The Shetland Duck is a breed of highly endangered waterfowls that are native to the Shetland Islands in Scotland, located in the northern reaches of the United Kingdom. They are at present mainly raised for ornamental purposes and are known for their good looks and amusing personality, since they apparently seem to be very busy all day. However, urgent attention is required for the conservation of this breed.
|Physical Characteristics||Males are slightly larger than the females; Has a sturdy body with a white breast with the white spots sometimes appearing on the head too; the white areas increase with age; ducklings are deep brown in color with a buff-colored breast and have black bills and legs|
|Plumage/Feathers||Black to brown-black; glossy; with bluish green metallic sheen|
|Bills (Beaks)||Typically blue|
|Personality Traits||Friendly, trainable, peaceful|
|Purposes||Meat and eggs (in the past), ornamental purposes|
|Eggs||30-40 per year (poor layer); white to grayish in color with each weighing around 50 gm; females care for the eggs before hatching|
|Incubation Period||26-28 days|
|Lifespan||More than 10 years|
|Weight||Drake: 2 kg|
Hen: 1.8 kg
|Ring Size||15 mm (both male and female)|
|Height (size)||Short to Medium|
|Popular Traits||Good foragers, highly active, very hardy|
|Climatic Conditions||All climates; well adapted to cold climate|
|Diet||Seeds, microbes, bugs|
|Country of Origin||Scotland|
History and Development
Researchers think that it is the Vikings who brought this breed to Great Britain. Because of similarity in the appearance, experts also suggest that the Shetland Duck has originated from the stock of the Swedish Blue or the Pomeranian duck breed.
At present, the Shetland duck is a very rare breed that is on the verge of extinction. In fact, in the early 1990s, the breed was thought to have gone extinct until a flock was spotted in the Shetlands. A breeding program was started immediately with the intention for its revival.
Egg and Meat Production
Initially, the Shetland Ducks were reared for meat and egg production. Although, they were never good producers of either, since their annual egg production is too less compared to many other breeds, nor could they produce much meat because of their small size. At present, however, they are mainly used for ornamental purposes, or as pets.
- Some Shetland ducks can turn completely white in old age.