One of the most common types of domesticated ducks in the United States is the Khaki Campbell duck. The Runner, Fawn, and Rouen ducks were crossed to produce this beautiful hybrid breed.
In addition, some historical accounts state that khaki Campbell ducks were crossed with wild Mallard ducks, while others do not.
Their versatility makes them a great addition to farms of any size. The Khaki Campbell duck is a great all-around duck, as it can sit well and lay a lot of eggs.
Since it is possible to successfully raise this duck breed for its delicious and moist meat, it is often referred to as a multi-purpose type of duck.
You may also want to read about the best duck feed.
History of the Khaki Campbell Duck
In the late 1800s, the first Khaki Campbells were bred in Gloucestershire, England. Originally from Scotland, Adele Campbell hoped to develop a new breed of ducks that would provide an endless supply of roasted duck for her family.
At first, Adele Campbell bred her White Indian Runners with her Fawn ducks because of the latter’s propensity for producing many eggs.
Campbell then bred the first generation of ducklings with a Rouen duck. The offspring of the second breeding were larger overall, looking more like a standard meat duck.
The Campbell breed was the original name given to this new variety of duck in 1898.
As the fashion of the time was for buff-colored feathers, Adele Campbell bred her original ducks with Penciled Runner ducks to produce those with a more on-trend appearance.
Campbell noticed that the resulting hue was not quite a buff and was instead reminiscent of the varied tones found in traditional British military uniforms. A new breed of duck that she developed was given the name “Khaki Campbell” by the designer.
The first known instance of the Khaki Campbell duck in America does not occur until 1941. Eventually, the species was officially acknowledged by the American Poultry Association.
During the early stages of the country’s history, the number of Khaki Campbells either stabilized or declined.
However, the 1970s saw a renaissance of the breed as thousands of Americans participated in the “back to the land movement.”
The influx of Asian immigrants following the Vietnam War brought with them a taste for duck eggs that quickly became popular in the United States.
A second influx of Khaki Campbell ducks was brought in because of the breed’s famed efficiency at laying eggs.
The khaki feathering on their bodies is subtle, but the dark brown, sometimes olive-green coloring of their heads sets them apart from the native variety.
And unlike Mallards, Khaki Campbell ducks don’t have that distinctive white collar around their necks.
In addition to khaki and dark, you can also find white and pied. The only color of ducks officially recognized by the American Poultry Association is khaki.
The average adult weight of a member of this breed of duck is between four and nearly five pounds.
Green on the bill and a dark orange on the legs and feet characterize drakes.
The male Khaki Campbell has brown to bronze culverts on its lower back, upper neck, head, and tail, and a mild khaki coloration everywhere else.
Female Khaki Campbells are distinguished by a lighter shade of brown, a more uniformly brown plumage, and a bill with a more golden yellow tint.
Ducklings, whether male or female, are mostly black or dark brown with a white chest and a few white feathers.
This species can withstand harsh conditions with relative ease. There is evidence that Khaki Campbell ducks can survive in environments where the temperature drops below zero and stays there for weeks at a time.
In addition, they are able to thrive in hot, humid, and dry environments where temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Khaki Campbell ducks, like most domestic ducks, are unable to fly.
A duck can occasionally flap its wings enough to lift itself a few inches off the ground and move forward perhaps one foot, but that’s the extent of its flying abilities.
This breed of duck hen typically lays anywhere from about 170 to 230 eggs per year. In the first two years of their lives, the hens typically lay the most eggs.
On average, a Khaki Campbell hen will begin laying eggs between the ages of five and seven months. This breed of duck hen typically continues to lay eggs at a steady rate for five years or more.
Eggs from Khaki Campbell hens are considered extra large because of their creamy white color and large size (2.5–2.7 ounces). A few hens produce eggs with a faint green tinge. Khaki Campbell ducks typically live for around eight to ten years. The hens’ egg production may decrease with age, but it almost never ceases entirely, and the quality of the eggs produced does not appear to suffer.
Ducks of the Khaki Campbell variety can be fed the standard fare. As ducklings, you can feed them medicated chick starter feed, and when they’re three months old, you can switch them over to waterfowl, game bird, or chicken feed.
Domesticated duck breeds are typically fed crumble and pellet feed variants of chicken feed, as opposed to scratch-style feed, which can pose a choking hazard.
Khaki Campbell ducks, like all other duck, chicken, and guinea fowl breeds, will benefit from a grit supplement to their diet when housed in a coop and run.
Khaki Campbell ducks are natural free-rangers, so they can help you get rid of slugs and other pests that could otherwise sting your family or eat your crops. Khaki Campbell ducks enjoy a diet high in slugs.
If they think a slug is buried somewhere in the soil, they’ll spend an hour digging around in there.
The Housing of Khaki Campbell Ducks
In order to keep members of this egg-laying breed healthy, happy, and producing food for your breakfast plate, you should provide them with a sturdy and predator-proof duck house or duck coop that includes clean, dry bedding and proper ventilation.
The duck house run, or the daily free-ranging environment, must have access to water at all times. This can be a baby pool, a natural pond, or a decorative small garden pond.
There should also be a waterer available to the flock at all times that is kept from freezing over the winter. A good ratio is one waterer for every four pens used to house ducks.
Ducks consume significantly more water than chickens or guinea fowl, and as such, should never go more than eight hours without access to fresh water.