April 10, 2018 Sruthi PK

Best Duck Breeds

Muscovey- Some think this breed is a choice duck because the meat isn’t very fat. The meat has an appealing look as the skin is creamy yellow and the meat is the firmest. The flesh has a wild flavor, very little fat, has a plump body with dimpled breasts and a distinct skin pattern that will complement your meals. The drake weights about 8 pounds and the hen about 3 1/2 pounds. These ducks will lay a good amount of eggs and are very prolific, but they are also very broody and seem in be most interested in just setting and hatching their young. The white Muscovey is the most popular variety for meat.

Pekin- For commercial growers this is the pick as they have a fast growth rate and also yellow skin and will reach a live market weight of about 8 pounds in 8 weeks. Their white plumage is easily plucked and the carcass is clean. They will lay a fair amount of white eggs, usually about 160 a season, some are good setters, while others are not. They are very nervous ducks and if disturbed they will leave their nests.

Aylesbury- This is a 7-9 pound pure white duck that has a white skinned carcass. This duck will lay up to 300 eggs per year, but they don’t sit on eggs very well. Their pale and flesh-colored bill is preferred for showing so care should be taken to keep them away from grass and rations that will color the bill and the skin yellow.

Buff- These come in various colors: reddish fawn, black with a white bib, chocolate with a white bib, blue or bluish-slate with a white bib. They have blue pupils in their eyes. They are smaller than the Aylesburies and Pekins, will lay very well if not allowed to get too heavy. They will dress as a white duck and a are considered a good, all-purpose duck.

Cayuga- This duck is all black and very attractive, takes about 12 to 16 weeks to finish as a market bird, has black feather and dark gray to bluish-green eggs. It is not very popular as a utility bird and is raised mostly for exhibition.

Rouen- This is a very decorative bird, is colored like the wild Mallard but weighs too much to fly away. The bulk gain on this bird is reached after 12 weeks. It can lay an egg every other day and the egg has a blue tine. They are known for just dropping their eggs and don’t care to sit on a nest.

Crested- This duck has a puffball on top of its head, doesn’t really have a true bred. These are raised for the most part for ornamental or exhibition purposes only. They actually lay very well and are also good setters. The young drake will reach 6 pounds and the hens about 5 pounds.

Swedish- These ducks are of two varieties, the Blue Swedish and the Black Swedish. Most of these will hatch as blues but there will be some blacks with white plumage. It will reach a medium size of 6 1/2 pounds for the young drakes are sold for the meat. They lay well and will sometimes sit on their nest, the eggs are bluish-green.

Egg Breeds- The Khaki Campbells and the Indian Runners and two main breeds of ducks that are mainly for egg laying and/or exhibition. They are very unique as they are known for an exaggerated upright stance.

Khaki Campbell- There are three varieties of this duck, Khaki, Dark Campbell and the White Campbell. A young drake will weight about 4 pounds, other strains will weight 5 pounds in 10 weeks with wide bodies and these are excellent for meat. The Campbell lays an off white colored egg and is a good breed duck. They are very nervous and flighty and the females rarely will set on eggs.

Runner- There are eight varieties of this duck:

Fawn, White, Black, Buff, Chocolate, Gray and the Cumberland Blue. The weight of a young drake is 4 pounds and 3 1/2 for a young duck. Runners can run extremely fast and often herding dogs are trained with a group of these Runners. They will take to flight very quickly so will need to be fenced or confined and even clipping their wings does little to slow them down.

Bantam and Ornamental Breeds- These consist of the East India, Mallard and the Calls. The oriental ones are often 24 ounces Mandarins and the 20-24 ounces ducks nest in trees. These are hard to tame birds but are some of the most colorful of all ducks found wild.

Call- These are small ducks and are considered to be miniature breeds of ducks, also are the smallest of domesticated ducks. The Gray Call and the White Call were used long ago to lure hunters.

These ducks are very loud when calling their mates. Be careful with just-hatched Calls as they are quite dedicated. Calls are good setters but like to be left alone.

East India- This is an older breed with a lustrous, greenish-black appearance. It is linked only to the Mallard, has the same sex-feathers as the Mallard and the domestic breeds that originated from the wild Mallard. This is a very good egg layer. It will molt twice a year.

Mallard- This is the most common of ducks, especially for ponds, and weighs about 36 ounces for a young drake and is classified as a bantam. This is a duck that has provided meat, eggs, feathers and domestic breeds of ducks for many years. It is very adaptable to grass, water plants, nuts, acorns, etc. The Mallard will eat crayfish and in some areas is considered useful for this reason.

They are very prolific, lay greenish-buff-colored eggs.

Mandarin- This is a colorful little duck and is one of the most beautiful of the fancy breeds. You can determine colors on these ducks by the feed you give them in rations. This is a duck that was kept in the Orient for a long time. These ducks can readily defend themselves. Mandarin ducks do not cross with other ducks.