Keeping ducks on the smaller homestead is a great way to get fresh eggs, entertainment, and a sassy attitude. When you start learning about ducks, you may wonder which ones are right for you. Here are three duck breeds for the beginner that are worth considering.
By Heather Harris of The Homesteading Hippy
Most commonly a pale blue color, they can also be colored with bits of silver or be a combination of black, blue and white. Swedish Blue ducks are known for their calm, docile personality. They are a medium sized, hardy duck that lays 250-325 eggs per year. This breed is known to go “broody” and sit on a clutch of eggs. It’s not a common backyard duck, but has been gaining popularity. Swedish Blue ducks are relatively quiet and tend to get along with other poultry in the yard.
Khaki Campbell ducks are another breed that is great for the beginner duck owner. They have a gorgeous feathering pattern, ranging from from light and dark brown to splashes of black and white. Of all the breeds I’ve owned, they are the quietest of the bunch. They’re also very friendly. These ducks are generally calm and happy as long as they have plenty of water. Known for being great layers, they lay six eggs a week pretty consistently, even throughout harsh winters. [More on keeping ducks in harsh climates here.]
For the maximum entertainment value, consider the Crested duck. These are the breeds you will see at 4-H county fairs with the tuft of feathers at the top of their heads. They are more vocal than other breeds; their simple beauty more than makes up for that, though. Crested ducks are similar in size and weight to Pekin ducks, making them a great dual purpose bird. Crested ducks average about 100-130 eggs a year. If you are raising ducks primarily for eggs, you may want to add other breeds to your flock to keep production higher. Crested ducks are more nervous than the other breeds, but their sassy personality makes up for that.
These are just three of my personal favorite duck breeds that we have raised throughout the years. Each of them are special in their own way, with pros and cons.
What are some breeds you have considered?
Heather and her family live in Northern Indiana where they work hard at raising 80% of their own food each year, including chickens, turkeys, ducks, quail, rabbits and a large garden. Join their (mis)adventures at The Homesteading Hippy or laugh with them on their new YouTube series.