Are you looking to add an Australian spotted duck to your waterfowl flock?
This is a rare breed with an appearance almost similar to its ancestor, the iconic Mallard duck.
But is it worth adding to your flock?
In this guide to the Australian spotted duck, we’ll discuss:
- the original and history of these spotted ducks
- distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from other breeds
- and the temperament and uses of this rare bantam breed
If you’re a newbie in duck-keeping, we’ll also help you navigate the waterfowl world by guiding you on how to care for this breed.
But before that, here’s a little overview of the Australian spotted ducks to help you get an idea of what this breed has to offer.
|Australian Spotted Duck Breed Overview|
|Scientific Name:||Dendrocygna Guttata|
|Average Weight:||Drake: 2 to 2.2 pounds|
|Hen: 2 pounds|
|Average Height:||Bantam size|
|Starts Laying At:||6 to 7 months old|
|Total Eggs Produced:||50 to 125 eggs|
|Temperament:||Personable and calm|
|Conservation Status:||Critically endangered|
|Breed’s Primary Purpose:||Mainly for exhibition, Less commonly for eggs and meat production|
Australian Spotted Ducks Origin and History
The Australian spotted duck is a misnomer because its origin is not connected to its name.
Because this breed was actually developed in the United States.
It all started when Stanley Mason and John C. Kriner, who worked in the American State of Pennsylvania, bred the Mallard, Call, Pintail, and an Australian wild duck in 1920.
After eight years of breeding, they came up with a desired specimen, called it an Australian spotted duck, and started exhibiting them in 1928.
Now, Australian spotted ducks are still used in exhibitions.
However, this breed is not yet recognized by American Poultry Association, and it is rare, which explains why you’ll barely witness this duck breed.
Distinguishing Characteristics of the Australian Spotted Duck
This breed has three varieties, the Greenhead, Bluehead, and Silverhead.
It refers to the color of their head, and their body has a corresponding spot to their head.
The drake and hen Australian Spotted ducks have different physical features, which makes them easier to distinguish, even if they’re still chicks.
If you aren’t familiar with their distinguishing characteristics, let us help you identify their features.
Male Australian Spotted Ducks
The Australian spotted drake has a darker head and mane and sometimes has an iridescent green and blue color when reflected in sunlight.
Their neck has a band-like white color that encircles it, while their breast is coated with burgundy color.
Their belly is white, while their wings have shades of dark grayish-brown.
Lastly, their tail is light gray, but the tail under the cushion is black.
In terms of size, this breed is relatively small.
A fully grown drake can only grow approximately up to 2.2 pounds.
Female Australian Spotted Ducks
On the other hand, a female Australian spotted duck only grows up to 2 pounds and has different features.
They have a yellow and black beak and a brown to light brown head to neck.
Then their wings and body are spotted with brown color with gray on the edge, while the rest are white to cream color, except for their yellow feet.
Australian Spotted Duck’s Temperament and Personality
The Australian Spotted ducks are known for their good and calm personality.
They easily grow a bond between humans and other animals, like chickens.
They have a serene, undemanding temperament and a gentle disposition.
This breed is well-known for making friends with people, making those who are fortunate enough to possess one adore them as pets.
In addition to greatly lowering the number of slugs, snails, Japanese beetles, sow bugs, and other insect pests in gardens and yards, they are incredibly tough and excellent foragers.
And they can completely eradicate mosquito larvae from ponds and swimming pools.
Because of their bantam size, they are described as cute, gentle, and delicate types of ducks, which makes them great for beginners.
They fly frequently, but they tend to stay near their homes.
One way to be sure of this is to clip the primary flight feathers of one wing.
But you need to provide a habitat and fence that will protect them from predators if you’d limit their capacity for flight.
Uses of Australian Spotted Duck
Since the Australian spotted duck is not recognized in the world yet, their population is very low compared to the popular breeds.
But for those who recognized them, they use this breed mainly for exhibition.
Because of their cuteness, beauty, significance in history, and foraging ability, they are raised as pets and presented in a show by enthusiasts or breeders.
In some cases, though they are small, their eggs and meat are still useful, especially when providing daily food for your family.
However, you can’t use their meat as you want because it is against the breeder’s preservation efforts.
But did you know how many eggs and how much meat they can produce?
Since the Australian spotted duck is a bantam breed, it’s expected to have small to medium eggs but with large yolks.
Every year, these spotted ducks can produce around 50 to 125 eggs.
And it comes in different beautiful colors, such as cream, blue, and sometimes green.
Like other popular breeds, the meat of Australian spotted duck is tasty.
Their breast muscles are well-developed, so their meat has an extra-fine texture.
However, because of the efforts of breeders to preserve the breed, it’s not recommended to raise them to have meat.
Pros and Cons of Raising Australian Spotted Ducks
To help you decide whether this bantam duck breed is worth adding to your flock, here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of raising Australian spotted ducks.
- Great for the exhibition
- All climate hardy
- Calm, gentle, and delicate
- Great forager of insect pests
- Have beautiful eggs
- Beautiful varieties of colors
- Small size, so small meat
- Prone to predators
- Little eggs and meat compared to other popular breeds
Where to Find Australian Spotted Duck For Sale?
Australian spotted bantam ducks are rare, so it can be challenging to find them.
If no Aussie spotted is available for sale in local farms and breeders in your area, try visiting the following farms:
And if you do find some Australian spotted ducklings for sale, make sure to check the breeder’s reputation and their farms before making a final purchasing decision.
How to Raise an Australian Spotted Duck
Raising an Australian spotted duck is no different compared to other breeds.
But if you’re a beginner, it might be challenging at first.
Even if you’ve been keeping chickens for a long time, it’s worth noting that the physical and nutritional needs of ducks are different from chickens.
That means you need to make some adjustments when raising ducks.
But don’t worry; we got you!
In this section, we’ll guide you on how to raise ducks successfully and keep them healthy and happy.
Prepare a Durable Fence
Why is it important?
As stated above, Australian spotted bantam ducks are good flyers and escape artists.
Why? Because they are small enough to flap their wings and fly higher.
So they need an enclosed space with a well-built fence to prevent them from flying out and escaping.
Besides, the fences are helpful in protecting your flocks from potential predators, like wild or stray dogs, tigers, lions, foxes, and other carnivorous animals around your place.
The fences are not necessarily wired.
You can use a strong and high net, as long as it will not damage easily.
The size depends on your preferences and how many spotted ducks you want to raise.
If you want your flocks to be free, you can fence space as much as you want.
Provide Additional Space
If you’re living in the city with no backyard space, it’s not recommended to raise ducks.
But if you do have space in the backyard, you can raise at least two Australian spotted ducks.
However, if you live in a rural area with a wide space or farmland and want to start a homestead, ducks like Australian spotted are a great choice.
Because this breed is a great forager, they love to roam around and forage.
So if you provide a wide enclosure, they will surely enjoy living with freedom.
Besides, free-ranging can also help them cope with stress.
Prepare an Accessible Water Source
Ducks need water more than chickens and other birds.
They use it not only for rehydration but grooming purposes.
Ducks submerge their head in the water to clean their eyes and nostrils.
The bigger the ducks, the deeper water they need.
That’s why some homesteaders prefer to use ponds, while others use any container, depending on how many ducks they have.
Furthermore, clean water is necessary to keep them hydrated, especially when laying and hot climate.
That’s why ducks prefer and thrive more in areas where water is very accessible.
Provide Their Nutritional Needs
Nutrition plays a huge part in your duck’s health and productivity.
So how can you keep your waterfowl healthy and happy?
In this section, we’ll discuss how to feed your ducks according to their nutritional needs.
As for ducklings, feed them with moist starting mash for eight weeks.
It consists of corn, dried whey, soybean meal, fish meal, and rice bran mashed together to avoid choking on your little feathery ones.
Others feed their native ducklings with moistened boiled rice for the first 33 weeks of their life, 4–5 times a day.
But that may not be enough to sustain their nutritional needs.
Remember that waterfowl have a higher niacin requirement than chickens.
So chicken feed is not ideal for duck consumption either.
If you want to kickstart your waterfowl’s growth, you must provide duck feed specifically created to meet their nutritional needs.
Another thing worth noting is the feeding time.
It’s better to feed them during the night for the first few days. And on the second day, you can try adding water to their drinking fountains or troughs.
You can also add small shrimp that have been finely minced to the rice on the fifth day. Then gradually increase the amount of food they consume.
Your ducklings may also enjoy cooked unhulled rice and tiny freshwater snails at one month of age.
But make sure to supplement it with duck feed specially formulated for them.
And give just enough amounts when feeding ducks because excess amounts left in the troughs tend to spoil.
Give Them Some Treats
As for your adult ducks, you can also give them some treats occasionally.
They enjoy feeding on leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, collards, and other greens.
One of the duck’s favorite treats that is a good addition to their diet is scrambled eggs.
They also love mealworms, both live and dead, earthworms, minnows, slugs, crickets, feeder fish, fried fish or meat scraps, and lobster or shrimp shells.
If you provide your ducks with a varied diet of grasses and insects, you must keep them in a large pen.
But they are happiest when given some free foraging time each day.
This way, they can search for their own food and treats that make their tummy happy.
Prepare Dry Beddings
Another essential thing you need to provide to keep your spotted ducks safe and happy is bedding.
Pine shavings work just fine, but straw is what our ducks love.
Since straw retains its shape better and has excellent insulation qualities, it keeps ducks warm throughout the colder months.
Furthermore, it prevents them from lying on chilly wood or cement floors.
FAQs about the Australian Spotted Duck
What is the lifespan of an Australian Spotted Duck?
The lifespan of an Australian Spotted Duck is typically between 8 and 12 years, although some ducks may live longer with proper care and nutrition.
What is the price range for Australian Spotted Ducks?
The price range for Australian Spotted Ducks varies depending on the age, sex, and breeding of the duck, as well as the location and availability of the breed.
However, prices typically range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per duck.
What is the diet of an Australian Spotted Duck?
The diet of an Australian Spotted Duck consists of a variety of foods, including commercial duck feed, fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and insects.
It’s important to provide ducks with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
Australian Spotted Duck: Is It Worth Adding To Your Flock?
Australian Spotted duck is a docile but hardy bantam breed, so they’re adaptable to any climate and require less space.
But what makes this breed more interesting is the color of the eggs it produces. It could either be in shades of cream, blue or green.
So, if you’re fond of collecting colorful duck eggs and you don’t mind the number of eggs and meat they produce, this spotted bantam breed is the one for you!
But if you prefer a more prolific egg producer, check out this unpopular yet prized duck breed below.