Gold Star Ducks

Henny and Penny Duck

These are a couple of Gold Star Hybrid Duck hens we got as chicks this year from McMurray Hatchery. They’re headed up one of the lanes to the high pastures for breakfast. To be, or not to be is the question.

We keep a lot of layer chicken hens, primarily for their organic pest control – eating bugs – as well as the work they do breaking apart manure patties and laying eggs for the smaller pigs.

I also like keeping some ducks as they stir up the pig ponds as well as eating slugs, mosquitoes and such. Most of our ducks are the white pekin but it is fun to have some other colors too. These Gold Star remind me of the Rouen Ducks which we’ve had before.

Outdoors: 74°F/49°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F

Daily Spark: If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money. -Abigail Van Buren

About Walter Jeffries

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8 Responses to Gold Star Ducks

  1. Sal says:

    They look like a Rouen – Khaki Campbell cross. Pretty.

  2. Lisa says:

    Those hybrid ducks should outlay your chickens, and do it on less feed. My Anconas are making my dual purpose chickens look like total slackers, and are doing it on less feed.

    • That would be great because we don’t buy any feed for our chickens and they lay about 250 eggs a year per chicken. If the ducks beat that then they’ll actually be producing feed and that would be really cool! Our experience with other ducks (Pekin, Rouen and something else) as well as the geese is that they only lay in the spring and early summer. I have read of other people having them lay a lot more. Not sure if it a climate thing. We’re often not snow free until May and get snows early, definitely November, typically October and sometimes as early as August – pray not! Our lower light might be affecting the ducks patterns. We got ten of these hen ducklings. It will be interesting to see how they do.

      • Lisa says:

        The pekins and rouens lay a fraction of what those birds do. Or at least should. My dual purpose chickens take 2-3 months per year off. When I had Khaki Campells, they took 1 month off in a year. I’m looking forward to seeing what these Ancona’s can do, since they are a lot bigger than the Khaki’s, so the extra males should make a nice table bird. And of the pullets I got in the same order as this year’s ducks, only one of five has started to lay. At least half of the duck hens are.

  3. Chris Dukes says:

    The amount of light they get each day seems to be the main factor. When my duck house had a light on a timer going 14-16 hours a day and they got shut into the run for the house every evening at dusk they kept laying until it got to be too hot.

    If either of the kids wants to try conserving a rare breed, you might consider the Golden Cascade from Sand Hill Preservation Center.

    Why did you choose McMurray? For ducks I didn’t think they looked as good as Metzer Farms or Holderread.

    • We get chicks from McMurray and like them so it is easy to get ducklings from them too. I have gotten chicks and ducklings from other places and been disappointed so I tend to stick with McMurray now. Tend is the operative word since I occasionally get some from other sources. I’ve not bought from Sand Hill, Metzer or Holderread, yet. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. Sal says:

    We’ve had great service with Metzers on both geese and ducks. Research available through Holderreades says 17 hours of light is the magic number for optimum laying – using a combination of artificial and natural light. My khakis generally only stop laying when they are molting and 340-350 eggs a year is common.

  5. Crabapple says:

    I will be getting pigs in Spring & slaughter them in the Fall, so as not to feed them in the cold weather. However I enjoyed your piece on solar weather cover for piglets & the pouring of your buildings.
    Thanks, for your commits on this & other site.

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