Welsh Harlequin

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by beakkeeper, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    I caught sight of these cuties in the most recent McMurray Hatchery catalog. They are so beautiful, and are said to lay well. In your experience, do they? Also, are they good backyard birds? Some pics and stories of yours would be nice...
  2. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    I knew someone who had them and they do lay tremendously well. They are very pretty and calm as well [​IMG]
  3. Thanks for giving me a chance to brag about my Bridgett! She is the apple of my eye! I have three hens and I love them all but Bridgett is not only the prettiest, the friendliest, the most curious, but also the best layer of all of them. [​IMG] Bridgett is of course a WH, my other two hens are a Runner and a Khaki Campbell. I was very suprised to realize a week or so ago that the one daily egg I have been getting since another one stopped laying in early December, has come from Bridgett and not my Campbell! She knows her name, and is the bravest of all the ducks when I am giving out food by hand. Her quack is quieter than the other ducks, but she does make the cutest squeaky toy sounds sometimes.
    Here she is!
    with her "sister" Yacky
    MsRose and MaureenD like this.
  4. OzarkCountryGirl

    OzarkCountryGirl Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Ozark Highlands
    I LOVE Welsh Harlequins.
    Here is my Mirage in her dogloo....


    I gave her a dogloo to lay in and she did...but only once. Seems like every day is an egg hunt, and if I take the egg then she goes off and finds a new hiding place the next day. But if I leave the egg and not disturb the area, Mirage will continue to lay in the same spot until she gets a couple dozen eggs or so.

    Even though I have given her all types of nests (dogloo, truck tire, tradition box nest, pet taxi, etc.), she tends to make her own nest in a pile of leaves and then covers the eggs up, making them almost impossible to find. Though the last time, she scooped out a deep hole in the dirt under the deck for her nest. When looking under the deck, you don't see the eggs because they are down in the hole. Silly duck! [​IMG]

    Just wondering...are any of you on the WelshHarlequins yahoo group?
  5. jmc

    jmc Songster

    Jul 22, 2008
    South Central MA
    Welsh Harlequins, ahhhhhhhhhhhh--thee most beautiful of all domestic ducks, IMO.

    That's why we've ordered 16 from Holderread's for spring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Generally speaking, they lay as well as (and in some lines even BETTER THAN) the Khaki Campbell. And that makes them--together with the Campbell--the most prolific layers OF ALL POULTRY (though you may find some super-leghorn produced by industry that may lay more) But these ducks will also produce at such high levels for more years running than any chicken--again, there may be exceptions.

    True, 2 hybrid ducks are said to be able to outlay the Campbell, BUT what good are they if someone wants to breed and therefore perpetuate their flock, and not become dependent upon some hatchery every few years? Hybrids will not pass on the great egg laying capacity or feather appearance to offspring.............

    Add to this the great beauty of the WH as compared to the Campbell; AND the greater calmness they possess as well; AND the tendency of at least some WH to be good setters and natural mothers

    Who could not want Welsh Harlequins????????!!!!!!!!!!!

    Here at the monastery, we hope to begin breeding them seriously next year, and selling the ducklings and hatching eggs............

    Dances! Your WHs make my heart swell! So glad to see them in another post. And I am hugely glad to hear that your persistent layer was/is none other than a WH!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2009
  6. Duckmonk so glad to hear you decided to get Welsh Harliquins! And to breed them so others can obtain them as well!

    I've decided to get more WH myself if I get more ducks at all, (I just have the one WH.) I was really considering more Campbells, but I finally had to admit to myself how much I was adoring Bridgett, especially when I found out those eggs were hers.
    Here is another super advantage of WH. They can be sexed with 90% accuracy immediately after they are hatched by their beak color! That's about the same accuracy rate as vent sexing, but much better because there is no danger of harming the duckling. When we are talking tiny scale backyard duck raising, knowing the duckling's gender helps a whole lot.

    Actually there is another method of sexing that can be employed with Welsh Harlequins and with Campbells that is 100% accurate. Welsh Harlequins have a gold phase and Campbells have a dark phase. It's like a difference between blue and brown eyes, but what it means is if you breed a Gold phase WH drake with a silver phase hen you get sex linked ducklings. The draklings will be all silver and the ducklings all gold.
    Same thing with Campbells with a khaki drake and a dark duck, you will have dark draklets and khaki ducklets.
    The problem is it is really hard to find gold phase WH in this country. The few breeders who have them keep them with the silver phase (except for Holderread), and the genetics tend to dilute the appearance of the carriers of the gold gene.
    I was also trying to find dark Campbell hens and couldn' t even order them from Holderreads. Sand Hill has them but you need to order 15.

    I just wonder why more breeders don't take advantage of this potential in these two great egg producing duck breeds. It is not only useful for identiying duck gender, but is important for increasing genetic diversity.
    If anybody is interested I can share my research on which breeders have WH gold phase and dark Campbells.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
  7. ~OzarkCountryGirl~
    Your photo of Mirage is beautiful! [​IMG]
    And her behavior is really interesting. Who old is she? I wonder if she would sit on those eggs and hatch them for you?
    I've got to find the Welsh Harlequin Yahoo group. Is there a link? I'm not much of a Yahoo groupie, but this is worth it.
  8. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I'm moving away from raising chickens and moving towards raising more ducks. I'll be getting some Welsh Harlequins this spring. I've heard they lay very well, because they are related to the Khaki Campbell. I've also read that they have a tendency to go broody, is there any truth to that?

    I'm not trying to diss chickens on a chicken forum, but when a good egg laying duck can lay twice the amount of eggs a chicken can per year, why don't more people raise ducks!?
    1 person likes this.
  9. jmc

    jmc Songster

    Jul 22, 2008
    South Central MA
    Quote:TOES, look 3 posts up to find the beginnings of an answer, though I will never consider myself to be the Shell Answer Man!!!
  10. KanakaNui

    KanakaNui In the Brooder

    Feb 28, 2008
    N.Central FL
    I ordered a dozen silver-phase Welsh Harlequins from the Holderread's last spring. They grew to be very beautiful and productive birds.

    The extra drakes were culled and are a perfect size for two people w/ just a few leftovers. Pekins, Rouens or other meat-type birds would be too much for us.

    The duck hens are very sweet and beautiful.And productive...I've been tracking their laying in a spreadsheet.They started laying 10/15/08 and I've gotten over 500 eggs from 5-6 hens since (lost one hen about 3 weeks after they started laying) The ss says .97 eggs/hen/day. The least number of eggs I've gotten since they started is 3 once. Most days it's 5 eggs every morning.

    Mine haven't gone broody on me yet, but I haven't had them very long.I expect them to, they've done everything else the are supposed to do.

    I've already decided to hatch another dozen or two this spring and cull carefully.These birds are great and their genetics need to be spread far and wide.I may have to get some gold-phase WH and try the sex-link thing. According to the Holderreads A khaki Campbell drake to a Silver Welsh duck will have dark brownish-black drakelets and brown ducklets.

    I'm so glad I went with WH's over chucks or khaki's.

    Does anyone have any photos of Gold-phase Welsh Harlequins?

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