The Truth Behind Crested Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Kevin565, Sep 9, 2012.

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  1. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    I agree 100% percent. Just getting the info out to the public and starting here is a beginning. It has to be so heart breaking when a duckling has neurological problems resulting from this and the owners haven't a clue why. I would be worried about head injuries too. Thats why I have stayed away from Silkies and I love the breed.
    room onthebroom likes this.
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing

    Dec 22, 2009
    Yes it is truly heart breaking. Before I knew the effects of the gene I had a crested drake breed a duck which I later found out carried the gene but did not express it. Out of 20 eggs 4 hatched. All that hatched had seizures and died before the 3rd day [​IMG]
    Justaliliffy likes this.
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I agree with ML, this is very good information. I had read(likely here) about that fact it was a defect i wasn't as informed as i am now of some of the side effects and consequences however.

    I admit they are cute, i have see quite a few since getting into poultry, around here a farm has a huge crested i swear it has to be a goose and my younger daughter is fascinated for one, i refuse to 'go there' and I explained why.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Crowing

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    There was a really great post here on BYC about breeding crested ducks and the likelihood that the duckling will hatch healthy. It broke it down in percentages very nicely. I had to direct someone on Yahoo Answers to that post because she was wondering why her ducklings either weren't hatching or dying after hatching with two crested parents. Basically, if you breed two crested ducks, you have about a 75% mortality rate for ducklings and eggs.

    I am not against people keeping crested ducks, but I don't think they should be sold in feed stores where very little information is given to them about their care and complications.
    toxicworlda, otakalhasas and LBP1313 like this.
  5. Whittni

    Whittni Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    Goodness - Just read through some articles provided.
  6. Habibs Hens

    Habibs Hens Cream Legbar Keeper

    Mar 31, 2012
    London, UK
    My Coop

    Crested ducks have a wonderful regal air about them. They are reasonably good layers and can lay white or blue eggs. Crested ducks have been around for a long time and have featured in art dating back over 2,000 years.

    You can tell the quality of the crest from the moment they have hatched. When breeding these birds, avoid ones with off centre crests as this is a defect which is very difficult to breed out.

    The crest is actually a dominant mutation and typically you have around a million to one chance that any breed of Mallard duck will hatch with a crest.
    They are fairly quiet birds, with the female only making a noise when she wants attention.
    You can find ducks with crest in most colours and varieties, except Muscovy.
    The crested breed of the domestic duck is known since the 17th century. There are those who claim that crested ducks first appeared in Britain, which is unlikely but they were certainly first shown there and appear in many early poultry books.
    The crest is essentially a mutation associated with skull deformities and known for hundreds of years. The crest is formed from a mass of fatty tissue that emerges through a gap in the cranium (skull), from this, feathers grow. Crests vary from centrally placed, full crests, rather like powder puffs, to knobbly protuberances with just a few feathers; or the occasional earring when it has 'slipped'.
    All crested seldom breed successfully but if they do, produce better stock. If using a crested female with a large crest watch as the drake uses this as to ' assist ' mating and she can get injured easily. The tuft of feathers on the head, which occasionally appears, having been recognized as a point of attraction, selected and bred for of the off spring many will be plain headed but carry the crested gene so a crested drake will turn any breed crested . . .they also have the energy for this so watch out!

    The crest gene is an incompletely dominant one. i.e., if a chick receives a double dose of the gene - one from each parent (homozygous) it will die in the shell. If only one of the parents passes it on (heterozygous) the resulting hatches will be: - 25% will not hatch, 25% will not have crests and 50% will have crests. If a crested heterozygous bird is crossed with an un-crested one, the resulting hatch should be 50% crested and 50% plain.
    So, as you can see, breeding Crested ducks is challenging and not recommended for beginners; also if the crest is so large as to interfere with normal eating and mating etc it would need to be 'trimmed' to allow the duck a normal life.
    The Lethal Crested Gene
    This gene is an incompletely dominant gene with a lethal variant.
    If C=crested and p=plain non-crested, it works like this:
    Crested Drake =C p (this means that a crested drake in a pen can turn any breed crested)
    Crested Duck = C CC Cp
    their offspring will be: -

    pp: is a non-crested duckling,

    Cp: is a crested duckling,

    CC: (theoretically crested) dies in the
    shell due to skull deformities.​
  7. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Crossing the Road

    Aug 23, 2012
    Interesting thread, thanks! [​IMG]
  8. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Songster

    Feb 24, 2011
    Canberra, Australia
    Very helpful info, Kevin. Good to help people to become well informed so they can decide for themselves. [​IMG]
  9. NCGrammie

    NCGrammie What's Cluckin'?!

    Mar 14, 2012
    Pinnacle, NC
    Thank you very much for this info, I had no idea!!
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I think I will put a mention of this on one of the handouts for my talk. Thanks, Kevin565. Really good to start this discussion.
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