While the Magpie Duck is nowhere near one of the most popular duck breeds in the world, it is a duck breed that is surprisingly versatile. As a result, many homesteaders are more than happy to own them. Let’s see why.
The Origin of the Magpies
The Magpie Duck is a British duck through and through. It was a joint effort shortly after the end of World War I between an English and a Welsh breeder.
We do not actually know which breeds the Magpie Duck was developed from. However, most people have speculated that there is a little bit of the Indian Runner breed in there as well as the Cayuga duck to be part of the mix.
To be honest, there are probably so many breeds that have gone into creating the Magpie Duck that there is no sense listing them anyway. It isn’t really like any other breed out there, well beyond the fact it is a duck.
For a while, this was a duck breed that was incredibly popular in the UK, although it didn’t really have a grasp on much of the rest of the world.
The Magpie was recognized by APA in 1977, however, it has appeared in small quantities in the United States. Sadly, this is a duck breed that is likely to die out in the next decade or so. It is regarded as critically endangered.
The Look of the Magpie Duck
The Magpie Duck gets its name from the coloring. The coloring is pretty much the same as the European Magpie. This means that the duck is white with black marks on it. It does come in other colors, but the standard black and white color is the most popular one.
The beak will be a bright orange when the duck is born, but as the duck starts to age, it becomes a dark green color. Sadly, there is nothing that can really be done about this. Pretty much every single duck will have the beak change color over time.
This is a smallish bird, and perfect for those homesteaders who may not have a huge amount of space available to them.
Magpie Duck Meat
Weighing around 5.5 – 6 lb, this is one of the smallest duck breeds, but it is still regularly raised for meat. While you are not going to be able to get a whopping big dinner out of it, the Magpie Duck does taste delicious.
Since it is going to be productive in other ways (see the next section), the meat is going to be more of a bonus anyway! Plus, it is ideal for those who just want to raise a smaller duck and have no need for the amount of meat that a larger duck breed is going to be providing them with.
Magpie Duck Eggs
If you love your duck eggs, then the Magpie Duck is probably one of the best out there.
This duck breed will lay large white eggs. They tend to come out pretty frequently too. Most people report that their ducks are able to lay around 250 eggs per year.
However, this is a duck breed that is well-known for being able to go up to a whopping 300 eggs per year. We do not think there is a single breed of duck that lays large eggs that comes even close to this number.
Most people report that the duck egg tastes delicious too. It is full of flavor. Although, we suppose that is a personal preference. There are a lot of people who report that duck eggs don’t actually taste all that different, no matter what the breed is.
The Magpie Duck as a Show Duck
The Magpie Duck has never really been wildly popular as a show duck. Obviously, there were duck shows. However, the problem was that when the breed first appeared, the standard was so difficult to meet that most breeders didn’t bother taking part in the shows.
Yes. These are rules that have been relaxed in recent years, but Magpie Duck shows are still in the absolute minority. This is one of the main reasons as to why the duck is critically endangered.
There simply aren’t enough people that want to raise this duck, and most of the breeds nowadays rely on shows to thrive.
The Personality of the Magpies
This is a duck that tends to be a lot friendlier if you are raising it from a duckling. This is pretty much the same as all duck breeds. That being said, even if you pick up the Magpie during their older years, they are still going to be fairly calm and docile as animals.
They are not massive fans of moving around all that much, but they will forage in smaller areas. They are known for consuming lots of snails, slugs and insects.
A lot of people report that the duck can be somewhat flighty if you scare it. This means that you will want to take caution when you are approaching the duck. They will jump and fly a little bit away. Thankfully, this means that it is easier for them to steer clear of predators.
Some Magpies will have a little bit of a mean streak, but this is very much minimal.
Magpie Duck Care
As with most British ducks, the Magpie Duck isn’t that difficult to raise. It is a very, very hardy duck and can cope with pretty much everything that is thrown at it. It is more than capable of putting up with abysmal weather, for starters.
This means that if you are raising the Magpie Duck, you do not need to do anything that different to any other duck breed. This means ensuring it has a solid diet, and access to water that it can swim in.
It is worth pointing out that these ducks are good fliers, and they probably will fly away on occasion. There isn’t really much you can do about this except clipping a couple of their wing feathers, once or twice a year.
However, as with most ducks, they will always return home. That is where their regular source of food is, after all. All you need to make sure is that you treat them well, and you won’t have to worry about disappearing ducks.