9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
So, a question that may make me look like an idiot-

I got the impression that the 'crest' on crested ducks was the result of a mutated gene that's frequently fatal, that their heads are actually deformed that true? Do I have to be careful handling these ducks around their heads, like a newborn with a soft spot? Or is it all a bunch of hooey? Would obvs. appreciate input from people who have actually owned and handled cresteds.
Yes, that is all correct. In particular, be careful when breeding NOT to cross a crested with a crested. In a single dose, the mutation causes a crest. In a double dose, it causes horrific and usually fatal deformities.

I think crests are adorable, but I've chosen not to work with them because I like animals that are practical, and a crest does not fit that bill. However, I'm glad there are knowledgeable folks who do work with them, because the world would be less cute without them.
I seem to recall that the crested gene is a dominant one, meaning that if a duck has one copy, it'll have a poof, if it has 2 copies, the skull won't close and it generally fails to hatch late in development. what I think that means is if you breed 2 cresteds, on average, in four eggs you get 1 non-carrier with no crest, 2 crested, and one fail to hatch. 25 years ago the only crested we saw from the hatcheries were pekin, now I'm seeing poofy tops on all sorts of breeds, and sometimes on straight run of some breeds even when I'm not ordering cresteds.

it looks fun, and if I'm eating the eggs, I'm good with it but with a 25% loss rate on the hatchlings I wouldn't personally keep them for breeding.

some info here:
I have 1 crested drake and he is just for eye candy. I don't allow him to breed with any other hen for hatching reasons and all of the other reasons that have been pointed out.

This is Afro Man.
Thanks for the info, guys! Breeding will not be a problem-the duck in question will be one of 3 girls if I take her. I hadn't at all planned on her, but an opportunity has knocked. Of course I don't *plan* on being rough with any of the ducks...but I haven't had any, crested or non, before. I wish someone could tell me if I'll be ok handling her but I'm not sure how anyone could tell that...
I'm sure you'll be fine.
Just don't poke her in the head with a stick or drop her on her crest and I don't think it will be a problem. Also, make sure you always have enough females for your males so they don't overbreed the crested--the reason that matters is that the males tend to push and pull on the head while mating, and too much of that would be harder on a crested than other ducks, I would think.
I haven't lost any of the cresteds we have had, so I wouldn't be excessively worried about it. ours seem as robust as the rest of the ducks. knowing that they may have cranial bone abnormalities, just be aware when you're handling them and you should be fine.

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