20 Most Popular Domestic Duck Breeds

Domestic ducks, with all their beauty, are an excellent addition to a farm.  Records indicate that the first domesticated duck dated back to the Bronze Age, approximately 4,000 years ago. Initially, they were bred as a source of food or in helping farmers tend their crops.

One impressive factor about these birds is that they are particularly resourceful when scavenging for food. Moreover, watching them wandering around while frequently quacking is undeniably refreshing. Ducks are also economical with the eggs and meat considered healthier than chicken.

Nevertheless, there are several myths surrounding duck’s origin and breed types. This article will shed some light on some of the most popular duck breeds in recent times.

Abacot Ranger Duck

Also referred to as Ranger drake, the Abacot Ranger duck is a crossbreed between the Old English and Cayuga species. These ducks are bred purely for their meat in high-class restaurants all over the world. They are easily recognizable by their incredible plumage that includes a broad black neckband right above the breast, a maroon red saddle with black spots and white stripes running down their bodies.

The males have yellow eyes while females’ eyes appear metallic green in color. It is hard to distinguish between male and female Rangers at first sight due to sexual dimorphism. In other terms, males and females appear less different in physical appearance.

Average lifespan: Males- 4 – 5 years.

Aylesbury Duck

The Aylesbury duck, also known as English Duck, is one of the oldest breeds still popular with modern farmers. Although they were first bred in England, these ducks spread to Europe and the United States over time. The morphologically hardy breed has a tall body built with a long back and legs. Their plumage comes in black, gray, and white shades, with some birds having striped patterns on their bodies.

Most impressive is that this is perhaps one of the most popular chicken species for egg-laying purposes. The average Aylesbury duck will lay approximately 250-300 eggs per year. The eggs roughly weigh from 120 – 170 grams. It is worth noting that most Aylesburys can become aggressive, especially when defending their territory, food, or family members.

Something else, their loud quacks make them excellent wards against intruders of your farm. They also appreciate being kept in a pen where they can freely roam around, unlike other ducks that require large ponds and specific care conditions to survive.

Average lifespan: 6-7 years.

Bali Ducks

Originally from the Island of Bali in Indonesia, Bali ducks are a sight to behold. Given that they are hybrids of Mallard and Ryn ducks, the male Bali ducks have a brown crest with a redhead, whereas females have spotted neck feathers.

Their breast feathers are also different from other domestic duck breeds as they appear black, while most domesticated waterfowls exhibit white breast feathers. The best thing about this breed is that it is one of the hardiest varieties available on the market today. They can live quite long when fed well.  Surprisingly, there have been cases where adult Bali ducks have been recorded flying for short distances.

Average lifespan: 8-10 years.

Black East Indian

This duck breed is also called Black East Indian runner or simply Black Runner. They were first bred in India but later spread to Europe and North America through the colonization process. When fed well and placed in a suitable environment, they weigh approximately 2.1 kilos once fully grown.

You can breed these ducks earlier than other species because males mature faster. In most cases, males start mating as early as six months compared to female age mates who begin laying eggs at around eight months. Most importantly, provide them enough space and plenty of water to keep your birds occupied.

Note that these ducks love laying eggs out in the open. If you find a Black Indian duck wandering around your farm, probably, they have hidden some eggs in the vicinity. It is recommended that farmers should collect domestic ducks breed eggs immediately after laying them out to prevent hatching or getting eaten by predators.

One of the most outstanding traits of Indian runner ducks is their calm demeanor and ability to cooperate with small children. However, you have to be careful not to spoil them because they can turn aggressive if not given enough attention by their owners.

Average lifespan: 6-8 years.

Blue Swedish

Blue Swedish ducks are one of the hardiest breeds that can live comfortably in cold regions. There have been cases where these domestic duck breeds have survived even when placed at temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius. They were first bred in Sweden before spreading to the rest of Europe and the world.

Blue Swedish ducks are well known for their long lifespan. Another interesting fact about Blue Swedish ducks is that they do not flap their wings while swimming, unlike other domesticated waterfowl. Instead, their floating ability is pretty unique and attracts lots of admirers. Blue Swedes feed mainly on grass, weeds, and grain, but you can also add poultry pellets to their diet.

Average lifespan: 10-12 years.

Call Ducks

These domestic duck breeds are a crossbreed between Cayuga and Muscovy ducks. Farmers in South Africa were first developed in the early 20th century looking for suitable meat-producing waterfowls. Call ducks are often mistaken with other domesticated varieties because they have almost similar traits to other species. In fact, most people often refer to them as Indian runners or Cayugas because of their brown plumage.

Unlike the above two duck breeds, Call does not have long necks. Instead, they sport medium-sized bodies and an average weight of about 3.8 kilos when fully grown up. Their colors vary from one bird to the other, but most have blackheads, green-colored necks, or yellow-colored neck feathers. This variety is quite intelligent and can act as a watchdog on farms.

Average lifespan: 7-9 years.

Cayuga

Cayuga ducks are popular because of their ability to lay eggs that taste just like chicken eggs. Their egg production abilities are second only to the Muscovy variety.

The best thing about this domestic duck breed is that it grows slowly, so this animal will not outgrow its owner in terms of size. Typically, an adult Cayuga duck weighs 2 Kgs and lives relatively long when taken care of properly.

Cayugas have short necks and reddish-brown plumage with white feathers on their chests and paws. They love moving gracefully on land or in water due to their light frames. Most impressive is that these ducks are active during the day, and you can notice them roaming all around.

The ducks appreciate most a diet of chopped corn and insects. Although they do not swim as fast as other varieties, Cayugas can stay underwater for extended periods.

Average lifespan: 10-12 years.

Campbell

These domestic duck breeds were first developed in the US during the 19th century. They are known for their beautiful plumage and calm personalities. Most varieties of this duck breed have white feathers with black spots around their necks.

In rare cases, some specimens sport mixes of blue and green feathers on their backs. These birds can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh 1 to 2 pounds in most cases.

For this reason, they are considered lightweight among other duck species. Luckily, their tiny size makes it easier for children and adults to handle them as pets. Their meat is highly nutritious and rich in proteins.

As a matter of fact, most people will consider eating Campbell ducks as a cost-effective way of consuming high-quality animal proteins. Campbell enjoys eating grass, grains, and insects most.

Average lifespan: 10-12 years.

Crested

Crested domestic ducks are also called Rajah Ducks and are nearly similar to the Call Duck breed. Although they were primarily bred for meat, they have become popular pets due to their cute looks. They can be easily identified by their pink/red eyes and white crests, like a Mohawk hairstyle.

Their body is usually yellowish-brown with black spots around the neck area and on the webbing of their feet. When fully grown up, most specimens can weigh 4-8 kilograms.

Crested duck eggs are small, but they taste better than chicken eggs and make excellent additions in most recipes. Another interesting fact about these waterfowls is that both male and female birds grow crests. It might help if you supplement their diet with plenty of water and grain.

Average lifespan: 9-12 years

Hook Bill

Hookbill ducks are a cross between Hook Bills and Campbell ducks. They have the hookbills of their parents, but they also have typical yellow feathers like Campbells. Their body length usually ranges from 36 to 40 inches (91 to 102 cm) in adulthood.

The beauty of this tiny structure is that they can fit in most living spaces. These pet ducks are laid back and make adorable pets. Like other duck species that enjoy being fed with cobs and insects.

Average lifespan: 9-12 years.

Indian Runners

Indian runners or Marans are domestic ducks breeds that originate from the United Kingdom. They became prevalent during the Victorian era as it was common for people to keep them in their houses as pets. Their behavior is more akin to cats, and they love being pets. Moreover, they enjoy playing with watermelon seeds.

Thanks to their calm personalities, they get along well with humans. Although they look heavy, Indian runners weigh only 1-2 kilograms and can fit comfortably in tiny enclosures. They have dark plumage that is yellowish-brown in color with black spots on the head and other body areas.

Average lifespan: 10-15 years

Magpie

Also called Australian Magpies, these domestic ducks belong to the Whistling Swan breed. In fact they look like miniature versions of their larger relatives. Breeders purposefully created them for meat production, which contains 100% fat content.

Although their bodies are small and weigh an average of 1kg in adulthood, they are pretty resilient and can live long. Similar to Indian Hunters, they enjoy frequent petting and being treated well. These animals are not aggressive towards people and are easily trainable and potty trained with minimal effort.

Average lifespan: 10-15 years.

Muscovy

Muscovy ducks are the offspring of Mallard and Muscovy male birds. The ducks are best known for their egg laying prowess of about 100-150 eggs annually. Compared to other species, they have a long and slender body with plumage in browns, blacks, or gray tones. The whole body is covered with tiny bumps that look like pebbles, to which their scientific name is Cairina moschata.

These domestic animals love living near water. Therefore, you should keep them in places where they can swim freely. Another interesting fact about them is that when you watch them swimming, the bottom half of their bodies look like fish. This is because they move their tails from one side to the other without stopping.

Average lifespan: 10-15 years

Pekin

Pekins are also called Long Spoons due to their size and appearance. They are one of the most popular domestic breeds globally, with 10-15 million specimens sold yearly. These animals often grow to about 4-8 kilograms in adulthood. As a result, they require a lot of swimming and living space.

What’s more, they value plenty of freshwaters to swim and play. Pekins like eating fresh vegetables, which you can also substitute with nutritious grains like corn.

Average lifespan: 10-15 years

Rouen

Rouens are the largest domestic duck breed in the world. They have a plump body and can weigh up to 10 kilograms when fully grown up. Their plumage usually has black, gray, and dark brown color patterns to camouflage themselves well on bodies of water.

Like Pekins, Rouen ducks also require plenty of space and freshwater to swim in. It would be best if you fed them fresh vegetables and grains to keep them healthy.

Average lifespan: 8-12 years

Rouen Clair

Rouen Clairs are also called splash ducks. They have a medium build body and usually weigh 2-3 kilograms. Their plumage patterns are beautiful, with gray, black, and white colors in adult ducks. On the other hand, young Rouens have brownish feathers.

If you intend to keep them as pets, it is recommended that you clip their wings at an early age because they can quickly fly away.

Average lifespan: 8-12 years

Saxony

Saxony ducks look like regular domestic birds, but there are a few noticeable differences. For instance, their bill is quite long and flat, while the females do not show any plumage coloration during their adult life.

Surprisingly, they have an almost similar coat color with Mallard ducks on both genders. Its body is small and compact, with a weight of 1-2 kilograms. When fed well, Saxonies are well for enjoying a longer lifespan compared to other species.

Average lifespan: 8-12 years

Silver Appleyard

Silver Appleyard ducks are the offspring of Mallard and Aylesbury breeds. They have a small body with a weight of 1-2 kilograms. In addition, they have an elongated bill. The plumage is mostly silver in color, but females still show brown spots near their tails.

These domestic animals usually live in captivity but would not mind plenty of space to swim and move around.

Average lifespan: 8-12 years

Welsh Harlequin (or simply Harlequin)

Welsh Harlequins, also called Golden Appleyards, are the cute-looking babies of Aylesbury males and Pekin females. These domestic animals have plump bodies that make them look larger than they are, weighing between 2-3 kilograms.

Their plumage and bills are covered with orange spots, making them stand out from the rest of the ducks. The most amazing thing is that they are pretty hardy and can survive under harsh conditions.

Average lifespan: 8-12 years

Silver Bantam

Silver Bantams are the offspring of Pekins and Muscovy ducks. They have a small body with a plumage uniquely colored white, black, gray, and silver. These domestic animals like swimming, but they do not need big water pools because they can move around in tiny spaces quite well.

They also love eating vegetables. Thus, get ready to feed them with greens as often as you can.

Average lifespan: 8-12 years

Bottom Line

Currently, there are more than 30 domestic duck breeds in the world. However, knowing about these 20 will give you a good start. Before getting one as a pet, research well and ensure that you provide them with basic requirements.

One primary requirement is their preference for water. Luckily, compared to wild ducks that need larger bodies of water, domesticated ones do not mind smaller pools or tubs.

All in all, domestic ducks have a longer lifespan compared to other pets like dogs and cats. Therefore, if you feed them properly and place them in a suitable environment, you can enjoy their company for quite a long time.

Unlike wild ducks, which focus on swimming alone, there are certain species of domestic ducks which like having company. Some may even become sociable with humans so long as they do not cage them up all day long.

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