What we do Meet the breeds Ducks watchlist Magpie Key Characteristics Magpie ducks are very active and long lived. History The breed was originated in the early 1920’s when the vogue for laying ducks which was started at the turn of the century by Indian Runners was in its heyday. The two men credited with its creation are Rev Gower Williams and Oliver Drake. It was the latter who lived at Holme on Spalding Moor in Yorkshire who did much to publicise the breed. His ‘Paramount’ strain, it was said, would produce 185 large eggs a year and achieve 4-6lbs in weight at 11 weeks old. Appearance The colour pattern is that the head has a coloured cap above the eyes and the back and the tail are the same with the shoulders also being coloured in a heart shape across the back. The remainder should be white. The Black is a rich black, the Blue of a light shade and the Dun could be described as a light fawn with a greyish tinge. Recently a Chocolate and White has been added which was developed in Germany. The leg colour in both sexes is orange although some black spots are permissible. In both duck and drake the bill colour in the first year should be yellow although in the duck it turns to a shade of cucumber green in the second while the drake may have spots of green in later years. Uses These birds lay a good number of large eggs, and can be good meat birds. Did you know? The Magpie duck colour pattern was developed to help achieve birds which would show no dark stubs on its breast when plucked out. Breed Societies For more information visit the British Waterfowl Association.