Mm, there’s nothing like organic fresh eggs in the morning! My favorite type of laying duck is the Indian Runner, whose breed hails from India and Indonesia. This breed of duck works harder than any other breed of duck, except perhaps Metzer’s Golden Hybrid Layer 300. However, Runners give the best ROI because they tend to eat less, pack very little muscle (would not make good meat ducks) and lay huge tasty eggs! Your duck’s eggs will taste like whatever you feed them. If you feed them chicken layer feed, their eggs will taste more like chicken eggs. If you feed them a fresh balanced diet and allow them a yard to free range in, their eggs will be naturally creamy and salty – no need to add extra seasoning!
When my female starts laying, she has intense cravings for meat and leafy greens. Her favorite Chinese vegetables are watercress, bok choy and gailan. She also enjoys fresh romaine lettuce mixed with rice. For protein, I give her whatever we’re having. Their favorite is fish and chicken. Laying females require a lot of calcium to replenish what they give up to their eggs, so it’s essential to feed your duck lots of leafy greens! You can tell how much calcium your duck is getting by how hard and thick the egg shells are. The better you feed your flock, the more and longer they will produce eggs.
Be careful if your duck starts laying soft-shelled eggs – that’s a sign that you should either feed them more greens or start mixing oyster shell into their grain. Oyster shell is very cheap and can be bought at any feed store.
It’s important to introduce your duck to all the food it will eat as an adult as a duckling, because ducks become habituated very quickly to certain types of food. I had a pair of adult female Welshies that I bought from a farmer. They were only fed chicken feed and bread, and absolutely refused to eat fresh food. To accomodate them, I purchased some Purina Game Bird Food crumbles (20% protein for Layers). Game Bird Food has more protein than normal Chicken feed, which is better for ducks. I also mix in raw black sesame seeds for extra nutrition. Black sesames have a ton of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium , iron, zinc, fiber and vitamin B1. Pre-hulled sunflower seeds are a great duck snack too!
A lot of farmers like to increase their egg production by exposing their females to artificial light. If a duck sees about 9 hrs of light a day or more, they’ll be tricked into thinking it’s still spring and keep laying. I like to allow ample time for my females to rest between clutches, as nature intended. Sometimes they can become very weak and skinny from laying. Mother ducks will try to sit on their eggs after laying. If you allow her brood she will stop laying. Female ducks will start laying anywhere between 6-8 months old. Her first year of life, my runner female laid about 100 eggs in total , with a few days break between 2 weeks of laying. Her second year (which is often the most productive) she laid about 300 eggs. Ducks who lay a high quantity of eggs are more likely to fall ill as their bodies are under stress – click here to read more about duck health problems .