Discover the Enchanting Welsh Harlequin Duck Breed: A Complete Guide

Welcome to an exploration of the captivating Welsh Harlequin duck breed. These beautiful and remarkable birds have many unique qualities that make them stand out in the poultry world. From their vibrant appearance to their docile temperament and exceptional egg-laying abilities, the Welsh Harlequin breed has won the hearts of duck enthusiasts and farmers alike. Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of these charming ducks.

Welsh Harlequin ducks walking in the barnyard.
Welsh Harlequin ducks walking in the barnyard.
Welsh Harlequin Duck
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 8-12 years.
Weight: 5-5.5 lb.
Color: Cream, rusty reddish-brown mottled, greenish-black.
Egg Production: 200-300 per year.
Egg Color: Cream, White.
Known For Broodiness: Yes.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Chicken: $9-$12 per chick.


The story of the Welsh Harlequin begins with Leslie Bonnet, a visionary poultry breeder from Wales. In the early 20th century, Bonnet sought to create a breed combining aesthetics and practicality. Seeing two of his Khaki Campbell ducklings with a unique color pattern, he began breeding for this coloring. He eventually achieved his goal and gave rise to the delightful Welsh Harlequin duck breed. Welsh Harlequin Ducks are the only purely Welsh duck breed.


The Welsh Harlequin is a visual masterpiece, boasting a kaleidoscope of colors that captivate the eye. With an alluring blend of cream, white, and reddish-brown hues, their plumage resembles an artistic harlequin pattern. Males and females showcase distinct coloration, with the males exhibiting bolder and more contrasting shades.

Drakes tend to have greenish-orange beaks with greenish-black heads, bright green bands on their wings, and orange legs.

Females have more muted coloring but are beautiful nonetheless. They have more cream and white on their bodies, often with light rusty orange undertones beneath the reddish-brown dappling. Their wings have more understated green or brown stripes. Female Welsh Harlequins have orange legs that change to brown as they mature.

Welsh Harlequin Ducks have long bodies, narrow heads, round breasts, and wide-leg stances. They generally weigh 5-5.5 lbs. Look for these features when buying this breed to ensure you are getting an authentic Welsh Harlequin Duck and continuing to raise and preserve this wonderful breed.

Close-up of a Welsh Harlequin Drake
Close-up of a Welsh Harlequin Drake

Temperament and Personality

Beyond their stunning appearance, the Welsh Harlequin ducks are known for their friendly and docile nature. These birds display a calm and gentle disposition, making them easily approachable and well-suited for human interaction. Additionally, they exhibit remarkable sociability with other ducks, fostering a harmonious and peaceful coop environment.

They tend to be quiet, with the hens being more vocal than the drakes. These ducks are not known to be flighty. And they are NOT good flyers. Welsh Harlequin Ducks can be taught to return from foraging to their coops in the evenings.

Hens are considered broody. You can use this to your advantage when hatching eggs. They will happily hatch and care for ducklings for your less broody ducks!

Egg-Laying Abilities

One of the breed’s most desirable traits is its exceptional egg-laying capabilities. Welsh Harlequin hens are prolific layers, consistently producing numerous large, white, or cream-colored eggs throughout the year. With an annual egg count ranging between 250 to 300, these ducks offer an abundant and reliable supply of fresh eggs.


Welsh Harlequin Ducks are relatively easy to pluck and clean and have less greasy meat than other duck breeds.

Practicality and Low-Maintenance

The Welsh Harlequin ducks are aesthetically pleasing and practical to raise. They are adaptable to various climates and weather conditions, demonstrating resilience against common poultry diseases. Furthermore, their innate foraging abilities allow them to find their own food efficiently, reducing the need for extensive feeding efforts.

Close-up of a Welsh Harlequin Hen
Close-up of a Welsh Harlequin Hen

Tips for Raising Welsh Harlequin Duck

Proper care and management are crucial for those considering adding Welsh Harlequin ducks to their flock. Providing a safe and comfortable coop with adequate protection against predators and weather elements is essential. A balanced, nutritious diet, including grains, seeds, and vegetables, will promote their health and egg-laying performance. Like other ducks, they need access to fresh water to drink and splash in.

Regular observation and interaction with the birds will help identify health concerns and ensure their well-being. The Open Sanctuary Project has a helpful list of common duck health issues to watch for.

Welsh Harlequin ducks as Valued Companions

While the Welsh Harlequin ducks are esteemed for their egg-laying prowess, they are equally cherished as delightful companions. Their pleasant personalities and gentle demeanor make them ideal pets for families and individuals. Bonding with these captivating creatures can offer a rewarding and enriching experience as they become a part of your daily life.

I love making chickens or ducks a family affair! Here is an article about ducks for your kids or grandkids.

Welsh Harlequin ducks walking in grass
Welsh Harlequin ducks walking in grass


According to The Livestock Conservancy organization Welsh Harlequin Ducks are on the heritage breed watch list. By donating to reputable conservancy organizations or breeding and raising this breed, you will be helping to keep this breed alive and thriving! The Livestock Conservancy also has a breeder list if you want to add Welsh Harlequin ducks to your flock!


The Welsh Harlequin duck breed is an enchanting fusion of beauty, personality, and practicality. From Leslie Bonnet’s innovative breeding efforts to the stunning display of colors on their feathers, these ducks have found a special place in the hearts of chicken enthusiasts and hobby farmers. Whether for their prolific egg-laying abilities or as charming pets, the Welsh Harlequin is a breed that continues to enchant and captivate those who encounter them.

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

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