The best backyard ducks, if you’re looking for a breed which can lay a lot and is very quiet would be Muscovy or Cayuga. These breeds can lay around 150 eggs a year. They aren’t the most prolific (compared to Runner ducks, Golden Hybrids or Welsh Harlequins which average 300) but they are quiet. Muscovies are intelligent and have great personalities. Cayugas are well behaved but tend to be very nervous. If you can keep a few, try pairing with male Pekin or Call duck. They are gorgeous and retain the most ‘dog-like’ characteristics, ie huggable, friendly and very curious.
Backyard ducks are low maintenance pets. They will eat all kinds of pests such as mosquitoes, snails, worms, cockroaches, fly larvae, ants and in the rare off chance, wasps (I had one duck that was crazy enough to). This is especially useful if you have a garden and want to keep it organic. If you have a tick or flea problem, try pairing with chickens, guinea fowl or quails. Never worry about throwing away your leftovers again – when you have ducks, nothing goes to waste. Unlike dogs and cats, they can feed, walk and bathe themselves. Their hardy nature prevents them from getting sick easily so you don’t need to worry about taking them to the vet and buying them medicine.
Duck eggs are far superior to chicken eggs, not only in taste but on a nutritional level. They contain six times the Vitamin D, two times the Vitamin A, and two times the cholesterol than chicken eggs. If you have cholesterol problems, don’t eat the yolk! 🙂 They are also alkaline based foods which means they help restore and maintain the body’s natural pH equilibrium. Read more about ducks vs chicken eggs
If you aren’t keeping females, you can pretty much go with any breed of duck as all males tend to have very quiet voices. Some Runner duck females are quiet, but some are not. You can tell how loud your duck is going to be from when it’s a duckling. If the peeping is loud, the quacking is going to be even louder.
If you don’t have any noise level restrictions, Call ducks are a must have. Call ducks and East indies make up in personality what they lack in size. They can be very cuddly. But beware, the females are piercingly loud. I wouldn’t recommend female call ducks for first time duck keepers.
Pekins, albeit beautiful and fun to hug are extremely noisy. They seem to have lost the innate instinct to be quiet so as not to attract predators. This is a large contrast to wild mallards and florida mottled ducks who are much more reserved. If you can get your hands on fresh stock, you should definitely give it a try. You’ll notice a huge difference between a wild and a domestic duck breed. If the intelligence level of a domestic duck is that of a three year old child, a wild duck can be compared to a five year old. Wild ducks are healthier, learn faster and have more wild instincts for survival. The drawback is that they’re less cuddly and might fly away some day with a wild flock.