Choosing ducks for cold climates

by Susan
(Alberta, Canada)

I live in Canada. I am in a gardening zone 3/4. What is a good duck for this area. Which is best for eggs? And which is best for eating?

Winters consist of Freeze/Thaw, but we can have temperatures drop to -30 and even -40, but not recently. Consider me a beginner.

I live in a city so if the ducks are quieter quackers, all the better!

I have 2 ponds already so the only thing I have to think about is shelter for them.

I also have 3 dogs, but they are matronly types and guard the yard from other animals. No foxes, no rats, very seldom have we had raccoons.

I do like the idea of them eating garden bugs and slugs. Please contact me with any help you can. I found you on Pinterest but do not mind individual communications


Hi Susan,

Glad you wrote in and we hope we can help. First of all, ducks are fine for all weather types, even the coldest of weathers. Don't forget that they have a waterproof layer of feathers, and the cold doesn't bother them a bit.

They can be a bit noisy, especially if they lose one another and can make quite a racket. Well, mine do anyway, and they are Khaki Campbell ducks. They are good for eggs and meat. Mine lay an egg a day, almost without fail. In fact they are better layers than the best chicken layers, like Leghorns.

If you are worried about the noise of ducks and your neighbors then you may want to look at getting some quiet ducks. Muscovy ducks are quackless ducks, not the prettiest of ducks, but then you can't have everything!

They are originally tropical ducks that are used to living in a warmer climate, but they will be fine in temperatures 10 degrees F. and even sometimes lower. You have to make sure that you insulate their house, and provide straw for them if it snows so that they can get off the snow if they want to. They can get frost bite, as can any duck, so this is an added precaution.

Just make sure that you can keep Muscovy ducks, as of the 31st March, the USA has banned the keeping, breeding and selling of Muscovy ducks in every state across the country!

If you are not worried about the odd quack during the day, and to be honest, I hardly hear mine during the day or night, then I would also look at getting Pekins. These are very hardy ducks for cold weather, and good for eggs and meat.

Perhaps other readers may have some additional advice they can give on this subject.

All the best!

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Nov 08, 2014
Muscovy ducks and US Laws
by: James

Answering one question you mention that Muscovy ducks are not to be bred, sold etc. by law in the USA. Can you explain the rational please.

Hi James, I hope that what was written wasn't misleading, as the year was omitted. This law came into effect in 2010, and as far as we know, still stands.

An excerpt of ruling is here:

(g) You may not acquire or possess live Muscovy ducks, their carcasses or parts, or their eggs, except to raise them to be sold as food, and except that you may possess any live Muscovy duck that you lawfully acquired prior to March 31, 2010. If you possess Muscovy ducks on that date, you may not propagate them or sell or transfer them to anyone for any purpose, except to be used as food. You may not release them to the wild, sell them to be hunted or released to the wild, or transfer them to anyone to be hunted or released to the wild." (From p 5, section 21.14 of regulation.)

During the time that this law was written it was unknown that there were many domesticated Muscovy ducks. It was assumed that there were just feral and wild birds, and unfortunately, all were branded the same.

One can keep Muscovy ducks in the USA if you are keeping them for the production of food only. However, because Muscovy ducks only occur naturally in Texas, in other places where they have been introduced, they have have become a nuisance bird that now jeopardizes other native species.

As a result, if you keep Muscovy ducks, you have an added responsibility of making sure that your ducks do not suddenly take off, never to be seen again, and ending up adding to the ever growing population of these birds that are now in the wild due to errant hunters who bred and released them into the wild for sport.

If there are any updates to this ruling, we would love to hear about them.


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