7 Best Miniature Duck Breeds for Small Farms

Miniature ducks are best for small farms DLX2 PS

Is there anything more adorable than a sweet chubby-cheeked call duck? Miniature ducks aren’t just cute, they’re also practical for small farms with limited space. They offer a potentially lucrative income in breeding and showing, and some breeds are even good producers. But which duck is best for your farm? 

What are the best miniature duck breeds? Call ducks, miniature crested ducks, silver bantam, and silver appleyard ducks are the best miniature breeds because of their temperaments and egg production. Mandarin and East Indie ducks are also great exotics for breeding. 

Miniature duck breeds have average weight of 1.2 to 5 pounds and they can lay up to 160 small eggs in a year. 

7 Best Miniature Duck Breeds To Keep As Pets

How many miniature duck breeds can you name? While you probably think of call ducks, there are quite a few others! This section will cover basic duck breed information on call ducks, East Indies, silkie ducks, miniature crested ducks, silver bantams, miniature Appleyards, and Mandarin ducks. Which is the best duck for you? 

duck breeds can you name? While you probably think of call ducks, there are quite a few others! This section will cover basic duck breed information on call ducks, East Indies, silkie ducks, miniature crested ducks, silver bantams, miniature Appleyards, and Mandarin ducks. Which is the best duck for you? 

1. Call Ducks: Best Miniature Duck Breed, Beginner-Friendly

Call ducks are hands-down the best miniature duck breed that weighs less than a kilo. Call ducks are known as the most popular breed on this list for their sweet, friendly personalities and ease of care. They excel as pets and show birds. It’s also quite easy in most areas to find a breeder. 

As the darling of the duck world, call ducks are frankly irresistible. You can’t go wrong starting out with a trio of call ducks. Kids and adults alike will fall in love with them. 

Call ducks lay an average of 80 small, white or green-tinted eggs in the run of a year. They thrive with a pool of some sort to bathe and swim in. This breed has been known to live up to 10 years! 

Call duck breeds weighs less than a kilo DLX1 PS

2. East Indie Ducks: Beautiful Ducks With Color-Changing Eggs

East Indie Ducks weigh an average of 1.5 pounds and are known as an exceptional breed for fanciers and exhibition purposes. They are easy keepers and will happily forage for insects in your garden if you free-range them.

East Indie hens lay 40 to 100 eggs in the run of a year. The eggs grow lighter in color as the breeding season progresses, beginning with dark charcoal or grey and ending in a lovely light green by winter. East Indies are often noted by owners for being frequently broody and attentive mothers to their ducklings.  

Like call ducks, East Indies have an average expected lifespan of 10 years. They tend to be flighty, reserved birds and it takes time to tame them. However, their personalities are often bright and they’re a joy to watch on the homestead. 

Many folks mistake East Indies for the similar and equally exquisite cayuga duck, but they are indeed separate breeds. 

Despite the name, East Indies are thought to be originally developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1800’s. There are two known varieties of this breed. The black variety sporting the notoriously lustrous, vibrant iridescent green plumage is the most common, but lovely blue East Indies are also bred.

3. Silkie Ducks: Amazing Little Ducks With Multiple Colors

With inquisitive, friendly personalities, silkie ducks are amazing little birds and great pets. It may take a little effort to tame them, but it’s worth it. These ducks have multiple color variations, including white, dusky, snowy, mallard, pastel, and black. 

Have you ever heard of silkie ducks? I didn’t have a clue this breed existed until a few months ago! Silkie ducks were developed recently in the US and remain rare to find today. Let’s bring this wonderful breed into popularity. 

As their name implies, silkie ducks have soft, silky feathers. Even so, like all waterfowl species, give these ducks plenty of access to freshwater–they love to swim! Silkie ducks handle the cold as well as other ducks, but of course make sure they have a well-insulated, dry coop to spend their nights in. 

4. Miniature Crested Ducks: Very Active and Intelligent Ducks

Miniature Crested ducks are super active and intelligent with vibrant personalities. This is a great breed as pets or for showing, but they’re also practical layers on the farm. 

This duck is quite a modern breed, having been developed from crested, call, and appleyard ducks. Purebreds have a 25% death rate of embryos due to a fatal allele caused by the crest gene. This breed remains quite rare, but they are a gem. 

Miniature Crested ducks lay an average of 60 to 150 white or blue eggs annually. Hens are excellent brooders and mothers. They reach an average of two pounds in size. 

Do miniature crested ducks make good pets? Many people consider crested ducks to be good pets, but they have a nervous temperament and are easily excited. They are a fun pet to have, but will bond less readily than other larger duck breeds. 

5. Silver Bantam Ducks: Excellent Brooders With 160 Small Eggs

Silver Bantam Ducks are exceptional brooders that can produce up 160 small, creamy eggs per year. If you aren’t keen on surprise ducklings, make sure you collect their eggs daily. Ducks love hiding their eggs, too, so check nooks and crannies! 

A breed developed in the UK after World War II ended, silver bantams are lovely ducks with a lot to offer. This breed has a subtle beauty, with an intricate lacing pattern and muted colors. They resemble Welsh Harlequins in color and pattern, but were originally bred from Khaki Campbells and call ducks.

They are lively explorers with great personalities. Silver bantams are quite quiet and make little noise–making them a particularly good choice if you live close to your neighbors. Unfortunately, this splendid breed is rare and considered a priority by the RBST.

Silver bantam ducks are exceptional brooders DLX2 PS

6. Miniature Silver Appleyard Duck: Great And Friendly Pets

Miniature Silver Appleyard Ducks are inquisitive, intelligent, and companionable. This is a wonderful duck breed–they’re beautiful, strong, hardy, practical, and fun to have around. They make great, friendly pets, and they do well in exhibitions. They are relatively common to find. 

This duck breed can lay a whopping 160 eggs in a given year. This is certainly a productive breed, especially in comparison to other miniature ducks. They are also diligent, attentive mothers.

Miniature Appleyard ducks are a modern breed, having been developed from Appleyard, khaki campbells, and call ducks by Tom Bartlett in 1980. They were only recently recognized as an official breed in 1997.

With a beautiful appearance, Miniature Silver Appleyards have a very precise standard. They must have a stripe on their heads to be recognized as genetically an Appleyard. Males have a green head with silver flecks in their throats and a silver ring around their necks. They also have a lovely deep crimson in a laced pattern along their backs. 

Females have similar blue-tipped wings as the males, but their plumage is a lovely creamy silver color and their lacing is more subtle. Both males and females of this breed are equally fetching. 

These ducks are excellent flyers, so consider keeping their wings clipped. They love foraging for slugs and insects in the garden, but of course be wary of free-ranging. Ducks have no defense against predators!

How big is a Miniature Silver Appleyard duck? Miniature Silver Appleyard ducks reach 30 to 36 ounces at maturity, or around 2 pounds. Females generally mature to 1.75 pounds and males can reach 2.25 pounds at maturity. 

7. Mandarin Ducks: Ornamental Ducks And Delicate

Many bird enthusiasts covet Mandarin ducks for ornamental, breeding, and conservation purposes. If you’re interested in a potentially lucrative side income, this specific small duck breed may benefit you in return for contributing to a healthy population. 

Mandarin ducks are particularly delicate and more vulnerable to predators, so make sure your enclosure is completely secure! Their coop should also be well-insulated against the cold. 

This small duck breed is notorious for its exquisite, colorful plumage and is easily one of the most beautiful birds in the world. They originate in East Asia, although the exact location is still largely unknown. Today, their natural habitat is being destroyed by deforestation–leading to the decline of this species as well as others.

Females initiate courtship with the males, and bonds between mates can last for years! They generally prefer to build their nests up off the ground. You can simulate their natural environment with hiding places, wide perches, and nesting boxes. 

Mandarin ducks are shy and non-domesticated, which may prove challenging for beginners. In spite of this, they’re light eaters, usually hardy and healthy, and otherwise easy to care for. They can live up to 10 years in captivity. 

Mandarin duck breeds are ornamental and delicate duck breeds DLX1 PS

Miniature Duck Breeds FAQs

What Kind of Duck Stays Small? 

Bantum breeds of ducks are ducks of specific breeds that have been bred to grow to a smaller adult size. Bantum breeds will lay smaller eggs with smaller ducklings. Officially, there are X bantum breeds: Call duck, East Indian duck, and Mallard duck breeds. 

How Long Do Miniature Duck Breeds Live? 

Miniature ducks can live a whopping 20 years in proper conditions! However, most live an average of 10 years. Miniature duck breeds tend to live longer than larger duck breeds— one best example is the Bantam duck. The smaller ducks are also awesome to be kept as home pets, so they can be your pet for a long time.  

Are Welsh Harlequin Ducks A Miniature Duck Breed? 

No, Welsh Harlequin Ducks are not miniature duck breed. Instead, these birds are medium-sized ducks. Although they’re not similar in size, Welsh Harlequin ducks are also fairly new duck breed. This duck breed is also kept as backyard pets because of their convenient size and great egg production. 


Ducks are a useful addition to any homestead, but you might not have the space for larger breeds like Rouens or Pekins. Miniature duck breeds are not only adorable, but often are easier to care for and more practical for small farms. Give one of these great breeds a try!

MacKayla Townsend

I am a tea-fueled freelance writer, homesteader, and equestrian living in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, where I've devoted 8+ years to raising and rescuing horses, goats, poultry, sheep, peafowl, and rabbits. I love helping others on their homesteading journey to give their animals wonderful, healthy lives. When I'm not writing, I can often be found training my horses in liberty, creating unique flower jellies, and relishing country life with a cup of tea in hand.

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