Crested Duck – Breed Profile & Facts
The crested duck is rapidly becoming a favorite dual-purpose duck breed for most duck keepers. This medium-weight breed is known for its striking features and prolific meat and egg productivity.
Besides being suitable for egg and meat production, crested ducks are ideal for exhibition and ornamental purposes. In addition, these beautiful birds make fantastic pet birds.
History of Crested Duck
While the history of crested duck remains unknown, many believe this breed has been around since the 1600s. Crested ducks were initially known when Dutch painting started portraying them around the 17th century.
Crested ducks originated in the Indies, and they subsequently became a breed of choice for many European farmers. These ducks came to the US in the 1800s. The standard version of the Crested duck is the bantam version, otherwise known as the Crested miniature. The APA (American Poultry Association) recognized the Crested miniature in 1997.
Crested Duck Characteristics
The Crested duck breed is a unique medium-sized, dual-purpose breed. This breed boasts prominent features that other duck breeds don’t have.
The body of the Crested duck stands at an angle that makes the duck appear as if it has a straight neck. Its head has a thick crest cover that looks more like an afro.
Crested ducks have distinct long legs and long beaks. The legs and beaks are pale orange, though the black version of the Crested duck has gray legs and beaks.
Although the APS recognizes the black and white versions of the crested ducks, the association does not recognize versions such as Grey, Blue, and Buff.
– Size & Weight
On average, Crested ducks are medium-sized ducks. Crested duck hens weigh approximately 2.7 kg. Drakes are relatively heavier, weighing around 3.2 kg on average. The bantam version of the Crested ducks weighs between 0.9 and 1.2 kg on average.
Crested ducks are pretty nervous birds. They will take off swiftly when frightened. However, they can be amazingly friendly if reared properly. They are comfortable around kids and their keepers. Crested birds are overly social birds. They socialize well with other duck species.
You can keep these birds alongside other duck species, provided these species don’t harm your crested ducks. Despite being nervous, Crested ducks make awesome pets. They are fairly quiet ducks, and they remain calm most of the time.
Domestic Crested ducks can live between 8 and 12 years, thanks to their hardy nature. Nonetheless, their wild counterparts can’t live for all these years since they don’t receive proper care like domestic Crested ducks.
Furthermore, many predators preying on wild Crested ducks in the wild dramatically shorten their lifespan. Domestic Crested ducks can live for close to two decades if they receive good care.
– Egg Production
Crested ducks are reliable layers for anyone keeping these ducks for eggs. These cute ducks lay between 100 and 130 eggs annually. Their egg productivity is, however, hampered in winter due to freezing. Crested ducks reach their sexual maturity pretty early. Crested duck hens usually start laying at around five to six months.
They are reliable layers since they can continue laying for several years upon sexual maturity. Crested ducks lay larger eggs, notwithstanding their medium-size stature. Their eggs are as large as those from heavyweight ducks.
On average, Crested duck eggs weigh between 80 and 90 grams. These ducks don’t lay many eggs compared to some awesome layers like Indian Runners and Magpies. They are still efficient layers.
The color of eggs from these ducks depends on the version of the Crested ducks. The white version of the Crested duck lays white eggs, while the blue version lays blue eggs. Crested ducks lay between 9 and 13 eggs before sitting on the eggs. They also take about 28 days to hatch their eggs.
Crested duck eggs are larger than most duck eggs. These eggs have more yolk, making them suitable for baked products. Crested duck eggs are rich in flavor, and their taste is more authentic than most duck eggs, which encourages duck keepers to keep Crested ducks for egg production.
These eggs are a fantastic source of nutrition. The eggs’ dark yellow yolk implies that these eggs have plenty of antioxidants, 50% more vitamins than ordinary duck eggs, and plenty of omega-3-fatty acids.
Crested duck eggs also contain almost twice the protein content of the average duck egg. Therefore these eggs are suitable for those seeking to build lean muscle. The other advantage of keeping Crested ducks for egg production is that these eggs contain loads of minerals compared to duck eggs from several duck species.
For instance, Crested duck eggs are a rich source of selenium, zinc, and magnesium. The three minerals are suitable for supporting mental health.
– Meat Production
Although Crested ducks are a mid-sized duck breed, there are still efficient meat producers. Unlike heavyweight duck breeds, they don’t produce large quantities of duck meat. However, their meat is way healthy and boasts a wide range of nutrients in minerals than most poultry eggs.
Crested duck meat is leaner than the average duck meat. The meat contains almost zero fat content, making this breed suitable for people struggling with weight issues. The nutrients in Crested duck meat come in large portions.
For example, the meat has plenty of iron and protein than the meat from the average duck breed. Furthermore, Crested duck meat is also richer in other essential minerals such as selenium and niacin. It is also surprisingly tender and delicious.
People keep Crested ducks for meat production because the ducks’ meat opens up various recipes. The meat from these ducks provides loads of opportunities to try out satisfying meals. Furthermore, the meat boasts a rich flavor that blends well with many ingredients.
Crested ducks mature pretty quickly, which means these ducks are ready for consumption at a very tender age. Therefore, you won’t spend a fortune purchasing large quantities of duck feed if you keep these ducks strictly for meat production. Most importantly, Crested ducks don’t eat loads of food, unlike most duck species that duck keepers keep for meat production.
Crested Duck Care
Crested ducks need less care than other breeds. However, additional care is paramount to helping these birds grow faster and stay healthy. Knowing the best feeding habits and nutrition is essential to keeping your Crested ducks healthy.
Housing is also crucial for Crested ducks since these ducks do well in proper housing conditions. Furthermore, you need to vaccinate your ducks against many health problems that affect Crested ducks.
– Feeding & Nutrition
Good nutrition is vital to keeping Crested ducks healthy. All Crested ducks, irrespective of their age or size, require proper nutrition for optimal growth. Every Crested duck keeper should consider nutrition while formulating a diet for their birds.
For instance, ducklings and younger ducks grow quite quickly and hence require a diet that is high in calories and proteins. Ducklings need a starter feed containing 18 and 29 percent protein in their first three weeks.
Protein-rich starter pellets are especially suitable for ducklings since they are small enough for these tiny birds. Besides protein, ducklings also need high calcium levels in their diet to help their bones grow stronger. Younger ducks also need protein, although not as much as ducklings.
Ideally, younger Crested ducks should consume a feed containing about 14% protein. Similarly, they need a moderate consumption of calcium-rich feed since their bones are still growing. Both ducklings and younger Crested ducks need zinc in their regular feed.
Zinc is crucial for structural, regulatory, and catalytic function in Crested ducks, including young ducks and ducklings. The feed you provide to your Crested ducklings and younger Crested ducks should incorporate many vitamins such as vitamin B3 and Niacin. These two vitamins help ducklings, and young Crested ducks grow strong bones.
Drakes and non-laying Crested ducks need a maintenance feed containing around 14% protein. If you can’t get duck feed with protein for your drakes and non-laying Crested hens, you can try natural protein sources such as soybeans, pumpkin seeds, snails, small fish, and shellfish. Although drakes and non-laying Crested ducks don’t need a zinc-rich diet, zinc is vital for these birds.
A zinc deficiency can make your drakes and non-laying birds experience poor bone formation, loss of weight, and immunological dysfunctions. Sprinkle zinc supplements occasionally on your birds’ feed to allow them to get an adequate amount of zinc over time.
Drakes and non-laying Crested ducks need more vitamins than ducklings and young crested ducks. Vitamins help non-laying ducks and drakes improve their immunity. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, and kale are excellent vitamin sources for non-laying ducks and drakes.
Laying Crested ducks have extremely high calcium and protein requirements than other Crested ducks since they lay many large-sized eggs. Crested hens require a breeder or layer feed, including over 20% protein and calcium.
Fishmeal, bugs, seeds, and soybeans are excellent sources of proteins for laying Crested ducks. You can also buy commercial feed for your laying Crested ducks, although you should ensure the feed has a high percentage of protein and calcium.
Apart from nutrition, water is equally imperative for Crested ducks as it is important for other duck breeds. Crested ducks need clean water to provide them with proper preening conditions.
Furthermore, Crested ducks require water to maintain normal body temperature. Establishing a feeding routine will help your Crested ducks grow healthy. Ducklings should eat at least thrice daily, while mature Crested ducks should eat twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening.
Crested ducks don’t require anything fancy when it comes to housing. These ducks, however, need a properly designed cage, although they sleep on the floor since they aren’t perching birds, unlike chickens.
Crested hens don’t necessarily need nest boxes in their coop since they will make nests on the floor. However, ducks need comfortable flooring in their coop, which you can create using straw.
Due to their medium size, Crested ducks don’t need a large coop, unlike heavyweight duck breeds. These ducks are comfortable in a 4 square ft. wide and three-foot-high coop. However, the coop should be wider if you keep several Crested ducks.
Proper ventilation is vital for indoor ducks since it allows the air in the coop to remain fresh throughout. Lastly, ensure the coop has no spaces lest predators use the gaping openings in the coop to get in and attack your Crested ducks.
– Healthy Problems
Although Crested ducks are hardy, they aren’t hardy enough to withstand the various health issues that affect ducks. It helps to vaccinate your Crested ducks against multiple diseases they are likely to contract in the course of their life. Some of the common health problems in Crested ducks include duck plague, duck virus, hepatitis, and Avian cholera.
Toxins also cause health problems in Crested ducks. Therefore, be diligent in preventing your Crested ducks from consuming anything toxic. Furthermore, ensure your ducks have no exposure to deadly toxins. Besides toxins, botulism is another health concern for Crested ducks. This condition affects ducks that forage for food in stagnant ponds and other filthy places.
Can Crested Ducks Fly?
Although Crested ducks may seem like poor fliers, they can still fly, especially while fleeing danger. These ducks aren’t as heavy as heavyweight duck species. In addition, they have strong wings, which enable them to fly for short distances.
Wild Crested ducks can fly at a speed of up to 95 km per hour. Since Crested ducks are overly nervous birds, they tend to fly, especially in life-threatening situations.
How Much do Crested Ducks Cost?
Crested ducklings can cost between $ 5 and $7, depending on the size of the ducklings. Drakes cost around $10 to $15, depending on the variety. White Crested drakes, for instance, cost more than the black Crested drakes. Hens cost between $ 15 and $25, depending on the variety.
Are Crested Ducks Loud?
No, Crested ducks aren’t loud, unlike many duck species. These ducks are the quietest of all duck breeds, and they rarely quack.
Crested ducks are a suitable choice for dual-purpose ducks. These birds are easy to maintain, considering their medium size. Crested ducks are friendly, although nervous, until they get used to the people around them, making them fantastic pets. Most importantly, these ducks aren’t loud, and they are not aggressive.