When it comes to raising ducks for meat, eggs, or just as pets, there are many types of breeds. If you are planning to raise ducks, you are likely to be overwhelmed when it comes to choosing which breed of duck is best suited to you and which one you should choose.
Here is a list of 7 most popular types of multi-purpose duck breeds that you can raise for pets or meat and eggs:
1. Muscovy Duck
Muscovy ducks are a good multipurpose breed of ducks. Their meat has the best flavor and tastes wonderful. The muscovy breed belongs to the ‘Genus-Carina’, which has its roots in South America.
Muscovy ducks come in various colors, but most are white. Other common colors include pied (which is a mix of black and white), brown, beige, chocolate, blue, and finally lilac.
It is a multipurpose breed of duck because it is a medium-sized egg producer and when it is young, it is resistant and easy to breed. This breed is ideal for someone with a backyard because it is a good grazer and forager.
Surprisingly, the male Muscovy can grow to the point of weighing 10-12 pounds, while a smaller female can weigh anywhere from 5-6 pounds. These breeds of ducks grow rapidly and become marketable at the age of 12 weeks.
Muscovy ducks can live for 8 to 12 years.
The muscovy duck has several distinctive characteristics from other breeds of ducks. For example: if it has already mated with a member of its breed, it will not mate with a member of another breed. It is broody in such a way that it will sit on its own eggs and eggs of other ducks until they hatch.
Surprisingly Muscovy ducks are good at flying. Most of the time, you will find them perched in trees (they have well-developed claws for this purpose). So when you are building a shelter for them, be sure to include roosts, which they will use to sleep at night.
If you live in an urban area, I would recommend that you clip the third section of your muscovy ducks when they are one week old; otherwise, they will fly away, interfere with the peace of your neighbors, or even get lost.
They don’t swim much, unlike other ducks. They are quiet birds. The male Muscovy will whistles instead of squawking; while the female will do something like a soft cooing. This makes them a perfect breed for the nearby neighborhood.
When the cross mating is successful, the cross pups, known as mules, are infertile. Some people use these mules purely for meat purposes.
Muscovy meat is considered the best meat on the market. Their meat is very lean, with at least 98 percent fat-free. You will get a protein-rich meal when you eat this meat. Its meat has a rich, nutritious, and very delicious flavor. Their meat has lower fat content compared to other breeds of ducks.
The Muscovy is poor in egg production and lays most of its eggs in clutches. It can lay 20 or more eggs and stay for a while before producing eggs again. Their eggs last 35 days before hatching, while those of other breeds of ducks take about 28 days.
Being foragers, muscovy ducks will seek out and eat weeds, algae from bodies of water such as ponds, slugs, insects, ants, flies, worms, mosquitoes, mosquito larvae, spiders, and just about anything that crawls and creeps. Because of this reason, they are the best breed for pest control purposes.
2. American Pekin Duck
American Pekin duck was developed in China in 1872, after which it was distributed worldwide. This breed is the perfect breed for commercial purposes. This is because it is good for egg production and hatchability.
Pekin duck is the most popular breed in North America. The Pekin Duck grows fast and is quite beautiful to look at due to its creamy white feather.
It adapts well to confinement and has natural hardiness and resistance to disease compared to other breeds of ducks.
It has a calm temperament and interacts well with people. It also has a good meat yield and a distinctive flavor. Pekin is marketable at 7 weeks and weighs around 8 pounds.
Pekin ducks will give you about 150 large, delicious eggs per year for 8 to 12 years. In addition, the mule (the result of crossing the female Pekin and the male Muscovy), has good yields of lean meat, with a delicious flavor. The crossbreed grows faster than the Moscovy. Unfortunately, the crossbreed is sterile and is only marketable at 8 weeks of age.
3. Rouen Duck
The Rouen duck is a very old breed of duck that originated in France. This duck is not a good choice for commercial purposes because it takes almost a year to reach full size. But as a farmer, it is practical to keep some for meat purposes.
Although they are heavy and provide a good source of meat and eggs, they are mainly kept for exhibition due to their beautiful plumage. They come in white, blue, or apricot (light yellowish orange).
Rouen ducks have a large body with a flat base (due to their horizontal carriage) and a sore back from shoulder to tail. This gives it a block-shaped body. The duck has black eyes, a dark yellow beak, and light orange legs and feet, while the Rouen duck has a brown beak, dark orange legs, and feet.
The Rouen Duck can be confused with the Muscovy breed because they almost look alike. Rouen duck is significantly larger in size compared to Muscovy duck. They also differ in the number of black stripes on their face; Rouen has 2 black stripes, one on the eye and the other under the eye. Muscovy duck has only a black stripe on their face.
Make sure you get the exact ducks that you need because if you are not interested, you can choose a muscovy instead of the Rouen.
Rouen Ducks are calm, sociable, and make good entertaining pets. They are large water birds; therefore, make sure you have a body of water around such as a kiddie pool, trough, etc. because Rouen ducks really love to swim.
Rouen Ducks can weigh between 9 and 10 pounds, making them a good source of delicious meat.
Rouen ducks are poor egg layers; They will give you 60 to 140 eggs per year.
4. Indian Runner Duck
Indian runner ducks are known primarily for the way they stand. They stand upright like penguins. This is due to its upright carriage. Its pelvic girdle is located more towards the region of the tail.
Indian runner ducks have a unique upward posture (with an angle of 50 to 70 degrees upward). Indian runner ducks are lightweight ducks, weighing about 4 to 5 pounds; they are slim and have a long neck and a straight back.
The legs are far back, towards the tail. They are the tallest species of ducks, approximately 20 to 30 inches tall. These Ducks have flat tails, while drakes have a curl at the top of the tail.
Indian runner ducks come in a variety of colors, but the most common are apricot, buff, black, blue, white, gray, etc.
They will live more than 10 years if you take good care of them. They like to swim, but sometimes they spend most of the day foraging for food and can go without swimming. But it is advisable to have a container or a small pond so that they can swim when they feel like it.
Indian runner ducks are the best egg layers. They are raised mainly for laying eggs. Its eggs are very nutritious as it is one of the best foragers. Indian runner ducks will give you 300 to 350 greenish-white eggs per year. They start laying when they are 4½ months old and do so consistently during different seasons. They usually don’t sit on their eggs, so if you want some to hatch, use artificial incubators or place them under other hatchery ducks like the Cayuga breed.
They feed on a variety of insects, worms, seeds, slugs and bugs, snails, etc. This explains why they are also kept for pest control purposes.
5. Khaki Campbell Duck
The Khaki Campbell is a British breed, developed in England in 1901. They were made by crossing the Indian Runner, Rouen, and Muscovy breeds. As the name suggests, they come mostly in khaki, but a few other Campbell strains are white and sometimes black.
Khaki Campbells are very easy and inexpensive to breed. They are the best option for business purposes. And being crossbreed, they are good for both egg-laying and meat production.
Khaki Campbells mature at approximately 7 months.
The egg-laying capability of khaki Campbell exceeds even the best laying chickens in the world. They are easy to handle because they lay their eggs in the morning hours around 9 o’clock. And they will give you up to 340 eggs per year.
Khaki Campbell will provide delicious meat for you and your family or friends. Drakes weigh 4 to 5 pounds, while ducks weigh about 3.5 pounds. And to sweeten things up further, Khaki Campbell will live 10-15 years.
The Khaki Campbell breed is very friendly, strong, and energetic, and also has a good temperament. They adapt easily and can thrive in any weather or climate. They are good foragers and hardy birds. They do not get sick easily: this is why they are very cheap to raise and are very profitable birds for commercial purposes.
Their production cost is very low but they will give you great profits when you sell them, their eggs or their meat. Adult ducks love and enjoy swimming and breeding; therefore, water is essential for mating and breeding. Build a small pond for them or use a kiddie pool if you have one. Even plastic kiddie pools are a good option. Just make sure there is always water because these ducks cannot live without enough water.
6. Crested Duck
If you’ve ever seen a duck with a tuft of feathers on top of its head, then you know this breed. This tuft of feathers is caused by a genetic mutation that causes a deformity in its skull.
Crested ducks originated in the East Indies and were brought to Europe by Dutch ships in the 17th century, but now they are found in all parts of the world.
Their feathers are usually white, but there are other black, bluff, blue, and gray varieties. Crested Drakes weigh around 7 pounds while females weigh around 6 pounds. And live 8 to 12 years. They are a dual-purpose breed. They will give you delicious meat and lay 100 to 130 eggs a year.
They are also used for ornamental purposes, due to their uniqueness and beauty.
Crested ducks are usually nervous ducks, but as they get older they become calmer and more friendly to people. They can be very good pets. They thrive near bodies of water because they are hobby ducks. They sieve through mud, silt, or gravel to find macroinvertebrates, zooplankton, clams, and kelps.
Therefore, they are recommended for people who live near bodies of water, or for someone who can make a small pond for them.
7. Cayuga Duck
The Cayuga duck originated in the USA in the 19th century. They are domestic ducks that are good for both egg production and meat production and are sometimes used for ornamental purposes due to their unique black plumage.
They love being close to your home, which makes them easy to control and also good pets.
The Cayuga duck is known for its black beak and very dark feathers that give it a greenish glow when viewed under the light. Cayugas are calm ducks with a docile temperament. They are friendly to people when hand raised. And they require additional protection because they are easily killed by predators like cats, dogs, raccoons, etc.
Cayugas will give you a delicious slice of meat, and lay 100 to 150 eggs per year.
This breed is broody and will sit on their eggs for 28 days until they hatch. You can use them for brooding eggs for other ducks that don’t brood.
They weigh approximately 6 to 8 pounds and live up to 12 years when well cared for.
This breed is also a pool lover. Have a small body of cool water around for them and keep it in a shaded area. Their very dark plumage absorbs a lot of heat that can make them uncomfortable.
As they age, you will notice some white feather spots on them; don’t worry as this is absolutely normal. But one thing you should know is that during shows, those with a lot of white feathers are usually disqualified.