In addition to our striking white Aylesbury ducks, we’ve also welcomed new waterfowl on our duck pond. One breed are rather large and the other rather small!
The large, heavy set ducks with mallard-like markings are our Rouen ducks. This is a very large imposing breed which looks like an oversized mallard. Female ducks are brown with black lacing on the outside of the feathers and males (drakes) have a green head, claret bib and grey body.
The Rouen originate in from France where they were used as a meat bird and crossed with the Muscovy to produce the Barbary duck. They take 2 yrs to reach their full size of 12 lbs, and because of this they are now kept more for showing. Exhibition females only lay between 100-150 eggs per year. They are a docile breed and tame reasonably easily and due to their size they cannot fly.
The other duck breed now on the ponds are diminutive, particularly in comparison to the weight Rouen. These are call ducks. A call duck drake weighs only about half a kilogram! Despite their small size, they have a very loud, high-pitched call. These birds were originally bred to lure wild ducks into traps during hunts. The call duck has been in Britain since the 1850s and in addition to their small size have a distinctively round forehead and broad, short bill. Find out more about the breed from the Call Duck Association UK.
To find out more about any of our animals, visit the animal pages of our website.
In the video below, you can see the new ducks on their pond and enjoying the falling leaves. You’ll also hear the unmistakable sound of the call ducks. They are extremely loud, especially considering their small size!