Species of ducks for eggs, meat and pest control

reading time: 5 Session minutes

I have been raising different types of ducks alongside our chickens for years and have ample opportunity to observe not only the interaction between chickens and ducks, but also the differences between different breeds of chickens and ducks. While chickens tend to have very different personality traits from a particular breed, in general, I find all duck breeds to be friendly, active, mischievous, and happy, regardless of breed.

This is probably because almost all domestic duck breeds are descended from a single common ancestor, the mallard. But I think ducks are all very similar in terms of personality. All of your ducks will lay eggs for you (all female ducks!), they’ll love roaming your yard looking for weeds and bugs, and they’ll all provide your family with hours of entertainment while you watch their antics in a pool or roam around. However, if you are considering keeping ducks for a specific purpose, choosing one of the duck species below for their dexterity or abilities in that particular area will likely be more successful.

strains for eggs

If you are going to primarily raise ducks for egg production, you can’t go wrong with these three types of ducks. While no duck will lay an egg every day, most ducks will lay directly during the winter without any additional light. Although their home is lit will Leads to increased winter production. Many breeds of ducks outlive even the most prolific chickens, and you can expect between 250-325 eggs per year from these super-layers.

  • Khaki Campbell
  • Silver Appleyard
  • Welsh Harlequin
types of ducks
Most duck eggs are white, but they can come in pale bluish-green, pale pink-cream, or even charcoal gray.

Colored eggs

Most ducks lay white eggs, but several species of ducks can also lay teal eggs and one subspecies lays charcoal gray eggs. Unlike chicken breeds that, unlike Easter eggs, only lay one egg, ducks of the same breed can lay white, cream, or colored eggs. Although there is no guarantee that you will get a blue-green coat, there is a higher percentage chance if you choose one of the following strains. About 70 percent of mallard and runner ducks lay green eggs instead of white, and most Cayuga ducks lay gray eggs!


In general, domestic ducks are not prone to breeding by sitting on fertilized eggs for the 28 days needed to hatch ducklings, but there are some types of ducks that are more willing to sit than others. To encourage brooding, give these three breeds a nice quiet spot in a corner of your barn or duck house with a thick bed of fresh straw and leave some eggs for them. This might just lead to a clutch of ducklings hatching! If you are looking for a breed that has maternal instincts, try breeding one.

  • Khaki Campbell
  • Mallard / Rowan
  • Welsh Harlequin

strains To control errors

While all ducks love to scavenge in the mud for insect larvae and will eat all kinds of worms, slugs, grubs, and beetles, there are a few breeds that really excel at insect control. In fact, Indian runner ducks were bred by ancient farmers in Asia to stand more upright than other duck breeds to allow them to cover more ground quickly when keeping farmer’s rice fields free of vermin.

  • Dutch Hawkbill
  • Khaki Campbell
  • Indian runner
types of ducks
Some species of ducks, like this ancona, excel at controlling insects in the yard and garden.

strains Weed control

Ducks also love to eat grass and weeds and provide natural pest control for gardens. Dandelion greens and alfalfa are my flock favorites. If you want some ducks to help keep your garden tidy, you can’t go wrong with choosing one of these types of ducks. All three are small, very active breeds, that will keep busy searching around your garden and chewing on weeds, grass, flowers or vegetables from the garden. All are good choices if you’re looking to forage small; Ducks who will supplement their diet of commercial forage with plants, which helps keep their forage bill low.

strains for his temper

Ducks are generally happy, fairly low-maintenance creatures, but some types of ducks can be a little excitable and mischievous. If you are looking for some cozy little ducks, for example if you have neighbors near you, you can consider these three breeds. One thing to note, if you are raising ducks purely for their recreational value and bug control, you might consider a flock of ducks (male ducks). They do not fight (only female quacking ducks) and will coexist with an ‘all bachelor’ flock and should not fight with each other as long as there are no females around. You can often find ducks on Craig’s List or in free-range poultry swaps.

types of ducks
The Pekingese is the most popular breed of duck in the United States, a large, quiet breed used for eggs and meat.

Meat Breeds / Dual Purpose

If your goal in raising a flock of ducks is to eat some of them, you’ll need to choose a heavy, dual-purpose duck. These ducks also lay eggs, so you can keep the females for their eggs and butcher the males for the meat if you wish. The Pekin and Saxon, which weigh around 10 pounds, are two of the largest breeds of ducks. The Pekin duck is the most popular breed in the United States. And Muscovy ducks, which can weigh 10 to 15 pounds, are prized for their meat, which is lower in fat than other ‘true’ duck breeds (Muscovy are not descended from mallards like other domestic duck breeds, but are actually a large waterfowl perched).

types of ducks
Saxony ducks are on the Livestock Conservancy’s list of endangered breeds.

strains To preserve rare breeds

Some duck breeds are at risk of dying. If you are interested in preserving some of these rare breeds, the Livestock Conservancy works hard to keep the breeds thriving and has a great website that includes a helpful breeder directory to help you find a local breeder. These three breeds are some of the most problematic that can help build their numbers.

  • Aylesbury
  • Dutch Hawkbill
  • Saxony

I hope this has helped you narrow down the types of ducks you might consider keeping. Of course, by raising a flock of different types of ducks, you’ll get the best of all worlds – lots of colorful eggs, a few ducklings that might one day want to be mothers, efficient bug patrols and lots of daily entertainment guaranteed!

A flock of different types of ducks can be visually stunning, like this trio of Ancona, Saxony, and Silver Appleyard.

If you’re thinking of adding some ducks to your backyard, start figuring out what to feed the ducklings now that you know a little bit about the breeds you might prefer. Then visit the Metzer Farms website to look at pictures of ducks to get an idea of ​​which breeds might visually interest you.

If you enjoyed this article and are thinking of raising some ducks, stop by my Duck Eggs Daily Facebook page or pick up a copy of my book Duck Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Ducks… Naturally. (St. Lynn’s Press, 2015)

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