Duck Drover: I appreciate your honesty. I also disagree with you on many points.
First, my breeding goals are to breed high quality ducks, NOT to breed show colors, and I am open about that. Otherwise I would not have posted about my color experiments on this thread. I am not trying to hide color "faults" nor am I trying to pass on hidden faults to unsuspecting customers. Instead, I am seeking to understand the color backgrounds of my ducks and I share this information with people who obtain my ducks.
I disagree strongly with your view that people should never breed "faults" and should only breed approved show colors.
At the start of the Runner breed in Great Britain in 1907 only the fawn and white runner duck was recognized. If breeders had bred only that one color, culling everything else, then no other color runner ducks would be available now. The bloodline for that color would certainly be more pure, but what a shame this would have been!!! Every new show color has started as a "fault" (a.k.a difference) in another color line or group of ducks. One of the reasons I chose runner ducks is because of their wide variety of colors. I firmly believe it is important to preserve the genetic variety and diversity of runner ducks. Only by doing this can we one day create new and beautiful color varieties. In my own small way I am helping to enhance and preserve genetic diversity in runner ducks. I believe it is a worthwhile endeavor. If you, or others, want to create certain lines of runner ducks that are pure genetically for a single color type, go for it! But someone else does need to preserve and enhance genetic diversity in runner ducks so that new duck colors can evolve. This is what I am doing in my own small way.
My original ducks are from Holderread Farm and were bought as Top Show Quality ducklings. I purchased from the rare colors group, being fully aware that these were high quality (TSQ) but not meant to be shown because they were not approved show colors. It was my intention and goal when I obtained the ducks to breed some unusual colors. Because I wanted to breed the best body types, I chose runners from Mr. Holderread, who has bred his flock selectively and without outcrossing for many many years. So my ducks are definitely purebred. I made sure to buy the highest quality available. And the offspring which my ducks have produced demonstrate this quality.
Note that my pictures are of very low quality and do not adequately represent the quality of my ducks. I find it difficult to get the ducks to stand still in their beautiful upright pose. The moment I get closer to snap a picture they run off! In the pictures posted above I was only interested in discussing the duck colors, so I was not concerned about the stance of my ducks. They are not pictured in the typical upright pose that runner ducks take when they are concerned and a bit uncomfortable about their environment. In the pictures my ducks are interacting with each other and looking for bugs, hence their low posture. They would be quick enough to stand straight given the right circumstances. My ducks and drakes do have that pencil shape and very upright stance in the right circumstances. I breed responsively: I don't only choose for color, but also choose for body types that complement each other to retain a "bottle" shape and a beautiful upright runner body shape. About half of my ducklings are showing better body shape than their parents, and this will enable me to further improve my flock as I breed for interesting colors. I do give away those with less promising features as pets.
I am fascinated by the genes underlyling duck colors. I have read much of the available literature (Ashton, Holderread, Lancaster, Jaap). I am undertaking some very small scale research into duck genetics to clarify questions that remain for me. So I will breed a pair and grow two or three ducklings that give me some information on genetics. Then I will breed a few more ducklings with another pairing. This enables me to discover new information, and also lets me try to breed for some interesting colors. I am doing my best to use correct terminology. This is sometimes difficult because color names vary extensively from one country to another (e.g., Grey or Brown for Mallards, American versus British Fawn and White (The first has two blue genes while the second does not), and so forth. In addition to the differences between countries, there is also a lot of good information online from people who have made interesting observations and good comments but who might not know all the terminology. As a result, I think that in general careful discussions and explanations are needed to make sure that people understand each other.
When I use a new name such as "smooth" above, it is not meant to disrespect prior research, and does not necessarily mean I am not aware of terminology. It is meant as a way to begin a dialogue when I am not sure if I am referring to the same thing as someone else. For example, Holderread mentions that his "sooty" gene makes the duck darker and smoother overall. He also mentions that its presence makes "dusky" incompletely dominant over M+. My "smooth" ducklings are certainly smoother, and they show the incomplete dominance of dusky over M+. On the other hand, they were born with black fuzz which quickly grayed, while the not-smooth ducklings were born with black fuzz which remained black until they got their feathers. So the "not smooth" ducklings were darker. Also, my "smooth" dark girl is medium brown overall while her "not smooth" sister is black and beige. Hard to say which one is darker! The "not smooth" sister has a slightly darker head than the "smooth" sister. For this reason I am, for the time being, naming what I observe by a different name until I figure out if it is the same gene which Holderread has observed, or a different one, or a combination of two different genes.
At this point I am only at the F1 generation. Therefore, my ducks may appear as simply mismarked rather than having the beautiful new colors which are my goal. For example, Fireweed (tan duck with a black head in the above pictures) has a white mismarking on his neck, because he carries a single runner color gene, as well as a single M+ gene and a single Light gene. This makes him definitely "pet quality" as he stands. However, in the F2 generation, bred to a female with similar genes, he will be able to generate an occasional pied trout baby and an occasional "faulted" trout baby (more white on a female neck than a regular trout and head stripes on adult breeding males). These colors are part of my "new color" goals. I need to go through the intermediate F1 phase to get there. Because ducks that carry a single runner gene do have some white feathers, and ducks that have two genes with runner pattern show the full pattern, I will be able to select F2 ducks that are pure double runner genes (pied trout) and pure "faulted trout" babies (no extra white, no runner genes). At that point I will be able to begin breeding stable gene pools for each pattern!