When we talk about domesticated duck breeds, we are talking about ducks that have been specially bred for being raised by humans. Now, there are domesticated duck breeds in the wild. However, these have descended from ducks that may have escaped from homes, farms, and other commercial duck operations.
On this page, we want to give you a bit of an overview about domestic duck breeds and the types of ducks, as well as all the duck breeds that are recognized by the American Poultry Association in the US.
All Duck Breeds in the US Recognized by the APA
There are 17 recognized domestic duck breeds in the US by APA. Next to the breed is the year when the duck was admitted to the APA.
Call duck, 1874
East Indie, 1874
Khaki Campbell, 1941
Welsh Harlequin, 2001
Buff Orpington, 1914
Crested duck, 1874
Swedish Blue, 1904
Duck Breeds List – Recognized Variety and Class
|Duck Breed||Recognized Variety||Class|
|Call Duck||White, Snowy, Pastel, Gray, Chocolate, Buff,|
Butterscotch, Blue Bibbed, Blue Fawn
|Magpie||Black & White, Blue & White||Light|
|Runner||Black, Buff, Chocolate, Cumberland Blue,|
Fawn & White, Gray, Penciled, White
|Welch Harlequin||One variety only||Light|
|Buff||One variety only||Medium|
|Muscovy||Black, Blue, Chocolate, White||Heavy|
|Saxony||One variety only||Heavy|
The History of the Domestic Duck
The vast majority of duck breeds nowadays were domesticated from the wild Mallard duck (which you still find in the wild to this day!).
There is only one domesticated duck breed that descends from elsewhere. This is the Muscovy duck breed.
The first domesticated duck happened about 4,000-years ago. This happened in Southeast Asia, and the domesticated duck quickly spread throughout the world. It has been farmed heavily ever since.
Obviously, the domesticated duck is not as popular as other domesticated birds, especially the chicken, but ducks are farmed in almost every country in the world.
Domesticated ducks are a bit different to wild ducks. The wild mallard is known for being an incredibly territorial breed of duck. However, territoriality was very quickly bred out of these animals.
As a result, it is rare that you will find a territorial domesticated duck.
The only other ‘main’ difference is that domestic duck breeds will have many partners, whereas wild ducks will be monogamous. Again, this is a trait that has been bred into the duck. It makes them a little bit easier to breed.
What is the Differences Between Domesticated Duck Breeds?
There are a lot of different breeds of duck out there. Many of which are listed on this page.
The most striking difference between the breeds of domesticated duck will be the color of their features, as well as their size. However, there are a few differences on top of this too.
Some duck breeds will have been developed for show purposes. This means that they will look a lot better. Some ducks for meat, which means that they will grow faster. Others for eggs, which means that they will be laying a lot more eggs.
Duck breeds will have different personalities too. Some are known for being calm and laid back, while others are going to be a lot more adventurous.
The Uses of the Domesticated Ducks – Types of Ducks
As we said; there are several different uses for the domesticated breeds of ducks. In this section, we want to look at the main types of ducks.
They can be divided into four main groups:
- Meat duck breeds,
- Ducks for eggs,
- Dual-purpose breeds,
- Ornamental ducks.
Each of these duck groups has a number of excellent representatives.
Duck Breeds for Show
Nearly every type of duck breed in the world will have duck shows dedicated to it. In fact, the use at shows is probably one of the main reasons why many less-productive domesticated duck breeds have survived.
Duck shows are all about showing off the perfect specimens of a duck breed. Duck organizations around the world will have come up with what features the ‘ideal duck’ would have, and these ducks will be judged by this criteria.
Show ducks are actually good money makers for breeders too. If you have a duck that regularly wins duck shows, then others will be happy to pay a lot of cash for the off-spring.
If you raise ducks for shows, then you will be spending a lot of time doing selective breeding. This is to help to produce a duck that has ‘ideal’ traits.
Of course, even if you are not planning to enter ducks into duck shows, you will also enjoy the fact that many duck breeds are great ornamental animals for your garden.
Meat Breeds of Ducks
These type of duck is not as popular as it was in the past, it is still eaten rather heavily. A lot of duck breeds nowadays are bred specifically for meat.
The ideal domesticated duck breed for meat will be fast-growing and grows to a large weight. However, to be honest with you, most duck breeds are suitable for meat. It is just that some will be more suitable than others.
It is worth noting that the breeds developed for meat are so fast-growing that they have absolutely no purpose beyond meat use.
This is because the speed at which these ducks grow will put a lot of pressure on their internal organs, and this will result in early death.
Duck Breeds for Eggs
Again, duck eggs are not as popular as they were in the past, but many people do still enjoy duck eggs.
A lot of ducks bred for meat will also be used for their eggs too. It is actually quite rare for a duck to be used for one purpose and not the other. As a result, many of the meat ducks will produce a lot of eggs.
Obviously, the main thing that you will want to be on the lookout for when searching for a domesticated duck breed that produces eggs will be the number of eggs it can produce.
The size will also play a role, as well as how frequently the eggs are laid. Ideally, you will want to choose a duck that will lay eggs throughout the year.
Many duck owners will also use these eggs for breeding.
Ducks are not really used for that many other purposes now. In the past, duck feathers would have been used, and thus certain duck breeds were produced for softer feathers.
However, the use of duck feathers is somewhat of a rarity now.
The only other main use for domesticated ducks is another food-related use. Although, even this is going to be limited, with France being one of only a few countries that does it.
This is the use of ducks for foie gras. And, even then, this is mostly a goose thing now. This is because they produce larger livers.
Finding the right duck breed for you can be difficult. We suggest that you go through the wealth of information on various duck breeds that we have included on this website.
As you go through this information, you will start to get a feel for what each duck brings to the table, quite literally in some cases!