Are you looking for a cute and quirky duck breed? Look no further than the Elizabeth duck!
These adorable ducks are known for their attractive appearances and friendly personalities, but sadly, they’re not as popular or as common as they should be.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Elizabeth duck breed profile—from their origin to their care requirements— and give them some of the attention they deserve.
You’ll fall in love with them—that’s just about guaranteed!
What is the Elizabeth Duck?
The Elizabeth duck is one of the most adorable duck breeds.
The duck’s unique appearance is what makes it stand out from other breeds.
The Elizabeth duck features an attractive gray and greenish plumage with white stripes on its neck.
Despite its unique beauty and attributes, the Elizabeth duck is classified as an endangered breed.
The lack of demand and widespread commercial breeding of other duck breeds has contributed to its declining numbers.
Therefore, farmers and duck enthusiasts are encouraged to breed this duck to help preserve the breed.
The good news is that there are a few Elizabeth duck breeders in Australia and New Zealand who take great care in breeding and raising healthy ducks.
The breeding process is selective, and breeders only select ducks with the best physical and genetic attributes to ensure that each generation is an improvement over the previous one.
History of the Elizabeth Duck Breed
In 1972, a man named Lance Ruting crossed two breeds of ducks to create a new breed—the Mallard and the Rouen Claire ducks.
His objective was to produce a waterfowl that would grow quickly and provide good quality meat.
After years of careful breeding, he finally created the Elizabeth Duck breed, named after his wife, Elizabeth.
What makes this breed so unique is that it is the only duck breed that was specifically bred for meat in Australia.
The Elizabeth Duck quickly became popular amongst farmers because of its fast growth rate and high yield of meat.
For many years, this breed was widespread in Australian farms and households.
However, as time passed, the popularity of this breed began to wane. As a result, farmers started breeding other more prolific breeds.
Unfortunately, this led to the decline of the Elizabeth Duck, and it was eventually declared as ‘endangered’ by the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia.
Today, the Elizabeth Duck is no longer found in the wild and is only available as a pet in poultry farms.
At present, this breed is reared only in New Zealand and Australia.
Breeding these ducks has become a passion for farmers who want to keep the breed alive and pass it on to future generations.
Despite being endangered, the Elizabeth Duck still holds a special place in the hearts of many people, particularly in Australia.
There’s something about their silky feathers and gentle personalities that makes them a favorite among pet owners.
Official Breed Standard of the Elizabeth Duck
The Elizabeth duck breed is a small-sized meat duck breed that looks similar to the Welsh Harlequin breed.
Elizabeth ducks come in two variations: Mallard and Coffee/Brownish.
There are a few characteristics that make these birds easy to identify.
One is the head. The drakes (males) of this duck breed have green heads with glossy feathers, which typically culminate in elegant white rings.
They are known for having claret-colored feathers on the chest as well as a white belly. The feathers are bordered in cream.
Drakes have back feathers that are a charcoal gray feather, also ringed with white. The rump is solid-colored, while the tail is a dullish black or brown color.
Females, on the other hand, are known for being more neutral colored – they don’t have the eye-catching plumage of the drakes, which is common for many different types of ducks.
The females have brown marks right smack dab in the middle of each feather throughout much of the body.
They also have secondary flight feathers that are a blue-green color, with off-white, gray-spotted primary flight feathers.
What do the two sexes have in common?
Both drakes and ducks alike have bronze-colored legs, deep brown eyes, and solid gray bills.
The Mallard-type coloration, those that have a green head and a brown chest, is the most famous.
Coffee/brownish coloration Elizabeth ducks have blue wing tips, which is what marks the distinction between the two variations. Those with a Mallard color have blue-gray bills, while those with coffee/brownish coloration have bluish-gray bills.
They have a rounded head and slightly short legs.
Elizabeth ducks are short in stature, with a broad chest and round breast.
Size and Weight of Elizabeth Ducks
On average, the Elizabeth duck is medium-sized.
The males are typically larger than the females, with a drake weighing between 3.5 to 3.9 pounds, and the duck weighing between 2.6 to 3.5 pounds.
Like many duck breeds you might already be aware of, Elizabeth ducks take quite a while to mature.
Often, they won’t reach full maturity until they’re at least eight to ten months old.
While you’ll have to wait a bit longer if you’re raising these ducks for meat, trust us – the wait is worth it!
Elizabeth Ducks Temperament
One of the biggest benefits of raising Elizabeth ducks is their friendly and docile nature.
These birds are quiet, calm, and love to interact with their flock mates.
They are also good as pets, thanks to their easy going temperament.
If you’re looking for a flock of birds that won’t cause too much fuss or noise, consider adding some Elizabeth ducks to your farm or backyard.
Elizabeth ducks are ideal for small-scale farming, thanks to their small size and easygoing nature.
They don’t require much space and can be raised in small flocks, making them a great option for anyone with limited land or resources.
They are also relatively easy to care for, as long as they have access to clean water, proper shelter, and quality feed.
What Are Elizabeth Ducks Good For?
The Elizabeth duck was first developed to be a small, fast growing meat duck breed.
It’s also a good duck to consider raising for eggs.
In most cases, particularly in Australia, it’s classified as an ornamental duck.
Raising Elizabeth Ducks for Meat
Elizabeth ducks are particularly popular for their meat, which is tender, tasty, and low in fat.
These birds mature somewhat slowly, but unlike other breeds, the meat does not have a tendency to get overly tough despite these longer timelines.
The ducks are ready for slaughter in a few months, and each one will yield up to 4 pounds of meat.
If you’re looking for a source of tasty, lean meat, Elizabeth ducks are a great option.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to wait a bit longer to get there, as these ducks take longer than other breeds to reach full maturity.
Egg Laying of Elizabeth Ducks
Elizabeth ducks are excellent layers and can produce about 100 to 150 eggs per year.
However, there are some individuals who could lay up to 300 eggs.
These ducks start producing eggs at around 20 to 24 weeks of age and can continue laying for three to four years.
However, this may differ depending on factors such as diet and environment.
They may take longer to start laying if you live in an area with a cold climate.
In most cases, you can keep your ducks’ laying abilities going strong even in cold weather, as long as you provide them with the proper care.
Feed your ducks a nutritionally balanced diet and ensure they have a comfortable and stress-free living environment.
This will help your Elizabeth ducks to lay eggs at the optimal age and quantity.
Elizabeth ducks lay white eggs, which is quite common for ducks.
However, the color may vary slightly from white to off-white.
Their eggs are medium-sized, weighing about 50 grams (1.76 oz) apiece.
This makes them an ideal size for a variety of dishes, from breakfast meals, baking to desserts.
How Long Do Elizabeth Ducks Live?
Typically, Elizabeth ducks live for about 10 years. However, some of them have been known to live up to 15 years.
The lifespan can vary depending on various factors, such as genetics, environment, diet, and care.
Genetics play perhaps the most significant role in the lifespan of Elizabeth ducks.
Reputable breeders will breed ducks with strong genes, ensuring a more extended lifespan.
Purchasing purebred and healthy ducks from reputable sources can provide you with healthy genes that can translate into a more extended lifespan.
Another factor that affects their lifespan is their environment.
Elizabeth ducks require a safe and comfortable environment to live in, free from predators and harsh weather conditions.
Ducks living in stress-free and comfortable environments tend to live longer and happier lives.
Diet is another factor that plays a crucial role in their lifespan.
Feeding your Elizabeth ducks a balanced diet will help ensure they have a healthy and strong immune system, which is essential for their longevity.
The ideal diet for ducks consists of 70 percent water and 30 percent high-quality feed that should have grains, vegetables, and protein.
Caring for Elizabeth ducks is essential to ensure they have a fulfilling life.
Regular exercise, proper shelter, and occasional veterinary check-ups should be routine.
Additionally, providing a safe and comfortable habitat for your ducks will help ensure they have a stress-free life, which translates to a longer life.
Tips for Raising Elizabeth Ducks
Are you considering raising Elizabeth ducks, but not sure how to get started? Ducks can be a joy to raise, but require specialized care for optimal health and productivity.
Feeding and Nutritional Needs for Elizabeth Ducks
Elizabeth ducks are protein-loving omnivores.
Like other duck breeds you might be familiar with, they like snacking on grains, seeds, and grass.
To produce healthier ducks, feed them a mixture of corn and millet.
Provide fresh, clean water at all times, as ducks require more water than chickens due to their aquatic nature.
Dealing With Health Concerns and Predators
When it comes to egg-laying, Elizabeth ducks can be a little finicky.
Their eggs almost always need to be laid in a warm environment, as they’re susceptible to temperatures that are too cool or too hot.
You may want to provide extra insulation in the nest boxes during colder months to ensure optimal conditions for egg-laying.
Elizabeth ducks are hardy in all climates but can’t fly well, which makes them prone to attacks from predators like hawks, cats, and wild animals.
To keep your ducks safe, it is important to protect them with fencing or a covered enclosure.
Elizabeth ducks can be quite hard to hatch on your own, if you plan on incubating some eggs.
The chicks have a low survival rate—a factor that makes sense, given how rare these birds are and how small they are when they’re young.
Besides that, these are fairly hardy birds.
They are occasionally affected by diseases like duck plague, coccidiosis, feather mites, and salmonellosis, to name a few.
Most of these diseases can be mitigated and prevented with good hygiene, a healthy diet, and close attention to their care.
So… Is the Elizabeth Duck Breed Right for You?
The Elizabeth duck breed is a lovely variety that offers plenty of personality and egg-laying potential.
They are relatively low maintenance, easy to care for, and make wonderful pets for those looking for a friendly feathered companion.
If you’re considering adding ducks to your flock, be sure to take a closer look at this unique breed, as it may be the perfect fit for your farm or backyard.
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