There are so many different breeds of duck it can be difficult to know which breed would be best for you, especially if you’re new to the world of duck keeping. Ducks come in all different sizes, shapes, and weights and they all have a different purpose.
For example, the Pekin breed is a popular choice for meat production as well as making good pets. On the other hand, Indian Runners are prolific egg layers and make great pets, but don’t expect to get much meat from them!
Ducks are also grouped into different weight categories – Heavy, Medium, Light, and Bantam.
Examples of the weight categories would be:
- Heavy – Pekin
- Medium – Cayuga
- Light – Indian Runner
- Bantam – Call
Of course, you can keep any breed of duck as a pet, but some are easier to care for than others. Here’s a look at our choice of top duck breeds to keep as pets:
This tiny bantam breed is a popular choice if you’d like to have ducks but don’t have a lot of space. The breed originates from the Mallard duck and is thought to have come from The Netherlands.
Call Ducks are lively, friendly, and can be very noisy so if you live in a urban area they might not be right for you.
You can expect to your ducks to lay around 100 small eggs per year. Call Ducks are available in a wide range of colours including: White, Mallard, Yellow belly, Chocolate, Magpie, Bibbed, Apricot, and Khaki.
95% of duck meat consumed in America comes from this breed but they also make fantastic pets and are good layers. Often confused with the Aylesbury breed because of their similar “Jemima Puddle-duck” looks the Pekin is fantastic if you have a larger garden.
They are a Heavy breed of duck and originated in China before spreading around the world. They’ll give you between 80 – 140 large white eggs every year and their calm, friendly nature makes them a great option if you have children.
Pekins like to be active, so they’ll appreciate having a bigger area to explore and their orange bills and legs make them an attractive addition to any outdoor space.
This striking breed is unmistakable thanks to its iridescent green/black plumage and they are quiet, hardy, and easy to tame. They’ll produce 100 – 150 eggs per year that start with black shells at the beginning of the season and gradually lighten to a light grey/white.
The Cayuga Duck was developed in New York in 1809 after a pair of wild black ducks were caught and bred for their colour. These days they are a rare conservation breed and can be hard to find, but they make worthwhile pets if you’re prepared to search for them.
Indian Runner Ducks
As well as being prolific egg layers, up to 200 per year, the Indian Runner is probably one of the most popular breeds of pet ducks in the world.
Originally from the East Indies (Malaya, Java, and Lombok) rather than India these ducks were first known as “Penguin Ducks” because of their upright stance. As they are taller you’ll need to consider a duck house with a higher roof if you want to include Indian Runners in your flock.
They don’t fly, choosing to run instead, and they love foraging and swimming. They are available in around two dozen colours including: White, Fawn, Apricot, Black, Mallard, and Silver.
This is a Heavy breed of duck and the Drakes are usually twice the size of females. Muscovy Ducks produce 60-140 eggs per year and are well known for going “broody” so if you’re looking to breed ducks this could be a good option for you.
They are unique in that they are the only breed of duck not to originate from the wild Mallard. In fact, they are closely related to a sub group of perching ducks which is why they have sharp claws that allow them to perch comfortably.
Muscovy Ducks, or ‘Scovies as they are known by their fans, are available in nine different colours all of which have a red crest (called caruncles) around their eyes.
Photo credits: Pets4Homes, Purely Poultry, Pinterest, YouTube