The Crested Duck breed, also known as the ‘duck with an afro’ is certainly one of the most unique looking breeds of duck out there. It is no wonder that so many people want to own a crested duck with hair and fluffy head. The problem? It probably won’t be worth it. Let us explain why.
Where Do Crested Ducks or Ducks With an Afro Come From?
Nobody really knows where the crested duck breed originates from. Except that they are descendants of the Mallard ducks. Their afro hair style (or crest) is a mutation that happened to Mallards and some of their descendants. So this characteristic has been selected in the crested ducks during a long period of time (many centuries).
It likely comes from India, or around that region, but we can never be 100% sure.
What we can be sure of, however, is that at some point during the 17th Century, these ducks with afros were shipped over to Holland. It is here that the breed was developed even further.
It became an official duck breed at the tail end of the 19th Century in the United States. To be more precise, they were admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1874 in two varieties, the White and the Black crested duck.
The Look Of the Crested Duck
The Crested duck looks unique. The fluffy head of the duck is due to a genetic deformity.
If you look on the head of the duck, there will be a small tuft of feathers, remaining of an afro hair. Thus its name ‘duck with an afro’. These are growing there because there is no skull underneath them. It is nothing but fatty tissue.
Yep. This is a breed that lacks a complete skull. It is seriously dangerous for the duck.
The crested duck is available in two sizes. You have a standard breed and a bantam duck breed which is about a third of the size. Both of them still have the crest on their heads.
- Standard: 7 lbs. for males and 6 lbs. for females
- Bantam: 2.5 lbs. for males and 2 lbs. for females
There are multiple colors of this duck available. White and black being the most popular and the only recognizable by APA.
This means that if you plan on entering duck shows in the United States, then you can only show off a white version of the duck.
In every other country where the breed is officially recognized, any color of the duck should be fine.
The Crested Duck Breed as a Show Bird
This is the only real reason why ducks with afros are bred nowadays. Due to the unique look of the bird, it is incredibly popular at duck shows throughout the United States.
Although, due to the difficulties in breeding the crested duck (more on that soon), there are not that many breeders for it. Some would argue that this is a good thing.
After all, the specific genetic deformity of these ducks with afros, that they have is going to lead to an early death for the breed.
If you want a good decorative bird, but do not plan on taking it to duck shows, then the Crested Duck may be a good option for you.
It really does stand out from the crowd.
However, once again, it is going to be a tough breed to raise. This is the type of bird that you need to protect a lot, because if it gets into a fight, or a predator comes near it, then it is highly unlikely to survive.
The Duck With Afro as a Meat bird
Surprisingly, despite this breed being mostly for show purposes, it does make a good meat breed. However, we doubt that there are any people raising the Crested Duck just for meat.
There are far too many issues with it. Most of your flock would probably end up dying before you can slaughter it for the meat.
If you do use it for meat, then you will be in awe at the nice, thick breasts that they have. By all accounts, this is one of the better ducks to roast.
This may be an option if you are breeding them for duck shows but come up with less than ideal specimens. We assume that most of the breeders are doing this.
Many will slaughter the hens when they come of age too, because it is going to be a lot easier to breed the drakes, although you will not end up with a pure Crested Duck Breed then.
Crested Duck For Eggs
This duck is a good layer, and if you are keeping your hens, then you will get a decent number of eggs. Most pure crested duck breeders will not use their eggs for anything other than breeding.
This is because the duck is difficult to breed, but we will talk more about that in the next section. You simply do not want to be wasting eggs with this duck, because it won’t be long before it dies out completely!
Breeding Ducks With Afros
This is going to be virtually impossible.
You should not be breeding two crested ducks together for starters. This is because of that genetic deformity. If you breed the crested ducks together, then most ducklings will not hatch.
They will die in the shell. Those that do hatch are very prone to having their brain fully exposed which, of course, will also kill them. It won’t be a pleasant death either.
If you breed a crested duck and another breed together, then you will cut the problem in half. Only half of them will be born with a crest. Some will still die, but not as many as before.
If you can, you should try to breed a crested duck drake. If the female is a crested duck, then it is very likely the drake will peck at the top of the head. This can kill her.
Raising the Crested Ducks
This is an incredibly difficult breed of duck to raise, simply because of the crest on their skull. They are prone to suffering from seizures and all sorts of neurological conditions.
As we said before; they are also going to be very difficult to breed, because breeding could actually cause an early death for them.
We would not recommend raising the Crested Duck if you are new to the world of duck breeding and, even then, we would steer clear.
It looks like a beautiful bird, but this is very much a species reserved for the most experienced of breeders.
For the most part, this is a duck breed that is quite friendly, so could make a decent pet. It is a good flier, so make sure that you provide everything that it needs on your property, otherwise it is going to be disappearing on you!