Most domesticated ducks are descended from the wild mallard and over the centuries many different breeds have been created.

They have been kept as pets, or for their ornamental value, or have been farmed for their meat, eggs and down. In an new paperback book entitled “The Domestic Duck”, Chris and Mike Ashton explain how these breeds have been developed and how to look after them.

Chapters include breeds, their origins and characteristics, classic ducks from all over the world and designer ducks of the 20th century. The Ashtons also offer advice on managing adult stock, breeding and common problems and ailments of ducks.

Priced at £14.99, the 200-page book is fully illustrated with over 200 images depicting examples of the pure breeds and all aspects of their management.

The Crowood Press (01672 520 320); www.crowood.com