Originally Posted by harbisgirl
I'm contemplating the idea of getting a few ducks. I'd like a Heritage breed. Does anybody have any suggestions? They would be pets. Temperament is critical as they will be pets. And while eggs are a big perk they are not a requirement. It’d be nice if they were pretty J They'll all have their own pens but be let out to forage and congregate in a (fenced) area of about an acre of mostly wooded area but with a sunny area of meadow/field. Climate is pretty hot in the summer – upper 90’s in the summer and snows a few times during the winter.
As far as Heritage breeds go, I can only offer my experience with Anconas, Swedish and Welsh Harlequins. My Swedish and WH aren't very skittish at all, but I'm not a big fan of the Swedish personalities. In general, the Anconas are a little more skittish than the WH & Swedish. However, the sweetest duck I've ever had is one of my Anconas. I like both the Anconas and WH. I think they are both pretty.
Originally Posted by kikidee
As for breeds, I've only had cayugas and welsh harlequins. I have to say, welsh harlequins are kinda skittish. I have only had boys btw. My welshie jumps away when I try to pet him, but he'll still come up and nibble on my hand and clothes, so he's fine. Also takes food from my hands xD. Basically he trusts me but doesn't want me to touch him. My cayuga (i've had two in the past and one now) is perfect. He lets me pet him, comes running to me, sits on my lap, talks to me whenever he hears my voice, and the last cayugas were similar. I've had a great expirience with cayugas. So I reccomend Cayugas. I personally think they're gorgeous, they're black but around 4 months get a beautiful green shimmer throughout their body. I also hear Pekins and Rouens are good, but Pekins are best for pets. Haven't tried out that theory though.
In my experience, most ducks really don't like to be petted. They might tolerate it, but it's not really something they seek out. It sounds like you have a rare exception in your Cayuga. I think it probably has a lot to do with how you raised him.
Originally Posted by jdywntr
If you aren't planning on breeding, why only a heritage breed?
This is a list from ALBC's website. Level of threat to breed goes down from left to right.
Pretty much any breed will be friendly if you spend ALOT of time with it when they are small. If they are going to be more free range, you need to get a breed that can forage well and take care of itself to a degree. I would suggest a bit more research to find something that truly appeals to you and your wants.
Even if you're not going to breed, you are still supporting the rarer Heritage breeds by buying them. Hopefully, the more demand there is for them, the more available they will become.
Another piece of advice - I would buy from a good breeder rather than a hatchery if you're worried about temperament. Find one that doesn't breed aggressive drakes.
AND...I have to agree about the Pekins. With the exception of my one Ancona drake who is a total sweetheart, Pekins are my favorite as pets. They are just very comical, personable ducks.
If you're not interested in breeding, though, you can get a mixed flock of a few breeds!