Which would be a good duck for the CITY?

Which duck would you choose for a small city backyard?

  • Mini Appleyard/Silver Bantam

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Australian Spotted

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Silky Bantam

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • East Indies Bantam

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Welsh Harlequin

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Khaki Campbell

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Runner

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • You shouldn't have ducks in a small city backyard!

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 31, 2010
Chicago, IL

Hi all:

I would love to get a pair or trio of ducks this fall, but I would love to know which ones would be best for a small urban backyard that they would be sharing with some bantam chicken hens (the ducks and chickens will be housed separately). Here are my criteria:

1. Reasonably quiet--I want to disturb the neighbors as little as possible.
2. Reasonably clean and easy to clean up after--I have heard some larger ducks can be little piggies in small spaces.
3. Easy to tame and make a pet out of.
4. Some egg laying ability.

This is my first time making a poll, so please forgive the oversight if your favorite breed is not listed. I have tried to only list the ones that I have seen described here as small or smallish and not too flighty or noisy.

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any females you get except the muscovy has the ability to be extremely loud. Of those you listed I have the black east indies (LOUD), runners (LOUD) and welsh harlequins (LOUD). Of the three, my runners are the quietest though they can and do get loud with the rest of them, it's just not as often.

If you have bantam chickens and you're thinking about getting a drake, then you should get bantams, you wouldn't want a large drake trying to mate your chickens. Less mess too with the smaller ducks, imo. Bantams however tend to be seasonal egg layers.

I didn't answer the poll.
A bit of advice - you definitely need to predator proof your duck pen. You'll have to contend with hawks, raccoons, coyotes, and loose/feral dogs trying to eat your ducks and rats stealing eggs.

Yesterday I saw a coyote running around near the corner of State St and 9th St (and have seen them in various parts of the city for several years now) so don't assume your safe from them just because you're in an urban area. Researchers estimate there may be thousands of coyotes living in Chicago.

On a happier note, isn't it great that the city of Chicago allows ducks? The closest suburb where they are legal is a good 20+ miles away!
I think the quietest female you have listed is the Campbell. They are still noisy, but not nearly as much as the Runners. The drakes are extremely quiet. Campbells are great layers. I think the mess has a lot to do with the number of ducks you have. I had 50 muscovy ducklings at once last spring. I could not keep that brooder clean for anything. If you only have a few it is not to bad.
It is often the case that cities allow poultry while the suburbs don't. The old cities were established when horses were transportation.
Cows too in Chicago (Mrs. O'leary). If you have horses a few poultry for fresh eggs make perfect sense. Suburbs came with the auto and the suburbanites didn't want to be mistake for Rural people so horses and poultry were outlawed.
I feel like a fool but I need to ask the question so I can learn. Don't ducks need a pond? I know I sound dumb. Still I need an answer?...

I can't vote because as I have clearly demonstrated by asking the above question I know hardly anything about ducks. I will watch though and learn a bit. Thanks.

Please don't feel silly asking questions...that is why we are all here, to learn as much as possible about current and future pet poultry!

In any case, as someone who has never yet raised ducks, I can give you a quick answer based on my reading of several books about ducks and reading through many posts here. If you only have a handful of ducks, you do not need a pond. As long as they have a good diet, a large predator proof pen and some time to free range in the yard, they can be happy with only a plastic kids' pool or other container that holds water and is large enough for them to swim around in a bit. I plan on keeping only two or three, so I hope this plan will work for me.

Now, if you have a lot of ducks, you probably will need a much larger and more reliable source of water.

Duck_feeder, I am already planning out ways to predator proof my duck and chicken houses. We are very lucky that Chicago has very relaxed laws regarding keeping poultry and livestock (yes, some people here even have sheep and goats!). Now if only some small-minded city slickers would accept chickens and ducks as being just as normal (if not more normal) as their out-of-control elephant-sized barking dogs that they never pick up after!
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It is often the case that cities allow poultry while the suburbs don't. The old cities were established when horses were transportation.
Cows too in Chicago (Mrs. O'leary). If you have horses a few poultry for fresh eggs make perfect sense. Suburbs came with the auto and the suburbanites didn't want to be mistake for Rural people so horses and poultry were outlawed.

In the case of Chicago, the laws over "farm" animals have been modernized long ago. The allowance of poultry is due to cultural reasons (large Hispanic population in Chicago raises chickens for eggs) rather than laws not being updated with the times out of laziness or lack of interest. Every once in a while some idiot alderman will try to ban chickens in Chicago and quickly learn that is a taboo topic here. If it wasn't such a sore point with some of the community, they probably would have long since banned it.

The city has quite a few laws in the books that pretty much makes it so you can only raise poultry for eggs or pets and only competent people can legally buy them:
- They banned dying chicks, ducklings, goslings, and rabbits different colors.
- You can't sell or give away baby fowl if the recipient does not have an appropriate brooder.
- Using baby fowl to attract customers is illegal (no giveaways or prizes)
- No roosters. (official reason is noise. Unofficially, cock fighting which is also illegal).

The laws over livestock pretty much makes it impossible to own any large animals in the city (pretty much just small milk animals):
- It's illegal to possess any animal meant for slaughter (consumption or ritual sacrifice) in the City unless you are a licensed facility for animal slaughter.
- Stables for horses and livestock are required to be clean and covered with screens during summer months to prevent flies.
- Animal cruelty laws are written to give the enforcers a lot of wiggle room in what is considered cruel. A lack of space counts as cruelty which would apply to nearly everyone since land here is so expensive.

I'm not sure I entirely buy the "we don't want to be confused with rural people" mentality as the reason for no livestock or poultry in the Chicago suburbs (might be for other metropolitan areas, but not so much for Chicagoland in my experience).
- Strangely enough, some of the richest suburbs around Chicago have no laws against poultry but they do against livestock. And of course horses are allowed...
- I grew up in Willowbrook and there were corn fields less than 1/4 mile away in a few different directions (long since turned into townhouses and corporate campuses) but livestock and poultry were already banned. Acres of corn fields are going to look rural whether or not there's couple ducks in the backyard.

- Nearly all of the suburbs with poultry bans also set a limit on number of animals you can have in your home so it's more of a general dislike for animals. I swear, by the way some of the municipal codes are written, the lawmakers thought it was a huge compromise to limit people to 3 cats or dogs per household...
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I always get a good laugh whenever we bring a couple ducks to the pet store. Most people crowd around to see them but there's always some big burly guy with the rottweiler with a look of terror in his eyes when one of the ducks looks at him.

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