Blue Swedish Duck – Breed Profile & Facts
According to early traditions, the blue-colored ducks were considered to be exceptionally hardy, and superior meat producers. They were also praised for being difficult for predators to attack.
This is attributed to the fact that they were not easily visible to ferocious predators such as mongooses, coyotes, or foxes.
As a result, these blue-colored ducks became increasingly popular in Europe for many years to come. And this is where the Blue Swedish ducks come in as excellent meat and egg producers for backyard poultry owners.
Read on to get a clear picture of the Blue Swedish duck breeds, their history, and their characteristics, including how to take care of them.
History of Blue Swedish Duck
Historically, the Blue ducks were the foundation stock associated with the famous Blue Swedish ducks. These unique ducks were first reported in Pomerania way back in 1835. At the time, Pomerania was still under the Kingdom of Sweden. However, today, this region straddles northwest Poland and Northeast Germany.
The Blue Swedish ducks were brought to North America as early as 1884. They would later become part of the American Standard of Perfection in the year 1904.
Ever since their inclusion in the American Standard of Perfection, the Blue Sweden ducks have been raised on farms and backyards in modest numbers. Their primary purpose as farm animals is the production of meat and eggs as stated above. They also make excellent pets in addition to being used for exhibitions and decoration.
Blue Swedish Duck Characteristics
Blue Swedish ducks have good foraging ability. They are also hardy with a calm personality These ducks are also similar to Rouen ducks in terms of size.
In general, Blue Swedish ducks are characterized by their dark brown eyes and dark blue head. Drakes can be identified from their greenish-blue bills while females can be singled out by their bluish slate-colored bills.
Blue Swedish ducks have predominantly blue bodies. They also have a few white feathers on their breasts and necks. Their feet and shanks are somehow reddish-brown combined with irregular grayish-black markings.
Blue ducks are known not to breed true. Therefore, if you breed your Blue Swedish duck with another Blue Swedish, you will only get about 50% blue ducklings. Likewise, you will get about 25% Black Swedish ducklings and approximately 25% very light gray colored ducklings, often referred to as Splashed White or Silver Swedish ducks.
If you want to get purebred Blue Swedish ducklings hatching from your Blue Swedish ducks, then you should separate your Blue ducks breed by breed during the mating season. Alternatively, you can allow your Blue ducks to cross in order to have different colors and shapes of the ducklings.
Here are additional characteristics associated with Blue Swedish ducks that you may want to consider before introducing these birds to your current backyard poultry:
– Size & Weight
Blue Swedish ducks weigh between 6.5 and 8 pounds. The standard weight for Blue Swedish drakes is 8 pounds while that for females is 7 pounds. Young Blue Swedish males can weigh an average of 6.5 pounds and young females 5 pounds.
When it comes to temperament, Blue Swedish ducks rank among the generally quiet, gently, and shy poultry. They are also friendly, making them a perfect choice of ducks for keepers with families. Their friendly nature also is the reason why they make great pets at home. Overall, Blue Swedish ducks are excellent backyard ducks for beginners.
Blue Swedish ducks are hardy birds. On average, they can live up to 8 to 12 years. Their lifespan depends on how well they are taken care of and their surrounding environment. They can do well in all climates given that they are climate tolerant.
The Blue Swedish duck breed is listed on the “Wach List” specifically by the American Livestock Breeds conservancy. This means that there are fewer numbers of this duck breed available today. So, the breed is among the most endangered ducks left in the world.
With that being said, the Blue Swedish duck breed must be protected by all means available. This calls for drastic measures for every keeper to provide shelters, fencing, and safe free-ranging ground for them. Their diet should also be considered since this is one of the factors that contribute so much to their longevity.
– Egg Production
Blue Swedish or Swedish Blue breed of ducks is a dual-purpose duck. Meaning that you can raise them for both meat and eggs. Hens can lay between 120 and 180 eggs in one year. Their eggs are mostly white in color. But a few can have tints of green, blue, or even grey color.
Depending on the time and stage of incubation, the Blue Swedish eggs can weigh approximately 65 to 90 grams. The eggs are usually incubated for around 28 days to hatch.
Nutritionally, Blue Swedish duck eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein. These eggs supply essential amino acids that your body requires to build proteins. Their egg yolk is also a rich source of cholesterol and fat including several vitamins and minerals.
Compared to the chicken eggs, the Blue Swedish duck eggs are more nutritious partly due to their larger size. On average the duck eggs provide you with more nutrients than you will ever get from chicken eggs.
In general, the Blue Swedish egg consists of calories, proteins, fat, carbs, cholesterol, vitamin B12, selenium, iron, vitamin D, and choline. All these nutrients play different roles in keeping you healthy and strong throughout.
Carotenoids in the duck egg yolk can protect your DNA and cells from oxidative damage. For that reason, they help keep away chronic and age-related diseases. These eggs also contain an additional number of health-promoting compounds that are beneficial to your brain and eye health.
The only concern duck eggs have on some people is their tendency to trigger allergies in children and infants, cause heart disease due to high levels of cholesterol, and the risk of foodborne illnesses such as salmonellosis caused by Salmonella bacteria often associated with eggs.
– Meat Production
Blue Swedish ducks are also raised for meat production. Their meat is both tasty and succulent because of eating natural foods in the field. These birds reach table weight by about four months or approximately 16 weeks.
Blue Swedish duck meat is best enjoyed when dried and cooked The meat itself is believed to be fatty. Apart from that, the meat is a little bit moist and darker than that for other poultry.
Popular cuts of this meat are the legs and breasts. Breast meat is considered to be lighter and milder in taste than meat from legs and thighs. Other edible parts of the Blue Swedish duck include the heart, liver, and gizzard. Blue Swedish meat is a rich source of protein, vitamin B, iron, omega fatty acids, and selenium.
Just like any other duck meat, you need to know how to handle Blue Swedish meat. Use clean food storage containers to store your duck mean. Always wash your hands, appliances, and surfaces before and after handling and preparing raw duck meat.
Finally, cook the duck meat thoroughly at around 165 degrees Harheinheit before serving it. All these precautions will help you reduce cases of food poisoning caused by salmonella bacteria and other pathogens.
Blue Swedish Duck Care
Since Blue Swedish ducks are hardy, their maintenance and care should be lower than most duck breeds. To take good care of them, you need to provide basic needs such as food and nutrition, housing, and medication.
– Feeding and Nutrition
Black Swedish ducks are known to be excellent foragers especially when you allow them to free-range. They can hunt bugs and even eat plant matter found in their environment. For that reason, make sure to provide dry food for ducks and plenty of water to help them achieve their basic nutrition needs.
Also supplement their commercial feed with bugs, worms, insects, and greens to make them grow healthy and become productive. Make a habit of giving them grass clippings, kitchen scraps, table scraps, and other numerous plant-based treats in winter months or when free-ranging.
For baby ducklings, ensure that they get enough chick starters during the first weeks of their lives to make them grow fast. Fresh clean water is also essential to help your birds stay hydrated and cool especially during the hot summer months.
Keep in mind that the Blue Swedish ducks were created in the cold climate of present-day North-East Germany, so their shelters must be located in cool and shady places. Such areas are usually ideal in the summer months to keep these birds comfortable.
A nice backyard pond or small swimming pool is also a great addition to your Blue Swedish ducks’ living space. For the pond, you may add a few dense foliages and shade structures to help replicate their natural habitat. These hardy ducks may prefer nestling down and spending some quality time in foliage over roosting in an enclosure.
When it comes to housing ducklings, you need to use a brooder. The same brooder should be kept away from the rest of the adult ducks to prevent cases of injuries or death. When the ducklings get fully feathered, you may transfer them to the main coop to mix with adult ducks.
– Health Problems
Sadly, ducks have a tendency of hiding signs of illness or injuries. Blue Swedish duck is no exception to this unique behavior. This calls for close attention to your ducks to find out if something is bothering them.
You should make a habit of observing your ducks for less obvious signs whenever they are outside roaming the yard. Conduct a regular full body examination for the ducks you suspect to be unwell. Most importantly, look out for signs related to these health problems associated with Blue Swedish ducks:
- Arthritis such Oestoarthris in older ducks and septic arthritis or infectious arthritis
- Aspergillosis-a non-contagious fungal disease that often affects the respiratory system of ducks.
- Avian influenza or bird flu is caused by Type-A influenza viruses
- Botulism as a result of ingesting neurotoxins produced by a group of bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum
- Bumblefoot due to poor living conditions
- Egg binding when an egg gets stuck in the oviduct
- Egg yolk peritonitis or inflammation of the peritoneum
- Fowl cholera resulting from Pasteurella multocida bacteria
- Newcastle disease, a highly contagious viral infection
If you notice any of the above-mentioned health problems in your Blue Swedish ducks, contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.
Can Blue Swedish Ducks Fly?
Even though Blue Swedish ducks enjoy roaming and foraging, they cannot fly. This is attributed to the fact they have bodies that are too heavy for their wings to lift. As such, they make you not worry about them flying over to your neighbors’ compounds.
However, if your property is not fenced well against stray dogs and predators, you may consider creating a fenced enclosure to contain them in a safer living space.
How Much do Blue Swedish Ducks Cost?
The overall cost of acquiring Blue Swedish ducks can vary depending on a number of factors. Some of these factors include gender, age, and whether they are sexed or unsexed. Also, the number of young ducklings you are buying can determine the cost.
The average cost of one bird can range from $5.19 to $12.25. You can obtain these birds from a licensed breeder or hatcheries, especially if you are buying baby ducklings. In this case, you will be required to buy a minimum of ten ducks although this number can vary from one breeder to another.
Are Blue Swedish Ducks Loud?
Although Blue Swedish ducks are friendly and calm most of the time, they can also become too noisy. These ducks are capable of producing a loud yelling type of quack that can be irritating at times. The Blue Swedish drakes make a low-pitched tone most of the time but can easily become loud when rivaling with other ducks or marking their territories.
Typically Blue Swedish ducks portray a calm temperament that makes them fine pets in most homes. Their pleasing personality, foraging capacity, and tasty meat will make them a beautiful, resourceful and useful addition to your current flock.
So, when it comes to choosing your most ideal Blue Swedish ducks, make sure to settle for solid, vigorous, and well-muscled ducks with strong legs.