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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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Keeping ducks
>.For Eggs
...For Meat
...Housing them

Ducks do not lay eggs in nesting-boxes like the obliging chicken.

In fact, they will drop them anywhere. It is therefore advisable to leave the ducks in their night quarters until well into the morning: that way you have a lot fewer eggs to hunt for.

Khaki Campbell ducks are the best variety for egg-laying. They are lightweight brown-coloured birds that lay up to 300 eggs a year. A duck does not need artificial light as a hen does and the eggs are larger than a hen's. However, ducks do eat one and a half times as much as a laying hen, about 6 oz of layers mash a day. If you allow the ducks to run on your vegetable garden, you will find that they are great devourers of slugs and unlike the enthusiastic hen, will not enjoy your vegetables as well. Ducks start to lay when they are four or five months old and are always much more expensive to buy than a laying chicken, often up to three times as much. Farmers Weekly and Poultry World carry advertisements of suppliers.

Duck eggs are something of a specialist market; health shops will often provide an outlet and local agricultural markets often provide custom. People who like duck eggs will often travel to buy them so it is worth persevering to find a market. It is worth pointing out to prospective customers that duck eggs make superlative sponges. Perhaps it is also worth bearing in mind that one of the authors of this book spent a week in an isolation hospital having picked up something evil from a duck egg. We hasten to point out that the egg in question was not one of our own; our policy now is only to eat those we produce ourselves and never to eat one soft-boiled.