Duck Eggs: Nutrition & Buyer’s Guide

Blame it on the huge amount of nutrients or their deliciousness: It’s undeniable that duck eggs are becoming more and more popular for health nuts.

 

While most people think of chickens when they eat eggs, duck eggs are gradually making their way to kitchen tables everywhere.

 

And why not? They’re low in calories, great for skin and hair, and, according to science, might be edible even if you have a chicken egg allergy.

 

In this article, we’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages of duck eggs, along with their health benefits, how to cook with them, where to buy them, and how to make sure they’re fresh!

 

Eating Duck Eggs

Duck eggs are full of nutrients, and some researchers claim they’re perhaps even healthier than chicken eggs – especially for those with egg allergies.

 

Duck Eggs Nutrition Facts*

Compared side-by-side with chicken eggs nutrition facts labels, duck eggs provide important nutrients you might not get from just eating chicken eggs.

 

duck egg nutrition facts

Duck Eggs Nutrition Facts

Chicken eggs nutrition facts

Chicken Egg Nutrition Facts

 

Advantages of Duck Eggs

  • Higher in omega-3 fatty acids
  • More protein, riboflavin, folates, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin B, & selenium
  • Larger yolks, which means more flavor
  • Creamier baked goods
  • Better quality of life for poultry, if purchased locally
  • Possibly edible if you have egg allergies (check with your doctor first)

 

Disadvantages of Duck Eggs

  • Harder to source
  • More expensive ($6-$12 per dozen)
  • Possible fishy smell if the ducks aren’t fed a high quality diet

 

Are Duck Eggs Healthy For You?

Yes! Duck egg nutrition data indicates this food is a good source of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Protein
  • Riboflavin
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin B12
  • Selenium

 

Duck eggs are full of omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re 67% fat. But don’t let that fool you – that’s “good fat” that’ll help you stay healthy and possibly lose weight if you follow the keto diet.

 

They’re higher in protein than chicken eggs, thanks to the albumen, which has more proteins in it than chicken eggs. The yolks are bigger, which means they contain more essential vitamins and minerals.

 

They also might stay fresher for longer due to a thicker shell. Part of the reason their shells are so thick is because the chicken egg industry doesn’t provide sufficient calcium to battery hens. Since duck eggs aren’t produced on such a commercial scale, they tend to have better diets.

 

Duck eggs purchased from a local source also might still have the bloom, which is a natural coating on the shell that keeps it fresher for longer periods. However, if you want to wash eggs you bought from a local farmer, you can read this article for advice.

 

If you’re not sure whether the eggs you purchase are fresh or not, you can try the fresh egg float test.

 

Are Duck Eggs Safe To Eat?

Yes! Duck eggs are safe, and very delicious. Just like chicken eggs, there’s a small possibility of salmonella. To avoid this, purchase your duck eggs from a local source that provides a high-quality diet for their ducks. High quality diets can reduce instances of salmonella and e-coli infecting the eggs since the duck’s digestive system is healthier. Also be sure to fully cook the eggs so all bacteria is killed off.

 

How Long Do Duck Eggs Stay Fresh?

Up to 6 weeks if refrigerated. It’s always best to purchase your eggs from a local supplier so they’re as fresh as possible. Eggs purchased at a supermarket can be nearly 60 days old. You can learn more about how to tell if an egg is good or bad here.

 

You can also watch this video to learn about why supermarket eggs are not likely fresh:

[brid autoplay=”true” video=”453746″ player=”19074″ title=”how old are supermarket eggs” duration=”93″ uploaddate=”2019-08-21 18:49:47″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/14575/thumb/453746_t_1566413132.png”]

 

How Many Calories Are In A Duck Egg?

According to the Egg Nutrition Center, duck eggs have about 70 calories each. Whether you boil them, poach them, or scramble them, the calorie count remains the same.

 

What Do You Do With Duck Eggs?

Duck eggs are delicious when fried, poached, steamed, or boiled. You can cook them exactly like chicken eggs, so there are many recipes for scrambled duck eggs. They’re great to bake with, and yield a creamier texture to cakes. In recipes, you can swap out chicken eggs for duck eggs – just use 1 duck egg for every 1 chicken egg (for example, if the recipe calls for 1 chicken egg, just use 1 duck egg).

 

For duck egg recipes, Jamie Oliver has released many popular ones that are easy to follow, such as a basic tutorial on how to boil duck eggs.

 

If you raise ducks, you can feed the eggshells back to your flock, or even scramble eggs for them.

 

Can You Eat Duck Eggs Raw?

Nutritionists and doctors recommend to not eat raw duck eggs to avoid possible salmonella infection. As a precaution only use duck eggs in recipes that can be thoroughly cooked. Note that duck eggs and chicken eggs have the same chances of carrying salmonella.

 

Can Someone With An Egg Allergy Eat Duck Eggs?

Possibly. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, nearly 2% of the population is effected by an egg allergy. However, duck eggs are different than chicken eggs (since they come from 2 different species) and some people with egg allergies CAN eat duck eggs. A doctor can help you determine whether you can eat duck eggs if you’re allergic to eggs in general. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, your doctor might provide tests to see if you’re also allergic to duck eggs.

 

Are Duck Eggs High In Histamine?

Like chicken eggs, duck eggs are considered to be low in histamines. Eggs in general are good to eat if you have a histamine intolerance. According to one study performed by researchers, the way you cook your duck eggs has no effect on the histamines you consume. You can also eat duck eggs with certain fruits and vegetables to consume minerals that will help your body release histamines.

 

Can You Eat Mallard Duck Eggs?

Yes, you can eat mallard duck eggs. Some people even use these eggs for baking, and they say it makes the cakes fluffier. To cook with mallard eggs, simply substitute duck eggs for chicken eggs in the same quantities called for in the recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 chicken egg, use 1 duck egg. Be sure to only use eggs purchased from a local source – do not disturb wild duck nests for their eggs.

 

Is Duck Egg Good For Hair?

Duck eggs are great for healthy hair! They’re they are high in protein and contain biotin, which is essential for scalp health and hair growth. A diet high in egg proteins can also lend your hair a healthy shine, and since duck eggs are also high in lecithin, they might help moisturize your locks (lecithin is a fat used to moisturize the hair, and is even used in commercial hair products.) Additionally, key constituent of duck egg yolks is sulfur, which is important for healthy hair follicles. You can eat duck eggs or even mix them with oil and wash your hair for healthy, strong locks.

 

Why Do Duck Eggs Smell Fishy?

If your duck eggs smell fishy, it’s possibly caused by high levels of choline in the egg. According to this study, choline can cause high levels of trimethylamine (TMA) that results in that fishy odor in eggs. However, this is less likely to happen if ducks eat a good commercial feed, so if you’re purchasing eggs and they smell, ask your supplier about their flocks’ diet. If you purchase them at the supermarket, try a different brand. Another possibility is the eggs are rotten or weren’t stored correctly. If your duck eggs smell fishy or bad, throw them out.

 

Is Duck Egg Cholesterol Good Or Bad?

 

Duck Eggs Vs. Chicken Eggs

What’s The Difference Between A Duck Egg And A Chicken Egg?

In most cases the nutritional value of the chicken and duck eggs don’t vary that much, however, duck eggs have higher fat content, higher protein, full of omega 3 fatty acids, and have more cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol) than chicken eggs. You might notice that duck eggs have very large yolks compared to chicken eggs – in fact, duck egg yolks comprise 42% of the total weight of the egg! That’s a lot of nutrients in one small package!

 

Some people report that duck eggs might have an earthy or denser taste to them, although most people say they taste the same.

 

Why Are Duck Eggs More Popular?

Duck eggs are better used for pastries and for diet recipes as duck eggs considered healthier than chicken eggs.

 

Do Duck Eggs Taste Different?

Nope! Duck eggs and chicken eggs taste the same. You might notice that your duck eggs make cakes, pastries, and other baked goods taste creamier. Duck eggs also tend to have bigger yolks, although the yolks taste the same as chicken eggs.

 

How Do Duck Eggs Taste Compared To Chicken Eggs?

Some people report that because of their higher fat content and bigger yolks, duck eggs have a slightly richer flavor than chicken eggs. However, duck eggs and chicken eggs usually taste the same. You might notice that duck eggs enhance the flavor of baked goods because the larger yolks make baked good creamier.

 

Which Is Healthier Chicken Or Duck Eggs?

Neither is healthier than the other. Their nutritional value will depend on your dietary goals. Duck eggs are higher in fat (because the yolks are bigger) than chicken eggs, however, they’re higher in omega-3 fats, which are a good fat. They’re also higher in protein, and are an excellent source of folic acid, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, iron, and other essential nutrients. If you’re allergic to chicken eggs, you might be able to eat duck eggs.

 

Both chicken and duck eggs are low in histamines, so they’re both great to eat if you have histamine issues.

 

Do Duck Eggs Have Cholesterol?

Yes, duck eggs have about 620 mg of cholesterol, which is significantly higher than chicken eggs. However, there’s good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. If you’re worried or trying to avoid cholesterol, then check with your doctor about whether adding duck eggs to your diet is advised.

 

Where To Buy Duck Eggs

You can purchase duck eggs to eat from:

  • A supermarket like Whole Foods
  • A local farmer or duck keeper
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Etsy (shipped duck eggs)

 

Duck eggs usually cost about $6 per dozen, although prices do vary. While you can purchase them on Etsy, it’s simpler to find a Whole Foods or a farmer’s market in your area.

 

Why Are Duck Eggs So Expensive?

Duck eggs are more expensive than chicken eggs partly because they’re larger, and partly because there’s no real industrial production of the eggs (which keeps costs low, but sacrifices quality). This is a good thing: If you purchase your eggs locally, from a farmer or someone who has a flock, you can be sure the ducks have a happy life and have been fed a high-quality diet.

 

Does Whole Foods Sell Duck Eggs?

Yes, Whole Foods sells duck eggs. According to their website, you can purchase Mary’s Duck Eggs. The price will vary depending on the store. Please do your homework and make sure the duck eggs are sourced from a reliable and humane wholesaler.

 

Cooking with Duck Eggs

How Many Chicken Eggs Equal A Duck Egg?

You can substitute 1 chicken egg for 1 duck egg in recipes. Baking with duck eggs is easy, and you might find the duck eggs yield a creamier and fluffier baked good because of the larger yolk.

 

Duck Eggs Recipes

You can find a full list of 50 different egg recipes here. You can easily substitute duck eggs in any of these recipes. You can also find a list of ideas to use up excess eggs and eggshells here.

 

Scrambled Duck Eggs Recipe

Whisk 2 duck eggs with 1 tablespoon of cream. Add a pinch of basil. Cook on medium heat until thoroughly cooked.

How to Boil Duck Eggs

Hard Boiled Duck Eggs Recipe

Add 2 duck eggs to water at a rolling boil. Remove after 4 minutes. Immediately sink into ice cold water and leave until cool. Remove shells and enjoy.

 

If you want to try something a bit different, soak your hard boiled eggs in tea to make delicious tea eggs.

 

Soft Boiled Duck Eggs Recipe

Add 2 duck eggs to water at a rolling boil. Remove after 2 minutes. Immediately sink into ice cold water and leave until cool. Place in a bowl or egg cup. Remove the top portion of the shell to eat with a spoon.

 

Boiled duck egg calories: Approximately 70 calories per duck egg

 

Poached Duck Egg Recipe

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Crack 1 duck egg into a separate bowl. Quickly stir the boiling water so it creates a cyclone in the center. Add the duck egg immediately. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove the duck egg, and put it on a plate. Repeat for the remaining duck eggs.

 

Fried Duck Eggs Recipe

Heat a cast iron pan until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of butter so the eggs don’t stick. Crack 1-2 duck eggs into the pan. Fry until the whites are opaque and no longer liquid. Transfer to a plate to enjoy.

 

Baking With Duck Eggs

When baking with duck eggs vs. chicken eggs, you can simply substitute 1 duck egg for 1 chicken egg. An easy recipe to start out with is English Custard.

 

Raising Ducks for Eggs

Which Ducks Lay The Best Eggs?

Khaki Campbells or Runner ducks lay the best eggs – about 300 per year. Pekin ducks also lay consistently, although their eggs tend to be larger than Khaki Campbells or Runner duck eggs, which can cause them to taste rubbery if overcooked. To get the best eggs nutritionally and avoid a fishy smell, it’s best to purchase eggs from a local supplier who gives their flock a high protein commercial feed. You can learn what ducks eat here. You can also see a full list of abnormal egg types to avoid here.

 

Do Ducks Lay Eggs Everyday?

Ducks will lay about 3-5 eggs a week depending on the individual bird. To ensure your ducks lay consistently, offer them a high protein diet of at least 16% protein. You can also add herbs to their diet to support a healthy digestive system, which will help them maintain or improve egg production. If your ducks aren’t laying eggs at all, and they’re the right age, then this article can help you figure out what’s going on.

 

At What Age Do Ducks Lay Eggs?

Ducks tend to start laying eggs at about 6 months. However, if your ducks become 6 months old in the winter or during very hot summers, it might take them longer to start laying because of the weather. (Cold, heat, or fewer daylight hours can effect egg production).

 

Can Ducks Lay More Than 1 Egg A Day?

No, eggs only lay 1 egg during a 24 hour period.

 

What Color Are Duck Eggs?

Different duck breeds lay different colored eggs. While most ducks lay white eggs, they can also lay off white, cream tinted, green, blue, or black eggs. Here’s a chart that shows you which breeds lay different colored eggs:

 

BreedEgg ColorEggs Laid Per Year
American PekinWhite200
AnconaGreen200
AppleyardWhite250
Black East IndieGrey, charcoal grey200
Call DuckGreen, white, cream300
CayugaBlack, charcoal grey, light grey200
Crested DuckWhite200
Indian Runner DuckGreen, blue300
Khaki CampbellWhite280
MuscovyOff white, cream, speckled200
MagpieWhite, bluish green280
MallardWhite, greenish white200
OrpingtonWhite300
RouenWhite250
SaxonyWhite200
SwedishWhite200
Welsh HarlequinWhite, blue300

 

For better eggs, there’s a lot you can feed your ducks. You can find out what to feed poultry for better tasting eggs here. If you end up with more than you know what to do with, you can read how to preserve eggs here.

 

Hatching Ducklings

How Do Duck Eggs Get Fertilized?

After the drake mates with the hen, the sperm goes up the oviduct, and fertilizes an egg yolk that was released from the hen’s oviduct. The yolk and albumen then descend down the oviduct, where they are encased in the shell and finally laid by the duck hen.

 

How Can You Tell If A Duck Egg Is Fertile?

If you don’t intend to incubate the egg, you can crack it open and see if the egg has been fertilized. You should see a “bullseye” in the yolk, which indicates fertilization. If you want to incubate the egg, and you know your duck hens have been mating with a drake, then incubate the egg (you can learn how to incubate eggs here). After 10 days, candle the egg – if you see a dark spot around the middle of the egg with spider like veins beginning to form, then it is fertile and you have a duckling embryo growing. You can learn which incubators we recommend here.

 

How Do You Know If A Duck Egg Is Alive?

Candle the duck egg. If you see clear and distinct veins, then the egg is developing a duck embryo. Proper incubation is important for it to fully develop. By day 12, you should start to see signs of movement inside the egg. Alternatively, after Day 12 of the incubation cycle, you can gently place the egg in water and see if it wiggles. The water causes the embryo to react, which produces the wiggle.  However, this method might disrupt embryo development, and I don’t recommend it.

 

How Do You Take Care Of Duck Eggs?

If you spot duck eggs in the wild, it’s best to leave them alone. But if you have an abandoned nest on your property (for example, if you know for certain the hen was killed by a predator, or your domestic duck abandons her nest), then you can complete the incubation cycle with an incubator. The incubator temperature should be 99.5 degrees F, with 50% humidity inside the incubator. Duck eggs take 28 days to develop and hatch. Around day 10, you should start to see veins and other signs of development, if the eggs are fertile.

 

Once the eggs hatch, you’ll have baby ducks. You can learn how to raise ducklings here.

 

Where Can You Buy Duck Eggs For Hatching?

Some places to look are:

  • Hatcheries 
  • Local breeders
  • Ebay
  • Etsy

 

Note that hatching eggs you purchase and are shipped through the mail isn’t that easy. The post office is rough on the eggs, and even the most careful breeder can’t control what the post office does. My recommendation is to purchase ducklings from a local breeder or farm store rather than buying hatching eggs. If you do want hatching eggs, you can check big, established hatcheries like Cackle Hatchery.

 

You can also learn how to properly store hatching eggs here.

 

Can A Rooster Fertilize A Duck Egg?

No, a rooster is a chicken, which is a different species than ducks. So, a rooster cannot fertilize a duck egg. This scenario should be avoided because roosters can easily harm duck hens by placing too much pressure on the duck’s back.

 

*The information in this article is for educational and entertainment purposes only. The nutrition facts labeling on this site is an estimate. Always consult a qualified professional regarding your diet. The theoretical egg nutritional values included on this article are based on the following references:

 

  1. 21 CFR 101.9 Nutrition labeling of food
  2. Staggs, CG et al. J Food Compost Anal. 2004;17(6):767-776.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. Database #01123.
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals. November 2018.
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels Final Rules. May 27, 2016.
  6. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Total Diet Study. April 2014 revised April 2017

 

Are duck eggs for you? Leave a comment below!

 

The information in this article about duck eggs was reviewed by a licensed physician.

Sexing Ducklings By Quacks

 

How to raise ducklings

What do ducklings eat

 

16 Duck Breeds For Colorful Eggs!

Sometimes, I lay awake at night and think about how great my flock would look with all kinds of different duck breeds.

 

(Well, maybe not really all night. I do like to sleep.)

 

Ducks are lovely creatures that make great pets – and they lay eggs! Lots of eggs (sometimes, more consistently than chickens).

 

From wonderful egg layers like the Ancona and Silver Appleyard, to beautiful heavy breeds like the Rouen and Aylesbury, ducks are great to have in any backyard or farm.

 

However, there’s so many options, it can be hard to know which duck breeds are best for you!

 

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about ducks, from baby duck breeds or miniature duck breeds, and to mixing duck breeds in order to find a combination that’ll fit your needs.

 

List of Pet Domestic Duck Breeds

  • American Pekin
  • Ancona
  • Appleyard
  • Call Duck
  • Cayuga
  • Crested Duck
  • Indian Runner Duck
  • Khaki Campbell
  • Muscovy
  • Magpie
  • Mallard
  • Orpington
  • Rouen
  • Saxony
  • Swedish
  • Welsh Harlequin

 

Duck Breeds

American Pekin

This large duck breed has been domesticated for over 2000 years! They’re one of the most popular duck breeds, and are instantly recognizable because they’re white! This friendly duck has an orange beak and legs, and is an excellent producer of large, white eggs. They’re generally healthy (although you need to give them Brewer’s Yeast as ducklings so they grow healthy bones). American Pekin ducks are good-natured and make for excellent pets.

 

They’re both heat and cold hardy, and are one of the heavier breeds, weighing at about 9 pounds.

 

How many eggs do Pekin ducks lay?

On average, Pekin hens lay about 200 very large white colored eggs per year (this will depend on diet – you can learn what ducks eat here).

 

Ancona

This dual-purpose duck is beautiful and friendly….and lays GREEN eggs! They’re also excellent foragers, and will keep your gardens free of slugs and other pain in the butt garden pests. Originating in England, they’re a relatively new breed (developed in the earthy 20th century) and are said to descend from Runner ducks. They’re great producers of eggs, and can lay green, blue, white, or cream eggs. They’re friendly, and make excellent pets if you feed them lots of treats.

 

Appleyard

Named after their breeder, Reginald Appleyard, this is a pretty new duck breed, but growing in popularity rapidly. They’re one of the “champion egg layers” of the backyard duck world, producing about 250 white eggs per year. They’re heavy, weighing in at around 9 pounds for the drakes, and are excellent foragers. You can find Appleyards at most big hatcheries. You can learn more about this duck breed here.

 

Call Duck

These are smaller ducks (kind of like bantam chickens) that are mostly kept as companions. They have smaller bills and were originally used as decoys by hunters to attract wild ducks. Because of their size and adorable appearance, they make great pets, and enjoy human company. The drakes weigh about 1.5 pounds, with the hens weighing about 1 pound (so, pretty small). Their egg colors can range from green to white to cream.

 

Because of their size, they’re even more susceptible to predators, so make sure their duck house is safe. You can watch this video of us making a predator-safe duck pen here:

 

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Cayuga

Although it’s not clear how this duck breed developed, one thing is for sure: Cayuga ducks are very distinct! Their unique name derives from the indigenous people who occupied modern day Upstate New York before the European invasion.

 

They’re solid black (although their feathers have a green sheen to them, especially the drakes). They’re friendly and are excellent foragers. The hens lay eggs in shades of light grey to a dark, charcoal grey (sometimes even black). As the season progresses, the eggs get lighter and lighter. The males weigh about 7 pounds, and the females about 5 pounds.

 

Crested Duck

Crested ducks are great pet breeds (especially for children) because they’re friendly and look like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book! The crest on their head is actually a genetic abnormality. They seem to be an ancient breed, and there’s some 2000 year old images showing a duck with a crest of feathers. Weighing in at around 7 pounds, they’re also fairly large.

 

They’re excellent layers of about 200 eggs per year. There’s also a bantam version of this duck breed. The crest is caused by a lethal allele, and when both parents carry the crested genetics, 25% of the clutch won’t hatch (similar to araucanas and their lethal genetics). So, it’s best to breed a crested duck to a non-crested duck to ensure the best possible hatch rate (50% of the ducklings will be crested). You can read more about hatching eggs here.

 

Indian Runner Duck

This duck breed is very distinctive, with their nearly vertical build. They also don’t waddle, instead, they’re built to run (hence their name “runner duck.) They’re excellent layers of about 300 eggs per year, and are great for pest control. Originating from the East Indies, they’re quiet ducks that prefer to forage. They’re also on the small side, with drakes weighing about 5 pounds. Their duck eggs are green or blue (or shades in between).

 

Indian Runner duck colors include:

  • White
  • Penciled
  • Buff
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Fawn & White

 

Khaki Campbell

Khaki Campbells are a popular duck breed that lays large, white eggs consistently (about 200 per year). They’re brown, and it’s easy to tell the drakes from the hens. They’re friendly if hand raised, and fed lots of treats. However, they’re susceptible to predators, especially since they tend to be on the small side. They also tend to “go broody” (want to hatch eggs) more than other breeds. You can easily find this breed at most big hatcheries.

 

Muscovy

The Muscovy duck breed is a bit of an anomaly in the duck world – they’re the only duck breed not descended from Mallards! The have very distinct appearances, with faces that look covered with bright red warts. Unlike other duck breeds, their eggs take 35 days to hatch (other breeds take 28 days to hatch). They’re also one of the only breeds to perch in trees, and have claws to aid them. They’re large, and lay about 200 off white eggs per year. Some owners say the eggs have a greenish tint, but aren’t exactly green. They love to eat ticks and mosquitoes! You can read more about Muscovy ducks here.

muscovy duck breed with red face

 

Magpie

This is a funny black and white duck breed that’s becoming more popular as a pet. They’re friendly and distinctive-looking birds, and enjoy human company if offered lots of treats. They’re fairly upright (although not as vertical as Runner ducks) and are excellent layers – about 280 eggs per year.

 

Mallard

With their green heads and pervasive quacks, mallards are fun a duck breed to raise. While you can find them in the wild, there’s also domestic mallards that hatcheries sell. The males and females look different (unlike Pekins where both are white), with the females having black and tan feathers that remind me of tiger stripes. They’re very beautiful! The females lay about 200 white or greenish white eggs per year.

 

Orpington Duck

Developed in the town of Orpington in the UK, this breed is less known in the US, but rising in popularity. Their developer, William Cook, also developed the Orpington chicken. Good Ol’ William crossed Rouen, Indian Runner, and Cayugas to create his beautiful Orpington ducks. They’re great producers of large eggs, laying around 200 per year. This duck breed comes in 3 color variations: Buff, Blond, and Brown. The males have a yellow bill, while the females have darker colored bills. While admitted into the American Poultry Standard of Perfection, they don’t necessarily breed true.

 

Rouen

The Rouen are a duck breed that’s colored like the mallard, but are larger. Originating in France, they’re beautiful birds to look at, and lay prolifically: about 200 white eggs per year. They make great farm ducks, and enjoy human company.

 

Saxony

Saxony ducks are distinctive looking with their grey heads and wood-colored feathers. Unlike other duck breeds on this list, they were developed in Germany in the 20th century, and are great layers of large, white eggs. They’re large ducks, weighing in at about 9 pounds.

 

Swedish

This popular breed has white feathers on its chest, and beautiful blue/grey feathers. They were developed in Germany and Northern Poland, and are called “Swedish” because the recognized government was the kingdom of Sweden at the time the breed became known. Blue is the most well known feather color, but other varieties include brown and black. It’s said that Daffy Duck was a Swedish drake – he certainly has the characteristics! They’re great layers of large eggs.

 

Welsh Harlequin

These are smaller ducks, weighing in at around 5 pounds. Originating in Wales (hence the name Welsh Harlequin) and are derived from Khaki Campbells. Like Mallards, they have green/black heads, and lay prolifically – about 300 white eggs per year.

 

How Many Varieties Of Ducks Are There?

There’s about 28 types of domestic duck/pet duck breeds in the USA.

 

What Kind Of Duck Has A Green Head?

Several duck breeds have green heads, including Mallards, Welsh Harlequins, and Rouens. Cayuga drakes also have green heads, although their entire bodies are covered with black feathers that sport a greenish sheen.

 

What Breed Of Duck Has Yellow Ducklings?

Duck breeds that have yellow ducklings are Pekins and Khaki Campbell ducks. Their ducklings are covered in yellow feathers and have orange beaks and feet.

 

Keeping Ducks as Pets

What Are The Best Backyard Ducks?

The best backyard duck breeds that lay lots of eggs and are friendly are:

  • Khaki Campbell (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Magpie (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Mallard (about 200 eggs/year)
  • Welsh Harlequin (about 280 eggs/year)
  • Buff Orpington (about 300 eggs/year)
  • Crested (about 200 eggs/year)
  • Rouens (about 250 eggs/year)
  • Call Ducks (about 300 eggs/year)

 

Different breeds lay different colored eggs. While most ducks lay white eggs, they can also lay off white, cream tinted, green, blue, or black eggs. Here’s a chart that shows you which breeds lay different colored eggs:

 

BreedEgg ColorEggs Laid Per Year
American PekinWhite200
AnconaGreen200
AppleyardWhite250
Black East IndieGrey, charcoal grey200
Call DuckGreen, white, cream300
CayugaBlack, charcoal grey, light grey200
Crested DuckWhite200
Indian Runner DuckGreen, blue300
Khaki CampbellWhite280
MuscovyOff white, cream, speckled200
MagpieWhite, bluish green280
MallardWhite, greenish white200
OrpingtonWhite300
RouenWhite250
SaxonyWhite200
SwedishWhite200
Welsh HarlequinWhite, blue300

What Are The Friendliest Duck Breeds?

The top 3 in friendliest duck breeds would have to be the Pekin, Rouen, Khaki Campbell, Swedish, and the Call duck.

 

Are Ducks Friendly Pets?

Yes! Particularly if you hand raise them and give them lots of treats, they’ll be your best friend. It’s also important to pick breeds that are friendly, such as Call ducks. You can learn about how to raise people friendly poultry here. If you want to give your ducklings treats, you can learn what ducklings eat here.

 

Can A Duck Be An Indoor Pet?

Yes, but it’ll have to wear a diaper. Ducks, like all birds, don’t have a bladder, so when nature calls, they’ll go anywhere. That being said, ducks are happiest with other ducks, and living in a flock. 

 

What Is The Largest Breed Of Duck?

Pekins. The drakes weigh about 12 – 13 pounds. Traditionally, Pekins were raised as both meat and egg producers, but in modern times, they’re largely kept as layers and pets.

 

How Long Do Domestic Ducks Live?

The average lifespan of the average domesticated duck is 8 to 10 years, as long as they’re cared for properly. This will vary by breed and individual bird. You can read more about how to raise healthy ducks here and more about how long individual duck breeds live here.

 

Do Ducks Bite You?

Just like any animal ducks can and will bite when threatened. However, these incidences are few and far between, and ducks don’t generally bite their owners without being provoked and very scared.

 

Can You Train A Duck?

Yes, with treats, you can train a duck to come when called. If you work with them every day and follow some simple steps (like training them with treats during evening, when they naturally want to come to their house), your ducks will be trained in no time.

 

Are Ducks Affectionate?

Yes, pet ducks can be very affectionate when they receive the right care.

 

Will Domestic Ducks Fly Away?

Fear not, as most domesticated duck breeds cannot fly because they’re too heavy compared to their wings. However, some breeds like Mallards have evolved to fly, so you can simply trim their wings.

 

How Can You Tell If A Duckling Is Male Or Female?

When they hatch, the other sure fire way is to “vent sex” a duck, however, only qualified professionals should attempt this. When they’re about 4 to 6 weeks old, you might notice some ducklings develop a deeper quack, while others retain a high pitched squeak. The lower pitched quack is a sign of a duck hen – their adult voices develop much sooner. As adolescents, a good sign to look for is a curled feather that sticks up near the tail, called a “drake feather,” which indicates the duck is a male.

 

Which Breeds Are Quiet?

Muscovies are quiet (they don’t quack. Instead, they have a quiet, whispery call that sounds like a hiss). You can learn more about Muscovies here.

 

Duck Breeds For Eggs

Ducks for White Eggs

Duck breeds that lay white eggs are the Pekin, Buff Orpington, Indian Runner, Swedish, Magpie, and Ancona.

 

Ducks for Green Eggs

Duck breeds that lay green eggs are the Indian Runner, Call, and Ancona.

 

Ducks for Blue Eggs

Duck breeds that lay blue eggs are the Indian Runner and Magpie.

 

Ducks for Black Eggs

Duck breed that lay black eggs is the Cayuga.

 

Are Duck Eggs Good To Eat?

Yes, duck eggs are good to eat as they are high in fat and rich in omega 3. They’re potentially healthier than chicken eggs, and often, people who have an allergy to chicken eggs can eat duck eggs. You can discover more about duck eggs here.

 

What Are The Best Laying Ducks?

The best laying ducks are the Campbell, Runner, Buff, Welsh Harlequin, Magpie, and Ancona.

 

Do Ducks Need Shelter At Night?

Yes, it’s a good idea to give all duck breeds shelter at night to protect them from predators and from inclement weather. You can learn how to build a safe duck pen here.

 

What Do Ducks Like To Sleep On?

The good thing about ducks is that they don’t roost, so they are fine with sleeping on soft shavings on the coop floor. You can learn about different coop bedding options here.

 

Which Duck Breeds Are Broody?

The best broody duck breeds are Muscovies and the Welsh Harlequin.

 

Feeding Backyard Ducks

What Can I Feed My Backyard Ducks?

It’s best to feed your ducks a high quality layer feed specifically formulated for ducks. You can also supplement their diet with oyster shells for additional calcium. As for treats, you can feed your backyard ducks insects, worms, weeds/grass, fish, eggs, berries, cracked corn, or sunflower seeds. For a full list, you can learn more about what to feed ducks here.

Some veggies and leafy greens that ducks love are:

  • Cut grass (that hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals)
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Radish & turnip greens
  • Lettuces & other salad greens

Some high-protein treats you can feed ducks are:

Remember: Ducks aren’t chickens – they have round bills that don’t pick food up easily like sharp beaks. So, it’s best to float treats on water so your ducks can easily dig them up.

Which duck breeds do you raise? Please a comment below!

How Long Do Ducks Live? Top Pet Breeds

Thinking of adding some of our web footed friends to your flock and wondering “how long do ducks live anyway?”

 

Well, it’s a pretty good question – after all, you want your new pets around for a while! Truthfully, ducks are wonderfully hardy creatures that are relatively easy and fun to care for.

 

However, they’re not exactly like chickens. They tend to get lumped in the same category by default, but a domestic duck has its own separate needs. And understanding how to raise ducks so they’re healthy is key to increasing your pet duck’s lifespan.

 

And not all ducks are alike!

 

In this article, you’ll discover different breeds of ducks, basic care, and how long ducks live in general.

 

How Long Do Ducks Live In Captivity?

In general, most ducks live about 5 years, and possibly up to 10 years. How long ducks live depends largely on a few different factors, such as:

  • Housing
  • Protection
  • Diet
  • Veterinary Care
  • Exposure to Drakes

 

Let’s briefly talk about each one, and how they effect your duck’s lifespan.

 

Factors That Effect How Long Ducks Live

Housing

Do your ducks have a warm, accessible structure to call home? The quality of your duck house will determine how long they live. After all, the elements can definitely take a toll on your ducks’ health! (Especially summer heat).

 

A duck house doesn’t have to be fancy – it just has to keep them dry, have good ventilation, have enough room for each animal (about 10 square feet of space), and protect them from predators.

 

If your coop doesn’t have good ventilation during the summer, you can learn how to install a DIY window here.

 

Protection

Unlike chickens, ducks don’t roost, and they have even fewer defenses against predators (basically, they can try to run away or go into a pond). The term “like a sitting duck” means easy pickins for a reason!

 

Without adequate protection from predators, you’ll likely lose your flock pretty quickly. Answering the question “how long do ducks live?” largely depends on how well they’re protected from predators.

 

Ducks can fall victim to the same chicken predators that your hens fear. Examples include:

  • Coyotes
  • Skunks (especially ducklings)
  • Dogs
  • Bears
  • Raccoons
  • Opossums

To protect your ducks, they’ll need a critter-safe run, and a coop that predators can’t get into at night. While hardware cloth is best, chicken wire is cheaper to purchase. You can figure out the best chicken wire here for your particular situation.

 

Diet

I can’t underscore how important diet is, especially during the first few months of your duck’s life. Unlike chickens, ducklings need more vitamin B (particularly niacin) to grow.

 

Without it, their bones and bills might not grow correctly. You might notice their bills don’t come together (meaning the duckling can’t properly close its mouth).

 

Or, they might not be able to walk correctly because their legs are crooked. These can be debilitating issues that’ll effect how long ducks live.

 

You can feed your ducklings a feed that’s specific to their needs, or combine brewer’s yeast with chick starter. Both are great.

 

For adult ducks, especially laying hens, you’ll want to feed a 16% protein layer feed that has calcium in it. (Or offer oyster shells as a calcium supplement separately).

 

You’ll also want to make sure your hens have access to clean water, herbs as a dietary supplement, and extra treats such as black soldier fly larvae or dried gammarus shrimp (a particular favorite of our ducks!).

 

You can learn more about what baby ducks eat here and alternative feeds for adult ducks here.

 

Veterinary Care

I’m not going to go too in depth on this subject, because it pretty much stands to reason that if you don’t provide adequate veterinary care, your ducks might not live as long.

 

Some common issues with ducks are:

  • Bumblefoot (read more about bumblefoot here)
  • Upper respiratory issues
  • Worms (read more about worms here)
  • Trampled by other ducks

 

Exposure to Drakes

While drakes are necessary if you want to hatch eggs (you can read about the best incubators for hatching duck eggs here), they’re also a real pain if you have too many.

 

Male ducks can be pretty aggressive with the females, and can be aggressive maters. If you own more than 1 drake for every 10 duck hens, you might find yourself without some duck hens, or at least very battered ones.

 

When they’re competing, drakes will successively mate with a hen (meaning, each drake has to have a turn), even when they’re in water.

 

Realistically, this can cause the hen to drown because her head is constantly pushed under water.

 

If you’re wondering how long do ducks live in this situation, the answer is: Not long. Maybe 2-3 minutes.

 

When on dry land, this behavior can cause your hen to be crushed, or it can break her back. If possible, it’s best to limit the amount of drakes in a flock to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

 

What’s the Longest Living Duck Breed?

The longest reported living duck breed is the Pekin duck, although some owners report that a Muscovy duck can live between 8 to 12 years on average (there have been records stating of domesticated Muscovy ducks that lived longer, however).

 

What’s the Longest a Duck Has Ever Lived?

The oldest in record was a female mallard called Desi, owned by Ingrid Raphael from Maidenhead, Berkshire, United Kingdom. Desi lived 20 years 3 months and 6 days before her death in August 2002. The average white duck lifespan is about 5 to 10 years.

 

Do Ducks Make Good House Pets?

Yes! Ducks can make good house pets, especially if hand raised. They’re cheerful creatures who love spending time dipping their bills in water and searching for goodies. Just make sure you use a chicken diaper. Ducks (like other bird breeds) don’t have bladders, so they poop everywhere. So, you’ll need a plan! Ducks also molt, so you’ll need to figure out how you’ll deal with all those feathers.

 

How Do You Keep a Pet Duck?

You can keep your pet duck in the house or outside. They’ll need food, a safe house (because they’re susceptible to many predators), and veterinary care. They will also need access to water, since that’s how they clean themselves. You will also need to use duck diapers because ducks poop everywhere. You can read more about raising ducklings here.

 

What are the Best Ducks As Pets?

The best ducks for pets are:

  • Pekin
  • Cayuga Duck
  • Call ducks
  • Indian Runner ducks
  • Khaki Campbell

Let’s look at each breed!

Pekins

This is the most common breed – they start out as yellow chicks, and become white when they grow into adults. They’re wonderful layers, who will give you large, white eggs. They’re generally healthy, and can be quite large.

 

What is the Lifespan of a White Duck?

When someone asks about the life expectancy of a white duck, they’re usually referring to Pekins. The pekin duck lifespan is about 5 – 10 years, with the longest living 20 years. A lot of people ask about “the yellow duck lifespan, “ referring to Pekins, since their down is yellow when they’re born.

 

How Long Do Pekin Ducks Live?

The average lifespan of the Pekin duck is 5 to 10 years. This depends on a variety of factors including housing, diet, care, and more.

 

Cayugas

These are smaller black ducks (completely black from bill to webbed feet). They’re great layers – they can lay black (or dark grey) eggs and these eggs might fade to white or light grey during her lifespan.

 

Call Ducks

What Is A Call Duck?

These are small ducks (bantam size) mostly kept for companionship. Unlike other breeds, they weigh around 3 pounds. They’re good layers of white eggs, and they also tend to be quieter than other breeds.

 

How Long Do Call Ducks Live?

Call ducks can live up to 10 years, depending on their environment. You’ll want to make sure they have access to good housing, fresh feed, and plenty of water.

 

Are Call Ducks Good Pets?

Call ducks make great pets because they’re small and fairly quiet. Like most ducks, it’ll depend on how you raise them. Hand raising them means they’re more likely to be friendly (since ducks have a prey instinct, they can be fearful of humans if they don’t interact with them consistently). Be sure to feed your call ducklings lots of treats to make them your friend!

 

Indian Runner

This is an easily identifiable breed – they stand more upright and vertical than other ducks. They’re wonderful layers who love treats. They come in various colors, including fawn and blue.

 

How Long Do Indian Runner Ducks Live?

The Indian Runner Duck lifespan is about 8 to 12 years.

 

Khaki Campbell

This is a brown duck breed that lays wonderful white eggs. They’re prolific layers, and while the females tend to stay small, the males will get quite large.

 

How Long Do Khaki Campbell Ducks Live?

Khaki Campbell ducks live about 10 to 15 years.

 

Muscovy Ducks

How Long Do Muscovy Ducks Live?

Like most ducks, Muscovies live between 5 to 10 years, depending on their environment.  Yo can read more about Muscovy ducks here.

 

Mallard Ducks

How Long Do Mallard Ducks Live?

As opposed to the Pekin duck lifespan and the Indian Runner duck lifespan, Mallard ducks only for as long as 3 to 5 years in the wild.

 

Can You Keep Mallard Ducks As Pets?

A pet mallard duck is a good pet for as long as you know how to properly care for them. It’s always best to get your mallards from a reliable hatchery, rather than try to domesticate a wild duck (which might be illegal in some states). You can check out common hatcheries here.

 

Will Pet Ducks Fly Away?

It’s possible, but unlikely. Most domestic breeds can’t fly very well because they’ve been bred to be large. Their wings can’t get enough air. You’re far more likely to lose your ducks because of predators (which will decrease how long they live).

 

Ducks As Pets Pros And Cons:

Pro:

  • You’ll get eggs! (read here about how to get more eggs)
  • They’re easy to care for (read more here)
  • They’re friendly
  • They’re unusual pets

 

Cons:

  • Ducks poop A LOT
  • Predators can pick them off easily (learn how to build a safe coop here)
  • Drakes can quack loudly
  • They need a pond or pool

 

Still wondering “how long do ducks live?” Which breed is the best for you? Leave a comment below!

Do Muscovy Ducks Make Great Pets?

So you’re considering raising a domestic Muscovy duck? Well, you’re a smart cookie because they make great pets! And you get eggs!

 

This breed of duck, with its red face and friendly personality, is a great addition to any flock. You’ll get white eggs and get to watch them hatch ducklings. You’ll also get to enjoy seeing them gobble goodies from water, and generally love life!

 

In this article, you’ll learn all about Muscovies, how to care for them, what raising Muscovy ducks is like, and what makes them unique!

 

Are Muscovy Ducks Good Pets?

Yes! Raised correctly and when used to human company, Muscovies can make great pets. They’re easy to care for, don’t require much beyond food, water, a dry, safe home, and adequate space. They’re pretty inexpensive, especially if you grow your own food for them. In return, you’ll get eggs!

 

However, just remember that some ducks (and this isn’t particular to Muscovies) don’t like cuddling. Muscovies have sharp claws, which are necessary to defend themselves in the wild, so if your duck doesn’t want to be picked up, he or she might scratch you.

 

You can buy Muscovy ducks at most major hatcheries.

 

What Does A Muscovy Duck Look Like?

Muscovies have similar bodies to most ducks, however, they are very distinctive looking. They have red faces with a raised, fleshy area called a “caruncle,” particularly the males (called drakes).

 

Muscovy duck colors include:

  • Black & White Mottled (called “pied”)
  • White
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Blue.

 

What Are Muscovy Ducks Used For?

Most people these days keep Muscovy ducks for their eggs and companionship, but traditionally, they’ve been kept for meat as well. This breed lays about 120 eggs per year, and is said to have the highest meat yield of any duck.

 

Muscovy Duck Eggs

Any part of owning ducks includes getting eggs! It’s one of the best parts of owning any type of domestic fowl. Here’s everything you need to know about Muscovy ducks and their eggs!

 

Are Muscovy Ducks Good Egg Layers?

Muscovies are fair egg layers, and you can expect about 120 white eggs per year. It’s important to remember that unlike chickens, ducks don’t lay in nesting boxes – so you’ll have to provide a nice environment that’ll prompt them to lay eggs. You’ll also have to provide a good diet so your hens have enough protein and energy to give you eggs.

 

At What Age Do Muscovy Ducks Lay Eggs?

You can expect your Muscovy hens to start laying eggs at about 28 weeks (approximately 6 months). This depends on a few factors, including diet, season (ducks don’t really lay eggs in winter), and environment (high stress levels can stop egg production). The mating season of the Muscovy can last from August to May.

 

You can learn about why domestic fowl stop laying eggs here (and what to do about it).

 

What Age Do Muscovy Ducks Stop Laying Eggs?

Most ducks stop laying at about 3 years of age, although that will depend on the individual bird. A good diet full of protein will help your Muscovies lay eggs for a long time.

 

Do Muscovy Ducks Move Their Eggs?

When sitting on a nest, ducks don’t generally move their eggs. If a predator attacks the nest or chases off the hen, the mother will likely move on and lay enough eggs for a different clutch.

 

Do Muscovy Ducks Lay Eggs All Year?

No, ducks typically stop laying eggs in the winter, when they need to conserve energy to stay warm.

 

Muscovy Duck Personalities

Are Muscovy Ducks Friendly?

Yes, if raised to enjoy human company, Like most waterfowl, they’ve evolved to fend for themselves in the wild. So, if you don’t spend time with your Muscovies, you might not be able to enjoy them as much. In general, Muscovy ducks are curious, intelligent, and social birds. However, they might not like to be cuddled or pet very much.

 

Are Muscovy Ducks Aggressive?

Not usually. During most of the year, they’re friendly and enjoy human company (especially if it involves treats.) You might notice that they come up to you the instant they see you!

 

However, if a hen is on her nest, she might hiss to protect herself. Since she can’t move (she needs to keep incubating her eggs), it’s her only defense.

 

Similarly, the drakes can be protective and territorial of mates and and their ducklings. It’s only natural!

 

During these times, it’s best to keep your distance and know your ducks are being good parents. If you don’t want to deal with this, then remove the eggs from their housing area each day to discourage nesting.

 

You should also know that like most male ducks, the drakes can be very aggressive towards the females during mating season (even if they’re not aggressive towards humans). This can cause the hens to have health issues from trampling or they might even be crushed.

 

The best Muscovy drake to hen ratio is 10 hens for every 1 drake. However, you might opt to only raise female Muscovies.

 

Do Muscovy Ducks Bite?

As a general rule, no. They’re friendly birds who enjoy human company. However, like any animal that is provoked or threatened, your duck might claw or bite you to protect themselves. It’s always best to treat your ducks gently.

 

Can Muscovy Ducks Quack?

No, Muscovies don’t quack! (Which makes them quieter than other ducks, who are generally vocal and love to let you know when things aren’t perfect). Unlike other duck breeds, Muscovies aren’t descended from mallards, and so have a uniqueness all their own. Muscovy duck communication includes a type of hiss that sounds similar to a goose hiss.

 

Why Do Muscovy Ducks Hiss?

Muscovies hiss because they don’t quack – the hiss is their way of quacking. Muscovies aren’t descended from mallards, and so never developed the need to quack. Only the males hiss, however. You also might notice more hissing during mating season – this is the males defending their territory and their mates.

 

How To Raise Muscovy Ducks

To successfully raise Muscovies, you’ll need to think about:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Swimming Pool
  • Health Issues

Let’s look at each of these.

 

Food

What Can Muscovy Ducks Eat?

Like most ducks, Muscovies love to forage for goodies in the grass. However, this isn’t enough – you should also offer a high-quality duck feed to make sure you still get eggs. Without it, you might not get as many eggs and your ducks might not be as healthy. Muscovies are omnivorous, and will enjoy hunting for bugs as much as they love bananas.

 

Feeding Adult Muscovies

 

Wondering “what do Muscovy ducks eat that they REALLY love?”

 

In particular, Muscovies love MOSQUITOES. Which is a boon to anyone living in the South. (We all know how bad mosquitoes can get).

 

You can discover a great layer feed here. If you want to grow food for your Muscovies, you can learn how to grow leafy greens for ducks here.

 

Like most ducks, they love searching for goodies in water, dipping their bills into even the most muddy pond water to see what they can snag.

 

Somethings they might love finding are:

  • Larvae
  • Small aquatic animals (like tadpoles or water insects)
  • Snails
  • Leaves
  • Seeds

 

You should also be aware of what duck’s SHOULDN’T eat. Avoid:

  • Chocolate
  • Sugars
  • Coffee
  • Seeds from stone fruit (like peach pits)
  • Avocado skins
  • Apple seeds

 

If you’re wondering how to call a Muscovy duck, simply shake a bag of treats, and they’ll come running!

 

Feeding Muscovy Ducklings

When they’re tiny, Muscovy ducklings have different feed concerns. You’ll want to raise them on a 16% duckling starter – a feed that’s specifically formulated for baby ducks.

 

Baby ducks need more niacin than chicks, so it’s critical to provide the right feed so your ducklings grow correctly. Without it, you might notice their bills and bones not developing right.

 

If you can’t buy duckling feed, you can mix brewer’s yeast with chick starter. You can discover how to raise ducklings here and get a full list of what Muscovy ducklings eat here.

 

If you want to hatch duck eggs, you can discover the best incubators here.

 

How Do You Tell The Difference Between Male And Female Muscovy Ducks?

Male ducks will be much larger than the females, with more pronounced caruncling than females. They’ll also have their thicker legs and bigger feet. You’ll also easily be able to tell the males from females at mating time!

 

Shelter

Do Muscovy Ducks Need Shelter?

Like all ducks, your housing for Muscovy ducks means a shelter to keep them safe. It should keep predators out (learn how to build a predator proof coop here) and keep them out of the elements.

 

In the winter, it should keep them dry, and in the summer, it should offer protection from the sun.

 

Since Muscovy ducks do perch (unlike other duck breeds), you’ll need to provide a roosting area. It’s best to make the perches fairly wide to accommodate your flock’s large feet.

 

You can learn what a coop should include here.

 

How Much Space Do Muscovy Ducks Need?

You should provide 10 to 15 square feet of space per duck. Without it, your ducks might start to feel stress, stop laying eggs, and develop bad habits (like feather picking, bullying, or fighting). Having enough space also keeps their living area cleaner and easier to keep clean.

 

Can Muscovy Ducks Survive Winter?

Yes – plenty of people raise Muscovies in cold areas. Just be sure to provide a warm, safe home for them to live in.

 

How Long Do Muscovy Ducks Live?

The Muscovy duck lifespan average will range between 5 to 12 years. This depends on a lot of factors, including diet, shelter, and their environment. You can learn more about how long ducks live here (and how to increase their lifespan) and about how to raise healthy ducks here.

 

Swimming

Do Muscovy Ducks Need Water?

It’s always a good idea to provide a pool full of cool, inviting water to your ducks! While Muscovies aren’t as water resistant as other ducks, they still enjoy digging for treats and spending time in their pools. You can use a kiddie pool or build a pond for your flock. You will also want to provide a separate drinking area, where you can be sure your flock can access clean water. You can read about recommended waterers here and learn how to build a DIY automatic waterer for $12 here.

 

Can Muscovy Ducks Swim?

Yes, they can swim, although they’re less likely to take a turn in the pool than other ducks. This is because they don’t have efficient oil glands like other duck breeds. However, because of the shape of their bills, it’s easier for Muscovies to eat food that’s in water, so you’ll likely often see your Muscovy ducks in water.

 

5 Interesting Muscovy Duck Facts

  1. The Muscovy duck is the only type of domesticated duck that doesn’t descend from the mallard.
  2. Muscovies are the only duck breed that perches in trees and has sharp claws specifically for this purpose.
  3. They don’t swim as much as other ducks and aren’t as water resistant because they have underdeveloped oil glands.
  4.  They don’t quack – they communicate by hissing and other small vocal noises. They also wag their tails and lower their heads to communicate together.
  5. They’re mosquito eating machines! If you have a lot of mosquitoes in your yard, get a Muscovy duck!

 

Can You Eat A Muscovy Duck?

Yes, Muscovies have been kept for centuries because of their meat. Some owners say that these ducks have delicious lean, tender meat. They have larger breasts than common ducks and the meat is less fatty.

 

Can Muscovy Ducks Fly?

Yes, Muscovy ducks can fly (unlike most domestic breeds). However, they’re unlikely to fly away, especially if you offer plenty of treats.

 

Do All Muscovy Ducks Have Red Faces?

The Muscovy duck has one of the most obvious characteristics that can differentiate them from others- which is their red facial skin. This red skin can be quite bumpy, exaggerated, and with a knob on top of the bill and lumps all over.  

 

Why Do Muscovy Ducks Have Red Faces?

Muscovy ducks have caruncles that are the red fleshy parts around their face,  also called a face mask. These caruncles help Muscovies keep their feathers clean when they come in contact with mud.

 

Do Muscovy Ducks Mate For Life?

No, typically they don’t. In fact, if no Muscovy drakes are available, the hens will mate with males from other duck breeds. However, their ducklings will be sterile and unable to produce further offspring.

 

What do you think? Are Muscovy ducks for you? Leave a comment below!

“What Do Baby Ducks Eat” Ultimate List Of Treats, Feed, Fruits, & Vegetables

Raising ducklings from day olds to maturity can be a tricky business. It’s a lot of work! A frequent question I’m asked is “what do baby ducks eat?”

Knowing what you can and can’t feed your ducklings is critical to getting them through the first few weeks of life. Raising ducklings isn’t hard but they do need a certain amount of vitamins – and often, they’re not present in chick starter.

In this article, you’ll discover what you can and CAN’T feed your ducklings, as well as what to add to their feed, so they grow into healthy layers.

What Do Baby Ducks Eat (List Of Treats, Feed, Fruits, Vegetables, And More)?

Adult backyard ducks can eat a wide variety of food, but your baby ducks should have a very specific diet from the time they hatch until they’re fully feathered. Baby ducks eat duckling starter, vegetables, fruits, and protein like dried insects (mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, etc)!

Feed for Day Olds – 16 Weeks Old

Of course, you can feed the the occasional treat or mealworm, but the basis of your baby ducklings’ diet should be a starter/grower feed that’s formulated specifically for ducks.

Unlike chicks, ducklings need an extra “dose” of Vitamin B (specifically niacin) for their bones and bills to grow correctly. Without it, your ducklings might end up with crooked legs and/or bills that curve up and do not close correctly.

Most duckling feed on the market contains that extra booster of Vitamin B.

If you don’t want to buy extra feed, you can purchase chick starter and easily add extra niacin to their diet with brewer’s yeast. Just mix it with the starter feed – 1 pound of brewer’s yeast per 40 pound bag of chick starter is fine.

(The brewer’s yeast we sell in the store here is formulated for ducklings, and it contains oregano, echinacea, and garlic – herbs traditionally used to support healthy immune system functions. It’s packed with lots of good stuff!)

 

What Fruit Can Ducks Eat? 8 Fruits You Can Feed To Ducklings

As a treat when they’re fully feathered, or if it’s very hot and you’re worried about them staying hydrated, you can offer fruit.

Yep, ducks LOVE fruit. For baby ducks, you’ll want to cut the treat very small and float it on water so they can easily reach and eat it.

Fruits contain a lot of natural sugars, so you’ll want to feed it sparingly – but get ready to hear lots of happy quacks!

Some fruits baby ducks can eat are:

  • Tomatoes (only the flesh because the vines and leaves are toxic)
  • Pears (mash them up)
  • Apples (the flesh – not the seeds. You’ll also want to mash them a bit to make it easier for your ducklings to consume it.
  • Bananas (mashed is best – flesh only, not the skin. You can use the skins in your garden)
  • Peaches (just the flesh – remove the stone)
  • Cherries (remove the stones)
  • Strawberries
  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc)

A common question is can ducks eat pumpkin? Yes, they can! They love it!

Vegetables & Leafy Greens

Oh my, do ducks love their leafy greens! It’s always best to float them on water, and tear them into smaller pieces.

Ducks don’t chew their food, and you don’t want long strands of grass or other goodies getting caught in their digestive systems.  This is important whether your feeding young ducklings or mature ducks.

Some veggies and leafy greens that ducks love are:

  • Cut grass (that hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals)
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Radish & turnip greens
  • Lettuces & other salad greens
  • Cucumber
  • Peas

Consider creating a garden just for your ducks – the greens are pretty inexpensive to grow, and will supply your flock with an extra amount of food, pretty much for free.

[brid autoplay=”true” video=”453677″ player=”19074″ title=”How To Grow Free Food For Rabbits & Chickens” description=”Buying grain for your livestock can add up – ask me how I know. This year, we decided to do something different – we planted a garden to grow greens for our rabbits and chickens. It’s been a success and now we have enough free food for everyone to have an extra bite every day – and it’s lowered our overall feed bill.” duration=”470″ uploaddate=”2019-08-21 17:19:36″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/14575/thumb/453677_t_1566407967.png”]

Dairy Treats

You can start feeding these treats when your baby ducks are at least 12 weeks of age. When they’re day olds, it’s better to not feed these treats.

I’m not the biggest fan of feeding dairy to ducks, but the items on this list won’t hurt them.

Note that dairy might cause their poop to be more stinky. If that happens, stop offering dairy immediately.

  • Whole milk plain greek yogurt (great to add extra probiotics to their digestive systems).
  • Cheese, especially cottage cheese. If you feed regular cheese (cheddar for example), it’s best of it’s shredded. That way, your ducks can easily swallow it.

Protein

This is also a good go-to “what to feed baby ducks in an emergency” food list.

A common question from first time duck owners is “Can I give my ducklings treats?” In short, yes!

You might wonder what can I feed my pet duck that they’ll love?

It’s always a good idea to offer high protein treats. In fact, if you want to give your baby ducks something besides their feed to snack on, dried insects such as black soldier fly larvae or dried shrimps are the best option.

Ducks LOVE dried shrimps – they float on water, are easily digested, and ducks LOVE to filter through their water to snap them up.

We sell dried shrimps in the store here.

 

Some other high-protein treats you can feed baby ducks are:

  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Eggs (boil and dice – leave the shells off. Too much calcium can cause problems with young poultry.)
  • Dried shrimps
  • Black soldier fly larvae
  • Superworms (extra large mealworms)
  • Darkling beetles

Remember: Ducks aren’t chickens – they have round bills that don’t pick easily like hens’ beaks. So, it’s best to float treats on water so your ducklings can easily dig them up.

Before deciding what treats you’ll offer your ducklings, consider their age. The last thing you want is for your fluffy butts to choke!

Larger treats like black soldier fly larvae or chunks of pumpkin might be harder for hatchlings to swallow.

Dried river shrimp are always a safe bet – they’re tiny and soft, and easy broken into smaller pieces.

Treats (anything other than duckling starter) should be no more than 10% of a duck’s daily diet. Remember that treats can change the way a duck’s poop looks: either in color, consistency, or odor – so monitor what and how much you are giving them.

Can A Baby Duck Survive On Its Own? Can Ducklings Survive Without Their Mother?

Yes, a baby duck could survive on its own in the wild (and definitely with a human mama). Ducklings walk soon after birth, and automatically know to start looking for food – and know it’s food when they see it!

They’ll also try to “taste test” everything from your fingers, to shavings, to actual food!

That being said, ducklings DO have some special needs. For example, ducklings are born with down, and need to be kept warm until fully feathered.

In the wild, they need their mother’s protection to keep them safe and they require warmth to regulate their bodies. Their mother helps them stay warm.

In captivity, we have to provide a heat source until they have feathers. Luckily, ducklings grow VERY fast.

Ducklings in general are easy prey for predators such as foxes, weasels, snakes, skunks, raccoons etc. They have no defenses against these scavengers – they can’t even run that fast. So, you need to make sure your ducklings are kept in a very safe brooder and coop.

Can Baby Ducks Eat Bananas?

Yes! If you’re wondering “what do baby ducks eat?” One answer is BANANAS! Like berries, melons, seeded fruits, and pit fruits will have your pet ducks bouncing with joy. Just make sure to mash them up so their tiny bills can dig in.

Can Ducks Eat Chicken Feed?

Adult ducks can – layer feed has all the nutrients they need. Baby ducklings, however, should eat starter that’s specially formulated for them. Ducklings require a lot of niacin for proper bone and bill growth, and most chick starters do not have enough. If you have chick starter on hand, you can increase the niacin by adding brewer’s yeast. Add 1 pound of brewer’s yeast per 40 pounds of chick starter. You can buy brewer’s yeast for ducklings here.

Can Ducklings Eat Strawberries?

Yes! They can – just be sure to chop them into small bits and mash them. They’ll make your baby ducks happy all day long!

Can Ducks Eat Scrambled Eggs?

Yes, ducks can eat scrambled and boiled eggs. For adult ducks, you can include the eggshells (provides extra calcium). For ducklings, leave the eggshells out. They’ll be too hard for your tiny pets to eat, and too much calcium can inhibit organ growth.

Can Ducks Get Lonely?

Ducks are very social animals – they do feel loneliness, isolation, and grief just like us. They love being part of a flock! It’s important to never leave a duck alone or caged for too long as it can cause them to be emotionally unhealthy.

Can Ducklings Drink Milk?

Yes, but it’s not the best treat to give them. It’s important they don’t eat too much dairy products. Opt to give them leafy greens, dried river shrimp, or other treats instead.

How Long Can Ducklings Stay In Water?

They can stay in water for short periods as long as it’s a warm day (above 80 degrees). Do not put them in water if it’s below 70 and they aren’t fully feathered – you’re asking for trouble. Also be sure to give them an easy way in and out of the water, such as having a ramp in the water. If they get cold, they need to easily leave the water.

Can Ducklings Eat Cucumber?

Yes ducklings can eat cucumber. Just be sure to dice them into very small pieces or grind them up. Ducklings love vegetables!

Can Ducklings Eat Oatmeal?

Yes, they can eat oatmeal (uncooked; rolled, or quick). However, it’s best to feed them duck starter instead. Oatmeal is yummy, but it doesn’t have all the nutrients they need. If you’re stuck, and oatmeal is all you have on hand, then it’ll be fine for a day or two. You can also offer cracked corn, wheat, and barley.

Can Ducklings Eat Grapes?

Yes, ducklings can eat grapes as long as they’re mashed. Be sure to remove seeds and skins before feeding it to your ducklings.

Can Ducklings Have Tomatoes?

Yes, they can eat tomatoes. Just make sure they’re mashed, and only feed the tomatoes – not the leaves or stems.

Can Ducklings Have Blueberries?

Yes – ducklings LOVE blueberries! Just be sure to mash them, and don’t feed too much – otherwise your ducklings might get the runs!

Do you still wonder “What do baby ducks eat?” What’s your ducklings’ favorite snack?




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