Colorful Mandarin ducks the new favorites of Vietnam pet lovers

By Trong Nghia   January 31, 2019 | 06:37 am PT
Mandarin ducks are much in demand as pets in Vietnam for their spectacular appearance.

The migratory breed is a native of China and cold countries like Russia. Some pairs breed for several seasons and so in China they are celebrated for their fidelity.

In China they are a symbol of loyalty to their mate and gifted to brides for their wedding.

The vibrant colors grant them popularity and value. Photo by VnExpress/Trong Nghia.

The vibrant colors make Mandarin ducks popular and expensive. Photo by VnExpress/Trong Nghia.

Nguyen Thanh Nam, manager of an ornamental bird farm in Thanh Tri District, Hanoi, said: "In Vietnam, Mandarin ducks are quite rare. As far as I can see, the trend of rearing pairs of these birds is increasing in HCMC, and in Hanoi there are only one or two places that sell them."

Last year a month before Tet, the Lunar New Year holiday, Nam sold nearly 100 of the birds, with a pair costing around VND15 million ($650). To prevent them from flying away, the owner needs to trim their wings.

Dinh Van Hoan, 60, of Hoang Mai District, Hanoi, said: "A house only needs a small cottage pool in the garden and a pair of Mandarin ducks will dot the scenery with charm and every guest will be wowed."

Having an attractive house during Tet is an important tradition for Vietnamese.

Vo Dinh Thanh, 28, of HCMC said: "This breed is not as noisy as regular domestic fowls. What’s unique is that you confine all of them in a cage but a pair always sleeps next to each another. They stick together and never leave each other."

Though a recent introduction in Vietnam, the bird has supplanted all other ornamental pets. While on average they cost from a few million dong to tens of millions (VND1 million = $43.4) those with unique colors could fetch VND20-25 million ($868 – 1,085).

When the birds are imported, they must go through a strict quarantine process. Thus, those who want to buy them must book at least a month in advance.

Compared to regular ducks, the ducklings have less odor and no hair loss. Photo by VnExpress/ Trong Nghia.

Compared to regular ducks, these have less odor and no hair loss. Photo by VnExpress/Trong Nghia.

Young ones are easy to care for. At one they start reproducing. Every year a female lays 6-8 eggs. But intervention is sometimes required to hatch the eggs since the females do not brood properly in captivity.

Le Nguyen, owner of an ornamental bird farm in HCMC, said: "Many people think Mandarin ducks represent good omen. So, more and more people in the city and neighboring provinces are looking to buy them. Their price has fallen by VND2-3 million compared to two years ago."

He said he also has yellow ducks, three-colored shelducks and Carolina ducks. These are also newly introduced species that have become popular in Vietnam.

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