A Perfect Homestead

Discover how one family is living off their land and using resources in a smart timeframe.

| May/June 1971

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    While Khaki Cambell ducks may not be valued to eat, they do provide superior eggs.

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We are five living here. That's myself, my wife, 9 year old son and two younger daughters. We're on the outskirts of a village which has a store and a good school for 5-11 year olds . . . a little over 20 miles from Bristol, where I work. Our 5 acre homestead with stone cottage and barns cost us a little over $14,000 three years ago. Of course, places of this size are affected by 'weekend place in the country' prices. Larger farms in other areas can go for as little as $100 per acre.

Not far to the north of our homestead is the friendly neighbourhood nuclear power plant. It is actually an advantage . . . since no large concentration of population may be established within 5 miles of it. Ominous as this may sound—and I know there's a lot of fuss about such things in America—we've had trouble-free nuclear electricity for years now in England. These are a few random jottings from our experience so far:

We think that Khaki Campbell ducks are better for homestead egg production than chickens. They are more intelligent and friendly, less prone to disease and can give over 300 eggs per bird per year. They do not need swimming water—just plenty of good drinking water. They usually get into their housing by a little after sunset, and can then be shut in till around 10 a.m. when their laying has finished. Hunting all around the acreage for nests isn't a mandatory feature of duck egg production!

We feed our Khaki Campbells with mash and vegetable peelings cooked in a pressure cooker for ten minutes. A car tire sawn into two circular troughs with a wood saw (kept wet with oil or water) made us two feeders which handle over 30 ducks.

Khaki Campbells are no real value for eating—fully grown hens weigh only four pounds live—but they ARE excellent producers. And a duck egg on the breakfast plate will put a chicken's to shame. Two slight disadvantages though: Duck eggs stay 'fresh' for only 9 days to the chicken's 21 and K.C.'s will not hatch their own offspring . . . at least, not for us. We use a broody hen or an incubator for that.

Any bird will lay in the spring, but we need eggs when we can get a good price . . . in December and January. It stands to reason that a bird which lays at this time of year must be a good one. Likewise, it's a good drake that has the energy to mate when the temperature is below freezing. So we raise our clutch of replacements only from eggs fertilised and laid in December and January. It's a very simple selective breeding technique.

6/14/2007 8:53:10 AM

How do you tell the sex of Khaki Cambell ducks?

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