The Top 4 Pet Duck Breeds

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.

Pekins are the large, white duck people frequently see
Pekins are the large, white duck people frequently see
  • 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.

Rouens are larger cousins of the Mallard
Rouens are larger cousins of the Mallard
  • 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.

Cayugas are the quietest ducks
Cayugas are the quietest ducks
  • Cayuga Pros – very cool coloration, great stature, very quiet
  • Cayuga Cons – harder to find

Mallard Ducksare 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.

Mallards will be able to fly
Mallards will be able to fly
  • Mallard Pros – very cool coloration, great stature, very quiet
  • Mallard Cons – will be able to fly, harder birds to ship

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I think pet ducks are one of life's greatest little joys.


  1. I can’t figure out what breed of duck I have. He’s about 13 years old, has a green head black body with a bluish purple on his wings. Also at times he’s very tempermental. Any ideas?

  2. We live in the California desert, its getting cold out. We have a total of 3 ducks what can I do to help keep them warm? We’ve tried putting them in the garage but they run out.

  3. I am looking forward to purchasing a duck for a pet. My pond in my backyard will be converted into a great habitat for it. The rouen ducks are very friendly with humans and that’s the one I want to find for sale.

  4. please send name of a duck breed bred by a Brit to be “most beautiful breed. I have some and forgot th namr!!!


  6. I have three rouen, one pekin, one swedish, and one mixed breed duck! Their names, respectively, are Kiwi, Mango, Coconut, Nipper, Shania, and Skipper! I love them all to death and they all are extremely tame and sociable!

  7. I am trying to decide what type of ducklings to get. We have 11 acres and a nice pond, so seemingly a great environment for them. However, we had mallards and 1 rouen before, and one by one they were picked off by predators. :-( I know it’s nature, but it was heart-breaking. Now – we didn’t have a coop – they just lived naturally here. We plan to build a coop this time. Question – What if I get Pekin or Rouen – I know they cannot fly – doesn’t this make them more vulnerable to predators? I don’t want to create a “sitting duck” situation – sorry for the lousy pun, but it’s all I could think of. Thanks, in advance!

  8. If you have some kind of protected area or coop for them at night, that will be very helpful. They are most vulnerable then. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to protect them during the day other than get a few protective geese to help ward off predators. Guinea Fowl are also great “watch birds”.

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