are more cold-hardy than others, all Frizzles suffer one drawback. Because their feathers turn upwards, they cannot seal the heat the way their feathers are supposed to. As a result of this, they have a hard time creating an air buffer between their bodies and the outside air. In colder months and wet weather, pay special attention to their comfort, just in case they can’t keep as warm as the other non-Frizzles in your coops. 

 

Do fancy chickens lay eggs?

Yes. All of the Frizzle Chicken breeds lay eggs, and if you’ve decided to add these birds to your flock for eggs, you’re in luck! Keep in mind, however, that some breeds, like the Cochin and the Orpington, are better at producing a strong supply than, say, the Japanese bantam. The Japanese bantam do not particularly excel at laying eggs, and a yearly yield maxes out at about 75.

 

Where do frizzle chickens come from?

Records of the birds go back as far as the 1600s! Charles Darwin, the famed British evolutionary, made mention of them as being predominantly from India. He called them “Caffie Fowl.” Officially, there is no record (in English, at least) of where these birds came from, however, all details point to Asia, maybe China or the East Indies. 

 

Are all Frizzles Bantams?

No. At least one breed, Cochins, have varieties that are standard-sized. Generally speaking, though, most Frizzles are bantams. 

 

Is the frizzle gene dominant?

Yes, the frizzle gene is dominant and 50% of the offspring will at least have one frizzle gene and one normal gene, though the mixture of the flock does not always produce 50% Frizzle feathered chickens and 50% non-Frizzles. 

 

Are Frizzle roosters and hens friendly to raise?

Yes! While your experience will depend on the individual chicken, most Frizzles are extremely friendly, especially if you give them lots of treats!

 

Coops for Frizzles

 

What size coops do Frizzle Chickens Need?

Because most Frizzle Chickens are bantams, most advice relating to their homes overlap with rules for bantams. Providing them with perches for them to hang out will help keep them happy and content. As far as their coop space is concerned, about 1 to 2 square feet per bird is ideal. This is a little more than half as much as a full-sized chicken requires. 

 

Common Health Issues

As with any other chicken, Frizzles are not immune to their environments, and are susceptible to lice, mites, worms, and other parasites. To help boost their immune systems and beat the bugs, feed apple cider vinegar and crushed garlic daily. You can learn more about my favorite herbs for deterring mites here.

 

Where can you buy Frizzle Chickens?

One of the biggest problems with ordering your Frizzles is getting them to actually be Frizzles. If you buy day-old chicks in advance, there is no guarantee that they will be, and a dozen purchased might result in only six being Frizzles, or you could luck out and find the whole dozen frilled and foofy! Keep such in mind as you plan to acquire your chickens: buying mature, or at least semi-mature birds are more likely to actually be Frizzles. 

 

As far as where to order your chickens:

  • My Pet Chicken has a variety of Frizzles including day-olds. 
  • Meyer Hatchery, based in Ohio, might not immediately have stock, but they have a handy breeding schedule that you can use to help arrange to get the latest additions to your family. 
  • Strombergs’ Chicks and Game Birds, based in Pine River, MN, offers some Red Frizzle Cochin bantams.
  • Purely Poultry, based in Fremont, WI, offers Frizzle Cochin Bantams. 

 

The most important thing is to choose a high-quality hatchery that’s also close to you, so your new pets don’t spend forever in the mail.

 

You might have difficulty finding the colors of Frizzles that match your vision, so it might be best to contact a qualified breeder and discuss color possibilities with them. 

 

Most Frizzle chickens should cost just a little over $5.00, which is a small amount more than some other breeds. The increase price is a result of the need for handlers to plan them carefully.

16 Duck Breeds For Colorful Eggs!

16 Duck Breeds For Colorful Eggs!

Sometimes, I lay awake at night and think about how great my flock would look with all kinds of different duck breeds.

 

(Well, maybe not really all night. I do like to sleep.)

 

Ducks are lovely creatures that make great pets – and they lay eggs! Lots of eggs (sometimes, more consistently than chickens).

 

From wonderful egg layers like the Ancona and Silver Appleyard, to beautiful heavy breeds like the Rouen and Aylesbury, ducks are great to have in any backyard or farm.

 

However, there’s so many options, it can be hard to know which duck breeds are best for you!

 

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about ducks, from baby duck breeds or miniature duck breeds, and to mixing duck breeds in order to find a combination that’ll fit your needs.

 

List of Pet Domestic Duck Breeds

  • American Pekin
  • Ancona
  • Appleyard
  • Call Duck
  • Cayuga
  • Crested Duck
  • Indian Runner Duck
  • Khaki Campbell
  • Muscovy
  • Magpie
  • Mallard
  • Orpington
  • Rouen
  • Saxony
  • Swedish
  • Welsh Harlequin

 

Duck Breeds

American Pekin

This large duck breed has been domesticated for over 2000 years! They’re one of the most popular duck breeds, and are instantly recognizable because they’re white! This friendly duck has an orange beak and legs, and is an excellent producer of large, white eggs. They’re generally healthy (although you need to give them Brewer’s Yeast as ducklings so they grow healthy bones). American Pekin ducks are good-natured and make for excellent pets.

 

They’re both heat and cold hardy, and are one of the heavier breeds, weighing at about 9 pounds.

 

How many eggs do Pekin ducks lay?

On average, Pekin hens lay about 200 very large white colored eggs per year (this will depend on diet – you can learn what ducks eat here).

 

Ancona

This dual-purpose duck is beautiful and friendly….and lays GREEN eggs! They’re also excellent foragers, and will keep your gardens free of slugs and other pain in the butt garden pests. Originating in England, they’re a relatively new breed (developed in the earthy 20th century) and are said to descend from Runner ducks. They’re great producers of eggs, and can lay green, blue, white, or cream eggs. They’re friendly, and make excellent pets if you feed them lots of treats.

 

Appleyard

Named after their breeder, Reginald Appleyard, this is a pretty new duck breed, but growing in popularity rapidly. They’re one of the “champion egg layers” of the backyard duck world, producing about 250 white eggs per year. They’re heavy, weighing in at around 9 pounds for the drakes, and are excellent foragers. You can find Appleyards at most big hatcheries. You can learn more about this duck breed here.

 

Call Duck

These are smaller ducks (kind of like bantam chickens) that are mostly kept as companions. They have smaller bills and were originally used as decoys by hunters to attract wild ducks. Because of their size and adorable appearance, they make great pets, and enjoy human company. The drakes weigh about 1.5 pounds, with the hens weighing about 1 pound (so, pretty small). Their egg colors can range from green to white to cream.

 

Because of their size, they’re even more susceptible to predators, so make sure their duck house is safe. You can watch this video of us making a predator-safe duck pen here:

 

 

Cayuga

Although it’s not clear how this duck breed developed, one thing is for sure: Cayuga ducks are very distinct! Their unique name derives from the indigenous people who occupied modern day Upstate New York before the European invasion.

 

They’re solid black (although their feathers have a green sheen to them, especially the drakes). They’re friendly and are excellent foragers. The hens lay eggs in shades of light grey to a dark, charcoal grey (sometimes even black). As the season progresses, the eggs get lighter and lighter. The males weigh about 7 pounds, and the females about 5 pounds.

 

Crested Duck

Crested ducks are great pet breeds (especially for children) because they’re friendly and look like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book! The crest on their head is actually a genetic abnormality. They seem to be an ancient breed, and there’s some 2000 year old images showing a duck with a crest of feathers. Weighing in at around 7 pounds, they’re also fairly large.

 

They’re excellent layers of about 200 eggs per year. There’s also a bantam version of this duck breed. The crest is caused by a lethal allele, and when both parents carry the crested genetics, 25% of the clutch won’t hatch (similar to araucanas and their lethal genetics). So, it’s best to breed a crested duck to a non-crested duck to ensure the best possible hatch rate (50% of the ducklings will be crested). You can read more about hatching eggs here.

 

Indian Runner Duck

This duck breed is very distinctive, with their nearly vertical build. They also don’t waddle, instead, they’re built to run (hence their name “runner duck.) They’re excellent layers of about 300 eggs per year, and are great for pest control. Originating from the East Indies, they’re quiet ducks that prefer to forage. They’re also on the small side, with drakes weighing about 5 pounds. Their duck eggs are green or blue (or shades in between).

 

Indian Runner duck colors include:

  • White
  • Penciled
  • Buff
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Fawn & White

 

Khaki Campbell

Khaki Campbells are a popular duck breed that lays large, white eggs consistently (about 200 per year). They’re brown, and it’s easy to tell the drakes from the hens. They’re friendly if hand raised, and fed lots of treats. However, they’re susceptible to predators, especially since they tend to be on the small side. They also tend to “go broody” (want to hatch eggs) more than other breeds. You can easily find this breed at most big hatcheries.

 

Muscovy

The Muscovy duck breed is a bit of an anomaly in the duck world – they’re the only duck breed not descended from Mallards! The have very distinct appearances, with faces that look covered with bright red warts. Unlike other duck breeds, their eggs take 35 days to hatch (other breeds take 28 days to hatch). They’re also one of the only breeds to perch in trees, and have claws to aid them. They’re large, and lay about 200 off white eggs per year. Some owners say the eggs have a greenish tint, but aren’t exactly green. They love to eat ticks and mosquitoes! You can read more about Muscovy ducks here.

muscovy duck breed with red face

 

Magpie

This is a funny black and white duck breed that’s becoming more popular as a pet. They’re friendly and distinctive-looking birds, and enjoy human company if offered lots of treats. They’re fairly upright (although not as vertical as Runner ducks) and are excellent layers – about 280 eggs per year.

 

Mallard

With their green heads and pervasive quacks, mallards are fun a duck breed to raise. While you can find them in the wild, there’s also domestic mallards that hatcheries sell. The males and females look different (unlike Pekins where both are white), with the females having black and tan feathers that remind me of tiger stripes. They’re very beautiful! The females lay about 200 white or greenish white eggs per year.

 

Orpington Duck

Developed in the town of Orpington in the UK, this breed is less known in the US, but rising in popularity. Their developer, William Cook, also developed the Orpington chicken. Good Ol’ William crossed Rouen, Indian Runner, and Cayugas to create his beautiful Orpington ducks. They’re great producers of large eggs, laying around 200 per year. This duck breed comes in 3 color variations: Buff, Blond, and Brown. The males have a yellow bill, while the females have darker colored bills. While admitted into the American Poultry Standard of Perfection, they don’t necessarily breed true.

 

Rouen

The Rouen are a duck breed that’s colored like the mallard, but are larger. Originating in France, they’re beautiful birds to look at, and lay prolifically: about 200 white eggs per year. They make great farm ducks, and enjoy human company.

 

Saxony

Saxony ducks are distinctive looking with their grey heads and wood-colored feathers. Unlike other duck breeds on this list, they were developed in Germany in the 20th century, and are great layers of large, white eggs. They’re large ducks, weighing in at about 9 pounds.

 

Swedish

This popular breed has white feathers on its chest, and beautiful blue/grey feathers. They were developed in Germany and Northern Poland, and are called “Swedish” because the recognized government was the kingdom of Sweden at the time the breed became known. Blue is the most well known feather color, but other varieties include brown and black. It’s said that Daffy Duck was a Swedish drake – he certainly has the characteristics! They’re great layers of large eggs.

 

Welsh Harlequin

These are smaller ducks, weighing in at around 5 pounds. Originating in Wales (hence the name Welsh Harlequin) and are derived from Khaki Campbells. Like Mallards, they have green/black heads, and lay prolifically – about 300 white eggs per year.

 

How Many Varieties Of Ducks Are There?

There’s about 28 types of domestic duck/pet duck breeds in the USA.

 

What Kind Of Duck Has A Green Head?

Several duck breeds have green heads, including Mallards, Welsh Harlequins, and Rouens. Cayuga drakes also have green heads, although their entire bodies are covered with black feathers that sport a greenish sheen.

 

What Breed Of Duck Has Yellow Ducklings?

Duck breeds that have yellow ducklings are Pekins and Khaki Campbell ducks. Their ducklings are covered in yellow feathers and have orange beaks and feet.

 

Keeping Ducks as Pets

What Are The Best Backyard Ducks?

The best backyard duck breeds that lay lots of eggs and are friendly are:

  • Khaki Campbell (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Magpie (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Mallard (about 200 eggs/year)
  • Welsh Harlequin (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Buff Orpington (about 300 eggs/year)
  • Crested (about 200 eggs/year)
  • Rouens (about 250 eggs/year)
  • Call Ducks (about 300 eggs/year)

 

Different breeds lay different colored eggs. While most ducks lay white eggs, they can also lay off white, cream tinted, green, blue, or black eggs. Here’s a chart that shows you which breeds lay different colored eggs:

 

Breed Egg Color Eggs Laid Per Year
American Pekin White 200
Ancona Green 200
Appleyard White 250
Black East Indie Grey, charcoal grey 200
Call Duck Green, white, cream 300
Cayuga Black, charcoal grey, light grey 200
Crested Duck White 200
Indian Runner Duck Green, blue 300
Khaki Campbell White 280
Muscovy Off white, cream, speckled 200
Magpie White, bluish green 280
Mallard White, greenish white 200
Orpington White 300
Rouen White 250
Saxony White 200
Swedish White 200
Welsh Harlequin White, blue 300

What Are The Friendliest Duck Breeds?

The top 3 in friendliest duck breeds would have to be the Pekin, Rouen, Khaki Campbell, Swedish, and the Call duck.

 

Are Ducks Friendly Pets?

Yes! Particularly if you hand raise them and give them lots of treats, they’ll be your best friend. It’s also important to pick breeds that are friendly, such as Call ducks. You can learn about how to raise people friendly poultry here. If you want to give your ducklings treats, you can learn what ducklings eat here.

 

Can A Duck Be An Indoor Pet?

Yes, but it’ll have to wear a diaper. Ducks, like all birds, don’t have a bladder, so when nature calls, they’ll go anywhere. That being said, ducks are happiest with other ducks, and living in a flock. 

 

What Is The Largest Breed Of Duck?

Pekins. The drakes weigh about 12 – 13 pounds. Traditionally, Pekins were raised as both meat and egg producers, but in modern times, they’re largely kept as layers and pets.

 

How Long Do Domestic Ducks Live?

The average lifespan of the average domesticated duck is 8 to 10 years, as long as they’re cared for properly. This will vary by breed and individual bird. You can read more about how to raise healthy ducks here and more about how long individual duck breeds live here.

 

Do Ducks Bite You?

Just like any animal ducks can and will bite when threatened. However, these incidences are few and far between, and ducks don’t generally bite their owners without being provoked and very scared.

 

Can You Train A Duck?

Yes, with treats, you can train a duck to come when called. If you work with them every day and follow some simple steps (like training them with treats during evening, when they naturally want to come to their house), your ducks will be trained in no time.

 

Are Ducks Affectionate?

Yes, pet ducks can be very affectionate when they receive the right care.

 

Will Domestic Ducks Fly Away?

Fear not, as most domesticated duck breeds cannot fly because they’re too heavy compared to their wings. However, some breeds like Mallards have evolved to fly, so you can simply trim their wings.

 

How Can You Tell If A Duckling Is Male Or Female?

When they hatch, the other sure fire way is to “vent sex” a duck, however, only qualified professionals should attempt this. When they’re about 4 to 6 weeks old, you might notice some ducklings develop a deeper quack, while others retain a high pitched squeak. The lower pitched quack is a sign of a duck hen – their adult voices develop much sooner. As adolescents, a good sign to look for is a curled feather that sticks up near the tail, called a “drake feather,” which indicates the duck is a male.

 

Which Breeds Are Quiet?

Muscovies are quiet (they don’t quack. Instead, they have a quiet, whispery call that sounds like a hiss). You can learn more about Muscovies here.

 

Duck Breeds For Eggs

Ducks for White Eggs

Duck breeds that lay white eggs are the Pekin, Buff Orpington, Indian Runner, Swedish, Magpie, and Ancona.

 

Ducks for Green Eggs

Duck breeds that lay green eggs are the Indian Runner, Call, and Ancona.

 

Ducks for Blue Eggs

Duck breeds that lay blue eggs are the Indian Runner and Magpie.

 

Ducks for Black Eggs

Duck breed that lay black eggs is the Cayuga.

 

Are Duck Eggs Good To Eat?

Yes, duck eggs are good to eat as they are high in fat and rich in omega 3. They’re potentially healthier than chicken eggs, and often, people who have an allergy to chicken eggs can eat duck eggs. You can discover more about duck eggs here.

 

What Are The Best Laying Ducks?

The best laying ducks are the Campbell, Runner, Buff, Welsh Harlequin, Magpie, and Ancona.

 

Do Ducks Need Shelter At Night?

Yes, it’s a good idea to give all duck breeds shelter at night to protect them from predators and from inclement weather. You can learn how to build a safe duck pen here.

 

What Do Ducks Like To Sleep On?

The good thing about ducks is that they don’t roost, so they are fine with sleeping on soft shavings on the coop floor. You can learn about different coop bedding options here.

 

Which Duck Breeds Are Broody?

The best broody duck breeds are Muscovies and the Welsh Harlequin.

 

Feeding Backyard Ducks

What Can I Feed My Backyard Ducks?

It’s best to feed your ducks a high quality layer feed specifically formulated for ducks. You can also supplement their diet with oyster shells for additional calcium. As for treats, you can feed your backyard ducks insects, worms, weeds/grass, fish, eggs, berries, cracked corn, or sunflower seeds. For a full list, you can learn more about what to feed ducks here.

Some veggies and leafy greens that ducks love are:

  • Cut grass (that hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals)
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Radish & turnip greens
  • Lettuces & other salad greens

Some high-protein treats you can feed ducks are:

Remember: Ducks aren’t chickens – they have round bills that don’t pick food up easily like sharp beaks. So, it’s best to float treats on water so your ducks can easily dig them up.

Which duck breeds do you raise? Please a comment below!

Duck Eggs: Nutrition & Buyer’s Guide

Duck Eggs: Nutrition & Buyer’s Guide

Blame it on the huge amount of nutrients or their deliciousness: It’s undeniable that duck eggs are becoming more and more popular for health nuts.

 

While most people think of chickens when they eat eggs, duck eggs are gradually making their way to kitchen tables everywhere.

 

And why not? They’re low in calories, great for skin and hair, and, according to science, might be edible even if you have a chicken egg allergy.

 

In this article, we’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages of duck eggs, along with their health benefits, how to cook with them, where to buy them, and how to make sure they’re fresh!

 

Eating Duck Eggs

Duck eggs are full of nutrients, and some researchers claim they’re perhaps even healthier than chicken eggs – especially for those with egg allergies.

 

Duck Eggs Nutrition Facts*

Compared side-by-side with chicken eggs nutrition facts labels, duck eggs provide important nutrients you might not get from just eating chicken eggs.

 

duck egg nutrition facts

Duck Eggs Nutrition Facts

Chicken eggs nutrition facts

Chicken Egg Nutrition Facts

 

Advantages of Duck Eggs

  • Higher in omega-3 fatty acids
  • More protein, riboflavin, folates, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin B, & selenium
  • Larger yolks, which means more flavor
  • Creamier baked goods
  • Better quality of life for poultry, if purchased locally
  • Possibly edible if you have egg allergies (check with your doctor first)

 

Disadvantages of Duck Eggs

  • Harder to source
  • More expensive ($6-$12 per dozen)
  • Possible fishy smell if the ducks aren’t fed a high quality diet

 

Are Duck Eggs Healthy For You?

Yes! Duck egg nutrition data indicates this food is a good source of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Protein
  • Riboflavin
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin B12
  • Selenium

 

Duck eggs are full of omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re 67% fat. But don’t let that fool you – that’s “good fat” that’ll help you stay healthy and possibly lose weight if you follow the keto diet.

 

They’re higher in protein than chicken eggs, thanks to the albumen, which has more proteins in it than chicken eggs. The yolks are bigger, which means they contain more essential vitamins and minerals.

 

They also might stay fresher for longer due to a thicker shell. Part of the reason their shells are so thick is because the chicken egg industry doesn’t provide sufficient calcium to battery hens. Since duck eggs aren’t produced on such a commercial scale, they tend to have better diets.

 

Duck eggs purchased from a local source also might still have the bloom, which is a natural coating on the shell that keeps it fresher for longer periods. However, if you want to wash eggs you bought from a local farmer, you can read this article for advice.

 

If you’re not sure whether the eggs you purchase are fresh or not, you can try the fresh egg float test.

 

Are Duck Eggs Safe To Eat?

Yes! Duck eggs are safe, and very delicious. Just like chicken eggs, there’s a small possibility of salmonella. To avoid this, purchase your duck eggs from a local source that provides a high-quality diet for their ducks. High quality diets can reduce instances of salmonella and e-coli infecting the eggs since the duck’s digestive system is healthier. Also be sure to fully cook the eggs so all bacteria is killed off.

 

How Long Do Duck Eggs Stay Fresh?

Up to 6 weeks if refrigerated. It’s always best to purchase your eggs from a local supplier so they’re as fresh as possible. Eggs purchased at a supermarket can be nearly 60 days old. You can learn more about how to tell if an egg is good or bad here.

 

You can also watch this video to learn about why supermarket eggs are not likely fresh:

 

How Many Calories Are In A Duck Egg?

According to the Egg Nutrition Center, duck eggs have about 70 calories each. Whether you boil them, poach them, or scramble them, the calorie count remains the same.

 

What Do You Do With Duck Eggs?

Duck eggs are delicious when fried, poached, steamed, or boiled. You can cook them exactly like chicken eggs, so there are many recipes for scrambled duck eggs. They’re great to bake with, and yield a creamier texture to cakes. In recipes, you can swap out chicken eggs for duck eggs – just use 1 duck egg for every 1 chicken egg (for example, if the recipe calls for 1 chicken egg, just use 1 duck egg).

 

For duck egg recipes, Jamie Oliver has released many popular ones that are easy to follow, such as a basic tutorial on how to boil duck eggs.

 

If you raise ducks, you can feed the eggshells back to your flock, or even scramble eggs for them.

 

Can You Eat Duck Eggs Raw?

Nutritionists and doctors recommend to not eat raw duck eggs to avoid possible salmonella infection. As a precaution only use duck eggs in recipes that can be thoroughly cooked. Note that duck eggs and chicken eggs have the same chances of carrying salmonella.

 

Can Someone With An Egg Allergy Eat Duck Eggs?

Possibly. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, nearly 2% of the population is effected by an egg allergy. However, duck eggs are different than chicken eggs (since they come from 2 different species) and some people with egg allergies CAN eat duck eggs. A doctor can help you determine whether you can eat duck eggs if you’re allergic to eggs in general. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, your doctor might provide tests to see if you’re also allergic to duck eggs.

 

Are Duck Eggs High In Histamine?

Like chicken eggs, duck eggs are considered to be low in histamines. Eggs in general are good to eat if you have a histamine intolerance. According to one study performed by researchers, the way you cook your duck eggs has no effect on the histamines you consume. You can also eat duck eggs with certain fruits and vegetables to consume minerals that will help your body release histamines.

 

Can You Eat Mallard Duck Eggs?

Yes, you can eat mallard duck eggs. Some people even use these eggs for baking, and they say it makes the cakes fluffier. To cook with mallard eggs, simply substitute duck eggs for chicken eggs in the same quantities called for in the recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 chicken egg, use 1 duck egg. Be sure to only use eggs purchased from a local source – do not disturb wild duck nests for their eggs.

 

Is Duck Egg Good For Hair?

Duck eggs are great for healthy hair! They’re they are high in protein and contain biotin, which is essential for scalp health and hair growth. A diet high in egg proteins can also lend your hair a healthy shine, and since duck eggs are also high in lecithin, they might help moisturize your locks (lecithin is a fat used to moisturize the hair, and is even used in commercial hair products.) Additionally, key constituent of duck egg yolks is sulfur, which is important for healthy hair follicles. You can eat duck eggs or even mix them with oil and wash your hair for healthy, strong locks.

 

Why Do Duck Eggs Smell Fishy?

If your duck eggs smell fishy, it’s possibly caused by high levels of choline in the egg. According to this study, choline can cause high levels of trimethylamine (TMA) that results in that fishy odor in eggs. However, this is less likely to happen if ducks eat a good commercial feed, so if you’re purchasing eggs and they smell, ask your supplier about their flocks’ diet. If you purchase them at the supermarket, try a different brand. Another possibility is the eggs are rotten or weren’t stored correctly. If your duck eggs smell fishy or bad, throw them out.

 

Is Duck Egg Cholesterol Good Or Bad?

 

Duck Eggs Vs. Chicken Eggs

What’s The Difference Between A Duck Egg And A Chicken Egg?

In most cases the nutritional value of the chicken and duck eggs don’t vary that much, however, duck eggs have higher fat content, higher protein, full of omega 3 fatty acids, and have more cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol) than chicken eggs. You might notice that duck eggs have very large yolks compared to chicken eggs – in fact, duck egg yolks comprise 42% of the total weight of the egg! That’s a lot of nutrients in one small package!

 

Some people report that duck eggs might have an earthy or denser taste to them, although most people say they taste the same.

 

Why Are Duck Eggs More Popular?

Duck eggs are better used for pastries and for diet recipes as duck eggs considered healthier than chicken eggs.

 

Do Duck Eggs Taste Different?

Nope! Duck eggs and chicken eggs taste the same. You might notice that your duck eggs make cakes, pastries, and other baked goods taste creamier. Duck eggs also tend to have bigger yolks, although the yolks taste the same as chicken eggs.

 

How Do Duck Eggs Taste Compared To Chicken Eggs?

Some people report that because of their higher fat content and bigger yolks, duck eggs have a slightly richer flavor than chicken eggs. However, duck eggs and chicken eggs usually taste the same. You might notice that duck eggs enhance the flavor of baked goods because the larger yolks make baked good creamier.

 

Which Is Healthier Chicken Or Duck Eggs?

Neither is healthier than the other. Their nutritional value will depend on your dietary goals. Duck eggs are higher in fat (because the yolks are bigger) than chicken eggs, however, they’re higher in omega-3 fats, which are a good fat. They’re also higher in protein, and are an excellent source of folic acid, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, iron, and other essential nutrients. If you’re allergic to chicken eggs, you might be able to eat duck eggs.

 

Both chicken and duck eggs are low in histamines, so they’re both great to eat if you have histamine issues.

 

Do Duck Eggs Have Cholesterol?

Yes, duck eggs have about 620 mg of cholesterol, which is significantly higher than chicken eggs. However, there’s good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. If you’re worried or trying to avoid cholesterol, then check with your doctor about whether adding duck eggs to your diet is advised.

 

Where To Buy Duck Eggs

You can purchase duck eggs to eat from:

  • A supermarket like Whole Foods
  • A local farmer or duck keeper
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Etsy (shipped duck eggs)

 

Duck eggs usually cost about $6 per dozen, although prices do vary. While you can purchase them on Etsy, it’s simpler to find a Whole Foods or a farmer’s market in your area.

 

Why Are Duck Eggs So Expensive?

Duck eggs are more expensive than chicken eggs partly because they’re larger, and partly because there’s no real industrial production of the eggs (which keeps costs low, but sacrifices quality). This is a good thing: If you purchase your eggs locally, from a farmer or someone who has a flock, you can be sure the ducks have a happy life and have been fed a high-quality diet.

 

Does Whole Foods Sell Duck Eggs?

Yes, Whole Foods sells duck eggs. According to their website, you can purchase Mary’s Duck Eggs. The price will vary depending on the store. Please do your homework and make sure the duck eggs are sourced from a reliable and humane wholesaler.

 

Cooking with Duck Eggs

How Many Chicken Eggs Equal A Duck Egg?

You can substitute 1 chicken egg for 1 duck egg in recipes. Baking with duck eggs is easy, and you might find the duck eggs yield a creamier and fluffier baked good because of the larger yolk.

 

Duck Eggs Recipes

You can find a full list of 50 different egg recipes here. You can easily substitute duck eggs in any of these recipes. You can also find a list of ideas to use up excess eggs and eggshells here.

 

Scrambled Duck Eggs Recipe

Whisk 2 duck eggs with 1 tablespoon of cream. Add a pinch of basil. Cook on medium heat until thoroughly cooked.

How to Boil Duck Eggs

Hard Boiled Duck Eggs Recipe

Add 2 duck eggs to water at a rolling boil. Remove after 4 minutes. Immediately sink into ice cold water and leave until cool. Remove shells and enjoy.

 

If you want to try something a bit different, soak your hard boiled eggs in tea to make delicious tea eggs.

 

Soft Boiled Duck Eggs Recipe

Add 2 duck eggs to water at a rolling boil. Remove after 2 minutes. Immediately sink into ice cold water and leave until cool. Place in a bowl or egg cup. Remove the top portion of the shell to eat with a spoon.

 

Boiled duck egg calories: Approximately 70 calories per duck egg

 

Poached Duck Egg Recipe

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Crack 1 duck egg into a separate bowl. Quickly stir the boiling water so it creates a cyclone in the center. Add the duck egg immediately. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove the duck egg, and put it on a plate. Repeat for the remaining duck eggs.

 

Fried Duck Eggs Recipe

Heat a cast iron pan until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of butter so the eggs don’t stick. Crack 1-2 duck eggs into the pan. Fry until the whites are opaque and no longer liquid. Transfer to a plate to enjoy.

 

Baking With Duck Eggs

When baking with duck eggs vs. chicken eggs, you can simply substitute 1 duck egg for 1 chicken egg. An easy recipe to start out with is English Custard.

 

Raising Ducks for Eggs

Which Ducks Lay The Best Eggs?

Khaki Campbells or Runner ducks lay the best eggs – about 300 per year. Pekin ducks also lay consistently, although their eggs tend to be larger than Khaki Campbells or Runner duck eggs, which can cause them to taste rubbery if overcooked. To get the best eggs nutritionally and avoid a fishy smell, it’s best to purchase eggs from a local supplier who gives their flock a high protein commercial feed. You can learn what ducks eat here. You can also see a full list of abnormal egg types to avoid here.

 

Do Ducks Lay Eggs Everyday?

Ducks will lay about 3-5 eggs a week depending on the individual bird. To ensure your ducks lay consistently, offer them a high protein diet of at least 16% protein. You can also add herbs to their diet to support a healthy digestive system, which will help them maintain or improve egg production. If your ducks aren’t laying eggs at all, and they’re the right age, then this article can help you figure out what’s going on.

 

At What Age Do Ducks Lay Eggs?

Ducks tend to start laying eggs at about 6 months. However, if your ducks become 6 months old in the winter or during very hot summers, it might take them longer to start laying because of the weather. (Cold, heat, or fewer daylight hours can effect egg production).

 

Can Ducks Lay More Than 1 Egg A Day?

No, eggs only lay 1 egg during a 24 hour period.

 

What Color Are Duck Eggs?

Different duck breeds lay different colored eggs. While most ducks lay white eggs, they can also lay off white, cream tinted, green, blue, or black eggs. Here’s a chart that shows you which breeds lay different colored eggs:

 

Breed Egg Color Eggs Laid Per Year
American Pekin White 200
Ancona Green 200
Appleyard White 250
Black East Indie Grey, charcoal grey 200
Call Duck Green, white, cream 300
Cayuga Black, charcoal grey, light grey 200
Crested Duck White 200
Indian Runner Duck Green, blue 300
Khaki Campbell White 280
Muscovy Off white, cream, speckled 200
Magpie White, bluish green 280
Mallard White, greenish white 200
Orpington White 300
Rouen White 250
Saxony White 200
Swedish White 200
Welsh Harlequin White, blue 300

 

For better eggs, there’s a lot you can feed your ducks. You can find out what to feed poultry for better tasting eggs here. If you end up with more than you know what to do with, you can read how to preserve eggs here.

 

Hatching Ducklings

How Do Duck Eggs Get Fertilized?

After the drake mates with the hen, the sperm goes up the oviduct, and fertilizes an egg yolk that was released from the hen’s oviduct. The yolk and albumen then descend down the oviduct, where they are encased in the shell and finally laid by the duck hen.

 

How Can You Tell If A Duck Egg Is Fertile?

If you don’t intend to incubate the egg, you can crack it open and see if the egg has been fertilized. You should see a “bullseye” in the yolk, which indicates fertilization. If you want to incubate the egg, and you know your duck hens have been mating with a drake, then incubate the egg (you can learn how to incubate eggs here). After 10 days, candle the egg – if you see a dark spot around the middle of the egg with spider like veins beginning to form, then it is fertile and you have a duckling embryo growing. You can learn which incubators we recommend here.

 

How Do You Know If A Duck Egg Is Alive?

Candle the duck egg. If you see clear and distinct veins, then the egg is developing a duck embryo. Proper incubation is important for it to fully develop. By day 12, you should start to see signs of movement inside the egg. Alternatively, after Day 12 of the incubation cycle, you can gently place the egg in water and see if it wiggles. The water causes the embryo to react, which produces the wiggle.  However, this method might disrupt embryo development, and I don’t recommend it.

 

How Do You Take Care Of Duck Eggs?

If you spot duck eggs in the wild, it’s best to leave them alone. But if you have an abandoned nest on your property (for example, if you know for certain the hen was killed by a predator, or your domestic duck abandons her nest), then you can complete the incubation cycle with an incubator. The incubator temperature should be 99.5 degrees F, with 50% humidity inside the incubator. Duck eggs take 28 days to develop and hatch. Around day 10, you should start to see veins and other signs of development, if the eggs are fertile.

 

Once the eggs hatch, you’ll have baby ducks. You can learn how to raise ducklings here.

 

Where Can You Buy Duck Eggs For Hatching?

Some places to look are:

  • Hatcheries 
  • Local breeders
  • Ebay
  • Etsy

 

Note that hatching eggs you purchase and are shipped through the mail isn’t that easy. The post office is rough on the eggs, and even the most careful breeder can’t control what the post office does. My recommendation is to purchase ducklings from a local breeder or farm store rather than buying hatching eggs. If you do want hatching eggs, you can check big, established hatcheries like Cackle Hatchery.

 

You can also learn how to properly store hatching eggs here.

 

Can A Rooster Fertilize A Duck Egg?

No, a rooster is a chicken, which is a different species than ducks. So, a rooster cannot fertilize a duck egg. This scenario should be avoided because roosters can easily harm duck hens by placing too much pressure on the duck’s back.

 

*The information in this article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. The nutrition facts labeling on this site is an estimate. Always consult a qualified professional regarding your diet. The theoretical egg nutritional values included on this article are based on the following references:

 

  1. 21 CFR 101.9 Nutrition labeling of food
  2. Staggs, CG et al. J Food Compost Anal. 2004;17(6):767-776.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. Database #01123.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals. November 2018.
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels Final Rules. May 27, 2016.
  6. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Total Diet Study. April 2014 revised April 2017

 

Are duck eggs for you? Leave a comment below!

 

The information in this article about duck eggs was reviewed by a licensed physician.

Buff Orpington Chickens: Buyer’s Guide

Buff Orpington Chickens: Buyer’s Guide

Buff Orpington chickens are one of the most popular breeds out there – and it’s because they’re nearly the perfect chicken!

 

Originating in the United Kingdom, Orpingtons are a heritage breed that’s well loved because of its calm nature, beautiful feathers, and functional purposes.

 

If you’re thinking of adding one to your flock, then read on – you’ll probably fall in love with these golden beauties, too!

 

What Are Buff Orpington Chickens Used For?

Traditionally, this type of chicken was kept as a dual purpose bird for both meat and eggs. Many people today keep them because they’re great egg producers, the roosters protect their hens very well against predators, and because they’re beautiful to look at.

 

Buff Orpington Chicken Personalities

 

Are Buff Orpingtons Friendly?

The Buff Orpington is a calm and friendly chicken breed that will tolerate being cuddled, as long as they’re raised as pets. They’re ideal for families (especially if you want lots of eggs) because they’re docile around children and tolerate being cooped well, as long as they have enough space. They’re great foragers, and will gobble any treats you offer!

 

Are Buff Orpington Roosters Aggressive?

Not usually. Most Buff Orpington roosters enjoy human company, and with their calm personalities, they won’t attack unless provoked (and probably not even then). If you add an Orpington rooster to your flock, you can expect him to keep his hens in line, be gentle with you and the rest of your chickens, and possibly even follow you around for treats!

 

If you’re not sure what to feed your rooster, then you can discover what chickens eat here.

 

You can also learn how to stop a rooster attack here.

 

Caring for Buff Orpingtons

What Do Buff Orpingtons Eat?

The basis of raising healthy chickens is their diet. Orpington chickens should have:

  • A 16% protein feed
  • 24 hour access to fresh water
  • Oyster shells or a high calcium treat for strong eggshells

 

If you want your chickens to forage for their diet (not recommended – read why here) or want to grow food for them to reduce feed costs, you can read about alternative feeds here and what chickens can eat from the garden here.

 

Many people do grow food for their chickens – corn, wheat, and millet are good options, although you will need to supplement with something like black soldier fly larvae or eggs for additional protein.

 

If you want to make your own feed, you can use my recipe here, or if you want to buy a commercial layer feed, here’s my recommendation.

 

You will also need a feeder. While a big dog bowl is one option, you can also use an automatic feeder, which will make life easier for you (especially important if you work late). You can read about the chicken feeders I recommend here.

 

As for waterers, an automatic waterer is always a good idea because you can be sure your flock has constant access to water. I have a tutorial to build a $12 DIY waterer here. You can also see the commercial waterers I recommend here.

 

Do Buff Orpingtons Go Broody?

While broodiness (when a hen “goes broody” to means she wants to hatch eggs) depends on the individual chicken, Buff Orpington hens are well-known for their desire to hatch eggs. Like Silkie chickens, you might notice that every spring, she wants to sit on eggs.

 

During this time, you might notice your otherwise calm hen turn into a dinosaur when you try touching her or the eggs – this is normal, and expected. She’s protecting her nest like a good mother!

 

If you don’t want your Orpington hens to go broody, then just remove the eggs 2-3 times a day from her nest.

 

To care for a broody hen, make sure you keep food and water dishes close by, and make sure she doesn’t get too warm in the summer. If you live in a very hot area where summers are brutal, it might be better to not allow her to hatch eggs. She’ll be sitting nearly 24 hours a day for 21 days – that’s a long time to be so hot, and she might get heat stroke.

 

How Much Space Do Buff Orpingtons Need?

Because of their size (they are one of the largest chicken breeds out there), Orpingtons need 10 square feet of space per chicken in their coop. So, if you have 6 chickens, your coop should be at least 60 square feet. This reduces bad behaviors like fighting and feather picking, and keeps the coop from getting smelly.

 

You can learn how to build a chicken coop here that’ll work well for Buff Orpingtons. Because, like all birds, Orpingtons can be eaten by predators like raccoons, be sure to use the right chicken wire to keep them safe.

 

Another option is an automatic chicken coop door – they make life easier and keep predators and rodents out of your coop.

 

Buff Orpington Breed Standard and Appearance

Buff Orpingtons have changed little from the time they were first introduced to the public back in the 19th century. They were developed in the town of Orpington, and quickly became popular because of their beautiful appearances, tendency to produce lots of eggs, and friendly personalities. They were admitted into the American Poultry Standard of Perfection in the 19th century.

 

While the buff variety is the most popular, many people raise other colors of Orpingtons. The breed has white legs, and a single comb that’s red and very large.

 

How Big Is A Buff Orpington?

Orpington chickens can weigh up to 10 pounds, with the hens weighing around 7 pounds. The bantam varieties are much smaller, weighing around 4 pounds. Their size, however, is determined by genetics and diet – so be sure to feed your chickens a high protein diet of at least 16% layer feed.

 

What Color Is A Buff Orpington?

The Buff Orpington is a orange gold color, which is very striking, especially in the sun. Buffs are only one color option – Orpington chickens come in many more colors.

 

Orpington chicken colors include:

  • Buff
  • Black
  • White
  • Blue
  • Chocolate Cuckoo (unrecognized)
  • Jubilee (unrecognized)
  • Lavender Columbian (unrecognized)
  • Columbian (unrecognized)
  • Lavender (unrecognized)
  • Chocolate (unrecognized)
  • Splash (unrecognized)

 

While the buff color is most popular and easy to find, more and more breeders are raising Lavender, Chocolate Cuckoo, and Jubilee Orpingtons because of their calm natures and striking feather combinations. Lavender Orpingtons also have a frizzle variety, which gives them the look of a Muppet (you can read more about frizzle chickens here and lavender orpingtons here). Blue Orpington chickens are relatively rare in the United States.

 

What Color Legs Do Buff Orpingtons Have?

Buff Orpingtons have whitish colored shanks and feet. If your Orpington doesn’t, then it’s likely a hybrid.

 

How Much Does A Buff Orpington Weigh?

Buff Orpingtons weigh up to 10 pounds, while the hens weigh about 7 or 8 pounds. Their weight will depend on their diet, which should include lots of protein and fresh water.

 

How Long Do Buff Orpington Chickens Live?

Like most chickens, Orpingtons can live 5-10 years, although some readers have reported their chickens living to 13 years. You can increase the lifespan of your chickens with a good diet and quality shelter. When they’re chicks, making sure they stay warm and have enough food and water will also help increase their chances of a long, happy life. You can read more about how long chickens live here.

 

Are Buff Orpington Chickens Cold Hardy?

Yes, with their fluffy feathers, Orpington chickens are very cold hardy, and can endure temperatures down to -10 F without supplemental heat. It’s very important to feed them well and provide fresh water if it gets cold in your area – without enough calories, they will not last the winter. You can learn how to keep their water from freezing here. To prevent frostbite, cover their combs with petroleum jelly or lanolin, and make sure they stay out of moisture.

 

Are Buff Orpingtons Loud?

The roosters can be loud when they crow. However, they don’t crow excessively. The hens are very quiet – you probably wouldn’t even notice they’re around!

 

Are Buff Orpingtons Quiet?

Yes, the hens are very quiet. The roosters will crow, however, especially if there’s lot of other roosters. You’ll also notice the roosters making soft clucking sounds at the hens. This is called “tidbitting” and it’s how the rooster rounds up his hens whenever he’s found a tasty treat.

 

Do Lavender Orpingtons Breed True?

Yes, Lavender Orpington chickens breed true.

 

Buff Orpington Eggs

What Age Do Buff Orpingtons Start Laying?

Buff Orpington egg production starts at about 6 months, although it largely depends on the individual bird and her diet. It’s important to feed your hens a 16% protein diet, and to supplement with calcium. If your chickens aren’t laying eggs, you can troubleshoot it here.

 

How Many Years Do Buff Orpington Chickens Lay Eggs?

Most chickens are very productive between 9 months and 3 years of age. After their third year, you will likely see a reduction in their egg production. However, not all chickens will stop laying – some will be productive until they’re 6 years old, although it’s likely they will only lay the occasional egg.

 

How Many Eggs Do Buff Orpingtons Lay Per Year?

You can expect about 280 per year, although this will vary depending on the diet and health of the hen. To keep them laying, provide a high protein diet and lots of fresh water and calcium.

 

What Color Eggs Do Buff Orpingtons Lay?

Buff Orpingtons are a reliable egg layer that produces brown eggs.

 

How Big Are Buff Orpington Eggs?

The Buff Orpington produces large brown eggs.

 

Do Buff Orpingtons Lay In The Winter?

Yes, if provided with supplemental lighting. Most chickens need about 12-14 hours a day to lay eggs – the light sparks hormones production, which then prompts the hen to start laying. If you add 2-3 daylight bulbs (75 watt or LED lights are fine) to their coop, then you can increase the amount of light they’re exposed to. Be sure the lamps don’t get hot, otherwise, they can spark a fire. It’s also a perfectly fine decision to let them take the winter off from laying.

 

What Color Are Lavender Orpington Eggs?

Like other Orpingtons, Lavender Orpingtons lay brown eggs.

 

How Long Do Buff Orpington Eggs Take To Hatch?

Like all chickens, Orpington chicks take approximately 21 days to hatch. You can learn more about how to hatch eggs here and the best incubators we recommend here.

 

Where Can I Buy Buff Orpingtons?

You can find Buff Orpington chickens for sale at your local farm store such as Tractor Supply, and also online at Meyer Hatchery, Cackle Hatchery, and Murray McMurray Hatchery. You can read our review of Cackle Hatchery here.

 

What To Look For When Buying A Buff Orpington

Look for chicks that appear healthy, and are free of pasty butt. They should have white legs with no feathers on them. Their beaks should be well formed, and come together neatly (no scissor beak). The eyes should be bright, and the chick should be interested in its surroundings. It’s always best to buy your chicks from a local, knowledgeable breeder, or a major hatchery.

 

Do you raise Buff Orpington chickens? What’s your favorite part of the breed? Leave a comment below!