Pure verses a mixed breed duck

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by charlindabob, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. charlindabob

    charlindabob Songster

    Jan 25, 2009
    central Florida
    I am going to go way out on a limb here and say I am against mixing breeds of any duck. Now I realize that domestic ducks derived from the mallard and were originally mixed with something, but when you have todays pure bred duck, why mix it with another breed? When you do, you've lost the purity forever in their offspring. Take Khaki Campbells for instance, yes they came from a mix of several different ducks, but in that process, they bred pure and most, I'd venture to say 90% of K/C's are not now 100% pure. That is because somewhere in time, someone mixed something else in with them and the ones that looked like K/C's were sold as pure bred.
    The point that I'm trying to make is that this practice, be it on purpose or bad husbandry, totally ruins the specific breed forever. Soon, we will have no pure Khaki Campbells left in the world. Does this make sense? Love to hear others opinions in here.
    To me, it is like breeding a purebred Doberman Pincher to a purebred German Shepherd, maybe a nice dog, but still a mutt.
  2. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    Several reasons why mixed breeds are important:

    1. Limited gene pool. Animals that are bred as purebred are from a limited genetic pool and are often not as hardy as outcrosses. As certain purebreds decrease in popularity, the breeding stock reduces and so do the amount of genetic material that helps keep a healthier flock. According to the ABLC, there are fewer than 500 breeding pairs of certain duck breeds.

    2. As a result of the limited gene pool, you're apt to see more undesirable traits and even hereditary diseases show up. When you outcross, the ducks you get are often with different genetics and therefore less chance of "fatal genes" cropping up.

    3. How do you think new breeds are developed? Someone outcrossed different purebreds and got variations. Or saw an odd variation in their breed and chose to breed to it. Regardless, most breeds started with mixed breeds. We see that in dogs, cats, horses, chickens and other animals.

    It's okay if you don't want to own a mixed breed. But understand that your purebred ducks come from creatures who were not purebreds in the beginning. Even in nature, that's how it's done, albeit more slowly.
    2 people like this.
  3. smurfboe

    smurfboe In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2009
    Phillipston, MA
    ummm. Sometimes you just can't stop that male duck from doing what a male duck does.....
  4. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Songster

    Jul 15, 2009
    To me it is almost just like dogs. You are always going to have people mixing breeds no matter what, that is just the way it is. That is why it is such a good thing to have people that are dedicated to certain breeds and breed them true. My first two ducks Swedish mixes [​IMG] are great.
  5. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I have no problem with people mixing ducks for all of the reasons skywarrior posted.

    I do not get the elitism some people seem to have about "purebred this" or "purebred that". Purebreds all started as mutts. Useful mutts, but they are basically mutts and mutants.

    That being said, I have slowly gotten my flock to all one breed. Welsh Harlequins. They suit my purposes perfectly. If I decided, however, I needed them more for meat than eggs, I would breed my girls with an Alesbury or a Saxony...possibly a pekin. I could also breed them with a moscovy if I wanted good meat ducks that were sterile. If I wanted a slimmer bird that was easier to herd, some runner blood would help.

    As long as I take care of them, it is nobody's beeswax what I do with my ducks.
    iluvsedward likes this.
  6. CityChicker

    CityChicker Songster

    Mar 21, 2009
    I am going to respond to this thread, but I typically don't discuss this on BYC. I learned long ago that this is a topic it is hard to have an intelligent conversation about. As I posted on another thread recently, I sometimes don't get all the hoopla about mixing breeds. There is also, and this is a key point, a difference between haphazardly allowing breeds to mix and deliberate outcrossing with a specific goal in mind. Trust me on this- outcrossing is very common practice. It has *established* and *saved* many a breed. All of the serious waterfowl breeders that I have known have utilized outcrossing in their flocks.

    The other side of mixing breeds, other than for the purpose of increasing genetic diversity, is that of creating new breeds or varieties within existing breeds. Again, this is common practice. I am not sure why so many people these days seem to be of the belief that breeds should remain stagnant. If the main reason is for preserving breeds as "purebred", there could not possibly be a worse example to illustrate this point then the Khaki Campbell, LOL. I can almost guarantee that Mrs. Campbell would laugh in the face of anyone attempting to maintain her "purebred". She was very pragmatic and like so many of the early duck breeders, created this breed to be utilitarian. She wanted a duck that laid lots of eggs and had a more traditional body shape than a Runner. She had some Rouens and a prolific Runner hen available to her, so she crossbred them, effectively creating a "mutt". Few people seem to realize this, but the original form of the bird was not even "Khaki". It was similar color to Abacot Rangers (basically WH in color). If we didn't mix breeds, the Campbell would not have even been developed. The Khaki came later solely because Mrs. Campbell wanted to create a Buff duck. The Khaki is her failed attempt at Buff. The Campbell is a perfect example of mixing breeds and the later Khaki is a perfect example of creating new varieties. They hardly are good examples of breeding purebreds, in my opinion.

    The Khaki Campbell is also not particularly rare and in need of saving. They are literally tens of thousands of them all over the world. There is also a lot more to selective breeding than getting something to breed true. People these days seem to use color as the indicator that something is breeding true. If that is an accurate indicator that something is pure, I could create purebreds right and left. As I said previously, the early breeders were a lot more utilitarian in their approach (and several of them, interestingly, described multiple color forms in their breeds). They created these breeds for specific purposes (usually related to meat or egg production), not for the show ring. In fact, many of them had downright disdain for the show ring and people that bred for non-production purposes. Mrs. Campbell fought that standardization of her duck for years. I doubt she would be thrilled with the purebred Khaki Campbells of today that are Campbell in appearance, but not production abilities. Even the size of modern day Campbells is not what it was when the breed was created. If she was breeding ducks today, I think she is more likely to be the breeder that is mixing breeds trying to capitalize on hybrid vigor and the associated increased production. She would not be the breeder focused on breeding purebreds. If a person is truly concerned with preserving the rare and/or original forms of breeds and we are using Campbells as an example, they should be breeding little 4.5 pound ducks that look like Welsh Harlequins and lay 200+ eggs per year. Tell me, how similar is that to what we are breeding today as a Campbell?
  7. CityChicker

    CityChicker Songster

    Mar 21, 2009
    Quote:It's funny, but Bonnet was cut from the same cloth as some of the other breeders. He bred ducks for production purposes, not to be show ducks of a certain color. I will type out some of his early descriptions of the WH someday when I have time. He described several different color forms, far from anything standard as far as color. This is also long before the American invention of "Gold" and "Silver". I am talking about multiple color forms of the original and true WH, which is what we call "Gold" in the US today.

    When he wanted to create a meat duck, he did outcross to Aylesbury creating what he called the Whalesbury. It was basically a larger duck with a similar color form to what we call "Silver". They were two different breeds that he later combined again. These early breeders that are responsible for most of today's duck breeds did this all the time. Crossbreeding is what created the variety we have today. I am not sure why we can't continue doing this today. It is what keeps the hobby exciting- creating new breeds and varieties. [​IMG]
  8. Baybrio

    Baybrio Songster

    Jun 11, 2008
    Poplar Grove, IL
    As usual I never see black and white only shades of gray. I think we need dedicated breeders who want to keep breeding purebred ducks that are true to type (I'm not going to comment on people's interpretation of the what is correct type). I see this as making sure some ducks are bred to be lean and active, others heavy and fast growing, still others.... I think we need to try and maintain genetic diversity in our domestic animals, this probably means limiting the inclusion of "outside" breeds (unless the gene pool is so small the existing group cannot produce healthy offspring).

    That said, anyone who has a desire to try and create a "new" breed has my support. As someone said all the current breeds were created to fill a need or desire. I see no reason to change that. Of course if nobody bred "purebred" ducks the cross breeders would have a hard time finding ducks that are a specific type to cross with.

    Also, if you have a great laying duck and want to create your own "Whalesbury" (I love that name) I think you should.

    I've read on the Metzer hatchery site that they created their colored layers so they would have a great laying calm duck that could be sexed by color at hatch. It works for them by the thousand, of course they used the purebred ducks to develop these.

    I'm not sure if I've made the point I was trying to make, but basically with out the purebred breeders it would be really hard to create any "new" breeds because on could not buy breeding stock that would reproduce specific traits consistently.
  9. charlindabob

    charlindabob Songster

    Jan 25, 2009
    central Florida
    OK, I suppose I didn't make myself as clear as I could have. I used K/C ducks as an example on purpose because we all know that this duck was derived from a mixture of different species of duck to get the K/C we know today. K/C has been bred from this strain generation after generation and breeds true to form. All recognized breeds of ducks have been bred for generations and bred true to form. I know that they came from a mixed lot to form the duck of today, so don't bash me for saying "pure" as most all ducks are mixed.
    My issue is that many breed ducks today (and everything else including we humans, I know that too, but I am speaking of ducks) and do not keep them genetically pure (true to breed) and when they are mixed with another duck specie and some look like either whatever the duck or drake was, that is what they call this particular offspring. In actuality, the offspring is half and half. Now, if you sell the offspring that looks like a K/C or whatever you were breeding as a K/C, then the poor sucker that bought this duck doesn't have a real K/C, only half and half something else. What he has at this point is a duck and nothing but a duck. What kind of duck....it doesn't matter because he now owns a mutt.
    I also know and agree that is is your duck and you can mix them with whatever you like, but when you knowingly sell a mixed duck as "pure", then you become an unscrupulous breeder. If it is sold as a mixed duck, that is fine too, and I am sure that some people buy ducks of a certain breed, and they have some mix in them, then it is possible to sell them in good faith, but again, they would be unknowingly selling a mixed breed duck.
    Why do people list what specie of duck they own if it is not "pure"? If you want to mix your ducks up, that is your business. If there weren't pure bred (yes, yes, I know all ducks came from several species!) duck, then somewhere down the line you will have nothing to mix to try to get whatever kind of duck you want. What if ALL ducks were a mix of all the duck species in the world? It would be impossible to breed for any exact specie of duck anymore because there wouldn't be any. And, I would bet the farm that just about every combination of ducks have been bred before and it is extremely unlikely to come up with something that hasn't already been done.
    I'm not trying to tick anybody off, but was only curious as to why people buy pure and then mix them into nothing recognizable?
    This is just MY opinion and I realize y'all have yours too and I respect that. OK, I'm ready for ya! [​IMG]
  10. chickboss

    chickboss Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    Sounds to me like you have had a bad experience, or a couple, and that this is about being cheated when it comes to the origins of purchased stock rather than about wanting a discussion (which is fasinating BTW) on pure vs. mixed breed ducks. Personally, I think there are by far too many dedicated breeders for it to be a concern that the whole of duckdom is going to fall because some backyard enthusiasts are allowing their purebreds to cross. And in my not-as-educated, humble, opinion, if all the purebred ducks disappeared and only mutts were left, then the purpose of the purebreds was obviously spent. Even still we would still have the genetic gene pool to recreate the desirable traits that are found in each specific breed know today if the need arose. I mean, all of the Mallard derived breeds, came from Mallards... Can you imagine the time it took for all those little mutations to pop up so that we could exploit them. And here, in the fictious future, we would have all of these lovely mutts running around already displaying, though at random, a multitude of mutations from their Mallad ancestors from which to chose breeding stock from. LOL, I am so ready to get slammed for my novice thinking... [​IMG] BTW, I keep my breeds seperate, except for a couple, and they will be seperated before they hit sexual maturity. But I promise that sometime in the future, once I learn more, lol, or even sooner, I am going to scratch my head and say "I wonder what would come of that drake mating with this hen?" and whala! There will be mutts.. [​IMG]
    cottontail farm likes this.

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