Many people think of chickens when they hear of backyard poultry. But did you know that ducks, too, can make a great addition to any homestead? So, what is the best duck for a pet?
Ducks are mostly kept as meat and egg birds on homesteads and large backyards.
With more than 100 duck breeds worldwide, it can be challenging to determine the best breeds to keep as pets at home.
While some ducks are generally calm and non-aggressive, others are too loud and unsuitable for homes with nearby neighbors. Others are skilled flyers and can escape your backyard whenever they are frightened.
If you plan to add a pet duck to your family, you have come to the right place.
This article will take you through the best duck breeds that can make great family pets. Keep reading to learn more.
First on our list of the best duck for a pet is the “Pekin Duck.” It is the most common breed of duck in North America.
They were first brought to the USA in the 19th century and quickly became a favorite for many poultry farmers because of their attractive carcasses, docile nature, and rapid growth.
Pekin ducks are adorable birds with fluffy white plumage and a slight yellow hue. They weigh 7 to 12 lbs and have orange feet and legs.
Their bills are yellowish-orange. In addition, they have thick, long necks. They also have short stubby wings that can not allow long flights.
Most Pekins are flightless because of the many years of breeding and selection.
Pekins are considered the best ducks for a pet because of their friendly nature. These adorable birds are also gently around humans of all ages.
They are suitable for families with kids, as they make great play buddies. Unlike most other breeds, they rarely become irritated whenever they are picked up.
Some will even let you stroke their feathers without causing any trouble. Generally, Pekins are sweet ducks that make excellent family companions.
However, they can be very loud sometimes. Therefore, they are ideal birds for rural homesteads but not urban areas with neighbors nearby.
They can lay 4 to 5 eggs a week. This makes them excellent dual-purpose birds. Their eggs are typically white. You can visit your nearest local shelter if you are interested in one.
Indian Runner Ducks
The Indian Runners originated in Southeast Asia and were imported to Great Britain in the mid-1800s.
They are named so because they can run rather than waddle like other ducks.
They have erect stature and long necks, which give them a penguin appearance. These adorable birds are not fond of breeding or nesting.
If you have one, you will have to search for their eggs since they drop them at different times and in random places.
If you are looking for a friendly and intelligent duck to add to your family, look no further. These ducks are great pets that warm up to their human handlers.
If they are provided plenty of space to roam and socialize adequately, they can establish bonds with their handlers and even recognize their voices.
While the Indian Runners run like they are about to fly, they are flightless. Therefore, you will need to protect them from predators.
This breed is much quieter compared to most other duck breeds. Only females tend to quack most of the time.
These domestic ducks are docile and will do well in any backyard. They are prolific egg layers and can lay up to seven times a week.
The breed was used to create other duck breeds, such as Welsh Harlequin and Abacot Ranger. They have good genetics if they are properly bred.
A mature Indian Runner duck weighs 3 to 5 lbs, nearly half the weight of Pekin ducks. These ducks’ legs are positioned toward the rear of their body.
They come in various colors, such as dark brown, blue, brown, black, white, and silver. They also have orange feet and long skinny necks.
Like Pekins, Cayugas were first seen in the USA in the early 19th century.
While their history is unknown, most breeders and historians agree that they were developed from the wild American Black ducks.
It is also believed that the Cayugas were overlooked after the Pekin ducks became more popular among poultry keepers.
Generally, Cayuga ducks are hardy birds that will do well nearly anywhere. They can handle the harsh winters in the northeastern part of the USA. They have a black bill as well as black feathers.
These birds also have an attractive iridescent green shade on their heads and necks. They have a dark hue on their wings and are considered ornamental birds that make great pets.
However, they remain globally endangered and are less common than other ducks.
Cayugas are docile around people when they are hand-raised. They can also find food independently and are easier to take care of.
These skilled foragers will enjoy munching on local plants and insects in the backyard. Unlike other duck breeds, they tend to wander within the homestead.
They are also flightless birds with short wings and large breasts. Under good care and proper nutrition, they can lay up to four eggs a week.
Their eggs can be black or white. Since they are less local, they are perfect for people who live in areas with strict noise restrictions. In addition, their docile temperament makes them excellent playmates for kids.
Call Ducks were introduced to Great Britain and the Netherlands in the 19th century. They are descendants of Mallards and are among the smallest breeds.
As show birds, they have won more competitions than other breeds. These adorable ducks were first used as decoys to attract wild flocks to hunters in England.
Their name is derived from the loud quacks used as “duck calls” to lure unsuspecting ducks to their deaths.
The decoy technique was later outlawed in England and other countries, and these ducks were raised as show birds and pets.
They are friendly and intelligent ducks that make great family companions. They warm up to humans when they are raised from birth and socialized appropriately.
If you are looking for a duck that will be great with your kids, this is one of the breeds to consider.
They are so calm and small that kids can pick them up and carry them without any trouble.
However, they may not be suitable for suburban settings due to their deafening shrieks.
They tend to fly around and make unnecessary noise that may not be ideal for noise-restricted locations.
Most Call ducks are white or black. However, they can come in various colors, such as silver, apricot, blue fawn, and magpie.
They have a similar appearance to the Mallards, although they are lighter and much smaller.
Drakes weigh around 25 ounces, while adult females weigh around 20 ounces.
Their necks are thick and short. They have orange feet and bills.
The lifespan of Call ducks is 8 to 12 years. However, their life expectancy depends on several things, such as care and the environment.
A good feeding routine and housing will enable them to live longer.
Last on our list of the best duck for a pet is the “Mallard duck.” They are one of the most populous duck breeds in North America.
Wild Mallards can travel long distances while migrating. As pets, they are more capable of escaping their pens than any other breed on our list.
Therefore, you will need to keep a close eye on them if you raise them as pets.
While they are not as docile as Pekins, they are friendly toward their owners if they are hand-raised.
They also make great pets and family companions that can live 8 to 14 years in captivity.
However, they can become anxious and aggressive if they lack enough space and water to swim during the day.
While they make great pets, they are not as easy for kids to handle as other breeds on our list.
These medium-sized ducks have dark feathers with shiny blue patches on their wings.
Female ducks have brown or tan heads with spotted feathers, while drakes have striking, green heads.
Drakes are quieter most of the time except during the mating season. On the other hand, females are known for their loud quacks.
Ducks can make excellent pets if they have adequate land, shelter, and food.
If you plan to add a pet duck to your family, you can consider one of the breeds on our list above.
However, it is important to consider the duck’s lifespan, personality, and appearance before deciding.