Keeping a few domestic ducks in the garden is a growing trend and having kept them myself for a few years, I can understand why people are drawn to keeping a few of these webbed wonders. Nine out of ten people who start keeping ducks started with chickens first.
I frequently get asked questions about keeping ducks from experienced chicken keepers, there seems to be a common belief that ducks are more difficult to keep than chickens and that you need a pond or small lake to be able to keep them which will soon turn into a mud bath. When I started keeping ducks, I also had many of these preconceptions most of which turned out to be wrong.
Choosing your ducks
There are four main types of duck: domestic, dabbling, diving and sea ducks. The first type; domestic ducks (or pet ducks as most people call them) are the main focus of this article. The last three types are called ‘Ornamental Wildfowl’ or simply ‘Wildfowl’ and they spend a large proportion of their time on water and require their wings pinioning when very young to stop them from flying off. They require a large pond or lake and suitable habitat for nesting and are unlikely to tame so it is best to start off with domestic ducks.
A pond suitable for keeping ornamental wildfowl.
There are many different kinds of pure breed domestic ducks – you can see the ducks that are standardised in the UK on our Duck Breeds pages. Domestic pure breeds are divided into categories of ‘heavy’ (such as the Aylesbury or Pekin), ‘light’ (such as the Abacot Ranger or Campbell), ‘runner’ (which is the many colours of Indian Runner ducks), Bantam (such as the Black East Indian) and ‘call’ (which covers the many colours of Call ducks).
Most domestic ducks will provide you with a good number of eggs and if you have the patience, can become quite tame.