Country Smallholding - - Feature Waterfowl -

The Carolina duck

The Carolina or wood duck The wood duck is a medi­um­sized perch­ing duck. A typ­i­cal adult is from 47 to 54cms (19 to 21ins) in length with a wing­span of be­tween 66 to 73cms (26 to 29ins). This is about three­quar­ters of the length of an adult mal­lard. The adult male has dis­tinc­tive mul­ti­col­ored iri­des­cent plumage and red eyes,with a dis­tinc­tive white flare down the neck. The fe­male, less colourful, has a white eye-ring and a whi­tish throat. Both adults have crested heads. The male’s call is a ris­ing whis­tle, jeeeeee; the fe­males ut­ter a drawn- out, ris­ing squeal, do weep do weep, when flushed, and a sharp cr-r- ek, cr- e- ek for an alarm call.[4]

The Sil­ver Ap­p­le­yard duck

This is a beau­ti­ful placid duck. They look very stylish with their clas­si­cal yel­low beak and orange legs and feet. They are quiet and are well suited for back gar­den ex­is­tence. Tra­di­tion­ally kept as a dual pur­pose bird, they lay lots of large white eggs and they grow quickly mak­ing a good ta­ble bird. They tend to be very friendly and so­cia­ble, trust­ing and gen­tle, ‘a real looker’. They love to take life ‘easy’ at a slower pace then most other do­mes­tics.

The In­dian Runner duck

The comics of the duck world, In­dian Run­ners will amuse you for hours. They are very busy and

great for the back yard; they love snails and slugs and are one of the best forms of or­ganic pest con­trol. They are pre­dom­i­nantly kept for eggs: lay­ing well over 200 per year. The eggs vary be­tween white, off white and pale green. They can­not fly. The fe­males quack and the males have a hoarse whis­per. Each have their own char­ac­ter - they pro­vide great amuse­ment in the gar­den and never fail to en­ter­tain. They make great pets, and are a firm favourite with chil­dren. Although they can be quite skit­tish at first, with time and pa­tience you can eas­ily win their con­fi­dence. Moon­ridge Farm sells fully feath­ered and point of lay birds at £30 each. Day old (in sea­son) are priced at £15, each sexed.

The Khaki Camp­bell duck

This is a fan­tas­tic duck, great to keep along­side your flock of chick­ens, although they are best

housed sep­a­rately. Due to their size, placid na­ture and egg lay­ing abil­ity, they are very com­pat­i­ble to be kept free rang­ing. This breed has been mainly de­vel­oped for egg lay­ing. They are ex­tremely ag­ile and av­er­age 320 eggs a year, out­lay­ing most types of chicken. A great duck for the back gar­den, they are great for­agers and ex­tremely in­quis­i­tive and can be easy to tame with food and treats. They lay white eggs. Camp­bell’s are just as com­fort­able on land as in wa­ter, mak­ing them an ex­cel­lent choice for back yard pro­duc­ers. Be­ing ex­cel­lent scav­engers they are easy to keep and are ex­tremely hardy. Moon­ridge Farm sells them for £20.

The Mus­covy duck

The Mus­covy are gen­er­ally gen­tle birds un­less the fe­male is sit­ting or has a young brood. Mus­covy drakes don’t quack, but in­stead pro­duce a low hiss. The fe­males only make a short, weak quack and this is what makes them the qui­etest of all the ducks. They can fly well so they will need to be wing- clipped. They are perch­ing ducks, so like trees and logs. They do not swim as much as other breeds be­cause their oil glands are un­der de­vel­oped. This means that they do not re­quire a large source of wa­ter. They love com­pany and will seek you out in the gar­den . They are ex­cel­lent slug and bug killers . As they are perch­ing ducks they have claws so are not eas­ily han­dled, but they are friendly in­quis­i­tive ducks and do not tend to be as flighty as some of the other do­mes­tic ducks. They make ex­cel­lent brood­ies of­ten sit­ting and hatch­ing up to 16 plus duck­lings. Moon­ridge Farm sells them for £20.

The Man­darin duck

The adult male is a strik­ing and un­mis­tak­able bird. It has a red bill, large white cres­cent above the eye and red­dish face and ‘whiskers’. The breast is pur­ple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange ‘sails’ at the back. The fe­male is sim­i­lar to fe­male wood duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe run­ning back from the eye, but is paler be­low, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill. Both the males and fe­males have crests, but the crest is more pro­nounced on the male. Like many other species of ducks, the male un­der­goes a moult af­ter the mat­ing sea­son into eclipse plumage. When in eclipse plumage, the male looks sim­i­lar to the fe­male, but can be told apart by their bright yel­low- orange beak, lack of any crest, and a less-pro­nounced eye-stripe. Man­darin duck­lings are al­most iden­ti­cal in ap­pear­ance to wood duck­lings, and very sim­i­lar to mal­lard duck­lings. The duck­lings can be dis­tin­guished from mal­lard duck­lings be­cause the eye-stripe of man­darin duck­lings (and wood duck­lings) stops at the eye, while in mal­lard duck­lings it reaches all the way to the bill.

Moon Ridge have a wide va­ri­ety of ducks

In­dian runner ducks

Ap­p­le­yard ducks

Khaki Camp­bell ducks

Mus­covy ducks

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