Welsh Harlequin

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

  1. Muse7

    Muse7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2012
    Norristown, PA
    The reason you get so many "I'm not sures" is because there are so many variables. For instance, if you don't break them and keep them on layers pellets, they
    will burn out more quickly. If your force light extensions, they will burn out more quickly, If you go the natural route and give them a good molting break every
    year, then they lay longer. If you feed a good balanced diet they lay longer. I think you probably get the picture.

    According to my Grandmother, when I was younger, a good duck should outlast a chicken in productive laying by 2 to 3 years. So an average of 4 to 5 years of
    productive laying and then tapering as they get into the mid and senior years.

    I'm feeding mine a vegetarian layers pellet and give them greens and sprouts daily and they forage 7-8 months out of the year, free range style. All of my WH are laying every day
    with the occasional missed day. My Blue Runner, is pretty amazing. She was the oldest of my ducks and when she started laying she did so for 3 months strait,
    missed one day then over the Mid Nov to end of February stopped, now in March, she's laying every day again. Two of my WH layed through the least light days
    of winter, with only 1/2 hour of added external light, nothing in their duck house.


    So, I expect to get a solid 5 years out of all my girls and then I'll decided whether the flock needs new blood. It is really hard to think about eating any of our girls, they are
    all really family, so they will probably get pastured into their golden years. Besides, 5 years is a long way away in my life right now, Maybe I'll have a 5 acre property and
    have the luxury of having a larger flock.

    I hope this was some help, even if it is not a stead fast rule. Basically, the better and more humanely you treat your ducks, the longer they will lay productively. But there is
    that old mother nature thing, Ducks, like people, only have so many ova to turn into eggs. They won't lay forever, no matter how great a layer they are.

    Best,

    Liz
     
  2. Muse7

    Muse7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2012
    Norristown, PA
    Hi All,

    I'm contacting on another note. I am in the unhappy situation of having to let one of our drakes go. We got three in our first batch of ducklings last year and, of course, by the time we knew we had 3 drakes everyone was attached. This has been a very sad decision and my 8 year old son is really upset about it, but it has to be done for the sake of the other ducks. We have decided that we need to let one of our 1/2 WH/ 1/2 Cayugas go. His name is Patito. He is a fabulous looking boy, I'll attach pictures, is just shy of 1 year old, so he will be fertile for many years to come. He has a very good disposition and would be a great addition to a harem in need of a drake or a larger harem in need of a second drake.

    The problem we have is too few ducks to drake ratio and the hens are really getting pounded. If we had room to separate the boys, we would, but
    our property just isn't big enough to segregate them. I'm in Norristown, PA and would happily give him to someone who would offer him a good home, preferably giving him several years of producing progeny. If you are in that general area, up to an hour's drive, please let me know if you are interested. I much rather he go to someone on here than have to run a general craig's list add.

    I added the one picture with Crackers, our Blue runner hen, for you to see his size. The Drake that looks like a Cayuga is his brother, also half WH and half Cayuga. It always amazes me how different the crosses can come out. Patito is a very strong and healthy bird.

    Thanks,

    Liz

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  3. tsandhage

    tsandhage Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2012
    Thank you for your thorough answer. So, 4 to 5 years. I do all natural; no extra light or heat as our weather doesn't get all that cold. Everyone is allowed out every day. The ducks don't care what the weather is as they enjoy it all. I did figure they would get so they lay lighter and it's nice to know that is a stretch down the road. I'm looking forward to adding more ducks.
     
  4. maryhysong

    maryhysong Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 24, 2012
    Claypool, Arizona
    I know it's probably here in the thread somewhere but I don't have time to look right now. I know there is a way to guess sex on ducklings according to bill color. I have three ducklings, one with a very pink bill, one with a pink bill that had a dark stripe down the middle which is fading and one that has a dark bill. The one with the pink bill is pretty yellow all over, the one with the dark bill also has a very dark head. The one with the stripe has a slightly darker head, but no distinct cut off area as opposed to the one with the dark bill, very definate line where the dark head stops on the neck. My drake is regular colored and my duck I beleive is the golden phase, very light markings and a brown/bronze wing
     
  5. tbitt

    tbitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2011
    IL
    http://holderreadfarm.com/photogallery/welsh_page/welsh_page.htm



    [​IMG]




    A Pair of Silver Welsh Harlequin Day-Old Ducklings
    Although not always as distinct as it is in this pair, day-old Harlequin males often have darker bills (left duckling) than the females (right duckling). The bill color difference usually last only 2 or 3 days after hatching.
     
  6. tbitt

    tbitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    IL
    Are those not just too stinking cute!!!!?
     
  7. maryhysong

    maryhysong Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 24, 2012
    Claypool, Arizona
    Thank you, then I probably have one boy and two girls. Fingers crossed. I really only want one more girl so will sell the others later when I'm more positive of their gender.
     
  8. Arvanah

    Arvanah Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 1, 2013
    Quick question for u guys. DO they stick around well?
     
  9. tbitt

    tbitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    IL

    Mine do.

    You have to help them "set" a routine while they are young. but once they get one set, that is it! [​IMG]


    When I first started to let mine wander the yard, I stayed out with them and scurried them back when they started to roam further then I liked.

    When they got bigger, just before dusk, I gave them treats in their feed pans to encourage them back into their pen, then shut the door. I went back out later to heard them into the house and then shut the door.

    It takes a bit, but they will start wanting to go into their house just at dusk. [​IMG]


    Now that they are older, I do let them wander a lot further. (I have 8.5 acres) and worry less about them.
     
  10. Goose and Fig

    Goose and Fig Grateful Geese

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Fall Creek Falls TN
    Mine free range as well. Never have an issue of them being away from the coop at bedtime. Even if I can't see them I just yell " You get in there!" and they come waddling out of the woods or wherever. Always trying to sneak one last drink before they go in for the night. Such great birds. Couldn't ask for it to be easier.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013

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