Backyard farmers opt to rear ducks for their meat or eggs or as ornamental animals that can later be sold.
The demand for duck breeds has grown over the years, as ducks are self-reliant and easy to care for. If you want to raise ducks on your homestead or in your backyard, you may wonder what breeds are available and what makes them unique.
Our detailed guide lists sixteen common domestic duck breeds to consider for your homestead or backyard.
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16 Domestic Duck Breeds
Below is a list of ducks you can raise for their commercial value or as pets.
Considered one of the oldest duck breeds, the Aylesbury duck dates back to 1800. Back then, it was reared for its white skin and feathers. It also has tasty meat and prolific egg production—they lay from 40-120 eggs yearly.
The breed is pure white and has yellow legs with light pink feet. It reaches maturity in seven to nine weeks.
They also relate well with other domestic animals.
Unlike most ducks, the Aylesbury is not active and doesn’t forage as much. You’ll need to give them concentrated feed.
This breed is prone to staph or bumblefoot infections. You may need to conduct regular foot checks. An Aylesbury duck’s average lifespan is 8-10 years.
Ancona breed is originally from England and was first introduced in the U.S. in the 1970s.
Ancona ducks have assorted color patterns. You can find some with blue and white, black and white, while others have lavender and white patterns.
The breed comes from crossbreeding the Belgian Huttegem duck and the Indian Runner duck.
While they produce high-quality meat, its fat content is less than other meat breeds. Ancona ducks can also be bred for eggs and produce up to 280 eggs annually.
The only downside is they lack broodiness.
3. Blue Swedish
Blue Swedish ducks are from Sweden.
Most people keep these domestic ducks for their high-quality eggs and meat.
You’ll love their calm and friendly nature.
Blue Swedish ducks can produce up to 180 eggs annually.
These ducks are also excellent foragers and will feed on worms and insects. What’s more, the ducks are friendly to other livestock.
The only downside is that they are small and produce less meat than other breeds.
4. Buff Orpington
The Buff Orpington is a domestic breed developed by William Cook in the U.K. It has seal-brown plumage, an oval head, and a long neck.
The Buff Orpington is another breed raised for its egg-laying ability. Mature female ducks can lay three to five large eggs weekly and up to 220 eggs annually. You can also raise Buff Orpingtons for their meat.
A mature bird weighs up to 10 pounds on average. These ducks are social and quiet, making them a great breed to keep around neighbors.
With proper care and maintenance, Buff Orpington ducks can live up to 12 years on average.
The Cayuga duck has purple and green plumage. They also have a deep green head, and their dark feathers turn white. You’ll notice that the color change is fast in females.
The breed was first developed in New York, possibly from wild black ducks around Lake Cayuga.
Cayuga ducks have eggs with different shades of gray. It’s also possible to get some black eggs.
Back in the day, Cayuga ducks were mainly raised for meat in Northern America, but the Pekin breed has taken up this market. Nonetheless, you can still rear these ducks for their flavorful meat.
The domestic breed is excellent at foraging and is perfect when you have large tracts of land. Moreover, they are a hardy breed and can survive in cold climates.
6. Call Ducks
Call ducks are a cross between Muscovy and Cayuga ducks. They were developed for superior meat production.
Call ducks have short necks, medium-sized bodies, and weigh around 8 pounds when fully mature.
Some people prefer to keep them as pets.
Call ducks have an average lifespan of seven to nine years.
7. Crested Ducks
Crested ducks or the white crested ducks have a puff of feathers on their head.
May raise this breed for its eggs and meat, but they can also be ornamental birds and fun pets. The domestic breed lays 100-130 eggs annually.
When raising crested ducks, you should note that they mature slowly but weigh close to 8 pounds at maturity.
You’ll love raising these ducks as they cannot fly. You can keep them enclosed and feed them without problems.
If you’re looking for a breed that loves foraging and is self-sufficient, crested ducks are not for you. They require a lot of care and maintenance compared to other breeds.
8. Indian Runner Ducks
Indian runner ducks are initially from Indonesia. These ducks stand straight like penguins and run rather than waddle.
The breed hardly makes nests but lays eggs where they please. You can easily recognize them due to their long necks, curling tails, and gray plumage.
This domesticated breed is an excellent egg layer and can surpass chickens in egg production, laying up to 200 eggs annually.
Despite being excellent egg layers, Indian Runner ducks don’t like sitting on their eggs for incubation. Using an egg incubator is preferred for the incubation of the eggs.
Indian Runner ducks are not as calm as Pekin ducks but are friendly. You’ll also notice that this breed would forage on land rather than spend its time in the water.
9. Khaki Campbell
Khaki Campbell is another domesticated duck breed primarily kept as egg layers. It’s a cross between a Rouen and a Runner.
The breed is not raised as a meat bird due to its size. It only weighs 5 pounds when mature.
Females lay about 170-230 huge white eggs annually. A female khaki Campbell begins laying eggs at only 5-7 months.
The Khaki Campbell takes time to bond with human keepers and can be suspicious. However, when they get used to you, these ducks are simple to train to forage and go back to their duck house at night.
Additionally, the breed can adapt to different climates but needs plenty of space to move around.
Mallards are perfect if you live in a rural area with lots of space. The breed doesn’t do well in confined spaces as they need to stretch their wings.
They lay eggs a few times a year and people like to keep them as decorative pets.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, removing mallards from the wild to domesticate them is prohibited. That means you need to mark mallards if you’re raising them to show you’ve not suck-napped them.
While most people keep mallards for decorative purposes, some people have them to help train hunting dogs.
Magpies are a lightweight domestic duck breed renowned for their egg-laying capabilities. These ducks can be green, blue, cream, and white. Their feathers can be black-white or blue-white.
If you’re looking for a relaxed and calm breed, you should consider raising Magpies in your backyard. They are fantastic foragers and can hunt for most of their food, including grubs and bugs.
People often raise Magpies for their meat since these ducks have a tender and moist flavor. Most weigh about 5 pounds when mature.
This affable breed can be kept in open space or placed in a duck house in your backyard.
12. Muscovy Duck
The Muscovy duck boasts a blackish brown color and purple plumage. Unlike some breeds, Muscovy ducks require little care and maintenance.
Muscovy ducks weigh close to 9 pounds and fall under the large duck category.
Muscovy ducks are raised as ornamental birds and for their quality eggs. They can lay 120-180 eggs a year, but they stop laying during the cold season.
That makes them suitable for people with neighbors that don’t appreciate farm noises.
These birds are friendly to people and animals but don’t like to be held or picked up.
You don’t have to worry when raising these ducks if you have a small space. They can live in any space as long as there’s water, food, and a place to roost.
The breed, in rare cases, is raised for its high meat yield. A Muscovy duck is ready to be slaughtered around three to four months.
Pekin ducks are the most common breed of domestic ducks. The breed is originally from China and was common in the canals of Nanjing.
A Pekin duck is an excellent bird to raise for commercial meat production. Pekin ducks are also proficient large white egg layers.
You’ll love keeping these ducks if you have plenty of space in your backyard, as they are great foragers who can hunt for food. They also require minimal maintenance compared to other duck breeds.
A mature Pekin weighs about 11 pounds on average and can lay up to 300 eggs annually. Female Pekins start laying eggs at six months. The breed has an average lifespan of ten years.
14. Rouen Ducks
Rouen ducks are considered multipurpose ducks.
The domesticated duck breeds have a unique plumage: Males have glossy green heads with gray bodies, while females have blue speculum feathers and brown speckles.
A mature Rouen duck weighs 6 to 8 pounds. And these ducks can lay 140-180 large white eggs every year.
On average, Rouen ducks can live up to 12 years with proper care and housing.
The Saxony duck is a cross between the Rouen, German Pekin, and Blue Pomeranian duck breeds. It’s one of the giant breeds that acts as a dual-purpose duck.
Unlike some ducks with flying capabilities, Saxony ducks have no flight ability, which makes them simple to manage. They are also calm. The males are more reserved, but females can be loud, and some people may find them irritating.
Saxony ducks are raised for their protein-rich eggs, and they lay up to 200-250 eggs annually.
Although Saxony ducks take a while to grow, they produce lean, flavorful meat.
They also make great pets due to their friendly nature. Their average lifespan is 8-12 years.
16. Welsh Harlequin
The Welsh Harlequin is originally from Wales and was introduced to the U.S. in the 1960s.
The medium-sized duck weighs 5 pounds on average and lays up to 300 eggs a year. Welsh Harlequin females also make good mothers.
Although their weight doesn’t make them a sought-after breed, their meat is flavorful and tender. The breed is also hardy and can survive in most climates.
On average, Welsh Harlequin ducks can live up to ten years with proper care and a healthy environment.
Domestic duck breeds can be multipurpose, meaning they can be kept for eggs and meat. Others are raised for their meat, while others are specifically for eggs.
Our list above has types of domesticated duck breeds to consider for your homestead or your backyard. Hopefully, you know which breeds are best for foraging and those you can maintain in duck houses. Remember, ducks flourish with proper care and maintenance.