Several million ducks are raised in the United States and Canada every year. Commercially, most ducks are raised for meat. However, backyard duck hobbyists may choose to raise ducks for several other reasons. The main motivations given for raising ducks at home are often for fresh duck eggs, meat or ornamental purposes.
The reasons you have selected for raising ducks will affect your choice of duck breed. The best duck breed for your project depends on the reasons you have selected. For example, choosing a Rouen duck if you want ducks for eggs will be a bad choice because Rouens grow to a large size, lay little and are better suited for consumption.
The best breed for those raising ducks for eggs is the Khaki Campbell. The Khaki is an english bird that lays an egg a day, thus competing with the production rate of layer chickens. A second excellent option for eggs is the Runner duck. This lean, tall duck does not put on much weight, allowing it to focus its energy on laying eggs.
Individuals who raise ducks for meat will be looking for different characteristics in their birds. Whereas layers are prized for their slim bodies, meat birds should not lay much and convert their feed to body mass efficiently. One of the best breeds for meat is the Pekin duck. These birds grow rapidly and are also white, meaning their skin will be pale and unmarked (unlike dark-feathered ducks).
Finally, those who are caring for backyard poultry for ornamental reasons want a flashy, beautiful duck breed. Mallards are small, colorful and popular for these reasons. Wood ducks are also similarly popular for people raising ducks just for fun.