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3 Good Duck Breeds for Beginners

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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.

brown ducks, close up

Backyard duck breeds to consider for your homestead

Keeping ducks on a small homestead is a great way to get fresh eggs, entertainment, and a sassy attitude. There are numerous backyard duck breeds to choose from, though. Some are better egg layers, some are more mellow than others. Here are three of our favorite breeds.

Related: 5 Tips for Housing Ducks in Cold Weather

swedish blue drake duck

Photo courtesy of The 104 Homestead.

Swedish Blue

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 one of the most common backyard duck breeds, but has been gaining popularity. Swedish Blue ducks are relatively quiet and tend to get along with other poultry in the yard.

Related: Getting Started with Ducks in your Backyard

brown duck breed

Photo courtesy of Timber Creek Farms.

Khaki Campbells

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, this is the quietest duck breed 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.

Related: 5 Reasons to Add Ducks to Your Homestead

white duck with a tuft on its head - a funny duck breed!

Crested duck breeds

For maximum entertainment value, consider the Crested duck. These are the duck 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; if you’re looking for a quiet duck breed, this isn’t it. 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, good for both egg laying and meat birds. Crested ducks average about 100-130 eggs a year. These ducks are more nervous than the other breeds, but their sassy personality makes up for that.

Our favorite duck breeds – your mileage may vary

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 duck breeds you have considered?

two brown ducks, head to head

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Meet the Author

Heather Harris

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 .

16 comments… add one
  • Marilyn Sep 22, 2017, 2:13 am

    I love my little buff she has the sweetest personality, she will talk your leg off , but I would not trade her off for anything , she’s my little friend.
    There were 3 others , but some predators got 3 of them .
    I lock her a cage at night and she lays me a egg each day , before am even up .
    This spring I will get a few more as there so sweet .

  • ana Oct 14, 2017, 5:50 pm

    I most sincerely disagree with this list simply because of the inclusion of crested ducks as a suggestion for new duck keepers. Cresteds are not a good option for beginners (some would argue they’re not a good option for anyone). Crests can occur in ducks of any breed, as it’s technically a genetic defect. Crested ducks are more prone to neurological problems for that reason (it’s a skull deformity, as you likely know)… Breeding crested ducks is breeding for a defect, simply because it has an affect on the ducks appearance…

    As for the best breed for beginners, my vote goes to Welsh Harlequins.

    Also, this person sums it up really well here: “…before you go out and buy that ‘Cute Fluffy’ duckling make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.” https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/the-truth-behind-crested-ducks.707110/

    …there are additional sources and reading materials included in that thread as well.

  • Kim Mar 5, 2018, 6:44 am

    Hello
    Do you know of any duck breed that will not eat my goldfish?

    • Kris Bordessa Mar 6, 2018, 4:01 pm

      I think if the ducks can get into the water, they will all try to eat the fish.

  • Yoko Nov 19, 2018, 6:03 am

    I am going to start with Welsh Harlequins and Runners. Crossing my fingers they work out!

  • Paul Jan 2, 2019, 5:50 am

    I love feeding my ducks at the cemetary when I visit my wife, I’d love to have some at home, but know little, just trying to learn what I can, no more empty nest!

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 5, 2019, 4:37 pm

      They sure do make a person smile, don’t they?

  • Dan T Jan 10, 2019, 7:05 pm

    Is it necessary to clip their wings to keep them from leaving the area?

    • Kris Bordessa Jan 13, 2019, 8:27 am

      I haven’t found it to be necessary.

  • Chris Jan 28, 2019, 9:53 am

    I’m surprised not to see Muscovy’s on this list even though not a “true” duck by definition? They are THE quietest breed to raise and have great personalities. As newbies, we researched several different breeds, including the ones listed here, and went with Muscovy’s on the advice of a local farmer who keeps a few of just about every breed imaginable and couldn’t be happier with our choice.

  • Tabitha Mar 2, 2019, 6:05 pm

    I am new to raising ducks. I just got 2 buffs, 2 Cayugas and 2 Blue Swedish. I love them all. They are already learning they names and coming when called. They all enjoy being held and are so quite. I am surprised they didnt all make this list.

  • Mark A.McCullough Apr 22, 2019, 2:35 pm

    I’ve had Khaki Campbells and the females are very quacky and loud!

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 25, 2019, 7:30 am

      The females (generally speaking) have been louder than the males in my flock.

      • Kristine May 22, 2020, 9:57 am

        I have 2 Cayugas as starters. They are a project with my young granddaughter. They are gentle, snuggly, and come to and follow me. I’m very happy with my pick!

  • Viktoria May 2, 2019, 7:07 pm

    I love my ducks! That being said… I jumped in without knowing anything about raising ducks. Always loved them as a child. Going to the park bags of bread in hand ,with my grandma to feed the Mallards. ( I do not feed my quacks bread, back then I am sure my gram did not know this was unhealthy or bad in any way. ) 

     I started out with 6 black and white magpies. They were beautiful, but never friendly. No matter what. Great egg layers . Really good at sitting and hatching almost a dozen little quacks every year for  6 years .

    I now have one  Peking drake. He is so great. Always lets the girls eat first. And always,  always guarding my two swedish ladies. They are so loud and have so much sass. But they are sooo friendly. The trio eat out of my hands daily and will follow me no matter where or what I am doing and will stand on my feet and as long as I do not move crazy like . I can pet them and hang out with them. The three of them love  coming to sit in my lap. And quack and honk at me . Such a difference in personality than any of the Magpies. And trust that I tried everything with the Magpies. None of them liked to be around me .

    My swedish girls have laid eggs every day now for a good year. Even through winter. Sad to say neither one of my girls have gone broody as of yet!  But they are the best ducks ever. I wish I would have had them from the start. They are very patient, friendly, hardy and great layers! So I vote Swedish and Peking for two of the best breeds. For anyone just starting or anyone who wants an all around great addition.

  • Deborah Laughlin Jul 6, 2020, 3:22 am

    I love my Mallards. I have had Muscovys years ago but my little Mallards I have now are the best ones for me. I clip their wings and are getting two females that are pinioned so that they won’t fly away. Not sure if the ones I have now are female or males but will find out when they get older. They are awful quiet but still too early to tell. We all have our favorites and that is what helps the duck industry for us to all like different ones.

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