About The New AgrarianI have been planting content here off and on since 2002, with occasional attempts at cultivation and pruning. All of it swirls around more or less agrarian ideas: food and agriculture, including some practical things, but also craft, community, technology, embodiment, history, sustainability, nature, and place. As you might guess, I’ve changed my mind a few times on all these topics since I started a decade ago. I cultivate, but not always in neat rows. Read my Explanation and Apologia to learn more.
The fine printThe New Agrarian is copyright ©2002–2016 by David Walbert. All rights reserved, but I'm generally pretty nice about sharing, so feel free to ask.
Raising backyard ducks
From 2002 to 2014, I kept a small flock of Khaki Campbell ducks (originally seven) in my backyard to produce eggs for my family. This area of the New Agrarian is devoted to the care and feeding of the suburban duck and to my experience in raising and living with them. You can start with the duckling diaries, my chronicle of raising ducks from mailorder to egglaying. You’ll also find more basic information about ducks in general, Khaki Campbells in particular, keeping ducks in a suburban backyard, and what to do with all the eggs they lay. You’ll also find a great many photos and a few movies.
Raising suburban ducks: the basics
Want to get started raising ducks? Wondering why you should? Here’s some basic information.
- Answers to frequently asked questions about our ducks
You may also want to read my wrap-up, “Raising ducks: Final thoughts (for now).”
Duckling development: a diary
My notes on the ducks’ growth and development over the first year, with photos and movies, plus occasional notes on their later lives. This is the fun part! It’s also where you’ll find information about brooding ducks.
- Day one (text and photos)
- The first week (text, photos, and movies)
- Weeks 2-3 (text and photos)
- Weeks 4-6 (text and photos)
- Weeks 7-10 (text, photos, and movies)
- 3-4 months (text)
- 4-5 months (first eggs!) (text and photos)
- 6-12 months (text and photos)
- Year 2 (text and photos)
Down to business: the care and feeding of the suburban duck.
- Our daily routine for managing the ducks.
- Feeding our ducks.
- Backyard pasture: how we keep them happy without losing our lawn.
- Notes on winter care.
Photos and details of our setup.
- The brooder — our setup for the ducklings during their first month.
- The portable grazing pen for the backyard.
- The duck house and nighttime run.
All about duck eggs and how to use them.
- Details on the egg production of our Campbells.
- A primer on duck eggs, with information about nutrition, structure, appearance, and flavor.
- The basics on cooking with duck eggs.
At the bottom of my article “Raising backyard ducks: Final thoughts (for now),” I shared a movie I made in 2003 for a workshop I led on raising backyard poultry. It’s got good-quality footage of adult Campbells doing their thing, as well as some clips of ducklings in their brooder and the pool.
You can also still watch the early movies of the ducks in QuickTime format. These are ancient. Sorry about the quality.
A note to anyone thinking about raising ducks of their own: please remember that what I’ve written here is based on personal experience of having raised ducks exactly once. I suggest that you do what we did before we got our ducklings, which is to get advice from as many sources as possible and use your own common sense and best judgement. Everyone’s experience (and I expect everyone’s ducks) will be different, so don’t expect yours to be exactly like mine, and please don’t hold me responsible when it isn’t.
Thanks! Enjoy the site!