Saxony Duck – Breed Profile & Facts
With a history that reaches back to the 1930s, the Saxony Duck is a domesticated duck breed that’s considered rare in the United States. It’s a heavy breed that can be raised as a show duck, as a pet, and even for its meat.
How did the Saxony Duck come about? What are some of its most important characteristics, and is this duck good for beginners? These are just some of the things I will cover in this Saxony Duck Breed Profile, along with other interesting aspects of this breed.
What are Saxony Ducks?
Created by Albert Franz by crossbreeding Rouen, German Pekin, and Blue Pomeranian ducks, the Saxony duck was introduced at the Saxony Show in 1934. However, it took a little over two decades to be recognized as a distinct breed.
It took another 40 some years for the Saxony Duck to be admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection.
Today, there are fewer than 500 specimens of Saxony ducks in the United States, which explains why they’re on The Livestock Conservancy critical list.
Should you decide to raise Saxony Ducks, you’d be contributing to keeping this breed in existence.
And if you need more convincing why this duck is an excellent all-around breed, here’s a near-exhaustive profile on the Saxony Duck.
Saxony Duck Characteristics
Here are the characteristics of the Saxony Duck that can help you decide if you’d like to raise this breed on your own:
– Size & Weight
Saxony ducks are described as a heavy-bodied breed – they can grow to a weight of 8-9 lbs. This qualifies them as one of the largest domesticated duck breeds.
The body of this duck can be described as long and compact, with a prominent, smoothly rounded chest, and broad shoulders.
The plumage of the duck is a deep burgundy or chestnut on the breast, gray head and wings, and a white ring around the neck in the case of drakes.
Hens of the breed have apricot or salmon-colored plumage with white eye lines as well as oatmeal-colored wingtips.
If you want to raise Saxony ducks for exhibitions or simply as pets, it’s good to have an idea what to expect in terms of their temperament and personality.
These ducks have a docile nature, and they’re calm and gentle birds, so it’s not an issue to keep them around kids, for example.
They’re naturally curious and inquisitive birds, they’re excellent foragers, often supplementing their diet with insects.
Saxony ducks are normally noisy during feeding time. Not so much the drakes as the hens, which can become loud when they’re excited about feeding time, for example. They don’t so much quack as they make a raspy sound instead.
Naturally, you’re also interested in how long Saxony Ducks live. Incidentally, these ducks are one of the longest-living duck breeds with a lifespan of 9 to 12 years.
So, if you’re looking to raise a Saxony duck as a pet, you can add the long lifespan to the list of positive aspects about this duck.
Lifespan can, of course, be influenced by a variety of factors like diet, keeping conditions, whether the bird has access to a large pen or free range time, whether it receives medical care, etc.
– Egg Production
Saxony ducks are also characterized as good egg layers. Although not as prolific at egg production as the Campbell breed or the Runner breed. Both, can lay around 300 eggs per year, however, the Saxony duck will lay up to 240 eggs per year.
Hens will also sit on the eggs until they hatch, when broody.
Many ducks will lay brown eggs because of the presence of a gene that produces protoporphyrin IX, a pigment that causes eggs to have a brown shell. The Saxony duck lacks this gene, and hence they lay white eggs.
A small number of Saxony ducks may lay green or blue eggs, which is caused by the presence of impurities in the calcium carbonate used to make eggshells.
– Meat Production
When Albert Franz set out to create the Saxony duck in the 1930s, his purpose was to create a meat duck breed that matured fast.
He has succeeded as the Saxony duck matures relatively fast and as a heavy-bodied duck, it’s also a meaty bird. You can expect to get 4-5 pounds of meat from a Saxony duck.
Because of their high activity level, their meat is lean and dark with a white skin. The meat packs a lot of flavor and less fat.
Because the Saxony duck is good both for egg production and meat production, it’s often described as a dual-purpose duck or an all-purpose duck if you also factor in that they’re great as pet birds or that they can be show ducks too.
Saxony Duck Care
Next, let’s see what the feeding and housing requirements of the Saxony duck are and what type of health problems – if any – you can expect from these birds.
– Feeding & Nutrition
To keep them healthy and ensure a long lifespan, Saxony ducks need a specific diet. In the wild, ducks feed on a variety of foods including a variety of plant matter, water plants, seeds, and insects.
In captivity, they also need a combination of plant matter and protein, which usually comes in the form of pellets specially formulated for domestic ducks.
So, in addition to duck feed, they can also be offered chopped vegetables, fruits, and low quantities of grit that will aid their digestion.
Ideally, Saxony ducks should have free range time where they can scavenge for insects and various plants to supplement their diet.
In addition to free range time, access to a pond or pool is also desirable for them. After all, ducks are waterfowls and as such, they need access to water, where they can swim and dunk their heads in the water.
Clean drinking water should also be provided. Ducks will typically drink 2-4 ounces of water a day, but the actual quantity varies depending on environmental conditions.
Chicken coops can be used for housing ducks as well. Although this breed is considered cold-hardy, and an otherwise hardy breed, it’s best to offer them shelter against the elements.
In winter, shelter against the frost is needed. Likewise, Saxony ducks appreciate having a shaded area and access to a pond or a pool during the hottest days of the summer.
Because they don’t roost like chickens do, they prefer sleeping on the ground and they don’t need nest boxes. They’ll simply burrow into their bedding and line it with feathers.
The sheds of ducks must be spacious enough to offer them around 10 square feet of space for each duck.
Saxony ducks can be housed together with chickens. Although Saxony ducks don’t need to be kept in pairs, they do need the companionship of other ducks. You should also make sure to keep the right drake to hen ratio as well.
– Health Problems
Hardy and healthy, Saxony ducks rarely get sick, especially if their vaccination is kept up to date.
Other than having them regularly vaccinated, deworming medication is also important to keep these birds healthy.
You should also regularly check their feet for Bumblefoot, which is an abscess that can appear in the footpad of these ducks. Treatment involves administering antibiotics.
Access to clean water is needed to prevent their preening gland from drying out and prevent “wet feather” disease. Access to water also helps keep lice, mites, fleas, and ticks at bay.
How Much does a Saxony Duck Cost?
The price for a Saxony duck depends on the age, gender, and number of specimens ordered. However, prices for a male Saxony duck are around $9, while females can cost twice as much.
The more ducks you order, the lower the price. Usually, breeders will apply a discount for larger orders.
Make sure to buy from a reputable breeder. While the Saxony duck is not as widespread in the United States, there are a few breeders that specialize in this breed.
Are Saxony Ducks Good for Beginners?
Yes, Saxony ducks are suitable for beginners. They’re not an aggressive breed and they usually have a docile, friendly temperament.
Of course, temperament can be different from duck to duck. Some ducks can have a more individualistic or shy nature. Others can be more accepting of humans and even actively seek out their company.
Saxony ducks can make good pet birds as well. They aren’t difficult to raise if you understand their requirements.
Are Saxony Ducks Hardy?
Yes, as I mentioned before, Saxony ducks are really hardy. This description refers to the fact that they’re naturally cold-hardy and have a good resistance to diseases.
However, just because they’re hardy, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be looked after. They still need good housing, preventative medical monitoring, and a healthy diet.
Can Saxony Ducks Fly?
No, Saxony ducks are flightless. Because these ducks don’t fly, you don’t need to worry about keeping them in an uncovered enclosure.
Most domesticated ducks have lost their ability to fly and the Saxony duck is not different. Their feathers are not long enough for flight, nor are their muscles designed for flight.
Plus, Saxony ducks are a bit on the heavy side, which can also impede their ability to fly.
Tips on Keeping Saxony Ducks
Here’s an overview of the feeding and housing requirements of the Saxony duck:
- Feed your Saxony ducks pellets that are specially formulated for domesticated ducks.
- Vegetables, fruit, and insects should also be part of their diet.
- Access to clean drinking water as well as a pond for bathing is essential to keep these ducks healthy and ward off lice and other pests.
- Regular deworming and vaccinations will keep your Saxony ducks free of diseases.
- Protect your ducks from frost during winter and heat during summer.
- Free-range access is desirable to allow these ducks to forage for insects and plant matter.
The Saxony duck is a fairly rare breed in the United States despite it being an excellent all-purpose duck. Whether you’re raising them for exhibits and shows, as a peat or as a meat bird, Saxony ducks are hardy and easy to raise.