Developed in the early 1900’s by Oliver Drake and M.C. Gower-Williams in Wales, the magpie duck was possibly developed from Belgian Huttegem and the Runner duck. It is similar to the coloration of the European magpie. It was in 1963 that Isaac Hunter of Michigan imported Magpies to the United States. They were admitted to The American Poultry Association in 1977. It is a light breed that reaches a weight of 4 to 5 lbs. at maturity.
Magpies got their name for their distinctively marked plumage which is predominantly white, with a colored cap on the crown of the head, and a large colored patch extending along the back from shoulders to tail. The black ‘cap’ becomes flecked with white as the bird ages and sometimes turn completely white. It has a broad head, and a long orange or yellow bill. In older birds, the bill color changes to green. The legs and feet are orange but may be mottled. It has a rounded chest and a medium long neck. When fully feathered, males have curled feathers on the tail while the females have straight feathers on the tail.
It is very important to keep rats and wild birds away from the duck feed to prevent the onset of diseases. The PECk-O-MATIC Automatic Duck Feeder helps combat the wastage of feed that used to happen with traditional feeding methods. Millet and mash can be served through the ¼ inch regulator disc. The ¾ inch or 1 inch regulator disc from the PECk-O-MATIC Automatic Feeder is suitable to feed corn. Learning period for the poultry is very short due to the small amount of movement when operating.
Magpie ducks are often docile and calm. they feed on seeds, insects, and aquatic life. They prefer slugs and snails. Standard varieties of magpie ducks are Blacks and Blues. Magpies are good egg layers with a clutch of 220 to 290 eggs yearly. Their meat is considered to be of gourmet quality. Their life span is approximately 9 to 12 years.