Duck Breed Guide

Duck Breed Guide

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.

BreedSizeUtilityEggsWeight (lb)PopularityFlyingMothering
Abacot RangerLightEggs180-2005.5-6.6RarePoorGood
AlabioLightDual Purpose200-2503.3-4.4Popular (Indonesia), Rare (ElsewhereGoodGood
AnconaMediumDual Purpose210-2805-7WatchPoorGood
Australian SpottedBantamExhibition/Pet50-1252-2.2Critically EndangeredGoodGood
Blue SwedishMediumMeat100-1507-9WatchPoorGood
Buff OrpingtonMediumDual Purpose150-2205-8ThreatenedPoorFair
CayugaMediumDual Purpose100-1507-8ThreatenedPoorGood
CrestedMediumDual Purpose100-1506-7CommonPoorGood
Dutch HookbillLightEggs/Exhibition100-2003.5-5CriticalGoodGood
East IndiesBantamExhibition/Ornamental25-751-2RareGoodGood
Indian RunnerLightEggs150-3003-4CommonPoorFair
Khaki CampbellLightEggs250-3404.5-5.5CommonPoorFair
PekinHeavyDual Purpose125-2258-13.5CommonPoorPoor
Rouen ClairHeavyDual Purpose150-2006-9RarePoorFair
SaxonyHeavyDual Purpose190-2407-9ThreatenedPoorGood
ShetlandLightEggs1504-4.4Critically EndangeredPoorFair
Silver AppleyardHeavyDual Purpose200-2707-9ThreatenedPoorGood
Silver Appleyard MiniatureBantamExhibition/Ornamental60-1602.5-3?GoodGood
Silver BantamBantamExhibition/Ornamental60-1601.7-2RareGoodGood
Welsh HarlequinLightEggs100-3304.5-5.5RarePoorGood

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.

abacot ranger female graphic

Abacot Ranger Duck

Abacot Rangers are extremely rare, beautiful, dual-purpose light ducks. They’re not only extremely talented egg-layers, they’re also good for meat, good…

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alabio duck graphic

Alabio Duck

The Alabio duck is one of the rarest duck breeds in the world. It is not globally recognized as a duck breed and is almost unheard of…

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ancona duck graphic

Ancona Duck

The Ancona duck is a large dual-purpose duck breed that’s beautiful, friendly, excellent at foraging, and has recently been experiencing a surge…

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australian spotted duck graphic

Australian Spotted Duck

Australian Spotted ducks are critically endangered and underappreciated, despite their beauty, friendliness, and adorable Call-like conformation…

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aylesbury duck graphic

Aylesbury Duck

The Aylesbury is a large meat breed of duck developed in the town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England in the 18th century. Their status is…

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bali duck graphic

Bali Duck

The Bali duck is an endangered, lightweight breed of duck that is something like a cross between a Runner and a Crested duck…

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blue swedish duck graphic

Blue Swedish Duck

The Blue Swedish (or Swedish Blue) is an attractive dual-purpose duck breed that makes a perfect addition to any homestead, hobby farm, or backyard…

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buff orpington duck breed graphic

Buff Orpington Duck

The Buff Orpington duck is the epitome of a dual-purpose duck. For someone looking for one single “do-it-all” breed, these would be one of my first…

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graphic of white call duck

Call Duck

Sometimes Call ducks look more like stuffed toys than real birds. With their chubby cheeks, adorable short bills, dark button eyes, and plump round bodies, Call ducks can solidly stake their claim as the world’s cutest duck breed…

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cayuga duck breed graphic

Cayuga Duck

The Cayuga is almost unmistakable, with their solid black bills and feet, and solid black feathers that are a beautiful luminescent green in…

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duclair duck breed graphic

Duclair Duck

The Duclair duck is an old French breed of duck that used to be an extremely popular meat bird, but is now difficult to find. Most Duclairs…

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dutch hookbill duck breed graphic

Dutch Hookbill Duck

The most striking feature of the extremely rare Dutch Hookbill duck is, of course, its curved “Roman-nosed” bill. No other duck breed has…

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east indies duck graphic

East Indies Duck

East Indies are relatively rare ducks and are primarily used as ornamental birds, exhibition birds, or pets. They are shyer and quieter than other…

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magpie duck graphic

Magpie Duck

First documented in the early 1920s, the Magpie is a relatively modern breed with a lot to offer. They make fabulous dual-purpose homestead ducks, with…

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muscovy duck graphic

Muscovy Duck

The Muscovy is a very unique breed of duck. In fact, it’s not even a true duck – it’s simply called a duck. The Muscovy is to the duck world what the donkey…

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pekin duck breed graphic

Pekin Duck

The Pekin duck. Oh, we’ve all seen the Pekin duck. Many “city people” and other laypeople have hardly seen any duck but the Pekin (and Mallard). They are the duck. The duck of all ducks…

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rouen clair duck breed graphic

Rouen Clair Duck

This is not the Rouen. The Rouen Clair is a totally different breed that has slipped out of the spotlight. It doesn’t lay enough to be mentioned in any “best egg layers lists,”…

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saxony duck breed graphic

Saxony Duck

The Saxony duck is a heavy dual-purpose duck breed that is considered one of the most beautiful breeds. Its status is threatened. They are…

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shetland duck breed graphic

Shetland Duck

Shetland ducks are a small, critically endangered breed of duck, one of the rarest breeds in the world. They are so rare that there is currently no…

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silver bantam duck breed

Silver Bantam Duck

The Silver Bantam is a rare ornamental/exhibition bantam breed of duck. They are mostly kept as a pet, or for exhibition. Females have a…

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welsh harlequin duck graphic

Welsh Harlequin Duck

Created in 1949, the Welsh Harlequin is one of the newest duck breeds. Welsh Harlequin ducks are a beautiful, practical, lightweight breed…

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  1. My kids and I are hoping to add a few ducks to our flock of chickens this spring, but we are having a hard time choosing a breed! We live on a small 1/4 acre lot and need ducks that will be quiet and friendly. We would like something on the smaller side and would like moderate egg production. Mostly we are looking for companions with eggs as a bonus!

    Stacey Mimnaugh
    1. Hi Stacey,

      There are no duck breeds that are “quiet” except Muscovies. Muscovies are friendly and quiet, but they’re not small and they’re not prolific egglayers (they lay 60-120 eggs a year). Beyond that, it’s hard to measure quietness. Some people will say a breed is quieter than average and others will say the opposite. There isn’t much consensus.

      However, I think I’d recommend the Welsh Harlequin. They’re small (4.5-5.5 pounds), lay 240-330 eggs a year, and seem to be one of the breeds most commonly considered to be on the quiet side. They should also make great pets.

      Khaki Campbells lay great (250-340 eggs a year), but tend to be considered a bit nervous and skittish. This varies, though. They also might be a little quieter than average.

      The best layer of the bantam breeds is probably the Australian Spotted. They lay 50-125 eggs a year and tend to be friendly.

      Indian Runners, Magpies, Anconas, and Buff Orpingtons might also work well for you. Saxonies and Silver Appleyards are larger, but you might like them as well anyway.

      Hope that helps. 🙂


  2. I was thinking about getting 4-6 Ancona ducks, and I was wondering how much space they would need. I would get a male, and the rest would be females.

    Ludo Fogle

    Ludo Fogle
    1. Each duck needs about 4-5 square feet of space for a nighttime-only enclosure, so your coop would need to be 16-30 square feet for 4-6 ducks. 10 square feet per duck is considered the minimum for daytime/outdoors, but I think that is kind of small. The ducks will tear up the grass and be living in mud and dirt before long, unless they’re in a mobile run. The more space, the better. 25 square feet per duck would be better.

      Good luck with your ducks! 🙂