Monday, April 4, 2011


Yesterday we added a new species to the farm.  Four Welsh Harlequin ducks, about 6 months old and just started laying.  I had planned on getting Indian Runner ducks (primarly because they are good layers and the come in the 'typical' white with orange bill colouring - our daughter is a mad Jemimah Puddleduck fan...).  As it is the Welsh Harlequin is a rare duck breed, which was derived from the Kahki Campbell duck - which is a very good layer.

The ducks are very beautiful (I would love to get a drake of the same breed they are stunning!), and fairly calm for ducks, although they don't really like the kids running around them too much.  At the moment they are confined to a small pen and yard.  I have 2 side by side, so I'll rotate the ducks between the yards once it gets too muddy.  We will eventually fence off an orchard and let them run around there.  I'd love to set up a 'duckaponics' system to grow rice, but that will probably be a few years down the track.

Our reasoning for getting ducks is to complement the egg laying of our hens - ducks are happy in the winter and lay well when the hens mope an moult their feathers and don't lay much.  The ducks will slow down when the hens will pick up the pace in summer.  We do lots of baking and cooking and use lots of eggs, so diversifying our egg production is important to keep us in good fresh eggs. 

The kids are rapped in the latest additions, and the paler duck is of course Jemimah Puddleduck. 


  1. congrats on the new additions! is keeping ducks any harder then keeping chooks?

  2. Thanks!
    They are certainly no harder than chooks, I would say they may be easier. Instead of scratching they make mud, but they cope with wet weather better, and lay big eggs. They are more nervous than chooks though, I was a little surprised how nervous actually!

  3. Love the colour of your ducks! We are just starting with chickens so will be following how your ducks go to see. Do you know if the two go together at all?

  4. Brendan - as far as I know ducks and chooks are best kept apart, purely because ducks make lots of muddy mess and chooks really don't do well with that. If you can set up the pen so that the chooks can get out of the mud they would be ok. If they free range its probably not an issue. They seem hardier than chooks, and don't mind the miserable wet weather.