Ducks are one of the great staples of farm life and domestic pets, and that’s especially true of certain breeds. It’s a huge mistake to think that all duck breeds are the same because the temperaments behind these different breeds are quite varied.
“The Threatened Swan” is a favorite painting at the Rijksmuseum, but bad-tempered water fowl are best observed in Dutch Golden Age masterpieces rather than up close on your farm or with a pet.
That’s why you’ll instead want to focus on these friendly domestic duck breeds.
Our 8 Friendliest Duck Breeds:
1. Muscovy Ducks
One of the most popular ducks-as-pets options out there, Muscovy ducks are one of the best choices for those looking for a friendly and easy-to-manage duck breed. They are on the calmer, more docile side, and they like to interact with others. That last part is especially important because, believe it or not, some duck breeds can be pretty standoffish.
By contrast, Muscovy ducks love to play, making them an excellent choice for those looking for a feathered companion for children or the whole family. Another great thing about Muscovy ducks is that they’re pretty quiet. Some duck breeds have loud quacks, and while that doesn’t make them unfriendly, it does mean that they can quickly drive you mad. Thankfully, with Muscovy ducks, there’s no such problem, as their calm demeanor and quiet quacks combine for one of the best domestic duck options on the market.
2. Swedish Blue Ducks
If you have ever purchased a Swedish Blue Duck, chances are good that you know that they are one of the most docile creatures you will ever meet. While you never want to upset a duck and even the calmest of breeds can become a sight to behold once riled up, few common pet breeds are as calm and good-natured for most people as Swedish Blues.
However, it should be noted that, while docility and quietness often go together, Swedish Blues are the exception. These birds are calm, but can be quite loud. Still, there’s no denying their friendly demeanor or overall charm.
3. Magpie Ducks
This is another example of a duck that makes this list in large part because of their renowned calmness. These aren’t the kind of ducks who’ll raise a ruckus and demand to be fed or quack for more attention. They are very mild-mannered, so you don’t have to worry about them giving you trouble. Moreover, they have a very quiet quack, so they won’t wake you up in the middle of the night.
On the whole, these are some of the shyest ducks on this list, but as with many shy people, if you take the time to get to know them and make them feel comfortable, they can be among the most rewarding.
4. Pekin Duck Breeds
This duck breed has been a staple of farms for, oh, a few thousand years now, making them the elder statesmen of this list. When you think of a simple “duck,” standard white feathers and all, this is the kind of breed you’re imagining.
That means that it has about a “standard” level of friendliness, too. It isn’t as extroverted as some of the other ducks on this list, but it isn’t as quiet, either. If you’re looking for a duck that’s friendly enough to handle without going to extremes of docility and activity, this may be a good option to consider.
5. Khaki Campbell
Maybe you don’t care if your ducks are all that calm. After all, you are purchasing them as pets, and you want to get some excitement out of them. What’s the fun in watching a duck simply sit around all day? If this sounds about right, you might want to consider giving a Khaki Campbell a try – just make sure you can keep up!
These are far and away among the most energetic ducks on this list. They are very active, swimming and playing for hours on end without stopping. As you might expect, these are not the quietest or meekest of ducks, either. If you’re looking for a docile duck, this probably isn’t the best choice. Additionally, since they’re so active, Khaki Campbell ducks can be more prone to spreading mud and making little messes than some of the quieter and calmer ducks on this list.
None of that has anything to do with a lack of friendliness, however. On the contrary – this bubbly extroverted duck breed loves to play and can be a source of fun for years, as long as you know what you’re getting into.
6. Mallard Ducks
These are among the most common ducks in North America. They are very active and talkative, so if you’re looking for a “quiet” duck, look again. As for calmness, they’re certainly not as calm as some of the other ducks on this list, in part because they are often taken from the wild and domesticated.
That has nothing to do with their demeanor, however, and their penchant for activity can make them energized and fun companions. Just be sure that you know what you’re getting into, and that you have a big space ready to accommodate this incredibly energetic duck breed. They do better in big stretches of farmland than they do in small, confined spaces, so keep that in mind when deciding whether these ducks are right for you.
7. Cayuga Ducks
Here we have another example of a duck breed whose calmness translates into friendliness. These ducks have a fantastic temperament and are very easy to deal with. You never have to worry about them being a “duck drama queen” or being too territorial. These ducks are very amiable and, as long as you don’t do anything to provoke them, can be quite happy to share their time with you and other animals.
They are also on the quieter side – and if you haven’t noticed so far, that’s something of a trend. Quietness and calmness tend to go together in ducks, so if you’re looking for one, try and search to see if the other is present. If you find research suggesting that the duck breed in question is quiet, chances are they are considered calm as well, and vice versa.
8. Call Ducks
“Who ya gonna call?” Well, if you’re a Call duck, you call just about everybody! At least that’s how it can seem, as these are far and away the most vocal ducks on this list. They will quack-quack-quack from morning to evening, and will be especially excitable while playing or interacting with you and other new friends. On the one hand, this can make them a nuisance to neighbors. On the other hand, there’s no denying that these are among the friendliest ducks on this list, and certainly the most vocal about their pleasure at spending time with you and other ducks.
Choosing the Right Duck Breed
As you can see, there is a huge degree of variation in what is considered “friendly” among ducks, just as is the case with people. Some of these ducks are quiet, calm, shy types, while others are loud extroverts ready to quack up a conversation with you and their friends from dawn until dusk.
It’s up to you to determine which type of friendly demeanor best suits your temperament. Are you the kind of person who is worn out by people who talk too much? Do you not especially like having to deal with a lot of noise and activity during the day? If that’s the case, you’re probably going to want to avoid Call ducks and the similarly energetic ducks on this list in favor of more docile options. Thankfully, there are plenty of them, from Magpies to Muscovies.
On the flip side, maybe you’re someone who thinks that the whole point of making friends is to have someone to talk to and share their energy. If you’re someone who enjoys energy in friendships and wants to extend that to the duck breeds you keep as pets, you’ll want to look into ducks that aren’t afraid to quack, swim, waddle, and play all day long.
As mentioned above, there is often a correlation between calm and quietness. If you have a limited amount of space, or don’t necessarily want to disturb the neighbors with your ducks’ constant quacking, you may want to opt for some of the quiet-yet-friendly duck breeds listed here. On the other hand, if you have the space and energy needed to accommodate them, there’s no reason you can’t look into Call ducks, Khaki Campbells, Mallards, and other extroverted exuberant duck breeds.
There are many kinds of “friendliness” in life, as mentioned, and the same is true of ducks – and not every kind of friendship is equally called for or the best fit for certain situations. Consider how much space you have and energy you possess, and choose one or more of these duck breeds accordingly with the knowledge that they can all be fine feathered friends.
If you are looking for quiet duck breeds, we also have an article all about that.