Ducks are fun pets and they can be helpful on the farm due to their foraging habits. There are many different breeds to consider caring for, but if you are dealing with a small piece of property, you will want to focus on small breeds of ducks. There are a few interesting options to consider during your search for the perfect duck pet. Here are eight miniature duck breeds to consider.
Top 8 Small Duck Breeds
1. The Black East Indian Duck
Also referred to as the Black East Indies duck or the East Indies duck, this duck was developed in the United States and was originally bred for their looks. These small ducks have always been thought of as ornamental pets, and today, they are typically bred to exhibit in shows. The Black Indian East duck has deep green feathers that look almost black depending on how the sunlight hits them. They are not the best egg layers and may produce as few as 40 eggs a year. When fully grown, these ducks weigh in at only about 1.5 pounds.
2. The Miniature Crested Duck
The Miniature Crested duck was developed in Britain by breeding the original Crested duck with the Miniature Appleyard duck and the Call duck. They have gorgeous fluffy feathers and plumage on the tops of their heads that looks like little pom-poms. They can come in a wide variety of different solid colors, or they can be multicolored. These little birds are active, fun, and intelligent, and they enjoy spending their time exploring every inch of their living space. They also like to spend time with humans and other ducks.
3. The Call Duck
These small ducks were originally bred for hunting. Their high-pitched, loud calls would entice wild ducks to come around them, where they would be within shooting distance for the hunters. Today, they are bred as pets because of their loving, affectionate nature. They are curious but like to stick to the confines of their habitat. They make great free rangers because they love to forage, and they will not wander off their property. However, they are docile around other birds, so larger ducks might pick on them. They should be housed only with others of the same breed or size.
4. The Silver Bantam Duck
These ducks were developed in the United Kingdom just after World War II. The Silver Bantam breed is rarer than the others on our list, but they are just as beautiful. Weighing in at under 2 pounds in adulthood, the Silver Bantam duck is an excellent flier and will explore anything that looks interesting, whether within property boundaries or not. This breed lays a generous number of eggs each year. However, they like to lay on their eggs, so they should be gathered daily to prevent unnecessary brooding.
5. The Mallard Duck
The Mallard is arguably the most popular duck breed in existence today. Weighing in at between 3 to 3.5 pounds during adulthood, these ducks are a little bigger than the other ducks on our list. However, they are still considered small breeds in the duck world. Mallards are bred in many places globally, including the United States. The males have dark green heads and grey bodies, while the females sport brown speckled feathers all over. These ducks can thrive in a wide variety of weather environments but prefer to live in places where a big body of water is accessible.
6. The Miniature Silver Appleyard Duck
This duck is the mini equivalent to the standard Silver Appleyard duck, developed in the 1980s by a man named Tom Bartlett. The miniature Silver Appleyard is less than half the size of the standard. These are a cute little miniature duck breed with lively attitudes and affectionate personalities. They enjoy foraging on garden pests, making them a great backyard pet for rural households that like to grow their own food. They are also raised for food, as their small compact bodies are fleshy. Like the Silver Bantam, the Miniature Silver Appleyard is a serious egg sitter, and owners must be aggressive gatherers.
7. The Wood Duck
The Wood duck is mostly found in the United States and Mexico and is considered one of the most colorful in the region. These are perching ducks, which means that they like to sit in elevated places, like on tree branches. They are one of the smallest breeds on our list and have piercing red eyes. Their colorful heads make them enticing to look at, and their compact bodies make them look like juveniles even during adulthood. Many live in the wild, and the ones bred in captivity are primarily kept for eggs and as pets.
8. The Welsh Harlequin
The Welsh Harlequin did not come into existence until the late 1940s, but it was not until the 1980s that they became popular enough to breed for sale in the United States. They have long, lean bodies and rounded chests that give them a hardy look. They do not succumb easily to illness or disease. Anyone looking to raise ducks for eggs should consider this breed, as they can lay up to 330 eggs a year. The breed is also commonly raised for lean meat because they are easy to pluck and prepare.
With so many awesome small duck breeds to choose from, you should not find it hard to score the perfect birds for your lifestyle and property setup. Each of the small duck breeds featured has unique features and personalities, so they are all worth getting to know before making a final investment decision. Do any of the duck breeds here interest you more than the others? Are there any that are not right for you?
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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay