Faith Valley Waterfowl
|The History of the Call duck
The history of the call duck is a bit of a mystery, as to which country and species
they originated from. Most probably they are direct descendants of the wild
mallard originating in Holland. Years ago the little ducks were used primarily by
waterfowl hunters as live decoys. The hunters would tie-out female calls, and due
to the little bird's talkative nature, she would call in wild birds for the hunter.
Over the years, the little birds have been selectively breed to shorten the size of
bill and reduce the size of the body. Calls are used today primarily for exhibition,
decoration and pets. They have earned the names "Toy Duck", and "Most
Talkative", by those who have grown to love these little birds.
I have been asked many times what I look for when I am selecting breeding or show
calls. Usually I reply, "Why the perfect bird of course."
To elaborate on this a little, I am looking at the underline of the bird first. The bird
needs to have a well developed, rounded breast that carries well through the keel
or underside of the bird, it then sweeps up under their tail. I look for a bird that
looks as wide as it is deep. The bird should be horizontal to the ground, not tipping
up in the back or the front. Many birds are very long in the tail area, making them
look out of balance. I try to watch out for this too.
Secondly I look for a round, wide, head, with well defined cheeks, and a very short,
full neck. I like the bill to be less than 1 inch in length, very wide, and set well into
the head of the bird, not sloping down; but extending straight out from the head. It
is preferred to not have black in the bill of the white call females. There is
discussion about the fertility of the white call females that don't have the black in
the bill though.
Next would be the legs, short and straight. So many calls out there have a leg or
foot turned inward; the better birds will have straight legs.
Lastly I look at the color of the bird. My thinking has always been, "You need to
build the barn before you paint it." Confirmation and body type are way more
important than color of feather.
There is no perfect bird out there. To be honest, where would the fun be if we
actually did get to breeding the perfect bird. The struggle to get as close as we
can is where the fun lies.
The thing to remember is to look at each of your prospective breeders, and note
each bird's strengths and weaknesses. Then pair your birds up to compensate for
each bird's weakness. Try not to have the same weakness in both the male and
the female that you have in the breeding pen. If you follow this plan, your offspring
should be better then your parents.
The goal for you each year should be to make a bird that is just a little better than
the parents that you used. So long as you are doing this, then you are successful
in your breeding program. It doesn't matter what a judge thinks, so long as you
know that you have improved your line a little each year.
Many folks fall into the trap of thinking that they can improve their lines in a couple
of years. It may take you 10 years to get where you want to be. Then when you
get there, you will find something else to improve on a little more. That is where
the fun lies.
|Selecting that Perfect Call Duck