There is little surprise to the fact that people want to keep ducks as pets. While not cuddly or affectionate in the dog and cat sense, many ducks are nevertheless quite sociable and relate to humans very well. They enjoy human company and watching human activity. Conversely, you can find enormous pleasure in their seemingly innocuous activities: wading and bathing; sunning themselves; or simply staring back at you. Of course, not every breed of duck is appropriate or comfortable in your backyard venue. Yet, if you avoid the wild ducks, there are several varieties that are both friendly and low-maintenance. |
To be sure, some ducks are bred to be pets, ensuring their disposition is friendly and benign. Call ducks are of such a class as these. Originating in Holland (where they are known as decoy ducks), they are small--two to three pounds--as ducks go. With rounded bodies, orange legs and modest heads atop short necks, these avian companions also sport dappled, orange beaks and big, blue eyes. Sub-breeds include the Blue Fawn, the Buff and the Chocolate. While somewhat larger at eight pounds, and originally purposed for eating, the Pekin duck hails from China. This stereotypical waterfowl (solid white head, neck and body; orange legs and feet; yellow bill) served as a model for beloved characters like Donald Duck and the Aflac spokes-duck. Its pleasant temperament accounts for its growing popularity as a pet. The same goes for the Cayuga, a descendant of the wild black duck. Like its ancestor, it is predominantly black in hue (with a beetle-green shimmer), weighing between six and eight pounds. Hailing from upstate New York, this bird is considered both rugged and cooperative with human handling.
Perhaps the most well-known breed is the mallard. Brownish in body, the males are distinct for their striking green heads. Like the call duck, the mallard generally weighs in at two to three pounds. Known to be amiable and verbose (in duck language, that is), the mallard is also a strong flyer. This is actually an asset in terms of predator evasion. Rest assured, if you give it the proper care and regular feeding, this duck will not abandon you. By contrast, the Swedish Duck, or Blue Swedish duck, is an exceptional forager, even when raised in captivity. This variety sports black, blue and silver plumage, with white chests occasionally and slate gray bills. Medium in size, it weighs between four and five pounds. Temperamentally, this is an extremely calm fowl. On the heavier side is the Buff Orpington duck, reaching up to eight pounds. Its name says it all: buff plumage with orange/yellow feet and an orange/brown bill. This is a docile duck, not prone to anxiety or annoyance.
These are just a few of the many breeds of domestic duck whose temperament and demeanor mesh well with human companionship. Their care is not burdensome but they will need you.
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