Welsh Harlequin Duck – Facts You Didn’t Know

While the popularity of the Welsh Harlequin duck has dwindled in recent years, this duck is easily one of the best birds for backyard duck owners who want one of the most egg productive duck breeds out there.

Want to know more about the awesome Welsh Harlequin duck? Well, read on!

Welsh Harlequin
Welsh Harlequin (Photo by Swedg)

Welsh Harlequin Facts at a Glance

Eggs250-330 eggs per year
Egg shell colorWhite
SizeMale: 6 lb
Female: 5 lb
Welsh Harlequin Facts

The Interesting History of the Welsh Harlequin

The Welsh Harlequin, as the name suggests, comes from Wales. It has been developed from several different breeds. Although, we can’t 100% say for sure what breeds went into the development of the Welsh Harlequin duck, we can say that it originated from the Khaki Campbells, and was developed from there in the 1940s.

One theory, in which we want to believe is that back in 1940s a Welsh farmer found unusual ducklings in his Campbells flock. Ducklings with color mutation. So he starter breeding.

Even now, the breed is going through a lot of development, and the color has actually changed based on just a few decades ago. This is a relatively new breed in the US, even thou adult birds were imported back in 1981. The Welsh Harlequin duck was recolonized by APA in 2001.

The Look of the Duck

One of the reasons why the Welsh Harlequin ducks are used in commercial operations (apart from their egg-laying ability) is that they are a sex linked duck.

Within just a few days, you should be able to tell exactly what gender of duck you have. This is all based on their beak color.

When fully grown, the duck should weight around 5 lb (2.5 kg), this makes the Welsh Harlequin one of the smallest duck breeds in the US recognized by APA. Their feather colors are nice and bright, with the females having a touch of white thrown onto the brown.

The main difference is that females will have a black beak, whereas the drakes will have a yellow beak that turns to green over time.

Welsh Harlequin Meat

Welsh Harlequin Duck
Welsh Harlequin Ducks

While you could feasibly raise this duck for meat, it probably isn’t recommended. Not if you want a duck breed that offers a lot of meat, at least.

This is because this duck is quite a lean duck. There is barely any meat on a duck that has been slaughtered. Sure, it is fine if you want a duck that is not going to be feeding that many people, but we certainly wouldn’t raise this duck for meat purposes.

There isn’t really any sense in doing that. Not when there are far better duck breeds you can raise if you love a bit of duck meat.

It is worth noting that the meat that they do produce is a bit lighter in fat due to the way in which they forage for their food. This means that if you want a bird that is a bit lighter on the fat i.e. you want a lean bird, then this may be a good option.

It means that you can enjoy all the awesome taste of duck meat, but you do not have to worry about all of the calories that you get with a few other duck breeds.

Welsh Harlequin Eggs

This is the main reason why people are raising the Welsh Harlequin duck nowadays.

This is probably one of the most consistent duck breeds in the world when it comes to egg-laying. Seriously. It can be pumping out a good 300+ eggs each and every year.

This is on average. It is very rare for the duck to lay under 280 eggs per year.

There are no other ducks that even come close to this consistency. Of course, they will even be laying them through some of the colder months of the year, which means that you have even more benefits that you can enjoy here!

Not only that these ducks are great layers, they will go broody and are incredibly good mothers.

As a Show Duck

Welsh Harlequin
(Photo source: April Shuyler)

The Welsh Harlequin is a beautiful breed of duck. As you may well imagine, there are several duck shows each year to show off your Welsh Harlequin. However, do bear in mind that this is a popular breed for shows.

This means that you will need to be putting up with the fact that competition is going to be incredibly tough.

However, you will probably love the fact that it is these shows that are keeping the duck popular with the masses, and ensures that we will not be saying goodbye to this duck breed any time soon.

The Temperament of the Welsh Harlequin

One of the reasons why this duck breed is so popular is due to the fact that it has a decent personality. In fact, it is probably one of the calmest duck breeds you are ever likely to meet.

It loves to get up close and personal with humans, so if you want to be playing with a duck that is a true joy to interact with, then you are not going to get much better than the Welsh Harlequin.

One of the reasons we love this duck is because it is a joy to watch. The Welsh Harlequin is one of the best-known foraging ducks, and it is kind of fun to watch it forage about.

Of course, being active foragers mean that you are going to need to be able to give it enough space for the duck to be able to do that!

Welsh Harlequin Care Tips

When it comes to raising the Welsh Harlequin duck, it should be a pretty easy duck for you to be able to raise. The only real issue that you will have is the fact that the duck tends to really attract the predators.

A lot of people have speculated that this is down to the color of the duck. It doesn’t really blend in with the environment.

Perhaps the best way to combat all of this is to ensure that your Welsh Harlequin is always locked away in a decently sized pen at night.

If it has a run, then make sure that the run is well protected, while at the same providing access to absolutely everything they need to thrive. Sadly, there is no guarantee that you will be able to keep all of the predators at bay.

However, this is the same for all ducks. The best you can do is work hard to protect them and hope for the best!

One final point to note is that this is a very broody duck breed. You can actually use it to raise the eggs of other ducks with ease. This is why many people will try to introduce the Welsh Harlequin into their duck collection. It is perfect for when other less-broody ducks simply are not raising the eggs that you want to breed.

Related articles:
Ancona Ducks
Appleyard Ducks

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