Welsh Harlequins....Can you sex by beak color?

Calebs Acre

14 Years
May 17, 2008
Long Island
So, I've been convinced by fellow BYC-ers to expand from runners to try Welsh Harlequins and Magpies. I am getting some baby Welsh Harlequins and would like to confirm that you can sex them by beak color? I've read conflicting information about whether it can be done and then if it CAN be done, which sex has the yellow beak and which one has the green color?

Also, I might have to start another thread, but does anyone have any Magpies available? Prefer babies over eggs.

Any opinions, advice, comments about either breed is also welcome on this thread.

The Welsh Harlequin breeder I know recently confirmed for herself that this method works. She bands each duck and last year she wrote down each duckling's beak color at hatch. It turned out to be 100% accurate for the ducks she kept to maturity. It only works for the first day or two, I wonder if that's the problem some people have with it. Dave Holderread, who discovered this in the WH says he found it to be 90% accurate. The ones with the darker beaks are males and the ones with the lighter beaks ending in a dark tip are females.
I just bought a male/female beak sexed pair. At day eight both now have dark colored beaks. Here they are at day two, can you tell which is which?
Yes, actually, that is interesting, but the ones I am getting are several weeks old...DARN it!!! At least I will know how to do it if I decide to raise them myself. Wish I could do runner like that. It's funny how the runners' quacks start to develop so early.

How do you like your WHs?
Yes, for the first couple of days you can tell the difference...


Since you've missed that window what you'll want to watch for is the quack, of course, but also, the ducks bill begin to turn slate and the drakes turn olive. I don't recall exactly when that occurs, though, so the voice determination might be your best bet.

I love Welsh, they were the second breed I kept on the farm for several years although I did eventually sell my flock when work began to interfere with animals and I decided I needed to spend money on other things besides critters!

I would get some again in a heartbeat. They're usually very sociable, even though the first batch I bought were wild as a hare as ducklings. As adults they were nice and calm and would sit there and chit chat with you when you went to feed. All of my birds would go broody and I would encourage that personally - although if you do that you drastically reduce the number of eggs they'll lay. I never treated mine as layers as I prefer to allow my birds a rest over winter. I loved the gold phase but had the worst luck with them. For some reason they've got it in their mind that they're bait, for whatever reason. If I had a Welsh get injured or 'disappear', it was a gold 9 times out of 10.

This is the Welsh page I had created when I bred them, probably doesn't contain anything you've not already read.

OH, thank you...your page taught me about the down colors for gold vs. silver. I am excited to get them and hope that they aren't all one sex. LOL.

I have to tell you that I LOVE LOVE LOVE muscovies!! I bought a few adults last year, before I realized that I had a raccoon problem and they "disappeared" one by one, until I only had my blue and white male, Ernie, left. Ernie now still is free 100% of the time, but he lives with my goats. He sleeps right next to them and he flies well and his talons are sharp, so I am sure he can now take care of himself. There are plenty of places for him to go to get away from the predators now.

Ernie is quite a personable guy. He thinks that he owns the place and does his "inspection" when I feed every morning. He meet me each day, mohawk up, tail wagging, panting at me. Then as I scoop grain into the buckets, he stands just a few inches away and follows me from pen to pen as I dole out the feed. At the very end, I fill his dish. I used to fill his first, but he STILL "did rounds" with me, so I just ended up feeding him last. If we are ever late feeding, he flies up toward the house to "remind us" that breakfast is late. He is just a beautiful, fun, cherished member of our family. When people come to buy runners, they always say, "WHAT IS THAT?" I explain the muscovy story. He usually flies up to the top rung of the horse's fence and perches there to pose for them. "Oh, he's HUGE!!!" they say. I look at him each time and am so proud of how he's become such a big, handsome guy.

Can you tell I'm a muscovy lover? LOL.
i have 2 male and 5 femalw WH only 1 male has a dark bill the other looks just like the ladys. my last batch i fallowed the whole bill dot idea and the 1 that was "for sure" a girl turned out to be the only boy. lol most the time the bill therey seems to work. just not for me
Well, mine should be here tomorrow and I'll see what they look like and we can find out, eventually. Wish I wasn't afraid to vent sex.

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