Key Characteristics

As you would expect with such a northerly origin, they are quite tough. They are very busy little ducks, always active and foraging, as they would do in more natural surroundings on the Shetland Isles. Whilst being extremely active foragers they are have tough, character, appealing and productive little duck to anyone, experienced or beginner alike. They hatch both under broodies and also in an incubator to good effect and with a good fertility hatching and raising stock is not difficult. As a breed this must be one of the rarest breed of ducks and warrants special attention to conserve this breed.


  • The Shetland duck as it would suggest originates in the very north of Scotland in the Shetland Isles.


  • It is a very appealing little bird, a little bigger than a Mallard. 
  • It has glossy black plumage shot through with green/blue like a Cayuga, but with a white breast and sometimes white spots on the head too. 
  • As the ducks age, they gradually increase the white plumage, some turn completely white in old age.
  • Shetlands lay a good-sized egg, which varies in colour from white to grey. The drakes sport a yellowish bill and have orange on their legs and the ducks, which are slightly smaller, have black bills and legs. The ducklings are very sweet, being black and yellow spotted. 


They are the most prolific of layers, even compared with Campbells and Welsh Harlequins, (which are derived from Campbells).  In mild areas they continue to lay right through to January.

Breed Societies

For more information visit the British Waterfowl Association.