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Because tradition held that blue colored ducks were "exceptionally hardy, superior meat producers, and difficult for predators to see, this type duck had been popular in Europe for centuries. As early as 1835, the foundation stock of the blue Swedish duck was being raised by farmers in Pomerania, which at that time was part of the Kingdom of Sweden, but today straddles northeast Germany and Northwest Poland. Swedish ducks were imported into North America in 1884 and included in the American Standard of Perfection in 1904. During the intervening years they have been raised in modest numbers as general-purpose farm ducks as well as pets, decoration, and exhibition." (Holderread, 62)
The Swedish is a medium sized bird that weighs between 6 1/2 and 8 pounds. It has an oval head, medium length bill nearly straight along its top line, and a stocky body with a carriage approximately 20 degrees above horizontal. (Holderread, 63) The plumage of both the duck and drake is a uniform bluish slate, with a white bib. However, the drake's head is a dark blue with a greenish bill while the duck's head and bill are the same blue slate color of the body. The legs of both are brownish. (Malone et. al., 312) The American Standard specifies that the outer two or three wing flight feathers must be white but this difficult specification has discouraged many breeders, and is unimportant for general use. While Blue is the only Standard variety, Swedish ducks also come in Black, Silver, and Splashed color patterns. (Holderread, 63)
The Swedish is a "utility breed which matures fairly slowly and provides well-flavored meat. This special flavor may be attributed to the fact that the Blue Swedish prefers to have an orchard or paddock in which it can forage, and grass and natural foods assist in the development of succulent flesh. In confinement they do not thrive as well." (Batty, 126-7) Swedish will lay 100 to 150 white, green, or blue tinted eggs yearly. Typically they have calm temperaments and make fine pets. (Holderread, 52)
When choosing breeders, select vigorous, solid, well-muscled birds with strong legs. Avoid short, narrow, or shallow bodies, narrow heads, and excessively long bills.
ALBC's 2000 census of domestic waterfowl in North America found 1,823 breeding Swedish ducks. Sixteen people reported breeding Swedish, and 8 primary breeding flocks with 50 or more breeding birds exist. (Bender, 4) With their foraging capacity, laying ability and tasty meat, this lovely bird would make a beautiful and useful addition to your flock.
Status: See CPL
Holderread, Dave. Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, Inc., 2001.
Malone, Pat; Donnelly, Gerald; Leonard, Walt. The American Standard of Perfection. Mendon, MA: The American Poultry Association, 1998.