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Runner ducks/egg ducks

 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
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I want to start a commercial egg duck flock. I want to breed my own, so layer 300's are kind of out of the question.. I think...

I feel that runner ducks are probable the most efficient. If not because of their small carcase size, because they are the best foragers.

But the same problem lies with them that lies with any other egg duck, where can one acquire production quality stock? What are the hatcheries breeding for? One might suspect that the cheaper lines of ducks at the hatchery could mean the ducks lay more eggs, though it might also mean they hatch better.

I am a bit confused as to where the best place to order might be. Also never heard of any duck breeders who aren't hatcheries specializing in this sort of thing either. Anyone got any ideas?
 
                        
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On different forums I have seen a lot of respect for this outfit  (people going out of their way to say that's where they got their stock from)
http://holderreadfarm.com/selection_tips_page/selection_tips.htm   They keep records and have some suggestions re the different breeds..you might give them a call...
 
Tim Canton
Posts: 175
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I am reading Storeys guide to raising ducks written by David Holderread.....He apparently is a duck genius and he and his wife breed ducks  and that link is their farm.


In the book he says the Campbells and Welsh Harlequins are best layers and great foragers...The Anaconas are good too and also excellent foragers but a little bigger bird........
 
Marissa Little
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We have Campbells and Runners.  They both forage a lot and I think the Campbells are a bit better layers.  We got ours from Mcmurray and Ideal (a mix from both).  Look for small holders in your area that are raising ducks.  You may be able to get breeding stock from them.
 
Ben Martin Horst
Posts: 8
Location: Occupied Anhalpam Territory, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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We have a small flock (~35 birds) of Ancona ducks, which are really great birds. They forage well, lay well, and the surplus drakes are a decent size for eating. The eggs are large and either white or light blue-green. The birds are medium-sized and colored in variable patterns, kind of like a pinto pony, in black, brown, tan, or "lavender," which makes individual birds highly recognizable. All Anconas (at least in the US) apparently go back to Holderread stock (two birds, actually, though their progeny is so generally healthy that you'd never guess they come from such a genetic bottleneck) and are a critically endangered breed. The Holderread birds have now all been passed on to Boondockers Farm ( http://boondockersnaturals.com/ ), so they are now the main source. We got our initial day-old ducklings from Carol Deppe (http://www.caroldeppe.com/), whose recent book The Resilient Gardener has some excellent permaculturish suggestions for raising ducks, and Anconas in particular. I'm not sure if she's still selling ducklings, but she's an excellent and congenial source for information.

My one quibble with Anconas is that they haven't tended to care for eggs and ducklings well, in my experience. We're not sure if this is a breed characteristic or whether it has to do with the fact that at least the past three generations have been incubator-hatched, and they're missing some critical early learning about what mothering entails. Our plan for the next hatching season is to sneak some Ancona eggs under our new Muscovies (reputedly great brooders), so we'll see if they pick up any mothering skills that way.

Different birds will perform differently in different locales, of course, but for western (maritime) Oregon, where I live, I can't recommend Anconas highly enough. They're awesome ducks, and deserve to have more people raising and breeding them.
 
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