Duck Flock. Image from Flickr by tifotter.

Duck Breeds

(Featured image from Flickr by tifotter.)

There are many breeds of ducks available, and you may have the fun of choosing the breed that suits you best. Here are the main breeds.

You may also want to check out the duck breed reviews on Backyard Chickens: http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/category/ducks

Abacot Ranger

Abacot Rangers are light ducks weight 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds. They are rare and unlikely to fly. They produce over 200 eggs a year and are used mainly for eggs. They look similar to Welsh Harlequins and are good foragers.

Ancona

Anconas are large ducks weighing 5 to 7 pounds. They are like paint horses; they are a combination of white and one or two other colors: black, blue, chocolate, and lavender. The color patches are random. They are rare, but are excellent layers at 210-280 eggs a year. They are hardy and excellent foragers, and are decent mothers.

Ancona Ducks, by Jennifer Cleffner
Ancona Ducks. Image from Flickr by Jennifer Cleffner.
Ancona Ducks
Ancona Ducks

Appleyard

Silver Appleyards are relatively large ducks. The only color is silver. They are active foragers, good mothers, and relatively good layers. They lay about 200-270 eggs a year. They weigh 7-9 pounds. They are also good for meat.

Appleyard Female Head
Silver Appleyard Female. Image from Flickr by Holly Occhipinti.
Silver Appleyard Male
Silver Appleyard Male. Image from Flickr by Sarah Jane.
Silver Appleyard Pair
Silver Appleyard Pair. Image from Flickr by tifotter.

Australian Spotted

This is a bantam breed, laying 50-125 cream, blue, or green eggs a year, which is the best of the bantams. They are excellent mothers and foragers, but are endangered. They look like a cross between the Mallard and Call duck. They are not as noisy as Calls, however. They are active, mature quickly, and are very personable.

Aylesbury

The Aylesbury is a large breed of duck, bred for meat. It is always white with a pale pink bill and orange legs. They have a deep keel and are a rare breed. Wing clipping is not necessary for this breed. The females will lay 35-100 eggs a year. They weigh 9-12 pounds. To keep from becoming obese, Aylesbury ducks need to have a large pasture to forage in.

Bali

The Bali is a light breed of duck that lays 120-250 eggs a year. It is a bad mother, but an excellent forager. They are endangered and difficult to find. They are just like Runners, but 2/3 of the offspring will have crests. Bali ducks can be skittish and weigh 4-5 pounds.

Call

Call ducks are bantams. They are relatively common, excellent mothers, and excellent mothers, but are extremely noisy. They lay 25-75 eggs a year. Many say they are the cutest of all duck breeds, looking like a stuffed toy duck even as adults. They are frequently used as pets and can come in any color. They are extremely active, talkative, and tame. They can fly and either need to be clipped or have a covered enclosure. They only weigh 1 to 1 1/2 pounds.

Call Ducks
Call Ducks. Image by Mikayla Lovas.
Call Duck
Call Duck. Image from Wikipedia by Bartol666.

Campbell

The good strains of Khaki Campbells are the ultimate layers of the poultry world, laying up to 340 eggs (although there are bad strains that only lay 150) a year. They weigh 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds and come in khaki, dark, and white. They are relatively common and are good foragers but bad mothers.

Khaki Campbell Female
Khaki Campbell Female. Image from Flickr by Dana Kee. Flickr Description: “Sweet Faith, my Khaki Campbell girl”
Khaki Campbell Ducklings
Khaki Campbell Ducklings. Image from Flickr by Vanessa Hernandez.

Cayuga

Cayugas lay 100-150 eggs a year, are decent foragers and mothers, and are common. They are medium-sized birds. Their feathers are black with a beautiful green iridescence. Their first eggs are usually black, but it eventually fades to gray, blue, green, or white.

Cayuga Duck
Cayuga Duck. Image from Flickr by Mr.TinDC.
Cayuga Swimming
Cayuga Swimming. Image from Flickr by Simon Redwood.
Cayuga Duckling
Cayuga Duckling. Image from Flickr by Samantha Durfee.

Crested

Crested ducks are known for the tufty crest on the back of their head. They are a light duck, weighing 6-7 pounds. They lay 150-200 white, tinted, blue, or green eggs a year. They can be in almost any color, are relatively common, are good mothers, and good foragers. However, they are not a good beginner breed because the crested gene can cause deformities. Breeding crested ducks is challenging.

Crested Duck Swimming
Crested Duck Swimming. Image from Wikipedia by Steven G. Johnson.

 Dutch Hookbill

Dutch Hookbills area a light, rare breed. They weigh 3 1/2 to 5 pounds and lay 100-200 eggs a year. They can fly and may need to be clipped. They are quiet and make good pets, although they are usually used as ornamental ducks due to the strange bill. The color is dusky mallard with a white bib, but there are also all-white varieties.

East Indies

This is a cute, bantam breed. East Indies lay 30-80 eggs a year and weigh 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. They are all black with a lovely metallic green sheen, like the Cayuga. In fact, it looks like a Call with Cayuga coloring. They are excellent mothers and foragers but are endangered.

Indian Runner

This breed is a wonderful egg layer at 150-300 eggs a year. They are light, excellent foragers, not very good mothers, and common. They are very active, as the name suggests, and they have a unique, nearly vertical stance. Sometimes they are described as “bowling pins with legs and bill.” Most ducks waddle, but Runners run. They weigh 3-4 pounds and come in many colors.

Runners Swimming
Runners Swimming. Image from Flickr by Scott Hardwood.
Runner Ducks.
Runner Ducks. Image from Wikipedia by Bjoern Clauss.

Magpie

Magpies are light, general purpose ducks. They weigh 4 1/2 to 7 pounds (depending on the sex) and lay 150-200 eggs. They are rare and are always black, blue, silver, chocolate (extremely rare) – combined with white, kind of like a paint horse. Many breeders are extremely picky about markings, especially those who show their birds. It is extremely difficult to breed a Magpie with “correct” markings (although I consider specific patterns of markings to be nonsense).

Magpie
Magpie. Image from Wikipedia by Yoopery.
Magpie Swimming
Magpie Swimming. Image from Flickr by tifotter.
Magpie
Magpie. Image from Flickr by Selbe B.

Mallard

Domesticated mallards are an ornamental bantam breed. It is thought that all true duck breeds, exempting the Muscovy, have descended from the Mallard. They are wonderful mothers and are very independent. They lay 25-100 eggs a year and weigh 2 1/2 pounds. Mallards are very common.

Mallards
Mallards. Image by buff goose guy on BackyardChickens.com.

Muscovy

This is not a true duck and is a breed I have experience with, so it is listed here: The Muscovy.

Orpington

These ducks weigh 7-8 pounds, lay 150-220 eggs a year, are decent mothers and foragers, and are relatively common. They are always buff-colored and are dual-purpose ducks.

Buff Orpington
Buff Orpington. Image by Kayli at thegaagirl.blogspot.com

Pekin

When most people picture a duck, they picture the Pekin – a white duck and the most common breed of all. They are good meat ducks and are noisy. They lay 125-225 eggs a year, so they could also be called dual-purpose. They are decent mothers and decent foragers. They weigh 9-10 pounds.

Pekins Swimming
Pekins Swimming. Image from Wikipedia by Zivya.
Pekin and Ducklings
Pekin and Ducklings. Image from Flickr by Dakota Lynch.
Pekin Head
Pekin Head. Image from Flickr by tifotter.

Rouen

Rouens weigh 9-10 pounds and are good meat ducks. They lay 35-125 eggs a year, are decent mothers, good foragers, and are common. They are chunky and often deep-keeled, and are colored like Mallards.

Rouens Swimming
Rouens Swimming. Image from Flickr by Robyn Anderson.
Rouens
Rouens. Image by buff goose guy on BackyardChickens.com.

Rouen Clair

Rouen Clairs are similar to Rouens, but lay more at 150 eggs a year and are less heavy at 6 1/2 to 9 pounds. Their coloring is Light Mallard.

Saxony

Saxony ducks are similar to the Rouen Clair and have the same weight, shape, and feather pattern. However, instead of Light Mallard, they are Apricot Light Mallard due to blue dilution genes. The pencilling is less visible. Females are apricot buff. They lay up to 150 eggs a year and are good for meat. They are quite rare.

Silver Bantam

This bantam breed weighs about 2 pounds, is silver in color, weighs 30-80 pounds, and isn’t very common. It is mainly used as a pet.

Silver Appleyard Miniature

This is a miniature variety of the Silver Appleyard. (So is the bantam, but this breed is closer in coloring.) They lay 80 eggs a year, weigh 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, are restricted mallard in color, and are also pets. They are good mothers and are easily tamed.

Swedish

The Blue Swedish is a heavy bird, weighing 7-8 pounds. They lay up to 150 eggs a year and are usually blue in coloration, but black and some other colors are occasionally found. Normally, they are blue with a white bib. They are decent mothers and good foragers.

Blue Swedish Ducks
Blue Swedish Ducks. Image from Flickr by budgora.
Blue Swedish Family
Blue Swedish Family. Image from Flickr by mwms1916.
Blue Swedish Swimming
Blue Swedish Swimming. Image from Flickr by Donna S.

Welsh Harlequin

This is a light duck, weighing 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds. They are excellent egg-layer, laying 240-330 eggs a year. They are rare and are colored brown silver, similar to the Abacot Ranger. Some are poor mothers, others are good mothers. They are excellent foragers.

Welsh Harlequin Drake
Welsh Harlequin Drake. Image from Flickr by Autumn Wolf.
Welsh Harlequin
Welsh Harlequin. Image from Flickr by Autumn Wolf.

Other Breeds

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1019640/list-of-duck-breeds-including-rare-and-unusual-ones-you-have-probably-never-heard-of#post_15830244

Choosing a Breed