Raising poultry such as chickens and waterfowl is becoming an increasingly popular hobby in the United States. However, many people who want to partake in a pet duck, have no idea where to begin in selecting one.
Breeding ducks has been a pursuit of many devoted farmers and bird enthusiasts for hundreds of years, yielding a wide variety of ducks with varying characteristics and traits. Some ducks produce more eggs than others, some are excellent birds for their meat. Which ducks make the best pets? Meaning which birds are the best behaved, the most adaptable, the friendliest, and the most aesthetically pleasing.
Here is a run down of the four most popular duck breeds, along with their basic Pros and Cons -
Pekin Ducks – are the large white ducks (think Aflac commercials), they have a calm demeanor and relaxed temperament. Pekin ducklings are the soft, yellow ducklings that you are probably used to seeing. They are the most popular breed of domestic duck in the United States.
- Pekin Pros - calm, sociable, very adaptable, unable to fly, easy to purchase
- Pekin Cons – unexciting coloration, can be loud
Rouen Ducks – are larger cousins of the mallard ducks, having the exact same beautiful coloration. They are very calm and sociable, and bred to be a pet duck or farm duck. They key difference between a Mallard and a Rouen is that Rouens are too large to fly, and you won’t have to worry about clipping wings.
- Rouen Pros - beautiful coloration, calm, sociable, too large to fly, easy to purchase
- Rouen Cons – Rouens can have a cumbersome stature
Cayuga Ducks – are medium sized ducks (still too large to fly), which have a very unique iridescent green plumage. They are the quietest pet ducks, and are often the choice for people who live in close proximity to their neighbors.
- Cayuga Pros - very cool coloration, great stature, very quiet
- Cayuga Cons – harder to find
Mallard Ducks – are popular as well because people frequently see them in the wild. However, domesticated mallards will still retain the ability to fly, which makes them somewhat less suitable as pets as it may be necessary to clip their wings.
- Mallard Pros - very cool coloration, great stature, very quiet
- Mallard Cons – will be able to fly, harder birds to ship