Facts about Shetland Ducks. Shetland Ducks are a hardy breed and can well adapted to the cold. Shetland Ducks are distinguishing characteristic is their blue bill. Shetland Ducks are native to the Shetland Islands in Scotland, the northern reaches of the UK. The male Shetland Ducks have light blue or sky blue bills and the females have gray or slate blue bills and the Shetland duck is semi-erect. The Shetland duck probably descended from the Swedish blue ducks brought to Scotland when they settled along Scotland’s coasts. This accounts for their similar appearance.
Shetland ducks like other large duck breeds such as, the Pomeranian or Swedish blue, is rather large. However, the Shetland duck is smaller than the Swedish blue. The average male is seven pounds (3.1 kg) when mature, females five to six pounds (2.2 to 2.7 kg). The Shetland duck is the third smallest native British duck breed. It is classified as a light-weight duck.
Shetland Duck Features
The Shetland duck have black bodies with a white bib; the related Swedish blue duck has the same bib but blue plumage. Both females and males Shetland Duck at maturity have a deep black color with a white bib, though the bib tends to be irregular. The biggest difference between male and female Shetland Duck are their beaks, the males have dark green beaks while females have an almost black beak. Shetland Ducklings will be dark gray with a beige or cream bib. The color contrast will increase with maturity. Shetland Ducklings also have dark blue bills that lighten with age. Shetland Ducklings often have a mottled black or gray pattern on their heads, such that they may have light or dark patches around the eyes. The Shetland Duck plumage is iridescent.
Shetland ducks are rather quiet.
The Shetland duck can eat seed but also forages on insects and parasites like the Liver fluke. The Shetland Ducks are avid foragers and highly active. Shetland ducks are considered a “land-race”, in that they rarely swim.
The Shetland Ducks were raised for meat they only lay 30 to 50 eggs per year, a fraction of the 150 to 200 eggs that many ducks raised for egg laying can produce. The Shetland Duck start laying eggs in late April and continue laying eggs until September. The Shetland Duck eggs are white and around 50 grams in weight. The duck’s eggs increase in size along with the mother’s age.
About the Shetland duck bread
The Shetland duck is considered critically endangered as a livestock breed. Most Shetland ducks today are raised in Tronda where breeders like Mary Isbister rounded up the last few specimens in the 1990s in an effort to increase their numbers. The Shetland duck is as rare or rarer than the equally endangered Stanbridge white duck, a breed thought extinct until specimens were identified in Gloucestershire, England. In fact, the Shetland duck was thought extinct in the early 1990s until a flock was found in the Shetlands and breeding was begun in earnest.
Shetland Duck eggs
A Shetland Duck egg has twice the nutritional value than a chicken egg and will stay fresh longer because of their thicker shell.
Shetland Duck eggs are richer with more Albumen "the white of an egg" making pastries and cakes richer and fluffier. A Shetland Duck Egg has more Omega 3 fatty acids than a chicken egg. Omega 3 is thought to improve skin health, memory and Brain health. Shetland Duck Eggs are an Alkaline producing food and a Chicken egg is an acid food and leaves your body more acid. Duck eggs are high in Cholesterol. Shetland Duck eggs have 6 times the Vitamin D and 2 times the Vitamin A than a chicken egg. Duck eggs have 2 times the cholesterol than a chicken egg.
Scientific name for Shetland Duck "Anas Platyrhynchos" meaning - Wild dabbling duck from which domestic ducks are descended; widely distributed. From New Latin "anas" meaning (Duck) and the word Platyrhynchos comes from "platyrrhine", Ancient Greek meaning (broad snouted, flat-bridged nose).
Ducks are also called "waterfowls" they are generally found in places were there is water, such as ponds, rivers, streams, lakes and occasionally your back yard pool. Shetland Ducks are birds in the Class of "Aves". Shetland Ducks of all types are part of the bird family "Anatidae".
There are almost no Shetland ducks available in the United States. They are favored by British hobbyists in an effort to revive historical breeds. A few Shetland ducks have been crossed with the Khaki Campell birds, but a few pure Shetland ducks are available. All true Shetland ducks trace their ancestry back to a few pure females and drakes bred on Tondra Island off Scotland.
Features about the Shetland Ducks feet
Shetland Ducks have webbed feet, that makes them act like paddles, designed for swimming. They push their webbed paddle feet back in a kicking motion, this allows them to move swift through the water and when the feet come back, they close for less water resistance. The Shetland Ducks paddle feet do not feel cold, even when it swims in cold icy water. The webbed feet makes a Shetland Duck waddle instead of walk. The Shetland Ducks feet have capillaries which help blood flow to their feet. The warm blood flow down the leg and creates a heat exchange system. When the blood flows down the leg, it meets the cold blood and is warmed up to keep the ducks feet warm. Shetland Ducks feet are thin because they contain soft tissue and few muscles.
A Shetland Duck is a Precocial (meaning) Born or hatched with the eyes open, a covering of hair or down, capable of a high degree of independent activity from birth and able to leave the nest just a few hours after hatching.
An male adult Shetland Duck is called a (drake) and a adult female Shetland Duck is called a (hen). A young baby Shetland Duck is called a (duckling). A group of ducks is called a brace, raft, team, flock, or paddling. The female Shetland Duck (hen) are usually a plain colored brown for hiding purposes to be camouflaged from their enemies when they are sitting in their nests.
About the Shetland Ducks Bill
A "bill" is what is call a Shetland Ducks mouth. There are no teeth in the Shetland Ducks bill, they have rows of thin bristles, which helps them to filter pieces of nutrition out of the water. Shetland Ducks swallow there food whole and it goes to an organ called a gizzard, were the food is first ground up and than moves on to the stomach. The different bill shapes and sizes for finding food, has over time mutated to fit each environment. The bill is flat and broad and has rows of fine incision along the outer edge called "lamellae". meaning a thin membrane, plate, scale or layer, as of cell wall or bone tissue. The larnellae helps the Shetland Duck to clutch food for feeding.
Water-proof feathers of the Shetland Duck
A special feature that the Shetland Duck has is its water-proof feathers, even when the duck dives underwater, its downy under-layer of feathers will stay totally 100% dry. There is a special gland called the "Preen Gland" also called Oil Gland or Uropygial, that produces oil that is near the duck's tail which covers and spreads the outer coat of the Shetland Ducks feathers, which makes the duck water-proof.
underneath the water-proof coat are downy soft fluffy feathers which keep the Shetland Ducks body warm. Shetland Ducks keep clean by being able to turn their heads completely backwards, and put their beaks into their feathers by preening themselves.
In the wale Shetland Ducks will guard their nest by chasing away other ducks. Once the female Shetland Duck lays 5 to 10 eggs, she will start to sit on her eggs to keep them warm so that they can hatch into baby ducklings. The eggs will hatch on average within 26 to 28 days. Baby Shetland ducklings are able to fly within 5 to 8 weeks.
Shetland Ducks see in color with very good vision and can see well underwater. Shetland Ducks have three eyelids the third eyelid called nictitating membrane. They have a top and bottom as well as a third eyelid that is found on the side of the eye. The Shetland Ducks eyelid blinking acts as a windshield wiper to clear the eye. This helps to see when diving under water can also help the eye from drying out while flying. This is an act of constantly cleaning and keeping the eye moist.
Shetland Ducks are related to geese and swans and the duck is the smallest of these birds with shorter wings and neck and a stocky body. Shetland Ducks on average, live 4 to 8 years and can live up to 12 years, depending on the breed. Ducks fly in a “V” shape to makes flying easier.