Call Duck Conformation Question

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by k0r1nag, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. k0r1nag

    k0r1nag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 11, 2010
    Kelso
    I am new to call ducks this year and loving them! I have been online for months trying to acquaint myself with the colors and qualities of a show quality calls. I purchased 3 lovely white ducklings from a breeder whose birds have won top honors - and all have grown up to be males. Obviously I need to get rid of a few males and try to find a good quality female.

    So now I need to pick the best male and I would appreciate some of your input.

    This is the male I think is the best from the side:
    [​IMG]

    Here is a front view of the same male ( A cute picture though he wouldn't keep his head level)
    [​IMG]

    There is no black or discoloration on their bills or feathers - they have just been dabbling in the mud as they are free range.

    The reasons I chose this male are:

    1) his body is nicely "football" shaped - with not too long a tail or neck

    2) he has a good "ping-pong ball" shaped head - nicely rounded especially at the bill, with good full forehead and cheeks - his eyes might be set a bit too high, though

    3) his bill is short and wide, set pretty low, with no color disqualifications or defects


    These opinions are based just on trying to educate myself on-line, so I would appreciate any one pointing out where I might be wrong.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  2. kswaterfowl

    kswaterfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2009
    Greencastle, IN
    They all three look fairly nice to me, I would show all three of them and see how they do. When we were serious with the Calls, (we now concentrate on East Indies and Mallards more, but still have a few.) The nice typey males were what we wanted to breed the overly large, breeder females, we never kept many very nice quality females, partially because we always hatched nicer males, and the other part of it was the really good females lay poorly. Since Calls are already so hard to hatch, we only kept females for breeding that were on the larger side, but the drakes could be nice and typey and still get their portion of the job done.
    I really like the general shape of the drake you picked. I think they are all nice, but this one appears to be the smallest of the three. I like his head, but I think his bill looks like it has a tiny bit of offcolor along the sides, but like you said, could be mud. His color looks great, white birds are fairly easy as long as you don't have any off-colored grey or black feathers in the plumage. I think it is really important to make sure he has strong legs, because if he has trouble getting around, he is worthless as a breeder. We've had a few drakes over the years with leg problems, mainly from the formation in the egg issues, but all in all, it wasn't a huge issue for us. We switched away from them (Calls) mostly because they are harder to hatch and we like to do large hatches and cull out all but a tiny handful of breeders for the next season. We had one nice grey drake that won champion bantam for us once, but after he died, he was the last of our serious foray in Calls. We do have some Magpie Calls currently, but they are our childrens' pets. Good choice on your bird, I would show them all and get a trained judges opinion, because my opinion is just that, my own.
     
  3. k0r1nag

    k0r1nag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 11, 2010
    Kelso
    Quote:KSWaterfowl - Thanks so much! This is just the type of information I was looking for! I had read about the showier calls being hard to hatch (blunter, shorter bills needing help out of the shells), but I didn't realize there were laying problems as well. It makes sense to keep bigger females with smaller males to keep the ducklings in proportion.

    Our plan is just to hatch a clutch or two each year - we don't want to go into high production - we just enjoy having the little guys and watching them grow & develop. And we also love learning what to look for in exhibition birds so we can breed a few nice birds to show. And since we can't keep them all, it would be especially nice to have good quality birds to sell to kids in 4-H.

    Since we were so enamored of our little white fellows, we bought some call duck hatching eggs from another breeder who is "hit n miss" with the quality of her birds, which she was very up front about. But she was regionally accessible so we thought we could hatch some babies and learn from the experience. We used a banty cochin and she hatched 10 of 12 eggs. These little guys are either pastel or blue fawn (and it looks like a butterscotch and a gray hatched out of the mix as well).

    Attached is the nicest chick from this hatch. According to the breeder it looks like a female pastel that is definitely worth showing.

    Here is a side view.
    [​IMG]

    Opinions? Is she a good prospect for show?
     
  4. kswaterfowl

    kswaterfowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greencastle, IN
    I like her. She looks nice and small. She is a pastel, and there is another pastel as well as a blue fawn in the background I can see. Grey, Blue Fawn, Pastel works the same as Black, Blue, Splash when bred together. You can get the ratios fairly easily. She is small, so I doubt she will be a really good layer, nor a very good sitter. But since you use cochins, you may be able to get some young from her. Calls are very hard to judge on the ground. When you get them up in a show cage, the birds look totally different. I think with a little more age, your hen will be a potentially nice bird for open shows. It looks like you have several nice Calls! Good luck with them, I hope you have better luck hatching them than we have had in the past. Our birds would start laying when it was still really cold and then the eggs would freeze before we could get them, then they would molt and lay again and we would be near the end of the hatching season when the other ducks are hatching like crazy but the Call fertility is way down...with our larger bantams and large ducks we just don't have the same problems anymore. We hatched 4 pairs of Snowy Mallards this year plus 4 extra hens! And the other breeds did really well too, but we started early enough for birds to have a chance to fully mature by the end of october, and then sold the rest of our hatching eggs because had our birds to growout for Nationals already.
     
  5. k0r1nag

    k0r1nag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 11, 2010
    Kelso
    Quote:Thanks again for all the helpful advice. I was unclear on the Gray/Blue Fawn/Pastel relationship, so it is nice to know it is like BBS. We are currently working on SQ standard cochins in BBS and SQ Bantam Polish in BBS so I understand the genetics there.

    The little female was the last to hatch and has been the last to feather out - a very slow grower and so I could definitely see that she may not be a good layer.

    We are currently building a big coop with a shelf of show cages to the inside so we can begin training our birds to be handled more and to be comfortable in the cage. Once we are finished I should be able to get much better pictures of all the birds we decide to keep. I have noticed how some of my Polish birds look lovely when they are out walking around, but do not look great in photos (though it could be my skills as a photographer at fault). It is interesting to know that they can be perceived so differently when looked at in a show cage.

    Thank you for the well wishes. Good luck with your birds!
     
  6. Bnemeth

    Bnemeth Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Beautiful birds! I have blue, pastel and grey males if you want to trade for one of your whites [​IMG]
     
  7. StevenW.

    StevenW. Lovin' My Quackers!

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    Oct 7, 2010
    Central, Illinois
    Looks like Kswaterfowl has answered most of your questions. [​IMG]

    Love the pictures!
     

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