16 Duck Breeds For Colorful Eggs!

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:


Breed Egg Color Eggs Laid Per Year
American Pekin White 200
Ancona Green 200
Appleyard White 250
Black East Indie Grey, charcoal grey 200
Call Duck Green, white, cream 300
Cayuga Black, charcoal grey, light grey 200
Crested Duck White 200
Indian Runner Duck Green, blue 300
Khaki Campbell White 280
Muscovy Off white, cream, speckled 200
Magpie White, bluish green 280
Mallard White, greenish white 200
Orpington White 300
Rouen White 250
Saxony White 200
Swedish White 200
Welsh Harlequin White, blue 300

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?

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!

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

“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!


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Whew – I'm glad we made it through last week. It was sleeting last Saturday, which of course makes me worry about the fluffy butts. But they weathered the icy conditions pretty well, and got extra treats for extra calories. . It's warmer nowadays, so they'll still get extra Fluffiest Feathers Ever!, but I probably won't worry quite so much. . On another note, I've been thinking about adding more chickens to my flock this year – there's some tempting silkie mix options out there! Both of the silkies we raised this year turned out to be roosters – quiet roosters, but still roosters. . I'd like some silkie hens, too, and I'm also considering some bantams. What breeds are you considering? . . . . #homesteading #homesteadlife #growsomethinggreen #chickens #backyardchickens #gardeningwithchickens #frugalchicken #rspets #realsimple #hgtv #sustainableliving #farmher #missourilife #missourigirl #missouriphotographer #missouriphotos #missouriblogger #midwestmoment #midwestgirl #familyfarm #gardenher #nogmo #butlercounty

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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.



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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How to Raise Ducklings

How to Raise Ducklings

Raising ducks (especially ducklings) is easy, and ducks are some of the most entertaining and useful livestock you can add to your farm!


We started to raise ducklings in hopes they would begin to lay eggs once they matured.


As you might know, I’m a big believer in keeping more than one type of poultry!


Build a duck house in 1 hour and for free!


Ducklings also are a nice accompaniment to chicks you might raise in the spring, and can do just as much work in your garden when they mature.


Until they mature and lay eggs, ducklings can forage and help keep the bug population down. I think you’ll find that if you raise ducklings, they will be very cute, and provide hours of entertainment.


They’re easy, low maintenance animals that will provide and eggs when they’re ready.


It’s been very easy raising ducks in the past with success, so this year we added several to our backyard flock. You can buy ducklings to raise from hatcheries, feed stores, or local breeders.


Decide which breed of ducklings you want to raise 

There’s so many different breeds of ducklings to raise, so I won’t cover them all.


In this article, I’ll talk about the breeds I have experience raising, their histories, and why I like them.



Pekin Ducks

Pekin ducks are possibly the most popular breed of ducklings to raise in the United States. They’re the white ducks you see everywhere.


Pekins originated in China, and immigrants brought them over mid-19th century. They quickly gained popularity as a breed of ducklings to raise in the US because of their hardy, useful natures.


They’re a good dual purpose breed, and lay eggs consistently. We’ve chosen Pekin duckling to raise in the past, and they were easy, low-maintenance ducks.


How to Raise Ducklings


Indian Runners Ducks

Indian Runners are excellent ducklings to raise, and are highly prized for their wonderful pale green and white eggs. Runners are foragers, and great layers. They can lay around 180-200 eggs per year.


Runners generally are not suitable to raise for meat because the males top out at 5 pounds or so. Their value lies more in their eggs.


Khaki Campbells Ducks


Do ducks molt? Here's everything you need to know!

We have a few of these on our farm, and they lay nice white eggs regularly. They’re also very pretty!


Named after their developer, Mrs. Adah Campbell, these are the breed of ducklings to raise if eggs are your priority.


Laying around 300 eggs a year, Khaki Campbells were developed by breeding Mallards, Runners, and Rouen ducks.


They’re good foragers, and only weigh 3-5 pounds fully grown.


Learning to raise ducklings is easy, and you'll love their presence on your homestead. In this article, we cover everything you need to know. From FrugalChicken


Raising Ducks: Bringing your ducklings home


Step one in learning how to raise ducklings is to choose ducklings at the breeder or feed store (or wherever you happen to source them).


You want healthy-looking ducklings to raise that are active, curious, and free of poop on their bottoms.


If you’re buying your ducklings locally, be sure to keep them warm on the ride home, and provide an appropriate container for transport.


Anything from a cardboard box to a cat carrier will work (our cat carrier gets lots of use!), as long as it’s solid and has a way to keep them inside.


I personally use a cat carrier when transporting ducklings I’m bringing home to raise.


Keep them warm by keeping the heat in your car turned on, if it’s cool outside. Their down will provide them with a certain amount of warmth as well, but not a ton.


Because your ducklings will likely experience some stress by the move, keeping them warm will make sure they arrive home in the best shape possible.


Put something on the bottom of your box or carrier to catch any poop/pee, and to give them traction. In a cat carrier with no lining, they can easily slip.


Your goal is to make the ducklings comfortable so they are less stressed during transporting.


I’ve purchased poultry through the mail successfully, and most hatcheries want their birds to get to you in great shape. But if you’re concerned about travel conditions, you’re best off buying your ducklings close to home.


I purchased my ducklings about an hour away from my house, which ensured their ride home was as short as I could make it, and my ducklings arrived in good shape.


Raising Ducks: Necessary equipment


If you want true success in raising ducks, there’s some equipment you will need.


If it’s still cool outside, you’ll need a heat source and a brooder for your ducklings. We usually wait until warm weather – above 80 all the time – so we can skip the heat source step.


In my experience, the number one killer of young ducklings is getting too cold, so giving them a place to warm up is very important.


It can be very helpful having a heat lamp for ducklings.


The type of bulb you need depends on the time of year, and where you will keep your ducklings.


During the winter, I raise my ducklings inside when it’s cold, and use a heat lamp for ducklings if it’s really cold outside (we have a drafty house) or a 75 watt bulb if it’s spring, and 60 degrees or so outside.


To be honest, I prefer using the 75 watt bulb; the heat lamps get too hot, and if they fall, they can lead to a fire.


It’s not ideal if a 75 watt lamp falls, but the metal lamp surrounding the bulb doesn’t get very hot, so a fire is less likely.


I especially make sure the ducklings have a warm place to go if they’ve been swimming. Maybe they’ll need it, or maybe they won’t, but it’s better than raising cold ducklings.


I put the heat lamp in one corner of the brooder, and let them decide when they want to use it. Happy ducklings wander around and are curious, so let that be your guide to determine if they’re warm enough.


If they start panting, your lamp is too hot.


Your brooder can be as fancy or as basic as you like. I use a big plastic bin because they’re cheap and easy to clean, but you can make a brooder out of wood or metal as well.


It just needs to be sturdy and safe for your ducklings.


Most people use shavings in their brooder. I use shavings, and sometimes I add some hay. Be sure you use larger flakes because ducklings have a tendency to taste the smaller shavings, or the shavings can become mixed with their feed.


You will also need a waterer and something to keep their food in as you raise ducklings. Equipment for chickens is fine, as long as the ducks can eat or drink from it, and keep their nostrils clear.


It’s best to allow them to have a deeper dish of water so they can easily dip their bills in.


Raising Ducks: The Duck Feed

Its best to go with a poultry feed with about 22% protein.


Chick starter isn’t a good choice since ducklings have different nutritional requirements and chick starter doesn’t have enough vitamin B in it. You’ll run the risk of your ducklings developing leg issues – and this is a very real issue, so please don’t give your ducklings chick starter.


Be sure to make the feed available all the time.


Raising Ducks: Providing a Pool

One of the most fun things you’ll get to do as you raise ducklings is watching them swim and play in the water.


Although it isn’t strictly necessary to provide a pool, I provide one for my ducklings on a limited basis because I think it’s healthier and natural.


You can provide a small pool, which they will use to play and clean themselves.


Be sure the water isn’t too cold and you watch them for signs of hypothermia. Remove them if they start quacking and trying to get out, and generally looking like they’re not having much fun anymore.


Ducks are very messy when they have water to play with; I have seen backyards become muddy piles of muck by ducks in a short time. 


They will need separate drinking water, because they dirty up their pools quickly.


I don’t recommend allowing your ducks to live on a pond. They can’t fly like wild ducks because they’ve been bred to be heavier (and in some cases, their wings have been clipped), and they can’t defend themselves against predators.


If you want to be properly raising ducks for years, providing them a pool lets them play like nature intended while also keeping them safe.


Raising Ducks: Shelter

At some point, you’ll want to move your ducklings outside, and they’ll need a shelter. Be sure to give them a shelter that will protect them from predators and inclement weather and heat, and give them enough room.


I wait until mine have feathers before moving them outside in the spring. During warm weather, they’re allowed to go outside but brought back in at night so they stay safe.


If you’re going to let your ducklings free range, the space requirements are a little different than if they’re cooped in a run.


I don’t recommend free ranging your ducklings unless you want them picked off by predators. I use a tractor so they can get around to different areas without being exposed.


One thing that’s worked well for us is keeping our ducks with our goat. I firmly believe we haven’t lost any ducks because the goat is large enough – and we have small predators – that she scares off any carnivores looking for a midnight snack.


Ducklings kept in a run all the time will need about 10 square feet of space each, so when you plan your duck house, consider those space requirements.


Your shelter can be as fancy or as basic as you want, and you can keep your ducks with chickens if you only want one coop.


I’ve seen duck houses made out of chain link fence and tarps, and I’ve seen children’s playhouses repurposed as coops. As long as they can stay dry and away from predators, any shelter will work.


Our duck house isn’t anything fancy (it’s actually a repurposed shed), but it works well and keeps them dry and warm!

Do you raise ducklings? What is your favorite breed?

More Resources on Raising Ducks:



Free Duck House Plans: We Built A Free Duck House In 1 Hour With Recycled Materials (And So Can You!)

Free Duck House Plans: We Built A Free Duck House In 1 Hour With Recycled Materials (And So Can You!)

If you have ducks, they’ll need a place to live, right? That’s where our free duck house plans come in!


We added 4 new ducks to our farm this year: 2 Khaki Campbells and 2 Pekins. We even hit the jackpot and managed to get both a hen and a dake of each breed! Sometimes things just work out.


Since they needed a safe place to live, grow, and lay eggs (fingers crossed for ducklings!), we drew up plans to build them a duck house for free. And, naturally, we used recycled materials.


Earlier in the year, we invested a tin shed that was meant to house horse grain – until a tornado came by with other plans.


To build our duck house and salvage some of the tin, we used it for our duck house.


Here’s how you can build a duck house too, too, using our free plans!


Build a duck house that’s safe


Perhaps more so than when building a chicken coop, the #1 thing you should keep in mind with your duck house is it needs to be safe from predators. Chickens can fly up to roost, but drakes and hens cannot, and so have one less defense than chickens should a predator enter their domain. 


They call easy targets “sitting ducks” for a reason, so our free plans take this into consideration.


So, it’s best to build your duck house inside a safe area. We use an old cotton trailer.


Build a duck house in 1 hour and for free!


With it’s thick wire walls (much thicker than chicken wire), predators don’t have a hope of ripping it open, and the sides are high enough that it would take a very committed predator to jump it. Plus, it’s big enough that our fluffy butts are free to roam around a good-sized space.


It’s also transportable, and can be moved every month or so to keep the parasite issue at bay.


We’ve even gone a step further and given our goat, Dahlia, the job of “protecting” the ducks. She won’t actually run off a predator, but her size makes sneaky raccoons and opossums think twice about getting a free meal.


To protect your duck flock, if you can’t find a cotton trailer or something similar, hardware cloth is a good option. It’s thicker and sturdier than chicken wire, and since ducks are pretty defenseless, you will want to make sure their area is secure.


Duck house roofs

Next, your duck house will need to have an area that provides shade and protection from rain, snow, ice, etc.


We reused an old shed we had; if you don’t have anything similar, even an old dog house would work.


It’s easy to make small roof trusses with 2×6 wood, and it will be sturdy enough to last. Any free roofing material will work; you just want to make sure it will last when wind, rain, and other bad weather comes.


The roof should be around 3 feet in height as a minimum, but remember that you will have to get in there to at least clean it out, or even to help a sick or hurt duck.


Ours is made of recycled tin, and is 4 feet high – tall enough to allow us to get through if we’re crouching.


It doesn’t look like much, but it’s been tested in 60 MPH winds during tornado season, and it’s stood it’s ground – so we know it works!


We installed a corrugated plastic roof in the back so the goat has a place to lay – she loves her sun naps, and the ground stays dry.


The plastic roof also has the added benefit of keeping predators (such as hawks) out while allowing for air circulation and light.


Build a duck house in 1 hour and for free!

Space considerations

You will also need around 4 square feet of floor space inside the house itself for each duck you plan to have inside.


You will also want  to have at least 10 square feet of outside space for each duck; this will let them feel free, and help prevent stress and pecking order issues (believe me, the drakes will bring enough pecking order drama).


Our duck house plans let us have an open end on each side, but if yours will have a door, it should be at least 14 inches in width and 14 inches in height. (Remember, you will need a separate entrance for you to get into it).


Since modern hens and drakes have been bred to be heavier and flightless, it’s best if your duck house is on the ground. If you really want it raised, be sure to add a ramp so your feathered friends can actually use their new home.


You will also want enough space to put a kiddie pool full of water – your duck flock will undoubtedly enjoy taking baths. Ours go wild whenever it rains, we spray them with water, or the sprinkler hits them. It’s the highlight of their day!

What kind of bedding should be in your duck house?

There’s lots and lots of opinions about this, but I’ve found a simple solution is to just use straw. It’s clean, dry, and easy to remove.


Ducks are pretty messy, and they definitely poop more than chickens.


Once your hen ducks start laying eggs, they will do so on the ground. Straw will help keep the eggs clean, and give your hens a comfortable place to do their business. Like chickens, they like a bit of privacy, although ours have never used nesting boxes.


How long did it take to put our plans into reality?

Our duck house only took us about an hour to put together, once we had our plans figured out (the design might take you another hour).


We all want chicken coops and duck houses that look beautiful, but what matters most is that it’s safe for your flock – so don’t worry too much about the design as long as it’s functional!

I’d like to hear from you!

Have you used free duck house plans on your farm? What are your best tips? Leave them in a comment below!