Ferdinand, an Indian runner duck from Dapto, ruffled a few feathers by winning best bird at the 2021 Sydney Royal Easter Show. In the show’s 199-year history, it was the first time a duck had taken the coveted prize, and with the spread of the news the accolades streamed in. Standing upright, Ferdinand does not waddle… he walks, and was honoured with a place in the show’s Grand Parade.
Sydney Royal Poultry Show Special Awards judge Garry Phillips has officiated the awards for 58 years and said, “This one has created quite a stir.”
“I get so many people asking, how do you judge a duck or a chook?
“We have the Australian standards for the breeds of waterfowl, turkey, geese and chickens as our guide to how we judge them.
“All are judged on a 100-points score for type, shape, colour and the condition.
“This particular drake had been well-prepared and stood at nearly 90 degrees – exactly how they should stand.
“He was one of those ducks who never dropped his guard.
“I looked at him half a dozen times, and he stood there like a soldier.
“He had the ‘Here I am, give me the prize and let me go home’ winner’s look,” Mr Phillips said.
Kept as a hobby in a backyard in suburban Dapto by Danny Benn and Gerald Farrugia, Ferdinand is one of 42 Indian runner ducks and 60 chickens. Mr Farrugia said the Indian runner duck was a wonderful backyard pet.
“It’s a prolific layer, fantastic for the backyard, can outlay a chook and is healthier and hardier than other breeds.”
Plus, they are less bother for neighbours as they are not as noisy as chickens. A runner duck also produces more eggs than chickens – 150 to 200 eggs in a domestic setting and more than 300 a year when professionally raised.