Simply Skiffs

This is a brief guide to some of the key aspects of duck keeping. There are many guides and starter books for duck keepers available, and these should be consulted before you go ahead and purchase your ducks.

The topics below contain hints, tips, and opinions, and should be read and followed with caution!

Hints and tips for lakes, ponds, and boats.

Choosing your Ducks

Call Ducks; These are technically part of the Bantam Duck group, but are usually referred to separately. They are incredibly popular now in the UK. They are very small, generally white, and very cute. They can fly, so most owners tend to have their wings clipped. They weigh one to one and half pounds. They don’t make very good egg layers, and despite their small size they are incredibly noisy.

Bantam Ducks; This group includes the Silver Bantam, the Miniature Silver Appleyard, the Black East Indian, and the Miniature Crested (which make particularly good pets). Bantams are fairly tough for their small size, and like Call Ducks need less food, space, and make less mess. They tend to sit on their own eggs better than the larger birds.

Light Ducks; These birds are often used as egg layers. Examples include the Welsh Harlequin, the Hock Bill, the Abacot Ranger, the Butt Orpington, and the Khaki Campbell (probably the best egg layer of all).

Heavy Ducks; These birds were traditionally table birds, i.e. they were bred to be eaten, rather than purely for laying eggs. They are typically 7 to 8 pounds in weight. Examples include the Pekin Duck, the Blue Swedish, the Rouen Duck, the Cayuga, the Rouen Clair, the Muscovy Duck, the Silver Appleyard, and the Aylesbury Duck. The Aylesbury has a fine temperament, being slow moving and making a good pet for children, these birds benefit from having plenty of room.

Indian Runner Ducks; These are the ancestors of the Light Duck family. They are very tall slender birds, they are known for being of a nervous disposition.

Ducks are sociable animals, and are happier in groups than kept alone. As a rule you should have no more than one Drake (male) for every five ducks (females). If you do not want your Ducks to breed, or only intend to keep a few ducks, then you would be well advised to keep only females.


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