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
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
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