Whether you’re breeding duck for fun or simply interested in finding the perfect duck breed for raising backyard ducks, it’s very important to know just what to look for in your duck breed! There are many varieties and strains of ducks. Each breed has its own unique characteristics and little quirks. When it comes to breeding ducks or starting a backyard duck project, it all comes down to finding the perfect duck breed—and we can help!
The Basics of Breeding Ducks: Finding a Duck Breed
In this duck care article on finding the perfect duck breed, we will focus on 10+ common duck breeds found throughout Canada and the United States. Author G.M.T. Johnson (Practical Poultry Keeping as I Understand It, Public Domain) says, “The principal varieties of ducks are : The Rouin, Pekin, Aylesbury, and Cayuga.”
There are many other duck breeds in North America —the Call duck breed, Crested duck breed, Khaki Campbell duck breed, Muscovy duck breed, Orpington duck breed, Pommeranian duck breed, and the Runner duck breed. While there are many different types of ducks, certain duck breeds are more suited for certain purposes than others. For example, the Pekin duck is a good all-purpose bird for those wanting fresh duck eggs or duck meat. Meanwhile, the Muscovy duck breed is self sufficient and great for someone who wants to free-range his or her ducks. The Rouen duck breed is popular on duck farm operations. And duck breeds such as the Call ducks are mostly meant for ornamental purposes.
Breeding ducks and Duck Breeds: Call Duck Breed
The Call duck breed is often kept for ornamental duck purposes. The Call duck breed has two distinct varieties: The Gray Call duck and the White Call duck. Both of these are known to be smaller than the average duck breed, and shorter. Read More about the Call Duck Breed.
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Cayuga Duck Breed
The Cayuga duck breed has very interesting plumage, bordering on green but closer to black. The Cayuga duck breed is actually an American duck breed and is the result of a marrying between the Black East India wild duck and the domestic Rouen duck breed. The Cayuga duck breed is larger than the Call ducks, with male Cayuga ducks weighing 8 pounds and the females 7 pounds. Read More about the Cayuga Duck Breed.
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Crested Duck Breed
Crested ducks, like the Cayuga duck breed, are a combination of two other duck breeds—the Pekin duck breed and the Aylesbury duck breed. Ornamental in purpose, these ducks have feather tufts on their heads (hence the “Crested” moniker). Read More about the Crested Duck Breed
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Khaki Campbell Duck Breed
This English duck breed was first recognized as a duck breed over 60 years ago in 1941. Khaki Campbells are an ideal duck breed for those raising ducks for eggs. The Khaki Campbell duck breed makes such good duck egg layers that it often outranks chickens at rate of lay: 300 duck eggs annually! While the Khaki Campbell duck breed makes a good duck layer, it makes a terrible meat bird due to its light, lean weight. Khaki Campbell ducks also make nice ornamental additions to your backyard duck collection. Read More about the Khaki Campbell Duck Breed
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Muscovy Duck Breed
Some people think the Muscovy Duck breed is rather ugly, with its grey-white feathers and a pink/red crest covering their head. Regardless, this Brazilian duck breed comes in a startling array of duck color varieties, including purple and blue! Interestingly enough, the Muscovy duck breed doesn’t usually swim. The Muscovy duck breed can also reach a heavy weight compared to other duck breeds—male Muscovy ducks can get as heavy as 15 pounds, while female Muscovy ducks can grow to 10 pounds. Read More about the Muscovy Duck Breed
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Buff Duck Breed
The Buff duck breed is also known as the Orpington duck breed, or the Buff Orpington duck breed. Whatever you decide to call it, this English duck breed is often raised for ornamental purposes and can reach around 8-9 pounds of weight for either duck gender. Read More about the Buff Orpington Duck Breed
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Pekin Duck Breed
If you’ve seen a backyard duck operation, you’ve probably seen the Pekin duck breed even if you didn’t know what it is called. As the most popular duck breed in North America, this white duck breed is quite ubiquitous among those raising ducks in their backyard. Pekin ducks make very good market birds for their meat, but are not as well suited for duck egg laying. Male Pekin ducks can weigh as heavy as 9 pounds, while female Pekin ducks follow at 8 pounds. Read More about the Pekin Duck Breed
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Pommeranian Duck Breed
The Pommeranian duck breed is relatively rare, mostly due to the fact that this Pommeranian duck breed is not very popular. Thus, there are not too many breeders for the Pommeranian duck breed and it is close to disappearing. Read More about the Pommeranian Duck Breed
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Rouen Duck Breed
The Rouen duck breed looks just like the Mallard duck breed and is often confused with this commonly-visualized duck breed. The Rouen duck breed is very popular among backyard poultry hobbyists. It makes a lean meat market bird and is also relatively good at laying, though it is exceptional at neither duck purposes. Rouen ducks are easy to raise and quite self sufficient. The Rouen duck breed was first recognized as an official duck breed in 1874, making it quite an old duck breed. Read More about the Rouen Duck Breed
Breeding Ducks and Duck Breeds: Runner Duck Breed
The Runner duck breed is the ultimate best duck breed for people raising ducks for duck eggs. The Runner duck breed is an exceptional layer breed, and backyard hobbyists looking for duck eggs couldn’t wish for better. On the other hand, Runner ducks make terrible market meat birds and also make bad mothers for brooding ducklings. Despite this, Runners are very popular and are quite often the chosen breed for those wanting a duck breed for laying. Male Runner ducks grow to around four pounds; female Runner ducks weigh approximately the same. Read More about the Runner Duck Breed
Other Popular Backyard Duck Breeds:
Abacot Ranger, Anacona, Australian Spotted duck, Aylesbury, Bali duck, Barbary, Black East Indies, Blue Swedish, Buff Orpington, Call, Campbell, Cayuga duck, Comb, Crested, East Indies, Goosander duck, Golden Cascade, Gressingham Duck (a duck breed made by crossing the Wild Mallard duck with the domestic Pekin duck breed), Hookbill duck, Indian Runners, Khaki Campbell duck, Magpie, Mallard duck, Mandarin, Merganser, Muscovy, Orpington, Pekin, Rouen, Rouen Clair, Saxony duck, Silver Appleyard duck, Smew, Welsh Harlequin and Wood duck.