Best Ducks for Pets?

With so many duck breeds available today, which one do you think is the best for you? When choosing the best duck breed, we consider physical appearance, egg laying ability, and noise level. And yet, we often forget about their character and personality.

Pekin ducks are a large breed that originated in China and was imported to Great Britain in 1872 . They are easy to raise due to their strong immune system, durability, and capability to survive in extreme conditions.

Despite being used for meat and egg production, Pekins also make great pets due to their friendly personality. They are calm, sociable, hearty, and active animals, all of which make them an excellent companion for kids. Welsh Harlequin ducks were formed in 1949 from two mutant light-colored ducklings hatched from pure Khaki Campbells.

Welsh Harlequins are popular for their egg production capability and vivid plumage. Their cool and tranquil nature, combined with their capability to handle heat and cold, makes Welsh Harlequins popular backyard pets. Also, keep in mind that males have a high libido, which makes breeding effortless even without human intervention.

Female Welsh Harlequins have black bills and brown legs and feet . Unlike the other duck breeds, Welsh Harlequins have distinct, natural sex-linked feature. Drakes have a darker bill while females have a lighter one with a dark spot at the tip.

In early years, it was primarily used as a decoy because of their high-pitched calls and small size that lure wild ducks. However, the use of Call ducks to hunt was permanently banned since it does not conform to breed conservation efforts. They are known for being energetic, approachable, very animated, and extremely fun to watch, which makes them a great playmate for children.

This breed comes in a variety of colors including apricot, bibbed, chocolate, khaki, magpie, mallard, white, and yellow belly. Since they do not have high egg production, Rouens are bred for companionship, human consumption, or decoration. At the beginning of the season, the shells are black in color that gradually lightens to white.

They make an excellent backyard pet since they love to stay close to their homes and can easily adapt to cold weathers. If given enough area to roam around and search for food, Cayuga ducks can satisfy their hunger from foraging. All 5 breeds are perfect for beginners but pay attention to their varying noise levels, which could affect you and your neighbors.

What breed of duck is the friendliest?

Pekin. Originating in Beijing, China (originally called Pekin) around 2500 B.C., white Pekin ducks are a calm, hardy breed. Although raised predominantly as a “table” or meat bird, Pekins do make wonderful pets and laying ducks. They are docile, friendly and can lay between 150-200 large white eggs per year.

Is a duck a good house pet?

Please DO NOT keep a duck as a “house” pet. They are NOT suited to an indoor lifestyle. Although it may make you happy to keep your duck indoors, understand that you are being cruel to the duck, as they need to live outdoors. … Ducks are highly social animals and this means they need other ducks to live with.

What is the calmest duck?

Muscovy. Muscovy ducks are the quietest of the different duck breeds. ….Khaki Campbell. What is this? ….Cayuga Ducks. Cayuga Ducks are one of the easiest breeds to handle. ….Magpie Ducks. ….Saxony. ….Runner Ducks. ….Swedish Ducks. ….Appleyard Ducks.

Do male or female ducks make better pets?

Apparently, if you raise male ducks with no females around, they’ll get along perfectly well. If you have no interest in eggs and you just want pet ducks, you might actually consider getting an all-drake flock. … and are less prone to medical complications (continual egg laying can cause a host of medical problems).

Ducks are a great animal to start with if you are considering adding livestock to your life, but of all the duck breeds which one should you pick? Farm or not, having these adorable waddlers in your backyard is always entertaining!

Some breeds, especially the hybrids selected for egg production, lay more eggs per year than the best production chickens do, do so for more years, and seem to be far less likely to stop laying when days get short in the winter or hot in the summer (chicken hens can be real prima donnas when stressed). Worst, according to her husband, was if you mistakenly started to put your foot down on top of one (which was hard not to do), that duck would stand up and give herself an enthusiastic I just got lucky shake: it gave him the creeps.

Ducks can be messy (they throw water around, make lots of gooey poop, and walk on everything with their big flat feet). If you just want a few ducks to have around as pets, picking up a few ducklings at the local feed store or ordering hatchery choice are affordable options. If you just want a few quackers to enjoy and make pets of, a calm breed is a good choice, though any duck that is handled gently and frequently will get reasonably friendly and used to humans.

Welsh Harlequins tend to have a very calm personality and their small size (4.5 to 5.5 pounds) makes them easy to handle, even for children. (Indian) Runners are amazing garden helpers and, unlike chickens, they dont dig stuff up (just keep them away from small seedlings, as flat duck feet are great squashers, and ripe strawberries, which they are rumored to find irresistible). I also never tire of watching Runner, well, run, with their odd upright bodies, sort of like bowling pins with legs.

Two of the best heritage breeds for eggs are (Khaki) Campbells and Welsh Harlequins , especially if you buy from a breeder or hatchery that selects for laying ability rather than looks. Raising a heritage breed gives you the option of hatching eggs to add more birds to your flock, as long as you are willing to eat the extra males. All ducks are edible and tasty, but some have been selected because they grow fast and make a lot of meat for the amount of feed they consume.

If you want to grow a batch of meat ducks to fill your freezer, and especially if you want to cut them up into boneless breast cutlets (for grilling, yum) and legs (for stewing), its hard to beat Hybrid or Jumbo Pekins . Muscovy females can hatch out a couple of huge broods of ducklings every year (a friend says her birds frequently hide nests and reappear weeks later with as many as 20 yellow fuzzballs in tow), so they are very sustainable.

Originating in Beijing, China (originally called Pekin) around 2500 B.C., white Pekin ducks are a calm, hardy breed. Although raised predominantly as a table or meat bird, Pekins do make wonderful pets and laying ducks. They are docile, friendly and can lay between 150-200 large white eggs per year. Too heavy to fly, they are content to forage on the ground for grasses, weeds, bugs and worms. Pekins dont tend towards broodiness (meaning the females dont have a tendency to sit on eggs to hatch ducklings), so artificial incubation is usually needed if you are interested in hatching Pekin eggs. This is a bonus for those looking purely for egg production, since broody ducks stop laying, causing a decrease in production for the period they sit on a nest. Pure white with yellow bills and feet, Pekins have beautiful dark blue eyes. They are considered heavy ducks, weighing between 8-9 pounds.

They say that ducks are the new chickens it seems backyard farmers all over the country are beginning to enjoy the pleasure of keeping ducks. Our ducks are all different breeds because I enjoy variety and I like being able to tell them apart.and because there are so many great breeds I couldnt choose just one!

They dont tolerate confinement very well, so if you keep Mallards you risk them flying away and not returning unless you can provide a nice large covered enclosure. A heavy weight bird with a calm, friendly, curious disposition, lots of eggs and meat if you want it Pekins are a great all around choice.

They do not quack; the male has a low breathy call, and the hen a quiet coo which makes them perfect for backyard farmers with close neighbors. Swedish A medium to large size dual purpose bird, they are slow growing and excellent natural foragers.

Personality

They are calm, sociable, hearty, and active animals, all of which make them an excellent companion for kids. Pekin ducks also love bigger areas to explore and roam around.On the other hand, they can be noisy. Pekins are not the best choice if you have close neighbors or are in an area with noise restrictions.

Appearance

Its body shape is long, broad, deep, and full breasted. Its head is large and round with a thick neck.

Did You Know?

The ever-popular Donald Duck and Aflac duck are Pekin ducks.

Welsh Harlequin

Welsh Harlequins are popular for their egg production capability and vivid plumage. In a year, they can produce up to 300 white-shelled eggs.They also produce lean meat and make an excellent dressed bird for meat production because of the light-colored feathers on their breast which allow for clean, easy plucking.

Personality

This breed is a poor flier. Also, keep in mind that males have a high libido, which makes breeding effortless even without human intervention. Be careful not to breed too many males as it may damage females.

Appearance

Drakes have yellow or green bills with orange-colored legs and feet. In the United Kingdom, there is a golden variation that is a light golden-brown color.

Did You Know?

Unlike the other duck breeds, Welsh Harlequins have distinct, natural sex-linked feature.

Appearance

This breed comes in a variety of colors including apricot, bibbed, chocolate, khaki, magpie, mallard, white, and yellow belly.

Did You Know?

Also, in China, there are Call duck-themed cafés where you can pet the ducks.

Rouen

Rouens are identical in appearance to Mallards except that they are bigger and more plump. On average, Rouens can lay 100-150 eggs per year.

Appearance

Females are usually in mahogany brown color. They have brown crown and tan eye stripes that extend from their bill to the back of the eyes.Regardless of their sex, Rouens have prominent blue speculum feathers.

Did You Know?

A Rouen’s feet do not get cold, allowing them to swim even in icy water.

Personality

Their quacks are not as loud as the other duck breeds, especially the males.

Appearance

Cayugas righteously carry themselves with a long neck. On average, male Cayugas weigh 8 pounds while females weigh around 7 pounds.

Did You Know?

This breed takes its name from Lake Cayuga, a lake located in western New York where the breed became famous.

Final Thoughts

Ducks can make wonderful pets, and considering these 5 friendly breeds is a great place to start if you are looking to add to or start a flock of your own.All 5 breeds are perfect for beginners but pay attention to their varying noise levels, which could affect you and your neighbors.

Are ducks right for me?

Ducks are a great animal to start with if you are considering adding livestock to your life, but of all the duck breeds which one should you pick? Farm or not, having these adorable waddlers in your backyard is always entertaining!They are small and easy to handle, tend to be quite hardy, rarely become aggressive, most breeds don’t fly, and they are sociable and engaging to watch.Duck eggs are delicious, higher in both protein and healthy fats than chicken eggs are (bakers go nuts over them), and some people who are sensitive to chicken eggs can eat duck eggs with no problem (if you are actually allergic to eggs, please consult your medical professional for advice).Some breeds, especially the hybrids selected for egg production, lay more eggs per year than the best production chickens do, do so for more years, and seem to be far less likely to stop laying when days get short in the winter or hot in the summer (chicken hens can be real prima donnas when stressed).Duck meat is also delicious, and, if your ducks get plenty of exercise and a good diet, they won’t be as fatty as some commercial duck meat is. For a while, we raised Muscovy ducks and the meat was very similar to a beef roast.

How many Ducks should I Get?

Ducks are social birds so plan on starting with at least two. A single duck is a lonely duck and will do its darnedest to follow you around when you are in sight, and quack disconsolately when you aren’t…which can get really old.

Males and Females?

Calmer breeds of duck are quite happy with a ratio of one male to one female, others do better with more females than males, up to 4 to 5 ducks (female ducks are “ducks,” male ducks are “drakes”) per gent if you want fertile eggs, so the ducks won’t get mounted so often (drakes can be, shall we say, very enthusiastic breeders).More drakes than ducks rarely works, for the same reason.You can keep just females (unless you want to hatch ducklings, of course), but a girls-only flock may be harder to manage.A friend of mine had 20 ducks (she sold eggs) and the girls decided my friend was the drake: all of them would squat around her and quack seductively whenever she came to feed or water them. It is extremely hard to walk when the ground is covered with submissive ducks, as they don’t move until they get what they want!Worst, according to her husband, was if you mistakenly started to put your foot down on top of one (which was hard not to do), that duck would stand up and give herself an enthusiastic “I just got lucky” shake: it gave him the creeps.So, her advice is to always keep a drake or two around for the girls to bat their eyelashes at.

A few downsides

Much as I love ducks, they aren’t for everyone.Ducks can be messy (they throw water around, make lots of gooey poop, and walk on everything with their big flat feet).Ducks also quack. A lot. Even during the night, if something disturbs them.So they may not be the best choice if you have neighbors close by (Muscovies are the exception; they hiss rather than quack). Ducks are also very suspicious of anything new, so you need to be a bit patient when it comes to changing things around them.Over the years on our farm, we’ve had various duck breeds, and the problem we’ve always run into was the ducks loved to swim (and poop!) in the goat’s water. Because we have a large pasture and let all the animals in the same area during the day, this became a big problem. The only solution for us was to sell the ducks, but we plan on in the future installing either automatic waterers or bubble waterers for all the animals so we don’t have large buckets of water for the ducks to destroy.

Duck Breeds

There are dozens of domestic duck breeds, many with different color options, to choose from.Most duck breeds that are commonly available are easy to raise and good choices for beginners (you may want to skip over the tiny Call Ducks, cute as they are, as they are extra-loud and the tiny ducklings need extra care; and any that are good fliers, such as Mallards, as they will be in the neighbors’ fish pond every time you look around).If you just want a few ducks to have around as pets, picking up a few ducklings at the local feed store or ordering “hatchery choice” are affordable options. Think about what you want to raise ducks for, check out the available breeds and see which you like the look of, and get some ideas. Be aware you may have to get on a waiting list if you pick something rare, so if you want your ducks right away, a more common breed may be better.

Best Duck Breeds for Eggs

All ducks will provide you with some eggs, but many breeds lay predominantly in the spring and summer, leaving you eggless for months at a time (due to their thick shells and membranes, duck eggs store in the ‘fridge for many months though, so you may be able to stockpile eggs for eggless periods if you have room).Two of the best heritage breeds for eggs areIf egg production is your primary goal, Metzer sells a couple of great hybrids, the

Best Duck Breeds for Meat

All ducks are edible and tasty, but some have been selected because they grow fast and make a lot of meat for the amount of feed they consume.If you want to grow a batch of meat ducks to fill your freezer, and especially if you want to cut them up into boneless breast cutlets (for grilling, yum) and legs (for stewing), it’s hard to beat

Best Multi-Purpose Duck Breeds

If getting a reasonable number of eggs, a few smaller meat birds to butcher, and birds that will hatch out their own replacements sounds like a good plan you are in good company and just about any of the heritage breeds are a good choice.

Popular Duck Breeds

See these suggestions for friendly, attractive ducks that lay well and aren’t too noisy.When you think of a typical domestic backyard duck, you probably picture the Aflac duck, which is a white Pekin.

Pekin

Originating in Beijing, China (originally called Pekin) around 2500 B.C., white Pekin ducks are a calm, hardy breed. Although raised predominantly as a “table” or meat bird, Pekins do make wonderful pets and laying ducks. They are docile, friendly and can lay between 150-200 large white eggs per year. Too heavy to fly, they are content to forage on the ground for grasses, weeds, bugs and worms. Pekins don’t tend towards broodiness (meaning the females don’t have a tendency to sit on eggs to hatch ducklings), so artificial incubation is usually needed if you are interested in hatching Pekin eggs. This is a bonus for those looking purely for egg production, since broody ducks stop laying, causing a decrease in production for the period they sit on a nest. Pure white with yellow bills and feet, Pekins have beautiful dark blue eyes. They are considered “heavy” ducks, weighing between 8-9 pounds.But Pekins are just one of several breeds that would make a wonderful addition to your backyard flock. If you are looking for friendly, attractive ducks that lay well and aren’t too noisy, here are some suggestions:

Indian Runner

Indian Runner ducks originated in Indonesia where rice farmers used them to control insects in the rice paddies. Extremely active and energetic, Runners are excellent foragers. Standing and walking almost upright, they move quickly on land and rarely swim, although they do appreciate a pool to use for baths. They come in various colors including black, buff, fawn, white, gray and chocolate. Fairly light ducks, Runners typically weigh 3 to 5.5 pounds. Good layers of greenish or white eggs, Runners can lay 150-200 eggs per year. Not quite as calm as Pekins, Runners are friendly and make wonderful pets.

Mallard

It is thought that all domestic duck breeds except Muscovies developed from Mallards. Domestic Mallards are small, weighing only about 2.5 pounds, and excellent flyers, so if you choose to raise Mallards, a covered run is recommended to keep them contained. The females are brown with blue wing tips, the males have the distinctive greenish head. Mallards don’t produce as well as other breeds, managing only 60-120 eggs per year, but they lay beautiful greenish eggs and will sit on them (go broody) and hatch out ducklings if you let them. Mallards are a highly energetic and “talkative” breed, more gregarious than the others mentioned here, but extremely good-natured. Backyard Mallards love to paddle around all day in a small kiddie pool or pond.

Khaki Campbell

The Khaki Campbell breed was developed in England in the early 1900s by crossing the Runner, Rouen and Mallard breeds, and by the 1940s was a recognized breed in the United States. Light brown with a bluish-green bill and brown (female) or orange (male) feet, Khaki Campbells have dark brown eyes. Drakes have greenish heads, a nod to their Mallard blood. Not known for being broody, Campbells are excellent layers, laying more than 300 white eggs per year. Considered a “light” duck breed, Campbells have only limited flying ability and generally weigh 3.5 to 5.5 pounds. A bit more skittish than Pekins, they are still a good choice for family pets, since they are such excellent egg producers and foragers.

Swedish

Originating in Pomerania, which comprised areas of northern Europe and Scandinavia under the control of Sweden, Swedish ducks first arrived in the United States in the late 1800s. Decent layers, the females will produce 120-180 white eggs per year. Blue, black or silver (splash) with white bibs and slate bills, the Swedish breed is attractive and popular for exhibition. Swedish ducks are very calm, extremely hardy, good foragers and difficult for predators to spot. The females do have a tendency to go broody and sit on nests. The Swedish are considered a “heavy” breed and generally weigh between 5 to 6.5 pounds.