Nearly all the breeds of duck in the UK are descended from the Mallard – this is the common duck which you see on park lakes and watercourses everywhere including here at the Farm. The female is a rather dull speckled brown, whereas the male has a much showier green colouring around its head.
Although they like to eat kitchen scraps and garden pests, such as snails and slugs, they lay delicious eggs! They are sociable creatures and should always be kept in groups as they tend to talk to each other throughout the day – particularly if something surprises or excites them. Ducks ideally should have access to running water; our ducks certainly enjoy Meanwood Beck which runs through Meanwood Valley Urban Farm. They usually live to about 5 years old, but happy ducks can live as long as 7 or 8 years old.
Female ducks will lay eggs with or without the help of a male duck. Fertilised eggs then take 21 days until they are ready to hatch. The broody female must sit on the eggs to keep them warm during this time. Unfertilised eggs will never hatch and these are the eggs we eat.