This post is much longer than I intended - I guess it's testament to my fascination and love for our ducks!
Here's a pic of our teenage female Magpie duck Arlo (yes, Arlo is a boy's name, but by the time we found out she was a girl, her name had well and truly stuck!) and another pic taken a few weeks ago with her 'sister' Daisy.
We are new duck owners and we have raised Arlo and Daisy (a Welsh Harlequin), since they were a day old. Not having raised ducks before, I don't have much experience to comment on the Magpie breed. However, what I can comment on are our observations of how Arlo has compared to Daisy so far. Not sure whether the differences are due to individual 'character' or due to the different breeds, so it will be interesting to hear others' comments!
Feather development: Daisy's feathers developed incredibly fast!! She was fully feathered when Arlo was still mostly down.
Eyesight: Daisy has beady eyes that pick up every insect and juicy morsel at a distance. She is constantly cocking her head up at the sky, noticing everything above her. Arlo is... visually challenged. Doesn't seem to see much of anything (but great at spotting her favourite treat of peas in the grass!).
Intelligence: Daisy seems really intelligent while Arlo seems... a few sandwiches short of a picnic. My husband is currently landscaping in the area where the ducks reside. Daisy negotiates new 'routes' around piles of timber, tools and freshly dug holes. Arlo tries to walk through the timber and tools and fell into 2 holes in the space of 2 minutes (so my husband had to put boards over them while he waited for the posts to go in!). Yesterday I watched as Daisy found a piece of bread that had fallen out of the bird feeder (normally the ducks NEVER get bread) and after a couple of attempts eating the dry bread, picked it up, negotiated a path round the timber and tools to the duck pool, climbed up the ramp with it and dunked it in the water for easier consumption. Needless to say, Arlo didn't even spot the bread in the first place!
Energy levels: Daisy has loved doing 'Daisy sprints' since she was tiny - head down, legs wide apart (which I think is a Welsh Harlequin trait) and full steam ahead, in a somewhat zig-zag fashion. Arlo spent a lot of her ducklinghood watching Daisy's antics snuggled sleepily in my daughter's hands... or waddling tentatively behind. Arlo has recently discovered 'running with wings flapping' (which she learnt from Daisy) and she's slowly figuring out that it's fun.
Noise level: Arlo found her quack at about 6 weeks and OMG is it loud! Something akin to an airhorn. Daisy found her own quack for a couple of days at 8 weeks to let us know she was a girl, but has now reverted back to saying very little. Except that after each of Arlo's 'airhorn laughs' Daisy makes a gentle and quiet 'whoop' sound. If Arlo hears us in the house (what she lacks in eyesight, she makes up for in hearing!), she quacks loudly, wanting our attention. So now because we have neighbours very close, we find ourselves whispering in certain parts of the house so that Arlo doesn't hear us!
Maintenance level: Daisy is a CRUISER! Nothing fazes her. She loves having us around but doesn't seem at all concerned when we're not. Arlo is more 'high maintenance' and a bit highly strung. In the mornings and evenings, she frets if we aren't right there, and quacks loudly (and sometimes quite angrily) demanding that we come and join them. It seems to be tied to when she wants to be foraging in the grass. If we do go and sit with them, Arlo makes the cutest happy noises and makes clucking sounds, like a mother hen who is finding food for her babies - cute and fascinating!
Friendliness: Both Arlo and Daisy are extremely friendly (and I'm sure this is all down to the fact that we hand raised them). They love to sit close and to 'preen' us. They both make lovely happy noises when we go to visit them and bob their heads in greeting. Daisy tolerates hugs, but Arlo just loves a cuddle! She is even happy to be picked up off the ground and 'snuggles' in a sitting position in our arms.
Eggs: I guess we'll be able to report on this in 4 months or so. I've heard that both breeds are excellent layers, so fingers crossed!
So would I get a Magpie duck again? In a heartbeat, if I lived out in the country. But being in the suburbs, the loud quacking due to the more highly strung personality would probably prevent me from doing so (but this may well be a character trait rather than a breed trait). But we adore our clumsy, pretty, loving magpie duck and she's given us such joy!
Edited by kiwichiks - 2/28/16 at 2:54am