Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
Country / Place of origin: Germany
History: The Saxony Duck is a rare breed and would have been lost if it wasn't for two breeders who took an interest in saving them. Saxony Ducks were developed in Germany in the early 1900’s. After most were lost during WW II, Albert Franz worked to save the breed. More recently Dave Holderread in the U.S. worked to establish the Saxony breed in the United States with success. They were accepted into American Poultry Association (APA) in 2000.
Current Uses: Meat and eggs.
Appearance: Saxony Ducks are short upright birds with a square shaped body and short legs. Males resemble the Mallard drake coloring with an orange to yellow beak and feet, dusky blue head, white color, and silver back. Their chest is rust colored and their abdomen is white. Females are a buff color with silver wings. They have a white strip that runs from the beak to passed the eye and a partial white neck ring. Their beak and legs are orange to yellow.
Average weight: 7 - 8 lbs.
Lifespan: 9 - 12 years
Diet: Despite popular myth, bread is not a healthy food for ducks. In fact it will cause bone deformities and other serious health problems. A healthy diet for your pet duck can be primarily a waterfowl maintenance diet that is designed for the age and life stage of your duck. Ducks should never be fed medicated feed as this is toxic to them. They will enjoy treats of cracked corn and daily greens. For multiple ducks there will need to be multiple bowls of food to reduce fighting. They should have access to fresh drinking water at all times.
Housing: Ducks can do well as a backyard pet if they have a habitat that is created just for them. Elements of their habitat design include a pond, good substrates, and protection from the sun, wind, rain, and predators. For a couple of ducks an in ground pond that is well filtered and easy to drain for daily cleaning is a good option. It is best to surround the pool with gravel to prevent the ducks from making the area too muddy. Their yard space will need to have grass areas, a sandy area, and logs to perch on. They will need a night house that will protect them from predators. Straw can be used for bedding in their night house but must be replaced regularly and any time it gets wet.
Health issues: There are several health conditions common to ducks that owners need to be aware of. Most can be prevented with good care. Bumblefoot is a term used for foot sores that occur when ducks spend too much time on rough or other improper substrates such as concrete. The sores can become infected and if not treated quickly can cause bone infections. Ducks are prone to respiratory diseases such as aspergillosis infections that can come from wet straw or other damp environmental conditions. With a proper living environment and good vet care ducks can often live long healthy lives.
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: Saxony Ducks are a very adaptable breed.