Khaki Campbell: Duck Breed Profile

Exceptional Foraging Skills & High Egg Production Make Khaki Campbells a Self-Sufficient Duck Breed

by Erin Snyder

Khaki Campbell ducks are one of the most popular duck breeds kept in backyard flocks. With their exceptional foraging skills and high egg production, Khaki Campbells are among the most self-sufficient duck breeds.


The only duck breed to be bred by a woman, the Khaki Campbell was developed by Mrs. Adele Campbell of Gloucestershire, England, who bred a Fawn and White hen to a Rouen Drake. She later bred these ducks to a mallard and then bred the original Cambells back to a Silver Pencilled Indian Runner, creating the first Khaki Campbells.

In 1929, Peter Fish imported the Khaki Campbell to his home in Syracuse, New York. However, the breed did not gain popularity in the U.S. until after the Vietnam War.

Today, the Khaki Campbell is one of the most popular ducks kept for egg production and pest control.

Khaki Campbell Characteristics

The Khaki Campbell is easily recognized by their chocolate brown feathering and upright stature. The head, neck, and bill are relatively long. Although the drake and hen’s plumage is brown, the coloring for each is quite different.


Khaki Campbell hens sport a green to black bill. Feet and legs vary from dark brown to black. The head, neck, and lower back feathers are described as seal-brown, while the rest of the body is covered in khaki feathers.

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The eyes of both the drake and hen are dark brown.

Drake Ducks

Khaki Campbell drakes are beautiful in their bronze and khaki feathers. The drake’s bill ranges from olive green to orange, and the feet and legs are also orange. Sporting bronze heads, necks, lower backs, and tails with soft khaki feathers on their backs and undersides, Khaki Campell drakes are eye-catching beauties.

The breed is considered lightweight, with drakes and hens weighing between four and six pounds.


Khaki Campbell hens are highly prolific duck egg layers, with each hen averaging two hundred and fifty to three hundred and forty white, cream, or green-tinted eggs annually. Females start laying between the ages of five and seven months.

As the hens age, egg numbers decline; however, most hens never cease laying. This characteristic gives them an advantage over other breeds, as many staggered-aged Khaki Campbell flocks produce eggs throughout the year.

Feed hens a well-balanced layer feed to ensure excellent production.


While many duck owners don’t consider a drake duck’s productivity, Khaki Campbell drakes are vigorous breeders. If not kept in a well-balanced male-to-female ratio, they may accidentally injure females.

As a general rule of thumb, keeping one drake for every six to eight females is advised.


Khaki Campbells are relatively long-lived, with each duck averaging a respectable eight to ten years.

Health Concerns

Khaki Campbells are relatively healthy and hardy ducks. However, their high production can put them at risk for reproduction issues in drakes and hens.

Cage-Layer Fatigue (Osteoporosis):

Known as milk fever in mammals, cage-layer fatigue is a deficiency or imbalance of calcium, vitamin D3, and phosphorus levels. Symptoms include broken or brittle bones and paralysis. If you suspect your duck may be suffering from cage-layer fatigue, take her to a licensed veterinarian immediately for treatment.

If veterinarian treatment is unavailable, humanely dispatching the hen is the best way to avoid suffering.

Ovarian Cancer

Like many other high-production breeds, Khaki Campbell hens are more likely to develop ovarian cancer than lower-producing breeds. Ovarian cancer risks can be significantly reduced by providing proper nutrition and no artificial light to promote egg production.

Prolapse Phallus

With their high libido, Khaki Cambell drakes are at a higher risk of developing a prolapse phallus. This condition is extremely painful, and treatment should begin immediately. Drakes with a prolapse phallus should be isolated and taken to a vet for immediate treatment.

Khaki Campbell Temperament

The words that Khaki Campell duck owners use to describe this breed are active and nervous. While some individuals can be tamed as pets, they may not be the best choice for those wishing for an all-purpose pet.

Khaki Campbells are enthusiastic ducks who thrive on bug-catching and foraging. Hens and drakes are extremely active, so providing this breed plenty of room to forage is essential. Allowing them to help you in your garden will also make for happy ducks, as Khaki Campbells love nothing more than digging through a garden and looking for harmful bugs and grubs to snack on.


The number one thing that sets Khaki Campbells apart from other breeds is their ability to adapt to all climates. When kept in small flocks with numbers no larger than fifty to two hundred ducks, fed proper nutrition, and allowed ample space to forage, these ducks can thrive in deserts and rainforests. They can handle winter chills as low as 0° F. to summer heat over 100° F.

When it comes to adaptability, you can’t beat the Khaki Campbell.

The Khaki Campbell is a highly adaptable, hardy, and productive breed, making them one of the most well-loved ducks for backyard flocks and family farms. With their beautiful brown plumage and enthusiastic personality, what isn’t there to like about this breed?

This article about Khaki Campbell ducks was written for Chickens magazine online. Click here to subscribe to Chickens magazine.

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