Crested Ducks have a feather puff on the top of their heads. Ideally, the puff should be like a round ball.
They can have feathers in many colours, though there are only two officially recognized varieties, White and Black.
The crest is caused by an incompletely dominant mutation gene. It causes a gap in the skull, from which a mass of fatty tissue emerges, and feathers grow from this. Sometimes the crests will be quite full, other times very skimpy.
Owing to the mutation, 25% of the eggs won't hatch, even though fertile. Of those that do, 25% of the ducklings won't have the crest and the remaining 50% will.
The ducklings grow quickly. Males weigh up to 7 pounds (3.2 kg); females up to 5.9 pounds (2.7 kg.)
These ducks are largely kept as pets. They are quiet, and novel to look at.
They can also be raised as a dual purpose duck for meat and eggs. If kept as a "working duck", though the meat is considered good, they tend to be kept more as layers / pets.
They are moderate layers of eggs, 100 to 130 eggs per year. The eggs weigh about 60g, with whitish shells. Occasionally the egg shells will be greenish.
The mutation can occur in any duck breed (except Muscovy), but selective breeding over the centuries in many countries has increased the chances of crests occuring in this particular breed of duck.
The Crested Duck breed was admitted to the American Standard in 1874, and to the UK Standard in 1910.
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-- Benjamin C. Bradlee (American journalist. 26 August 1921 - )