If you’re looking for a good choice for backyard duck breeds, make sure you take a look at this look and consider why you want to raise ducks on your homestead!
When it comes to raising ducks in the backyard, choosing the right breed is crucial. Different breeds have different needs, temperaments, and egg-laying abilities. Some breeds are better suited for cold climates, while others thrive in warmer weather. That’s why finding the best backyard duck breeds for your homestead matters.
We decided to start raising ducks several years ago, and it was one of our favorite decisions. However, since our kids run freely in the yard with the ducks, we want to make sure they fit our lifestyle.
You might not have kids, but your ducks may not be able to free range. You may have plenty of space for your ducks to free range, but you really want to raise ducks for meat production.
Our goals and intentions matter. So, before you grab the domestic duck breeds you find at your local farm stores, I suggest learning about some of the best backyard duck breeds to make sure the breed of duck you pick fits your needs and your homestead.
14 Best Backyard Duck Breeds
When it comes to raising ducks in your backyard, there are many duck species to choose from. Each breed has its own unique characteristics and advantages.
Here are some of the best duck breeds to consider:
1. Pekin Ducks
Pekin ducks are one of the most popular breeds for backyard farming; you can regularly find these ducks at local farm stores.
They are docile, friendly, and easy to care for. They also lay large, white eggs and are known for their meat production. American Pekin ducks are dual-purpose birds since they lay a large number of eggs while also growing at a fast rate. Believe it or not, 90% of duck meat in the United States comes from Pekins!
2. Cayuga Ducks
Cayugas are the only duck breed developed in the United States, originating near Cayuga Lake, in New York. These ducks are a beautiful, medium-heavy breed known for their slow growth. Cayuga ducks are a beautiful breed with black iridescent feathers. In the right light, the feathers often look green!
When looking for backyard duck breeds, Cayugas are an excellent choice for several reasons. They have an incredibly calm disposition, so they are ideal for backyard flocks, especially if you have children. These ducks lay roughly three to four eggs per week, and the eggs have a gorgeous charcoal or black-colored shell in the early laying season. Late-season eggs are a light grey!
3. Rouen Ducks
If you want dual-purpose backyard ducks, Rouens are an excellent choice. Rouen ducks are similar in appearance to mallard ducks but are larger and have a calmer temperament. They are good for meat production and lay medium-sized eggs.
Rouens are large ducks, and while they are similar to Mallards, they are too heavy to take flight. Overall, they have a calm disposition, so they make great pets.
4. Mallard Ducks
Mallard ducks are often overlooked because they are so common; wild mallards are everywhere. It’s believed that most domesticated ducks originate from Mallards, except Muscovy ducks.
Mallards are small ducks, so they are able to fly. If you want ducks that tolerate confinement, this won’t be the backyard duck breed for you. They are liable to fly away unless you have a large, enclosed area. If you can cover the top of the duck run, then consider raising mallards!
Mallard ducks lay a greenish-colored egg, and they are quite talkative. You may not want to raise them if you have neighbors that may not want to hear what they have to say. Another problem is that these ducks have one of the lowest egg-laying rates, so if you’re raising these ducks for duck eggs, don’t expect too many eggs each week.
5. Khaki Campbell Ducks
Khaki Campbell ducks are a hardy breed that is known for their high egg production. They can lay up to 300 eggs per year; you can expect five to six cream-colored eggs per week. Their awesome egg-laying abilities are why they are such a popular choice for backyard duck keepers.
Who doesn’t want to raise great egg layers?
Khaki Campbell breed are medium-weight ducks, which means some may be able to fly limited distances. Their warm, khaki color is such a nice look for ducks, and the males have darker bronze heads.
These birds love to free range, and they enjoy foraging on their own. Genrally, Khakis don’t want to socialize too much, including with other birds. Never expect them to become a pet or a lap bird, since they prefer to be loners.
6. Crested Ducks
Crested ducks are known for their distinctive feather crests on their heads. Their unique look makes them an excellent option those who want an exhibition duck or a pet duck. Cresteds look similar to Pekins due to their white feathers, but the crested duck has a large ball of feathers, or a crest, on top of their heads.
The crests are an interesting feature, and they are a genetic mutation; these ducks have deformed skulls. That makes breeding these ducks slightly controversial since it is continuing a genetic mutation. Also, breeding is tricky; if you breed two crested ducks together, it’s often fatal for the offspring.
They are a friendly breed and are good for egg production. You will receive two to four eggs per week with these ducks, but they are slow growing and not ideal for meat production.
7. Indian Runner Ducks
Indian Runner ducks are a unique breed that are known for their upright posture and their ability to lay up to 300 eggs per year. One look at them, and you’ll know that these ducks are not your typical duck. Their body shapes are different since these ducks have an upright stance like bowling pins.
Their posture allows them to run faster than other ducks. Seriously; we have raised these ducks, and they are a lot faster.
Despite their insane quickness, most homesteaders raise these ducks because they lay a TON of eggs and forage well. These ducks lay four to five eggs per week that have a blueish tint to them. They tend to be nervous, though, and their timid nature may not work well with little kids.
8. Muscovy Ducks
Muscovy ducks are a quiet and docile breed, native to the southern hemisphere. These ducks are often raised for meat production; the meat is leaner than other types of duck meat, with a plump breast.
Muscovies may look like a duck, and they are, but they are a different species than the Mallard ducks. Not only is their meat different, but they roost at night like chickens, and, while they can mate with other backyard duck breeds, it will lead to sterile offspring.
Also, muscovy ducks don’t quack! They make other sounds, like a quiet coo and a low call.
9. Buff Orpington Ducks
Buffs came from England in the early 1900s, and they came over with the same breeder who brought us the Buff Orpington chickens!
Buff Orpington ducks are a friendly breed that are good for egg production. These ducks are medium-sized, laying three to five white to brown eggs per week. They lay large, white eggs and are also good for meat production.
10. Swedish Ducks
If you want a medium to large-sized, dual-purpose duck, Swedish ducks are an excellent choice. These ducks are slow-growing, known for being excellent foragers and laying three to four eggs per week. Swedish ducks lay white, blue, and green eggs; the shades are gorgeous!
Overall, Swedish ducks are known for their calm temperaments, so they make an excellent addition to your backyard farm, especially if you have kids.
There are two types of Swedish ducks: blue and black. Blue Swedish ducks are a slate blue-grey color with a white patch on their neck and chest. Black Swedish ducks are mostly black with a white patch on their neck and chest.
11. Saxony Ducks
Saxony ducks are a beautiful breed, known for being a dual-purpose bird with blue-gray feathers. These ducks are fast-growing and lay plenty of white or light blue eggs.
The history behind this duck breed is fascinating as well! We know they originated in the 1930s in Germany, and during World War II, nearly all of the breeding stock died. That’s why they are still listed, to this day, as endangered by the Livestock Conservancy.
You’ll notice how beautiful Saxony ducks are! The males have blue-grey feathers, along with a chestnut and cream belly. Females are a golden-buff color with cream and white facial stripes. Not only are they pretty on the eyes, but they have calm and curious personalities, known for being excellent foragers.
12. Welsh Harlequin Ducks
Welsh Harlequin ducks are a friendly, dual-purpose breed that are good for egg production. Duck keepers typically raise Welsh Harlequin ducks for exhibition, egg production, and meat production. They lay large, white eggs and are also good for meat production. Expect four to six eggs per week, ranging from white to a light blue tint.
Welsh Harlequins are natural foragers, and they are one of the few backyard duck breeds that have a natural sex-linked characteristic. You can sex them by bill color at just a few days old. The males have an orange bill.
This breed is listed as critically endangered, so it’s a great breed to start raising in your backyard to preserve their lines!
13. Ancona Ducks
Ancona ducks are considered a dual-purpose bird, but they tend to be on the smaller side than other breeds. This hardy breed is known for steady egg production, laying four to five white or bird eggs each week.
Another reason to raise these ducks is how pretty they are! Anconas are mostly white with splashes of different colors, like chocolate brown, black, blue, silver, and tricolor.
Overall, Ancona ducks are known for being one of the docile and calm backyard duck breeds. They cannot fly, which is a great thing for duck keepers, but they still enjoy free ranging or foraging. If you want well-behaved ducks, then Anconas are an ideal breed.
14. Silver Appleyard Ducks
If you are looking for a classic breed of ducks for homesteaders, Silver Appleyard ducks are a friendly breed that are good for egg production. They lay large, white eggs and are also good for meat production. The ducks have a great temperament, and they are great foragers.
Silver Appleyard ducks are medium-to-large ducks that reach 6-8 lbs, and they lay three to five large, white eggs. Their personalities are docile, and they are known for having a sweet temperament. Appleyard ducks tolerate kids well.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Backyard Duck Breed
When choosing domestic ducks breeds for your homestead, there are several factors to consider when picking the right fit for your breed of duck.
Your Purpose for Ducks
The first factor to consider when choosing a backyard duck breed is the purpose of raising ducks. Some people raise ducks for eggs, while others raise them for meat or as pets. Different breeds of ducks are better suited for different purposes.
For example, Pekin ducks are known for their meat production, while Khaki Campbell ducks are known for their egg-laying abilities. Other ducks are dual-pupose or multi-purpose, which means they work for both egg-laying and meat production.
The climate of the area is another important factor to consider when choosing a backyard duck breed. Some breeds of ducks are better suited for cold weather, while others are better suited for warm weather.
For example, Muscovy ducks are known for their ability to withstand cold temperatures, while Indian Runner ducks are better suited for warm weather.
The amount of space available is another important factor to consider when choosing a backyard duck breed. Some breeds of ducks require more space than others.
For example, Muscovy ducks require more space than Pekin ducks. It’s important to make sure that there is enough space for the ducks to move around and exercise.
You should also consider shelter and how much space you have for a duck coop. Shelters are not always needed, but you need a place to keep your ducks, unless you want to hunt for duck eggs everyday.
If you already have a shelter for the ducks, you may be limited on how many ducks you can keep, because some ducks are larger than others. Also, some breeds handle confinement better than others, and some breeds need more backyard space for foraging and swimming.
The temperament of the breed is another important factor to consider when choosing a backyard duck breed. Some breeds of ducks are more docile and friendly, while others are more aggressive. It’s important to choose a breed that fits in with the family and other animals on the property. For example, Pekin ducks are known for their friendly and docile temperament, while Muscovy ducks can be more aggressive.
In conclusion, when choosing a backyard duck breed, it’s important to consider the purpose of raising ducks, the climate of the area, the space available, and the temperament of the breed. By taking these factors into consideration, you can choose a breed that will thrive in your backyard and meet your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need a Pond for Backyard Ducks?
While ducks enjoy the water, and it is beneficial for their health, a pond is not necessary for backyard ducks. A kiddie pool or large water dish can suffice for them to swim and play in.
However, it is important to change and offer clean waterregularly to prevent the spread of disease. You need a pool that holds at least a foot deep or more of water. Most duck mating takes place in the water; drakes look like they are drowning the hen because they submerge the head under the water.
What are the Top Duck Breeds for Backyard Farming?
The top duck breeds for backyard farming include Pekin, Khaki Campbell, and Rouen ducks. These breeds are hardy, easy to care for, and good for meat and egg production.
Which Duck Breeds are Best for Egg Production?
Khaki Campbell and Indian Runner ducks are known for their high egg production, with Khaki Campbells laying up to 300 eggs per year and Indian Runners laying up to 200 eggs per year.
What are the Best Ducks for Pets?
If you want to keep ducks for pets on your homestead, look for docile, friendly breeds that enjoy plenty of time with humans. Some examples of pet ducks, include Pekin, Cayuga, Rouen, and Swedish ducks.
You should avoid Indian Runners, Khaki Campbells, Mallard Ducks, and Magpie ducks.
If you’re looking for a great choice for backyard duck breeds, these 14 options are ones you should consider. Whether you want a duck with egg-laying abilities or meat production, these duck breeds are great if you want something for your backyard homestead.