With so many duck breeds available today, which one do you think is the best for you? When choosing the best duck breed, we consider physical appearance, egg laying ability, and noise level. And yet, we often forget about their character and personality.
In this article, we are going to tackle the five friendliest duck breeds that are perfect for novice and first-time owners.
Regardless of the breed, spending some time to bond with your duck is the best way to get closer to them and encourage their friendliness to shine.
Pekin ducks are a large breed that originated in China and was imported to Great Britain in 1872. The first duck of this breed was imported to the United States in 1873. Today, 95% of the duck meat consumed in America comes from this breed.
Every year, Pekin ducks produce 80-150 large white eggs. They are easy to raise due to their strong immune system, durability, and capability to survive in extreme conditions. Pekins can live between 8-12 years.
They are calm, sociable, hearty, and active animals, all of which make them an excellent companion for kids. Pekin ducks also love bigger areas to explore and roam around.
On the other hand, they can be noisy. Pekins are not the best choice if you have close neighbors or are in an area with noise restrictions.
Pekin ducks are solid white in color with a creamy white plumage and orange shanks and toes. The bill is yellow in color, reasonably short, and almost straight. Meanwhile, a black bill is considered a failure or defect.
Its body shape is long, broad, deep, and full breasted. Its head is large and round with a thick neck. The Pekin duck weighs around 8 pounds while drakes weigh 9 pounds.
Did You Know?
The ever-popular Donald Duck and Aflac duck are Pekin ducks.
2. Welsh Harlequin
Welsh Harlequin ducks were formed in 1949 from two mutant light-colored ducklings hatched from pure Khaki Campbells. Leslie Bonnet, a duck breeder from Criccieth, Wales, developed the breed.
Welsh Harlequins are popular for their egg production capability and vivid plumage. In a year, they can produce up to 300 white-shelled eggs.
They also produce lean meat and make an excellent dressed bird for meat production because of the light-colored feathers on their breast which allow for clean, easy plucking.
Welsh Harlequins are calm and excellent foragers. However, they are also prone to predators due to their light color.
This breed is a poor flier. Also, keep in mind that males have a high libido, which makes breeding effortless even without human intervention. Be careful not to breed too many males as it may damage females.
Welsh Harlequins are a lightweight duck breed. After years of breeding, its form and shade has transformed, which means that the pure breed may have mixed with other bloods.
Female Welsh Harlequins have black bills and brown legs and feet. Their plumage can be compared to mallard except that it is deliberately colored with white.
Drakes have yellow or green bills with orange-colored legs and feet. In the United Kingdom, there is a golden variation that is a light golden-brown color.
The Welsh Harlequin duck typically weighs between 4.5-5.5 pounds.
Did You Know?
Unlike the other duck breeds, Welsh Harlequins have distinct, natural sex-linked feature. When only a few days old, their sex can be determined by the color of their bill. Drakes have a darker bill while females have a lighter one with a dark spot at the tip. On average, this feature is 90% accurate.
The Call duck is a domesticated breed believed to have originated in the Netherlands. In early years, it was primarily used as a decoy because of their high-pitched calls and small size that lure wild ducks. However, the use of Call ducks to hunt was permanently banned since it does not conform to breed conservation efforts.
Today, Call ducks are kept as pets. Call ducks are not popular as egg producers. In fact, they can only lay around 100 small eggs yearly.
Call ducks can live in a home with a small backyard because of their small size. They are known for being energetic, approachable, very animated, and extremely fun to watch, which makes them a great playmate for children. Give them fresh water and expect them to always be clean.
There are drawbacks, however. Call ducks are noisy; therefore if you live in an area with noise restrictions, this breed is not for you. They are also good fliers, so expect them to fly away if threatened or scared.
This breed comes in a variety of colors including apricot, bibbed, chocolate, khaki, magpie, mallard, white, and yellow belly.
Did You Know?
Call ducks are known for being exhibition birds. In fact, they have won more duck championships than any other breeds in North American shows.
Also, in China, there are Call duck-themed cafés where you can pet the ducks.
Rouen is a duck breed from France that dates back before the 19th century. Since they do not have high egg production, Rouens are bred for companionship, human consumption, or decoration.
Rouens are identical in appearance to Mallards except that they are bigger and more plump. On average, Rouens can lay 100-150 eggs per year.
Rouens have a calm, peaceful personality. They are magnificent ducks that make an excellent addition to your flocks. They are usually kept as pets, and they make a great buddy for your kids. They are a heavyweight breed, which means they will not fly away.
Rouens are highly similar looking to Mallards. To distinguish the two, Rouens have second stripes that run over their face while Mallards have only one stripe that runs over their eyes.
A Rouen drake has a green head, white collar, and gray body. Its tail covert is black, and its tail feathers are dark brown.
Females are usually in mahogany brown color. They have brown crown and tan eye stripes that extend from their bill to the back of the eyes.
Regardless of their sex, Rouens have prominent blue speculum feathers.
Typically, drakes weigh around 8 pounds while females weigh around 7 pounds.
Did You Know?
A Rouen’s feet do not get cold, allowing them to swim even in icy water.
The Cayuga duck is a domesticated breed that originated in New York in 1809. It was developed from the Black East India and Rouen breeds.
Today, Cayuga ducks are considered a rare conservation breed. They have good egg production with 100-150 eggs per year. At the beginning of the season, the shells are black in color that gradually lightens to white.
A Cayuga duck’s meat has an outstanding taste and is considered high quality. However, cleaning the carcass can be a bit of a challenge due to this breed’s dark feathers.
Cayugas are sturdy, easy-to-tame ducks especially if hand raised. They make an excellent backyard pet since they love to stay close to their homes and can easily adapt to cold weathers.
Their quacks are not as loud as the other duck breeds, especially the males.
Cayuga ducks are obedient and love to eat snails, slugs, and other insects. If given enough area to roam around and search for food, Cayuga ducks can satisfy their hunger from foraging.
Cayugas have black plumage and black bills with a beetle green sheen. Their eyes are dark brown, and their legs and toes are black.
Cayugas righteously carry themselves with a long neck. On average, male Cayugas weigh 8 pounds while females weigh around 7 pounds.
Did You Know?
This breed takes its name from Lake Cayuga, a lake located in western New York where the breed became famous.
Ducks can make wonderful pets, and considering these 5 friendly breeds is a great place to start if you are looking to add to or start a flock of your own.
All 5 breeds are perfect for beginners but pay attention to their varying noise levels, which could affect you and your neighbors.