What type of ducks for pets?

Back on the Farm

8 Years
Mar 9, 2011
DH and I took the plunge and decided to start raising chickens.
I've got 8 baby chicks in the brooder.
We also want to add a few ducks. Our chickens are dual purpose and I want the ducks to be pets. I recently moved back to the farm - I grew up with dairy cows, but never had chickens and ducks.

What type of duck do you recommend? I've got two kids ages 7 & 13.
Seperate brooder for the ducks or can I put them with the chickens? They will be together outside when they are old enough to move to the coop. I know that ducks can get messy, but I'm ok with that.
Can they eat the same starter food as the chicks? Do they need grit as well?
Any other advice/recommendations? Good resources for information?

Thanks - I appreciate it.


9 Years
Feb 13, 2010
I've never raised ducks from ducklings... yet. I bought a breeder pair of muscovies and a pair of pekins. All i can tell you is based on my experience with adult birds. Muscovies are nice because they're quiet, and are very apt to go broody. There are two downfalls of 'scovies. one is that they fly, so you can't keep them in a pen unless you clip their wings (that's what i did). The other downfall is that they have REALLY long, sharp claws to grasp branches and such... they can use them to defend themselves. Pekings also have their downsides. for one thing they are LOUD
. second of all, they do not go broody, so you have to incubate the eggs, or hatch them under a hen
. on the upside, they grow fast, and lay alot of eggs. in my experience, the 'scovies are the cleaner of the two. hope this helps.


9 Years
Sep 7, 2010
Upstate NY
If your raising from ducklings then I would say Runners!

They're cute and funny to watch. They lay like theres no tomorow, and our girls are as friendly as dogs

They love kids and they snuggle up to you any chance they can get.

They can be raised with the chickens as long as their isnt too big a size diffrence or age diffrence.
They can have the same starter feed as long as it isnt medicated, and they do need grit and lots of greens! (Romaine Lettuce, Kale,etc...)

They will be a bit messier then chickens but otherwise there isnt much diffrence.
The three main pointers are to keep them: Warm, Clean, and Dry.
They need heat just like the chicks (thats kind of a no brainer...)
They should be kept as clean as possible (if they end up dirty use a warm damp rag to clean them off and dry them off well)
And the one thing people dont realise is ducklings raised by people are NOT water proof. They should not be allowed to swim until they are mostly feathered (they can become water logged and either drown or freeze to death) Ducklings lack their mothers oils and cannot safly swim until they produce their own oil. (ducklings need to be supervised while swimming up to 3 months of age. they still risk drowning until this point)

Hope this helps!


8 Years
Feb 10, 2011
England, UK
I'd recommend Khaki Campbells - they are very loving, provide you with eggs and they are a very hardy breed!

They can eat the same starter food and layer pellets when they are older as long as the protein level is about 16-17%!

They can lve with the chickens but they will need some kind of pond - you will have to be careful that the chickens do ot go in the pond though!

They will need grit if you are having girls!

If you are getting mixed genders, you will need one drake to 3-4 hens but you can keep same sex groups!

I'd recommend going on this website: http://www.omlet.co.uk/guide/guide.php?view=Ducks - it is very useful! Also, I'd happily answer any of your questions!

Back on the Farm

8 Years
Mar 9, 2011
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you... for all your helpful information. Going into something new it is nice to hear from others and their experiences.
I'll keep you posted as to which breed of ducks we get, and I'm sure I'll be back on the duck board for more information and help.

Thanks again everyone.


Serama Mama
11 Years
May 17, 2008
Amarillo, TX
We got our first ducks 2 weeks ago. We got 4 Khaki Campbells. We've never had ducks before and I have to admit, they are really fun! They are messy, though! The litter in their brooder stays wet. They play as much or more in their water as they do drink it, so it ends up all over the bottom of the brooder. That's my only complaint.

After reading the post here from DuckyMom, I'm now looking at adding some Runners, too :)


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Dec 22, 2009
. They're quiet. Excellent mothers. and full of personality.


Waddles & Puddles
9 Years
Nov 28, 2010
Okay, so I got my first 2 ducklings in February. I understand it's hard to pick a breed (I know I had my fair share of different breeds I wanted!). I'm not going to make this harder by recommending a different breed than anyone else, I know that sucks
. I truly believe any breed (If raised right) can be a GREAT pet! People have their opinions, so some people might say that this breed is better than that breed just because they had a bad experience with a breed, but I think if you raise it from a duckling, and give it lots of love and care, then you will have a great pet!

I have 2 pekin ducklings, and they are sweet. They are very domesticated, and good pets for kids. Take a good look at all breeds before you decide on the breed that's right for you!

If they are the same age, then some people raise them together, and get good results. If the chicks are older, then you should have separate brooders.

They do need grit. They can be fed chick starter as long as it is NOT medicated!


They can go swimming anytime you feel they are ready. I gave mine a bath at 6 days old.
You can buy them at www.metzerfarms.com that's where I got mine!

They have most of their adult feathers at 6 weeks, you can move them outside them!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 16, 2011
Although no duck breed is created equal, thankfully there's not quite such night and day differences as in breeds of dogs; like a Great Dane and Rat Terrier

I've had Cayuga, Blue Swede, tons of Indian Runners, Khaki Campbells, Welsh Harlequin, Calls, Golden Cascade, East Indi, Mallard, and Crested.
All were great birds!
All were/are beautiful in their own ways.

-Cayuga-one of the few All-American originated breeds. Very quiet, calm, and gorgeous pure black with iridescent greens and purples in the sun, especially the drakes in their prime. Excellent, sweet, pets (well all ducks are! Usually
The really cook thing about the Cayuga is that the hens, as they age and molt, get more and more white on them, replacing their black feathers. They will eventually turn completely white with age, just like people!
They lay deep blackish/green eggs.

-Blue Swede-Calm, heavy and slower breed. Blue is always just a fun color, they have a white bib underneath their necks, with slate colored bills and feet.

-Indian Runner-Very excitable, entertaining to watch strut their stuff (think the duck on the movie "Babe"). They run and not waddle, therefore, get away from predators faster than any other breed of duck. They come in dozens of different colors, lay 200-300 eggs per year, large long eggs that are usually green. They are very nervous, but can become extremely tame (esp. the females) when they grow up with you and build trust with their caretakers.

-Campbells-The best egg layer, they are 4.5lbs and a seal brown will darker brown mottling. Pretty drab in color, compared to the other breeds. Nevertheless, they also make great pets. Sometimes they can fly a few feet off the ground, but not too bad. They have wonderful camouflage, but don't run away from predators as fast are those runners do.

-Welsh Harlequin- Gorgeous! Ours was one of the most tame bird we had. They are slightly larger than the Campbell, but are otherwise just as great foragers and active. They are white/cream with black/brown flecks and just are so pretty.

-Call-they are LOUD...Adorable! They get, at their very largest, only 2lbs. Wonderful pets, don't lay that well, they are the most common and favorite mini duck breed. Boy do they have personalities!! A BIG duck in a LITTLE body
They also fly, and make great mothers.

-East Indi-Another mini breed, they look like a mini Cayuga, only smaller and more streamlined and flighty/nervous. They aren't very common yet. They wouldn't be my first to recommend for kids pets, but that's just my .02

-Mallard- You may be required to have a state permit to keep these, check first. They fly, make excellent mothers, and are about 3lbs. Not the most tame birds, although again, that's just from my experience.

-Crested-Tons of colors and varieties. Also we had the typical white crested. They are smaller than a Pekin, but bigger than the other breeds listed. They are so cute with their top-knots!

Just a heads up-if you decide to go withe muscovies, some of the drakes can get up to 16lbs and can sometimes be aggressive..

I hope that helps you a bit in deciding what breed to get. Of course, there are always the good ol mutts too! Post if you have more questions.
Check out The Domestic Duck book by Chris and Mike Ashton and Raising the Home Duck flock, by Dave Holderread.

They can eat the same chick starter as the chicks, as long as it's UN-medicated.

Blessings in your duck adventures, they are awesome!

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