Duck Breeds

  • Abacot Ranger (Streicher) – An early 20th Century Breed originally referred to as the Hooded Ranger (The females have a 'hood' of fawn-buff feathers). A reasonable layer and sitter with a differing bill colour in males and females similar to the Appleyards, making sexing after 8 weeks simple.
    A dual purpose bird that rarely flies, so is a good back garden all rounder.
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 180-200 per annum
  • Appleyard (Silver Appleyard) - Developed in the 1940s by the famous duck breeder Reginald Appleyard in West Suffolk. The duck is silvery-white with a heavy flecking of fawn on her back.
    The Appleyard is a large and heavily set bird. It grows quickly and makes a good table bird. They look very stylish with a classical yellow beak and orange legs and feet. They are quiet and well suited to being kept at home.
    There is only one standard colour, Silver. You can also get this breed in miniature.
    Egg colour – blue
    Egg numbers – 100-180 per annum
  • Aylesbury duckAylesbury - Originating in Aylesbury. They are one of the larger duck breeds and as such must have good access to water for mating on as they are too heavy and ungainly to mate successfully on land. For good fertility they need a rich and varied diet with plenty of greens as they are not as hardy as the other large breeds.
    The attraction of the Aylesbury for development as a table bird was its large frame. The white feather stubs leave less of an obvious residue after plucking so making the resulting carcass much more attractive to the general market.
    The Aylesbury has always been regarded as a great table bird as it grows and matures very quickly and has a flavour and quality that is hard to match. Aylesburys are good natured and friendly, although they do have quite a loud quack.
    Aylesburys are only available in pure white.
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – up to 120 per annum
  • Bali - An ancient breed of considerable significance. Ducks of upright carriage have been found carved in the stone of the temples of Asia dating back some two thousand years. Many believe the Bali duck to be the originator of the Indian Runner.
    The erect 80 degree carriage of the Bali is accentuated by a long body that is somewhat heavier than its Indian Runner cousin. On the back of the head of an ideal Balinese is a golf ball sized crest. Most Bali that are reared outside of Indonesia are white, although brown is the common colour in their homeland.
    Egg colour – blue
    Egg numbers – 100-200 per annum
  • Black East Indies (Buenos Aries Duck / Labrador / Black Brazilian) – Originally bred to be a beautiful bird selected for no white or brown feathering and being around the 4 to 5 pound weight. Although they now have been bred down to 11/2 to 2 pounds.
    They lay one possibly two clutches per year, and will not sit and brood if the eggs are removed. They are excellent fliers.
  • call duck drake copyright Bartol666Call – originally named the ‘Decoy’ and changed in the 1890's to the name ‘Call’. They were bred to have a loud quack, so that they could be used as decoys on lakes to attract wild ducks into the area.
    The Call Duck is a short, compact and cobby bird with a round face and short bill. They are the favourite show breed of duck and are bred to a very high standard.
    Call ducks are lively and talkative. They are clean, tidy birds and if provided with clean water and good food will keep themselves in good condition. They are also easily tamed. There are lots of varieties of Call duck. The ten standard colours are: Apricot, Bibbed, Black, Blue Fawn, Dark Silver, Magpie, Mallard, Pied, Silver and White.
    They are excellent fliers.
    Breed society: /
  • Khaki Campbel drake copyright Steve-BraceCampbell - This is the main egg laying breed in the duck world. It was first shown around 1900, and developed from a Mallard mated with a Pencilled Runner to create a Khaki coloured duck.
    The Campbell comes in two main varieties, Khaki and also white, which is not a recognised variety in the UK.
    The Campbell are at home on land as well as in water.
    The ducks are mainly khaki coloured and the drakes have greenish-bronze heads with brown-bronze tails, backs, and necks. They have green bills.
    Excellent foragers, keeping gardens and ponds free of slugs, snails and worms.
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 200-300 per annum
  • Cayuga copyright Hagen-GraebnerCayuga - Their name is taken from Lake Cayuga in New York State. It carries the blood of the original wild black duck, the Black East Indies and probably some Rouen blood introduced for the purpose of larger size. They arrived in the UK when they were shown at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851.
    They lay through the year normally starting in the spring and will brood their eggs if left to sit. The eggs are meant to be covered in a black / dark grey film which will wash off though many now lay white eggs. The Cayuga is a hardy breed and both the drake and the hen have good temperament and are quiet.
    The standard variety is black with iridescent green feathers, although recently a solid Blue was developed in America.
    Egg numbers – 80-100 per annum
  • Crested DuckCrested – Originally from Great Britain, Crested ducks have been around for a long time and feature in art dating back over 2,000 years.
    The crest is due to a fatal gene and normally about 20% of a hatch have a good crest available on any colour or breed. Due to this they are difficult to breed as most of the birds bred are unsuitable and of the resulting crested birds many will have off centre or peculiarly shaped crests.
    There are reasonably good layers but mostly kept for pets. They are fairly quiet birds, with the female only making a noise when she wants attention.
    There are two officially recognized varieties, White and Black, although you can find ducks with crest in most colours.
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 100+ per annum
  • Hookbill (Kromsnaveleend ) - Originating in seventeenth and eighteenth century Holland where illustrations of a North Holland White Breasted Duck are obvious ancestors of this breed. The curved bill is said to allow sportsmen shooting wildfowl to distinguish the breed from the Mallard in flight.
    Egg colour – blue
    Egg numbers – 100-200 per annum
  • Indian Runner DuckIndian Runner – Imported into Europe 200 years ago. They had been found in the East Indies, from which they get their present name. They also run, instead of waddle.
    They are very distinctive with their long, flat, straight head and a long, slender neck forming the shape of an umbrella handle and stem. The back should be long, straight and carried upright, and with the body should take on almost horizontal bearing.
    They are prolific layers. They generally need less water than other varieties and can get by with just a tub of water in which to dunk their heads. These birds have a good nature, but can be rather jumpy at times. They are average in terms of noise level.
    The standard varieties include White, Black, Buff, Chocolate and Gray although there are a wide range of other non-standard colours available.
    Egg colour – blue
    Egg numbers – 200 per annum
    Breed society:
  • MagpieDuck copyright YooperyMagpie - A modern breed (1920’s) originally from Wales that was bred for both its meat and its egg production.
    They live on average for nine years, rarely fly and are a good back garden all rounder.
    Egg colour – green / blue (some now white due to crossing)
    Egg numbers – 180-200 per annum

  • Mallard copyright Richard-BartzMallard - Most of today's domestic duck breeds descended from the Mallard (except the Muscovy). The Mallard is the best known and possibly most abundant wild duck in the Northern Hemisphere and with their trademark 'quack' call, are one of the most recognised of all the ducks.
    Although a wild breed, Mallards can be domesticated.
    The male has a dark green head, a yellow bill, is mainly purple-brown on the breast and grey on the body. The female is mainly brown with an orange bill. As some Mallards have been domesticated, you may also see Mallard-like hybrids showing bewildering colours from khaki brown to pure white.
  • Muscovy Duck copyright SandyColeMuscovy - Originating from Brazil, this is the only breed of domestic duck that is not descended from the mallard. The Muscovy was one of the first ducks to be domesticated but didn't come to the UK or North America until the Twentieth Century.
    Muscovy's are non-migratory birds and like to roost in trees at night - their feet are equipped with strong sharp claws for grabbing tree branches and roosting. They do not quack, but make a hissing sound instead. Females chirp to their offspring and only make a short, weak quack - this is what makes them the quietest of all the ducks.
    Personality wise the nicest, daftest, stupidest sense of humour and clever with it . . . they communicate ways to escape / steal extra food etc . . . and are brilliant with dogs.
    The fact that they are nearly silent can make them a very good choice if you have close neighbours. They do not swim much because their oil glands are under developed compared to most ducks, but they can fly well and are good escape artists. They occasionally like eating some vermin and should not be kept with guinea pigs or rabbits.
    Wild muscovies coloration is black and white, but domestication has produced many different colours including White, Blue, Black and Chocolate.
    Egg colour – cream
  • Buff Orpington Duck copyright Mike-WintersOrpington - They originated as a cross breeding programme between Indian Runner, Rouen and Aylesbury by Mr William Cook (also developed the Orpington chicken) in Kent as a utility breed for both eggs and meat.
    Buff is the most popular colour and the other colours white, black, chocolate, lavender / blue have all but disappeared.
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 180-200 per annum
  • Overberg - Originating in the The Netherlands through selective breeding from North-Holland Hook Bills, Abacot Rangers and Welsh Harlequins.
    This is a good utility bird, good for eggs and the table.  It rarely flies and so is a good back garden breed.
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 180-200 per annum
  • Pekin copyright Martin-BackertPekin – Originated in China, and was imported from Pekin into England in 1873.
    The Pekin is open feathered so is more likely to get mites, ticks or fly strike. Watch in extreme humid heat for signs of distress.
    The Pekin is like a mini Runner Duck with quite an upright stance. They are the perfect caricature of a duck with a bright yellow bill, orange shanks and toes and the ducklings are a bright yellow colour.
    These ducks have become very popular to farm as they grow quite quickly, are hardy, highly fertile and one of the largest size ducks. They are friendly calm ducks that are quite easy to train. However, they are one of the noisiest breeds to keep.
    They rarely fly and is a good back garden all rounder - a waddler rather than a walker
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 80-100 per annum
  • Pommeranian copyright RaunaPommeranian - They were named after the main breeding area, Pommerania, and have been bred pure since the 1920's in Switzerland.
    Despite a good laying ability and early maturing of the chicks, there are only a few breeders in Switzerland and Germany who purposefully take on this breed.  They have a pleasing appearance (green-glowing black or blue-grey with a white breast pinafore) and a trustful nature,
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 100-160 per annum
  • Rouen copyright Ben23Rouen - The Rouen was developed in France, and an obvious descendent of the Mallard duck. The drakes have green heads, white collars, claret breast and a blue patch on the wing - Rouens are even brighter in colour and larger in size than Mallards.
    Rouens are raised primarily for the restaurant market, but it is now regarded as being a slow grower, taking over a year to reach full size. These ducks are excellent foragers, calm in disposition and unlikely to fly. Drakes mature at about 8 pounds and ducks at about 7 pounds. Laying rate varies; some strains average 100 eggs per year and other over 150.
    Large breeds require 15 inch plus water to mate.
    They are more easily tamed than the Mallard and have a slightly lazy air about them. They are also relatively quiet.
    Grey is the standard colour although there is now a much wider selection including Black, Blue and Pastel.
  • Rouen Clair – A variant of the common Mallard colouring and a useful breed with reasonable laying and brooding abilities. Referred to in early poultry books as the Duclair Duck. It is a modern development of the traditional mallard-coloured ducks from the Rouen area of France.
  • Saxony copyright Susanne-MaxSaxony - A dual purpose bird developed in Germany by blending the Rouen, Peking and Blue Pomeranian - it is named after the Saxony Show of 1934, where the duck was first shown.
    The drake's head, back, and wing markings are blue-gray. The breast feathers are a rich chestnut-burgundy, the underbody and flanks are cream, and the neck ring white. Legs and feet are orange or reddish-brown and the bill is yellow or orange, often with pale green shading. The females are buff with creamy white facial stripes, neck ring, and underbody. The bill is orange, often with brown shading. The legs and feet are orange to reddish-orange.
    Saxony's are not broody and are fairly easy going. The females are quite noisy and it doesn't take much to get them started.
  • Swedish copyright Anders-GustavssonSwedish - A blue duck of unstable colouring. It is of a medium sized, that weighs between 6.5 and 8 pounds; males usually weigh more then females. As early as 1835, the blue Swedish duck was being raised by farmers in Pomerania, which back then was part of Sweden, thus the name.
    The Swedish have a striking appearance with wonderful black heads, white bibs and a lovely light blue body. Their blue colour apparently makes it difficult for predators to see them but in reality these ducks stand out beautifully in any garden. They have a calm disposition and are active foragers. They are quite a noisy breed. The females have a loud yelling type quack, whereas the males have a low pitched tone but can raise the loudness of their quack to rival the females.
    Although Blue is the only standardized colour - the Swedish will always produce a certain percentage of black and silver offspring.
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 150+ per annum
  • Welsh Harlequin Duck copyright AtenstaedtWelsh Harlequin - Bred from 2 sorts of Khaki Campbell stock. It is the most brightly plumaged of the lighter breeds with an adult bird sized between the Miniature Appleyard and the Campbell.
    They are good layers and reasonable mothers and make good sociable back garden ducks rarely flying and foraging well. Needs dry bedding, protection from the weather and predators (not the cleverest of breeds); good food and water. They do not require water for swimming to stay healthy, but they do enjoy it. The Welsh Harlequin is a placid bird.
    Egg colour – white
    Egg numbers – 250-300 per annum