Ducks and Geese
West of England Geese.
Like other medium breeds, they are hardy birds which
grow quickly and do well as meat producers. They are quite calm birds and will
become confiding with human contact. They will rear their own young readily.
- Although only standardised in 1999, the breed is
an ancient one.
- Similar birds were once common in farmyards
throughout the UK and particularly in the West Country.
- These birds may have been bred for countless
generations from the same stock, which means that, although likely to be
pure-breeding, they may be somewhat inbred. One effect of this is that, in
these situations, the size has often decreased.
- Adult males are white, but may have the odd grey
feather, and females have a saddleback grey and white pattern, with grey on
the head and neck.
- The grey on the head usually decreases with age,
and some more mature females may have very little grey on the head.
- Somewhat larger than the Pilgrim, this is a medium
goose, with ganders up to 9kg and geese up to 8kg.
- As in most domestic breeds, the paunch should be
West of England Geese
West of England Geese
Evan and Cariad are Welsh Harlequin Ducks.
The Welsh harlequin is a breed of
domestic duck originating in Wales. In 1949, in Criccieth, Group Captain Leslie
Bonnet discovered a colour mutation among his flock of Khaki Campbells and began
breeding selectively for the trait. By 1968, hatching eggs were exported to the
United States, followed by the importation of live birds in 1981.
Today, the Welsh harlequin is a
light-weight duck breed known for its vivid plumage and egg laying ability.
Welsh harlequins weigh 4.5 to 5.5 pounds (2-2.5 kilos). Females have a black
bill and brown legs and feet, and their plumage is similar to a mallard but
heavily frosted with white. They also lack the eye stripes of mallard females.
Drakes are also similar to a heavily frosted Mallard with a yellow/green bill
and orange legs and feet. There is also a colour variation known as "golden",
popular in the UK, which replaces the black feather pigments with a light golden
The birds produce a lean carcass and
are active foragers, though they are sometimes more vulnerable to predators such
as birds of prey due to their light colouration. The egg laying ability is
highly valued as the production exhibited by some hens rivals that of chickens.
The breed is prone to broodiness and a pair can easily produce young without
human interference. They have become a popular backyard pet in recent years due
to the bird's calm demeanour and high egg production.
The Welsh harlequin was admitted to
the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 2001. The breed is
considered to be critically endangered in North America by the American
Livestock Breeds Conservancy, with only 188 breeding birds found in a 2000