Well, surprise, surprise! Our young Khaki Campbell ducks are already starting to lay eggs, at about 4-1/2 months of age. We were more or less expecting this to happen sometime in October, so we're quite pleased. The eggs so far have been small (usual when they first start to lay), but they will be up to full size before too long.
The Alder Wood Bistro, the wonderful Sequim restaurant that has been buying our eggs for more than 2 years, loves our duck eggs. Their baker uses them in desserts such as the Chocolate Bliss (a flourless brownie), and in the house quiche. The word is that duck eggs are "richer and creamier" than chicken eggs, and the higher viscosity of the egg whites makes them ideal for use in recipes that call for beating the whites separately.
We made the decision this year to increase the size of our duck laying flock. This was partly due to the increasing business at the Bistro, and also partly due to the word getting out that there is a source for locally-produced organic duck eggs. The Khaki Campbell is quite the egg-laying machine, averaging up to 340 eggs per year! They're beautiful birds, too.
In our experience, ducks are somewhat easier to manage than other poultry we've had, and they're definitely smart birds. Like the chickens and turkeys, the ducks have their own unique, endearing (and sometimes infuriating) mannerisms. For example, they have this way of looking up at you sideways; for some reason it always reminds me of Princess Diana, although the way the ducks do it never fails to make me laugh. It's especially cute when the little ducklings do this, but just as engaging when 7 or 8 adults are looking at you that way all at the same time.
It's terrific that the young 'uns are starting to lay. It's a sign that I need to start planning now for the spring breeding season. I have a feeling it's going to be a busy one!