Thinking about adding some waterfowl to your flock? Ducks are a great place to start. Many breeds are small, social and easy to handle, and their eggs typically have more protein and healthy fats than chicken eggs. Today we’d like to take a moment to appreciate one of our favorite duck breeds—the Welsh Harlequin.
Welsh Harlequin ducks originated fairly recently in 1949 after a breeder in Wales began selectively breeding for an unusual color mutation in his flock of Khaki Campbell ducks. Then, in the 1960s, another breeder from Tennessee began importing Welsh Harlequin eggs in hopes of introducing the breed to North America. More live birds were imported to broaden the gene pool during the 1980s, and the breed was officially accepted into the American Poultry Association’s standard of perfection in 2001.
Welsh Harlequins tend to have a calm demeanor and small size that makes them ideal for families with children and pets. These ducks are excellent egg layers capable of producing anywhere between 240 and 330 white-shelled eggs each year. They are also widely regarded as a great dual-purpose breed because their meat is very lean and their feathers are easier to pluck than many other duck breeds.
If you keep them near a garden, Welsh Harlequins will also forage enthusiastically for insects in your yard. Just bear in mind that they may occasionally squash low-growing plants like strawberries with their wide, flat feed.
In addition to being a very practical duck breed, Welsh Harlequins are also quite beautiful thanks to their unique, vibrant coloration. To learn more about these or any of the other duck breeds we offer at Cackle Hatchery, feel free to give us a call or contact us online today.