A. platyrhnchos Skull Replica or Domestic Duck measures 5.6 in. Domestic Duck Brain is 1.3x9x8 in. Both are museum quality polyurethane cast.
Whole-genome sequencing suggests that domestic ducks originate from a single domestication event of mallards during the Neolithic, followed by rapid selection for lineages favoring meat or egg production.
They were probably domesticated in Southeast Asia. There are few archaeological records, so the date of domestication is unknown; the earliest written records are in Han Chinese writings from central China dating to about 500 BC.
A. platyrhnchos or Domestic Duck farming for both meat and eggs is a widespread and ancient industry in Southeast Asia.
Wild ducks were hunted extensively in Ancient Egypt and other parts of the world in ancient times, but were not domesticated.
Ducks are documented in Ancient Rome from the second century BC, but descriptions suggest that ducks in Roman agriculture were tamed, not domesticated; there was no duck breeding in Roman times, so eggs from wild ducks were needed to start duck farms.
Most breeds and varieties of domestic duck derive from the mallard, Anas platyrhynchos; a few derive from Cairina moschata, the Muscovy duck, or are mulards, hybrids of these with A. anas stock.
Domestication has greatly altered their characteristics. Domestic ducks are mostly promiscuous, where wild mallards are monogamous.
Domestic ducks have lost the mallard’s territorial behavior, and are less aggressive than mallards.
Despite these differences, domestic ducks frequently mate with wild mallards, producing fully fertile hybrid offspring.
A. platyrhnchos or Domestic Ducks have been farmed for thousands of years. Domestic ducks are reared principally for meat, but also for duck eggs.
In some cultures the blood of ducks slaughtered for meat is used as food; it may be eaten seasoned and lightly cooked, as in Ireland, or be used as an ingredient, as in a number of regional types of blood soup.
In 2021 approximately 4.3 billion ducks were slaughtered for meat worldwide, for a total yield of about 6.2 million tonnes; over 80% of this production was in China, where more than 3.6 billion ducks were killed, yielding some 4.9 million tonnes of meat.
Worldwide production of duck meat was substantially lower than that of chicken – 73.8 billion birds slaughtered, 121.6 million tonnes – but considerably greater than that of geese – about 750 million birds killed for 4.4 million tonnes of meat.
Ducks may lay some 200 eggs per year; the eggs may be white or tinted blue or green. Demand for fresh duck eggs is fairly limited in many Asian countries, and particularly in the Philippines.
The females of many breeds of domestic duck are unreliable at sitting their eggs and raising their young.
Exceptions include the Rouen duck and especially the Muscovy duck. It has been a custom on farms for centuries to put duck eggs under broody hens for hatching. Nowadays this role is often played by an incubator.
Young ducklings rely on their mothers for a supply of preen oil to make them waterproof. Once the duckling grows its own feathers, it produces preen oil from the sebaceous gland near the base of its tail.