Skip to Content

Khaki Campbell Duck: A Quackingly Good Laying Breed

The Khaki Campbell duck is a heritage breed of domestic duck developed in England to be a good layer of eggs and suitable for meat production. The breed was created by crossing various varieties, including the Mallard, Rouen, and Indian Runner. The breed was introduced into the United States during the early 1900s and is still popular today for its docile nature, high egg production, and ornamental good looks.

Key Takeaway

  • Dual purpose
  • Excellent egg-laying ability
  • Sociable and friendly
  • Good for beginners and children
  • Easy to care for

Background and History of the Khaki Campbell Duck

Khaki Campbell ducks were developed in England by Mrs. Adele Campbell during the late 19th century. Mrs. Campbell was a poultry enthusiast who wanted to create a duck capable of laying a large number of high-quality eggs while also being suitable for meat production. To achieve this, she crossed various duck varieties, including the Mallard, Rouen, and Indian Runner.

Her efforts were rewarded with a duck she called the Campbell, but after adding Penciled Runner ducks into the mix to achieve the Khaki color, they were also known as the Khaki Campbell. 

The ducks were first shown at the annual poultry show in England in 1895 and quickly gained a following, primarily due to their high egg production, docile personalities, and attractive appearance.

In the early 1900s, the Khaki Campbell became a staple of small-scale poultry operations and family farms in the United States. It was attractive to poultry farmers and homesteaders because it was such a reliable layer and could also be used to supply meat if necessary.

In the 20th century, the Khaki Campbell faced increasing competition from other duck breeds, such as the Pekin and Indian Runner, which had been introduced to the United States for their high-quality meat. Despite this, it has remained a common egg-laying breed and is still a popular even today.

According to the American Livestock Conservancy Organization , The Khaki Campbell isn’t considered endangered but is on their “watch” status. This means that it is not in immediate danger of extinction but that its population numbers are declining and require monitoring. 

The Khaki Campbell duck remains important for supporting small-scale farmers and homesteaders who keep traditional livestock breeds to maintain genetic diversity and promote sustainability.

Temperament and Behavior of Khaki Campbells

One thing that makes this duck breed so popular is its great temperament.

Temperament and Personality – Known to be active, curious, and alert, they are also social and friendly towards their people and other ducks, making them an excellent choice for families. The American Livestock Conservancy Organization states, “Khaki Campbells are said to be some of the friendliest and most sociable ducks around.”

Suitability for Keeping by Children – Khaki Campbells are generally considered to be suitable for children due to their friendly and social temperament. However, it’s essential to remember that ducks are living animals and require proper care, attention, and supervision. Children should be taught how to handle them safely and respectfully. Ducks also need a dedicated and responsible caregiver to manage daily feeding, cleaning, and maintenance.

Suitability for Beginners – Khaki Campbells are also considered a good choice for beginners, especially those interested in raising ducks for eggs. They are easy to care for, adapt well to various environments, and thrive in multiple living settings, from urban backyards to rural farms. As with any animal, beginners must first research carefully and consult with experienced duck keepers to ensure they provide proper care and housing for their birds.

Docility and Activity – Generally known for being docile yet active, Campbells enjoy foraging and swimming and require adequate space to move around and exercise. According to the American Poultry Association, Khaki Campbells “are strong and active ducks and must have plenty of space to exercise.” They are also known for being excellent foragers and will enjoy searching for bugs and other small creatures in your yard.

Likelihood of Going Broody – This duck breed is not known for being broody, so they are unlikely to sit on their eggs to hatch them. This is considered an advantage for those only raising ducks for eggs, as it means they will continue to lay consistently throughout the breeding season. If you wish to breed them, you will have to use a broody hen, another duck breed such as a Muscovy, or an incubator to hatch ducklings from fertilized eggs.

Passive or Aggressive Towards Other Ducks – Most ducks are generally known for being friendly and social towards other ducks. However, as with any animal, there can be individual variations in temperament, and some ducks, even Khaki Campbells, may be more dominant or aggressive than others. Monitoring the flock closely and providing adequate space and resources to prevent aggressive behavior is essential.

Noise Level – Khaki Campbell ducks are generally not considered noisy, unlike some other breeds. They are relatively quiet and are unlikely to disturb the neighbors. However, they may still make some noise, especially during feeding time or when excited or alarmed.

Khaki Campbell Breed Specifics and Traits 

This duck breed has remained relatively unchanged since its creation.

Breed Specifics and Traits – A medium-sized domestic duck, they are known for being active, hardy, and adaptable. According to the American Poultry Association, the Khaki Campbell duck breed is “a light breed with a carriage more upright than most breeds, giving it a trim appearance.”

Primary and Secondary Uses – The primary use of the Khaki Campbell is for egg production; they are also used as pets and for exhibition purposes. Their meat is generally not considered as flavorful as some other types of duck, so they aren’t commonly raised exclusively for their meat.

Size and Weight – They are smaller than some other popular duck breeds, such as the Pekin and Muscovy. The weight range of this medium-sized duck is 3 to 4.5 pounds for females and 4 to 5.5 pounds for males. 

Average Lifespan – The average lifespan of a Khaki Campbell duck is 8 to 10 years, although they can live longer with proper care and nutrition.

Appearance – These ducks get part of their name from their coloring; Khaki Campbell ducks have an olive-brown feather color, with some variation in shade. Their legs and bills are dark orange, and their eyes dark brown. They have a streamlined appearance, with an upright carriage and long, slender necks. The drakes have a darker head and neck, with more contrasting feather coloration, while the females have a more subtle feather pattern.

Flying and Predator Evasion – This duck breed can fly, although they are less strong fliers than other kinds. They can manage short distances to escape predators or to reach higher ground. 

They are generally hardy and adaptable and can evade predators with their quick movements and agility. However, they are still vulnerable to foxes, raccoons, and birds of prey, and it is important to provide them with adequate shelter and protection.

Health, Disease, and Housing of Khaki Campbell Duck

The Khaki Campbell breed is generally considered healthy but can still be susceptible to certain illnesses and diseases. Some common health issues that can affect ducks include respiratory infections, parasites, and water-borne ailments.

Common Duck Ailments

Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can all cause respiratory infections, often leading to coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. Parasites, such as mites and lice, cause irritation and feather loss and transmit diseases. Water-borne ailments, such as botulism and avian cholera, can be caused by contaminated water sources and frequently lead to severe illness or often death.

To help prevent these health issues, providing a clean and dry living environment for your ducks is imperative. They should be given plenty of space to move around and free access to fresh, clean water. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of the duck house and water sources can also help reduce the disease risk.

If your ducks do become sick, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Depending on the specific malady, treatment may involve antibiotics, anti-parasitic medications, or other therapies.

Feeding Your Ducks

Like all ducks, a balanced and nutritious diet is required to maintain good health and productivity. A high-quality commercial feed formulated explicitly for ducks is recommended, as it provides the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for optimal growth, egg production, and overall health.

Young ducklings should be fed on a starter feed with a higher protein content – (18-20%) is recommended for the first few weeks of life. This will support optimum development. 

As the ducks mature, they can be transitioned to a grower or maintenance feed with a lower protein content (14-16%) until they start producing eggs, at which point they will need a feed with higher protein and calcium, such as a Layers or Breeders feed, the protein content of which fluctuates slightly depending on the brand. 

Ducks can also have their diet supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens, peas, carrots, and small amounts of treats, such as mealworms or cracked corn. Avoid feeding ducks foods high in salt, sugar, or fat, as these can harm their health. 

Also, never feed ducks food that has gone stale or moldy, as this can lead to digestive issues and illness. Any leftover feed should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent spoilage.

It is essential to always keep clean, fresh water available. Ducks need access to water not only to drink but for maintaining good digestion and to keep their eyes, nostrils, and bills clean.

Overall, providing a balanced diet and access to clean water is vital to keeping your ducks healthy and productive.

Duck Housing

All domestic ducks require a safe and comfortable housing environment. When considering housing options for Khaki Campbells, it is vital to remember their specific needs and the climate and weather conditions in your area.

As this breed is expected to lay eggs, providing them with nesting boxes or areas where they can lay their eggs in privacy is essential. Nesting boxes should be lined with clean, dry bedding material such as straw or hay and must be located in a quiet and secluded area of the duck house.

In terms of size, a Khaki Campbell requires at least 3 to 4 square feet of floor space per bird, with additional space for nesting boxes and waterers. The duck house should be well-ventilated to prevent respiratory issues and protect from drafts and extreme temperatures.

In the summer, ducks may benefit from additional ventilation, such as screened windows or doors, and access to a shaded outdoor area, pond, or pool to keep them cool. In the winter, the housing must have adequate insulation and bedding to keep the ducks warm and protect them from frostbite. Additional heat sources, such as a heat lamp, may also be necessary for icy climates.

Khaki Campbell Duck Eggs

This highly productive breed begins laying eggs between 4 to 5 months of age, although this can vary based on genetics, diet, and other factors.

They are a “non-seasonal” layer, meaning they can lay year-round with adequate light and nutrition. However, temperature, daylight hours, and molting cycles may influence egg production.

The eggs are typically light to medium brown in color and have a slightly elongated shape, and are somewhat larger than chicken eggs weighing around 2-3 ounces each.

Khaki Campbell ducks are no slouches and some individuals are capable of laying up to 300 eggs per year. However, the average annual egg production is typically between 250 to 300.

Known for their longevity, the Khaki Campbell can continue laying for up to 5 or 6 years or more. However, egg production may decline with age, and other factors, such as poor nutrition and disease, which affect productivity.

Where to Buy Khaki Campbell Ducks

There are several places where you can find good quality Khaki Campbell ducks in the USA. Here are some options:

Hatcheries: Several hatcheries across the country specialize in raising and selling different breeds of ducks, including Khaki Campbells. Some popular suppliers include Cackle Hatchery in Missouri, McMurray Hatchery in Iowa, and Metzer Farms in California. 

Breeders: You can also find Khaki Campbell breeders by searching online or through local agriculture and poultry associations. Many breeders sell their ducks directly to consumers or via online marketplaces, including eBay or Craigslist.

Farm stores: Some farm and feed stores sell live ducks and may also carry duck supplies such as feed, waterers, and housing.

When looking for Khaki Campbells, it’s important to do your research and find a reputable source with a good track record of raising healthy, high-quality birds. It’s good practice to inquired about the breeder’s or hatchery’s animal welfare practices and their health guarantees, refunds, and shipping policies.

The price of ducklings from each hatchery varies depending on factors such as the number of ducklings ordered, shipping distance, and time of year. However, here is some general pricing information for Khaki Campbell ducklings from each of the hatcheries listed as of March 2023:

Cackle Hatchery: $4.40 each for orders of 1 to 4, $3.95 each for orders of 5 to 9, and $3.75 each for orders of 10 or more. 

McMurray Hatchery: $6.45 each for orders of 10 to 19, $5.50 each for orders of 20 to 49, and $4.70 each for orders of 50 or more. 

Metzer Farms: $7.30 each for orders of 10 to 19, $6.20 each for orders of 20 to 29, and $5.90 each for orders of 30 or more. 

Please also note that prices exclude shipping costs which vary based on the destination and weight of the order. The prices shown are subject to change and may not include any additional fees or taxes that may be applicable. It’s recommended to contact each hatchery directly for the most up-to-date pricing information and to inquire about any special deals or promotions they may offer.

In conclusion

The Khaki Campbell duck is a fantastic breed well-suited to small-scale farmers, homesteaders, or backyard hobbyists interested in raising ducks for eggs. 

This breed has become known for its friendly temperament, attractive appearance, and of course, its high-quality eggs. Although faced with competition from other duck breeds in the 20th century, it has remained popular and is not considered endangered.

Their docile and sociable nature makes them an excellent choice for families and beginners. Their adaptability to various environments and ease of care makes the Khaki Campbell an ideal breed for amateurs or professionals.

Although it is not a broody breed, its consistent egg-laying ability makes up for this. They are not generally noisy and can be an ideal addition to your homestead.

Overall, the Khaki Campbell duck is a quackingly good breed that provides a balance of practicality and pleasure to those who raise them. 

Questions & Answers

Here are some common questions about the Khaki Campbell with their respective answers:

Q: Are Khaki Campbell ducks friendly?

A: When raised by hand and well socialized with their keepers, Khaki Campbell ducks have a docile and friendly temperament.

Q: Do Khaki Campbell ducks need a pond?

A: All ducks should be provided with a pond, or at the least, somewhere they can completely submerse themselves and preferably swim a little. This is an essential element for this duck breed.

Q: Will my Khaki Campbell ducks fly away?

A: One of the common problems when keeping ducks is them flying away, particularly if enticed by a larger nearby body of water than the one you have provided. This can be prevented by clipping their wings. However, when raised in a particular location, Khaki Campbell ducks rarely fly away.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Friday 17th of May 2024

Can you tell me how long from beak to end of tail a khaki Campbell duck is?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.