East Indie Duck
East Indies are relatively rare ducks and are primarily used as ornamental birds, exhibition birds, or pets.
They are shyer and quieter than other bantams, such as the Call. They forage well and are good broody ducks and mothers.
Like all bantams, they fly well and will likely need to be clipped. Their pens will require netting over the tops of them.
East Indies ducks are renowned for their spectacular color. They’re beautiful black ducks with a vivid iridescent green sheen, black bills, and black or gray legs, similar to the Cayuga duck. They look like mini Black Cayugas, although the green sheen on Black East Indie Ducks is brighter and greener than the Cayuga sheen. Bills and feet are black, and eyes are dark.
Some female individuals have a few white feathers, especially on the tail, and gain more white feathers as they age. Any white feathers on a male is a breed defect. There is also a blue variety of this duck.
Their egg production is generally low, but tends to vary between strains. Some lay only one or two clutches a year (10-25 eggs), while others can lay up to 100 eggs a year. Their eggs are black or dark gray early in season, and gradually fade to light gray or blue as time passes.
East Indies ducks weigh 1 to 2 pounds (0.45 to 0.9 kg).
Some strains appear to be heavier, around 4 to 6 pounds (1.8 to 2.75 kg).
Black East Indie Ducks are the second most popular bantam duck at poultry shows, (Call Ducks being the first). Although Black East Indie Ducks only come in black, they are quieter by far than Call Ducks and are friendly and easy ducks to keep.
They are raised for decoration, as pets, and for showing. Black East Indie Ducks are also often chosen for pest control purposes. They are excellent hunters and foragers of bugs including mosquitoes and spiders. They don't require as much room and space as larger ducks.
Black East Indie Ducks are a long, mallard shaped duck. The stunning look of the green sheen is more beautiful than can be described with mere words or even with photography. Males and females are both pure black with the green being particularly strong on the heads of the males. Male Black East Indie Ducks have a slightly fuller and more masculine head.
A Little History
As American breeder and judge Darrel Sherow wrote in his 1990 book, 'The East Indie Duck', there is no breed of domestic duck whose origin is so shrouded in mystery that that of the East Indie. It was first written about in the USA in the early 1800s and the UK from the 1830s so it has been in existence some time. It could have been developed from a northern Mallard sport though others favor the explanation that the black gene may have arrived via the American black duck. Whatever the explanation, due to it's striking plumage it became a firm favorite on the show bench.
The East Indie is the oldest breed of bantam duck. It is thought to have originated in the United States, but its precise origin is not known. It has at various times been known by other names, some of them – such as "Brazilian", "Buenos Airean", "Labrador" – suggesting a geographical origin. There is, however, no documented connection to the East Indies, to South America, or to Labrador. It is thought that the breed developed from its original form in the United Kingdom in the second half of the nineteenth century, and was then further refined in the United States in the latter part of the twentieth century. A hypothesis that the black color of the plumage derives from the native American species Anas rubripes appears to be unsubstantiated.
Black East Indians were imported to the United Kingdom in or before 1831, supposedly from Buenos Aires, and were housed in the Zoological Gardens of the Zoological Society of London; they were at first called "Buenos Aireans". Others were at Knowsley Hall, home of the Earls of Derby, in about 1850. In 1853 the Black East Indian was described in the Poultry Book of William Wingfield and George William Johnson, with an illustration by Harrison Weir. It was included in the original Standard of Excellence in Exhibition Poultry of William Bernhard Tegetmeier in 1865, and – as the Black Indie – in the first Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association in 1874.