The variety of duck breeds is astounding. Ducks come in every color, shape, pattern, and size you can imagine. When you first dive into the world of ducks, it can be difficult to decide which of these amazing breeds would be best for you.
Determine what you want out of your ducks:
Purpose. Do you want eggs, meat, or pets? Do you want to preserve a rare breed, or bring your ducks to exhibitions? Do you just want a lawn ornament? Or do you want a breed that lays plenty of eggs, is big enough to provide meat, and makes a good pet?
Egg production–do you want 300 eggs a year, or are you okay with only 100?
Size–bantam, light, medium, or heavy? A two pound duck or a ten pound one?
Availability–which breeds are available in your area? If you’re in the US, for example, it may be impossible to find Abacot Rangers or Shetlands.
Popularity–do you want to preserve a rare breed, or do you want something that’s cheap and easy to find?
Flying–does it matter whether the breed can fly or not?
Foraging–do you need a breed that can find a good chunk of its own food?
Mothering–do you need a breed that will go broody, or one that won’t?
Personality–do you want a quiet, friendly, calm breed? Unfortunately, it’s difficult to go by blanket breed statements, because individuals vary so much.
And looks–do you like the looks of the breed?
Here’s a duck breed comparison chart. Swipe to the side to see two more categories, “Flying” and “Mothering.” If you’re on a desktop computer, there is a scroll bar at the bottom of the chart to allow you to scroll horizontally to view the other categories.
Here’s a list of duck breeds with a link to a complete guide to each duck breed (although this list is still in progress and some breeds are missing). Click on a breed name to see pictures of the duck breed and read about its history, use, egg production, meat production, appearance, and more.