A clue to the origination of the bird is in the name, Bali, and it is indigenous to this island which lies to the west of Java. It is a very old established breed and is represented on stone carvings in the area but today it can still be seen working in the paddy fields. They are employed to eat the pests that will damage the crop and are taken to the fields by day and brought back in at night. But how did this elegant duck with the pom-pom on its head, get to the UK? Keen Indian Runner breeders, the Misses Davidson and Chisholm, introduced the breed in 1925, importing it from Malaysia and it was standardized in 1930. Like other ducks of this time it fell out of favour but once again, the keen waterfowl fanciers of the 1980s reintroduced it mainly for exhibition. It is excellent for this job as it is an eye catching breed, like a White Indian Runner in build but with a lovely little round crest sitting on the back of the head. The blue eyes and the orange yellow bill and orange legs are set off against the snowy white of the plumage.
Despite its wonderful appearance, it is a very practical bird to keep as it is an excellent forager so needs a good size to roam – orchard or paddock – and it is a very good egg layer. It's an excellent pest controller for the garden but also likes to eat plants so choose the time you allow it access to the plot – after harvest is a good time and winter. It flocks well so you can drive it from field to house and it doesn't fly. The only problem is that as with all crested ducks, breeding can be more challenging in hatching and producing crested ducks. Probably worth contacting waterfowl clubs and societies for help and advice in this respect.
Other colours do exist but it is mainly seen in white. Classified as a light duck breed.
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