Is it for eggs, meat, feathers, bug control, pet, or a combination of these.
2. Where am I located ?
Some breeds are noisier than others...will your neighbors be bothered by the talkative ones. The talkative ones (Calls and Pekins) also attract more predators.
3. How will you house and feed the flock ?
Confined to a small pen, roam a large area, will they forge for most of the food, or will you provide all or most of the food ?
4. What color is good ?
For butchering...pin feathers of light plumaged birds are not as visable, making a more attractive carcass. Dark birds are better camouflaged...not easily found by their preditors and maintain a neater appearance than white birds if no swimming hole is available.
5. Can I get the bird locally or by mail order ?
Some breeds are rare, they'll be more expensive and harder to get. Others are easily obtained at hatcheries
An unusual looking bird. Upright stance like a runner with a medium sized round crest on top of its' head. Most Balis in the US are white however, they are scarce out side their home land of Bali and other Indonesian Islands.
Drakes have green or blue-green bills, greenish-bronze head and back, the rest of the feathers are an even shade khaki tan. Hens have brown or green-black bills, seal brown head with a khaki tan body.
Because of the long, slim and upright posture, this breed is often called the Penguin duck. Unlike most ducks they do not waddle...they run. Runners are one of the best forgers aided by the fast gait and active disposition. There are many coloful varieties including White, Penciled, Fawn and White, Solid Fawn, Chocolate, Black, Buff,and a few other colors that are not very common. They are excellent layers and can keep up with the best chickens. This duck is the "leg horn" of the egg layer breed. Runners are a good breed for the home flock, being practical as well as entertaining.
A massive pure white duck. They carry their body horizontally and the well developed keel nearly touches the ground. They have long, straight bills which are pinkish-white. Their skin is white unlike most other breeds that are yellow. Hens lay white, tinted or green eggs. They are slow moving, very tame and make a nice roasting duck. For good fertility and and hatching, for breeding, they must have swimming water. However, they are fair mothers. Generally, this breed is not quit as hardy and vigorous as most others.
I've named this breed the Ugly Duckling, they are not considered a true duck by some breeders. Muscovies will cross with other ducks and the off-spring will be sterile (mules). They have many distinguishing features. Their faces are covered with rough, red skin, and the drakes have a fleshy knob at the top base of their bills. This red skin looks like the red skin on a turkeys face hence the nick name "ugly". Both sexes have head crests which they raise and lower at will. Hens are almost mute, males have a muffled hiss. drakes are twice the size of hens and have larger facial skin. Their feathers are not as water repellent as genuine ducks. If forced to remain on water too long, they can become soaked and drown. They require more protection from wet and cold than other ducks. They are excellent forgers. The jumbo white or tinted eggs take 33 to 35 days to hatch. They are super moms and can have up to 20 ducklings in tow. Be warned these birds can fly very well.
Recognized world wide as the fastests growing of all ducks. They are attractive as well as practical. The creamy-white feathers is off set by the bright orange bill and reddish-orange feet. Their eggs are white or tinted. Best breed for the production of "green" ducklings. They can be seven lbs in seven weeks. The carcass can be quit oily, high fat content and the hens are pretty talkative. Also known as "farm ducks". They are pretty poor mothers.
This breed looks like their cousin the mallard but are three times the size with a deep keel. Production breed rouens do not have as large a keel as standard breed. Hens lay eggs in various shades of blue, green and tinted white. They are good roasters not as oily as the pekin. Their mothering ability is fair. This breed is a nice addition to the home flock, they are friendly and practical.
This breed is native to North America (Lake Cayuga, N.Y.) This is a beautiful bird with brilliant green-black iridesent plumage. The hens first eggs are encased in a black or dark grey film that fades to lght grey or blue as the season progresses. Ducklings have glossy black feet and bills, black down with a trace of yellow on the breast. One of the hardiest and quietest of all breeds. They can be good mothers.
Referred to as the Buff duck. It's a pretty shade of fawn buff which does not become soiled as easily as white. Hens lay white or tinted eggs and are the best egg producers of the medium breeds. Many experienced waterfowl raisers consider this breed the best choice when a single breed is desired that will provide both a steady supply of eggs and large roasting birds. These ducks are poor mothers and are best for the eggs or roasting.
These are nice looking birds. They are Blue, Black, or Silver with a white bib that extends from under the bill to halfway down the breast. Breeding two blues together produces some Splash; white with blue, black, or silver markings. While the Blue variety is pretty it's not the bright blue seen in some wild birds, it is a gray-blue. Hens lay blue, gray or tinted eggs. These ducks are very hardy, and are one of the most active forgers. They can be pretty good mothers.
The smallest of all domestic ducks. They make up for their lack of size with LOUD, persistent voices. They love to talk. They have plump, bowl shaped bodies, short bill and large round head. Two common varieties are white and grey. The bill and legs are yellowish -orange. This friendly bird is the most popular of the bantam breed
The wild species is believed to be the parent stock of all domestic duck breeds, except for the muscovy. To legally capture wild mallards or gather their eggs, a federal permit is required. However, a permit is not required to breed or sell domesticated mallards. The drake is one of the most beautiful with its iridescent green head, white neck collar, chestnut breast and silver underbody. The hen is a mellow but attractive combination of almond and golden browns with black penciling. They are self reliant, outstanding mothers and will hatch a high percent of their eggs. Other than the muscovy this is the only other duck listed here that can fly.
There are many more types of ducks than the ones mentioned here. These are the most popular and readily available for the home duck flock.
To see photos of ducks and a little text about each breed look at Feather Site Ducks