5 Best Backyard Ducks For Eggs, Meat, Or Pet

by Guerrilla Homesteader

Have you ever thought about the possibility of having a yard full of ducks? Ducks can not only give you excellent eggs but can also become a great pet for your family and even be a playmate for your children.

If you haven’t thought about it yet, now may be a good time because the purchase of ducks for domestic use is growing all the time.

Although these adorable and peaceful animals used to be reserved only for hunting and food use, nowadays there are many families that choose to raise ducks for any number of their own purposes.

Pekin Duck by the lake
Pekin Duck

Raising Ducks Up From Ducklings

Ducks have proven to be a good choice as companions for humans, being really sociable and very affectionate animals, despite the bad reputation that some people attribute to them by explaining that ducks are always on the defensive and will try to peck you if you try to get close to them and touch them.

If you raise them from ducklings, they will be used to you and your family as well as become accustomed to how much you want to handle them. However, some breeds are not the best for handling or holding such as the Muscovy duck due to their claws.

A wild duck that has lived on a river or lake with its family since it was born will not have the same character as a domestic duck that you have raised since it hatched from the egg.

Just as a lion can become domesticated and tame like a cat if it is raised in captivity with its wild instincts overridden, a duck can become as affectionate and sociable as a dog if we raise it in the right way. If you want to make it your pet, of course.

Khaki Campbell
Khaki Campbell

The Reasons For Keeping Ducks

There could be several reasons why you may be looking to add some ducks to your backyard. Whether it’s to have delicious fresh duck eggs every week and consume or sell them on your own, to consume or sell them for their tasty meat, or finally, because you want them as a pet.

Now, before you make the decision and start breeding ducks in your backyard, you should know that depending on what you want to do with them, there are breeds of ducks that are more suitable than others.

Not all duck breeds are suitable to be domesticated and others that hardly lay eggs. So, first you have to know what you want to achieve and then you can decide which breed of duck you are going to raise for yourself or your family.

In the following guide I’m going to talk about the five best breeds of ducks to have for your backyard or homestead.

Whether it’s to take advantage of their meat, their eggs, or to enjoy their pleasant and entertaining company, with this information you will know everything you need to make the best choice regarding the ideal duck breed.


Best Ducks for Meat Production

The two main duck breeds used for meat production worldwide are the Pekin and the Muscovy. Both ducks, in turn, could perfectly fulfill their role as pets, especially the Pekin duck, as they are docile, affectionate and easily adaptable to their environment.

It is estimated that 90% of all duck meat produced in the United States is from the Pekin duck breed, as these ducks not only have tasty and very nutritious meat, but the nutritional needs of the breed are really simple and they gain weight quickly without having large amounts of food.

If your goal is to acquire some beautiful backyard ducks in order to take advantage of their coveted meat, the two best breeds to get them are these two. Below we explain them in detail so that you can get to know each breed better and it will be easier for you to choose one or the other according to your interests.

Pekin Trio

Pekin Ducks

The Pekin Duck, also known as the Domestic Duck, is a breed of duck native to northern Beijing in China, and produces some of the tastiest and most nutritious meat in the world.

In their natural environment, you will see this species of duck swimming rapidly in groups in waters with strong currents, as they are excellent swimmers and are in very good physical shape.

Their plumage is bright white and their beaks are bright orange, very similar to their small orange legs. The tail feathers of male ducks are pointed upwards, while those of females are pointed downwards. A very useful feature to learn to identify them during the first months, especially if you are a beginner to breeding them.

Pekin Ducks-Meat

Pekin ducks are a great choice for meat production, as they are a fast-growing breed that produces a large amount of meat.

This duck is capable of gaining up to 4 kilos in only 8-9 weeks and its feeding is much less strict than that of other breeds. They are also relatively easy to care for, and can be raised in a variety of environments.

“The shape of the body is long, broad, deep and full breasted, allowing it to carry an abundance of meat. The Pekin duck weighs around 8 lbs while the drake weighs 9 lbs.”

Oklahoma State University-Dept. of Animal Science

Pekin Ducks-Egg Production

The female Pekin duck is a great egg layer and is capable of producing up to 200 per year. However, egg production will always depend on the quality of the breeding and feeding, being at only five months of age when the females begin breeding.

The time of year is also a factor being that spring and summer will be the most productive times of year for egg laying and winter being the least productive time.

Indian Runners
Indian Runners

Pekin Ducks-As Pets

Pekin ducks are popular pets for many reasons. They are relatively low maintenance, as they can be kept in a backyard with minimal space.

Pekin ducks are also friendly and can be easily trained to eat from your hand. In addition, these ducks do not require a lot of care compared to other domesticated animals such as dogs and cats.

If you are looking for a pet that is easy to take care of and will provide you with hours of entertainment, then a Pekin duck is a great choice.

Pekin Ducks-Summary

The Pekin Duck is a hardy breed, does not get sick easily and will be a perfect duck breed for any of your needs: egg production, meat production or as a pet.

Undoubtedly, its fame is more than justified because it is the king of backyard ducks.

muscovy duck
Muscovy duck

Muscovy Ducks

The Muscovy Duck, also known as the Black or Mute Duck, is one of the most special ducks in existence as it is the only one that is not directly descended from the mallard. This beautiful greenish colored duck is native to the Amazon area and its central trading area covers much of South and Central America (Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina).

Nowadays, however, trade and breeding with this duck species is more developed in Asia, especially in the areas of China, Vietnam and Taiwan, and in part of Europe (France).

As for its physique and character, we’ll know that it is a Muscovy duck by the bright red fleshy eyes, its emerald green and white plumage, and its fine dark legs.

Like the Peking Duck, it is a docile breed, although not as docile as the Peking Duck, but the Muscovy duck will not give you a problem when raising them with your family because they are docile.

They do have claws on their feet which could be a concern if you plan on handling the adult ducks. When handling them you should use leather gloves just in case or hold their legs together to prevent yourself from getting scratched.

When I raised them, I never really picked them up so it was never a problem.

The wild Muscovy has a distinct color palette of black and white. Domesticated Muscovy have many different colors. The males can grow to be quite large, weighing 10-15 lbs.

Oklahoma State University-Dept. of Animal Science

Muscovy Ducks-Egg Laying

Muscovy Ducks are known for being good egg-layers. They can lay up to 180 eggs per year, which is more than many other breeds of ducks. Muscovies are also known for their large eggs, which are often used in baking and other recipes calling for duck eggs.

One of the reasons that Muscovy Ducks make such good egg-layers is because they have a high rate of fertility. In fact, studies have shown that almost all Muscovy Ducks will successfully produce offspring if given the opportunity.

This high fertility rate combined with their ability to lay large numbers of eggs makes them one of the best choices for those looking to raise ducks for eggs(or meat).

I started with three females and one male (all Muscovies) and let them breed and set on eggs as they wished and before too long I had 27 ducklings running around in my small suburban backyard! And that was with only two of the females setting on eggs!

So I can personally attest to their ability to provide both eggs and meat. Muscovy females are great mothers and will sit on eggs of their own and eggs of other ducks too.

Their eggs are excellent and big with large beautiful yolks. The shells are strong and thick and the membranes are also strong.

I actually used a knife edge to score the shells around the diameter and then poke the knife through the membrane before cracking it on the edge of my frying pan to crack them open cleanly.

The eggs they give are worth the extra steps to open them. I personally love Muscovy eggs, so yes I may be a little biased towards them although other breeds are more prolific layers.

 “Their feet are equipped with strong sharp claws for grasping tree branches and roosting. Muscovys are unique because of their bright red caruncles around their eyes and above the beak.”

Oklahoma State University-Dept. of Animal Science

Muscovy Ducks-Meat

Muscovy ducks are a species of domesticated duck that is typically raised for meat. The ducks are native to South America and Mexico, but they have been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America and Europe.

Muscovy ducks are generally larger than other domesticated duck breeds, and they have a dark-colored meat that is considered to be more flavorful than other duck meats and the texture has been compared to red meat such as beef. Duck meat is a delicacy in many cultures, and it can be cooked in a variety of ways.

Muscovy ducks can be roasted, grilled, or even smoked. As for meat production, this breed of duck has a slower growth time than the Peking duck, the average daily weight they can reach is around 50 grams and in just 10 weeks they will have reached four kilos to be able to slaughter them for eating or to sell their meat.

Khaki Campbells
Khaki Campbells

Muscovy Ducks-As Pets

Muscovy ducks are a popular pet for many reasons. They are low maintenance, friendly, and make a great addition to any backyard.

They have a very relaxed demeanor, which makes them great for first-time duck owners. Muscovies are also known to be fairly quiet, so they won’t disturb the neighbors.

They don’t often quack but make a low volume squeal instead, and so are quieter than chickens and don’t really sound like ducks either. They’re a good choice if you have neighbors close by and don’t want ducks quacking loudly in your backyard.

Muscovy Ducks-Summary

It is a pleasant breed of duck to have with children(if they don’t pick them up as they have claws) and its meat is of an extraordinary quality. Their eggs are plentiful and large as well as high in quality.

If backyard quacking is not desirable, Muscovies are a winner. In any of these functions, the Muscovy duck is a great multipurpose backyard duck that will give you very good results as a pet, for meat, and eggs. And is my personal favorite!


Best Ducks for Egg Production

Indian Runner Ducks

The Indian Runner duck breed is another of the most famous backyard duck breeds, being famous for being excellent egg producers. The Indian Runner is one of the oldest duck breeds in existence, with some believing that its origin dates back more than 2000 years to the Southeast Asian area.

It was in the 20th century when the breed expanded with the naval trade and reached Europe, where there are now millions of birds used mainly for egg production.

At the beginning, this duck was called “Penguin Duck” for having a physique very similar to that of these animals, since it is a duck with a narrow and cylindrical body, quite tall, with a rounded chest and rounded sides (as penguins have) and a long neck (measuring 3 times more than the rest of the body) and a convex back.

They are not as suitable for domestic purposes as other breeds and much less for children to keep as pets as they are shy and easily frightened. As soon as they feel threatened they will flap their wings quickly and run away, and they are very fast. Hence their name “Indian Runner”.

Indian Runner
Indian Runner

This is why duck breeders always use them for egg production, as females in one season are capable of laying up to 360 eggs, an average of 7-8 eggs per week.

Without a doubt, this peculiar breed of duck is the ideal choice if you want to have fresh eggs for breakfast every day in your kitchen.

You will never need chickens again if you have a group of Indian Runner ducks, they are the best egg layers!

Khaki Campbell

This duck breed is the second most used for egg production and is considered the first crossbred duck breed, since the Campbell duck breed was originally developed by Mrs. Adele Campbell in Uley, Gloucester, England.

It was first introduced as an official breed in 1898, the result of crossing a Mallard duck species and an Indian Runner duck and giving rise to this characteristic and beautiful duck of small size with khaki plumage.

Khaki Campbell
Khaki Campbells

Its physical appearance is quite similar to that of an Indian Runner duck, because it is crossed with this species and retains its convex back and its quite vertical posture, however its plumage is quite different with beige feathers, gray back, chest of a nice pale burgundy tone, have a white ring around the neck and head of a striking dark green color.

It is a quiet breed with a very good physical condition, however its meat is not of interest and its main commercial function is focused on large-scale egg production.

A female Campbell duck in the best conditions can lay more than 360 eggs, in some cases even 400, laying an average of one egg per day. This makes this duck the main rival of the Indian Runner and hens in terms of egg production. They are machines!

Best Duck Breed For Pet

There are several breeds of ducks that are great for domestic use, with the Indian Runner, Pekin Duck and Cayuga being among the three best to fulfill that role.

In general, all these backyard duck breeds are docile, affectionate and perfect to live with families with any kind of climate, so if you want to give your family a nice surprise and give them the company of one of these duck breeds, choosing among these three won’t disappoint.


The Cayuga duck is a beautiful duck of U.S. origin, perfect to be your family pet. This species was introduced in the Finger Lakes region (New York) in 1840 and is named after the “Cayuga” people of the area.

This duck is very easy to recognize thanks to its striking green and black luminescent plumage, its legs and bill also have a black tone and its head is the same dark green tone as the rest of the body.

It is a small and robust duck and throughout the 19th century its breed was the most widely used for meat production in the United States. However, over the years other duck breeds have proven to be much more profitable for meat and egg production, making it an ornamental or domestic duck.

It has a really good character to become the best friend of the family, it is calm and affectionate and it is also very quiet and clean. It is perfect to live in city areas with small gardens, it adapts easily and resists very well to temperature changes.

In Summary

To summarize, the 5 best backyard ducks for eggs, meat, or pet are the Pekin, Khaki Campbell, Indian Runner, Cayuga, and Muscovy.

All of these ducks have unique qualities that make them good for different purposes. Pekins are the most popular choice for egg production, while Khaki Campbells are known for their high egg production.

Runners are good for both eggs and meat, while Cayugas are known for their excellent flavor.

And last, but certainly not least, Muscovy Ducks provide high quality meat and eggs, and remain the quietest of all breeds. Each duck has its own unique benefits that make it a good choice for different people. Choose your favorite breed and enjoy all the great benefits those ducks provide!

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