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).



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.



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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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.



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



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.



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.



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 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.



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
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
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!

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.



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!



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.



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!