Top 10 Duck Breeds for Backyard Hobbyists
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Why Do You Want to Raise Ducks?
What Are The Best Duck Breeds To Raise?
Every year, more than 22 million ducks are raised throughout North America and Canada. People are finding out how easy it is to raise ducks, and the word is quickly spreading.
Ducks add liveliness and beauty to any backyard, especially if you have an aquatic landscaping feature like a pond or a water garden. Homeowners are also flocking to raising ducks (pun intended) as part of the latest do-it-yourself, local food, homesteading trend.
People raise ducks for three main reasons:
- For ornamental purposes
- For eggs (duck eggs are extra large and very flavorful)
- For meat
There are literally dozens of duck breeds to choose from. Each type of duck has its own special strengths and qualities. Some duck breeds are better for those who want to raise ducks for eggs, while other duck breeds are better for those who are raising ducks for meat. There are even duck breeds that are strictly ornamental. The best duck breed for backyard hobbyists depends on why you're getting into the hobby.
Which duck breed should you choose?
Did You Know?
Duck eggs are 50% bigger than the standard jump chicken egg (and even bigger compared to your average medium or large grocery store chicken egg). Compared to chicken eggs, duck eggs are also hard to crack thanks to their extra-thick eggshell. However, this thick shell also means duck eggs have a much longer shelf life in the fridge!
The Best Duck Breeds for Eggs
One of the main reasons that people choose to raise ducks in their backyards is for duck eggs. Certain duck breeds are better for laying eggs than other duck breeds. The important thing to remember is that ducks do not lay as many eggs as chicken layer hens.
The Khaki Cambell Duck Breed: The Khaki Campbell duck is originally from England. The Khaki duck was officially recognized as a standard duck breed approximately fifty
years ago in the early 1940s. The Khaki duck is one of the only duck breeds that can match, or even exceed, the rate of lay of chickens. That's a lot of eggs, especially when you realize that ducks lay much larger eggs than chickens do!
The Runner Duck Breed: The Runner duck breed is extremely popular among hobbyists who are raising ducks in their backyard. Runner ducks are terrible dual-purpose ducks because their body frames are lean and tough, but Runner ducks make great layers and can provide you with many, many fresh duck eggs.
The Best Duck Breeds for Duck Meat
People who are raising ducks for meat require a different type of duck breed than those raising ducks for eggs. Meat duck breeds grow larger and lay much less, allowing more energy to be diverted toward building a larger body frame. Meat ducks can get quite large, but make terrible layers.
The Rouen Duck Breed: Rouen ducks look very similar to the ancestor of most modern duck breeds - the Mallard duck, replete with a green head and feathers! For this reason, Rouen ducks are popular for various ornamental reasons. The Rouen duck breed is also known to make a relatively good meat bird. Rouen ducks grow quickly and keep quite a bit of meat on their frame, making them suitable to raise for meat.
The Pekin Duck Breed: The Pekin duck breed is a beautiful, white duck breed. It is the main duck breed chosen by poultry farms who wish to raise ducks for slaughter, due to the fact that Pekin ducks grow quickly and attain quite a large body mass. The Pekin duck breed is probably the best duck breed for those trying to raise ducks for meat.
Fun Rouen Duck Facts!
There is a very key difference between a Mallard and a Rouen. Even though they look similar and are related, Rouens are too large to fly.
Which Duck Breed Should You Choose?
These featured duck breeds are just some of the many that backyard poultry enthusiasts can choose from. If you're raising ducks for fun, it really doesn't matter. However, those who are serious about getting something out of the duck hobby should choose a duck breed that suits the purposes for which they are raising ducks.
Other duck breeds that you can take into consideration include:
- the Muscovy duck
- the Buff duck
- the Call duck
- the Crested duck
- the Mallard duck.
Your choice of duck breeds may also be influenced by what is available in your area. Many local feed stores and poultry farms only have certain duck breeds available for sale, especially if you are choosing to buy adult ducks rather than fertile duck eggs or baby ducks (ducklings).