"Rare Phase" Ducks: A Breakdown

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Welshies, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Within every duck breed, there is one color known specifically, and established first, for that breed. Rouens are gray, Indian Runners are fawn and white, Khaki Campbells are Khaki. However, there are often multiple colors within breeds, too. With certain breeds like Calls, Runners, Magpies, Anconas, and Muscovy, they are all considered "standard", for the most part.

    However, duck breeds with only one or two "standard" phases often have what is called a "rare" or "alternate" phase. This is a very misunderstood topic. I will go through it in parts.

    What is a "rare phase"?
    A "rare phase" duck is a purebred duck with an unusual, unstandardized color variation within the breed. "Rare phase" ducks are hard to find, particularly because a "rare phase" duck must be purebred to be true.

    For example, within the Rouen breed, there is one "standard phase"- gray (wild). There are also three other "rare phases" (pastel, blue fawn, trout), which are not standardized and are very uncommon.

    A "rare phase" has three main criteria to be considered "true"; it must be purebred, it must have desirable breed characteristics and patterns, and it must breed "true" (meaning that the ducklings of this color will result in the appropriate ratio, or color, of duckling, with no mutating colours)

    Standard Phase List
    These are common breeds only. I did not include certain breeds because they have lots of variations, or indiviual patterning. Ducks marked with * have "rare phases". Ducks without don't, or I could not find enough research for..
    *Rouen: Gray (wild)
    *Silver Appleyard: Light
    *Cayuga: Black
    *Welsh Harlequin: Silver and Gold
    *Buff Orpington: Buff
    *Khaki Campbell: Khaki
    *Mallard: Gray (wild)
    *Crested: White
    *Swedish: (Bibbed)Black, Blue, Silver (black desired)
    Saxony: Saxony
    Pekin: White
    Black East Indies: Black
    Aylesbury: White

    Rare Phases
    Rare phases are just that: rare. They are hard to find, and, even harder to breed. Even if two rare phase ducks are bred, there will be some standard phase ducklings.

    Rare phases do not include crossbred ducks, albino ducks, or standard phase ducks. They are purebred, fully recognizable, desired ducks within that breed.

    To fully determine a rare phase duck, you need to look first. We'll use a Rouen duck as an example.
    Does it have all the breed characteristics? Is the bill yellow, the plumage patterned, with brown eyes, dark eye stripes, and a calm temperament? Is it 6-9 pounds?

    Then you need to trace back the lineage. Are any of the parents rare phase? Is it purebred, or is there a hidden recessive gene hidden from a far back cross breeding? What did its siblings look like? What other ducks lived on the farm with its parents?

    Next, let it lay. Are the egg shell colors the desired color (in Rouen, white to blue to green is usually ideal), and are they strong, healthy (one yolk), and properly formed?

    Then, if it passes these tests, you can breed it. Then ask yourself; does it breed "true"? (A Rouen duck that is blue fawn should produce a ratio of 1 gray to 2 pastel to 2 blue fawn ideally).

    If it passes all the tests above, it is almost certain you have a rare phase duck. Lucky you! To be sure, check the list below:

    Rare Phase Duck List
    Rare phases can be varied, but all will be in purebred stock. Albinos are not included, as this is actually a lack in pigment.
    *Rouen: Pastel, Blue Fawn, Trout (Rouen Claire)
    *Silver Appleyard: Dark (noticeable as ducklings)
    *Cayuga: Blue (sometimes known as light, or gray)
    *Welsh Harlequin: White
    *Buff Orpington: Blue, Pastel
    *Khaki Campbell: White
    *Mallard: White
    *Crested: Any color; usual crested are bred in white only.
    *Swedish: White

    Coloration as Ducklings: Standard vs Rare
    I'm going to break down duckling colors in each "rare phase" breed for you, so you can possibly identify ducklings as rare phase. (Please, make sure they are selected purebreds- cross bred "rare phases" are discouraging).
    Rouen: Typical black and white pattern, two eye stripes. In rare phases, black is diluted to a light soft silver (pastel) medium silver and silver-yellow down (blue fawn) or golden hued markings (trout).
    *Silver Appleyard: Typical ducklings have a "mohawk" stripe and black tail, the rest being yellow. Rare phase ducklings have a black and yellow pattern much like Rouens or Mallards, but are purebred.
    *Cayuga: Typical babies are pure black, sometimes with a little yellow on the chest. Rare phases are light black (dark grey) or silver with black feet and beaks.
    *Welsh Harlequin: Usual ducklings have: in Silver; a yellow body, with a grey 'haze' on the down of the head, Gold; a yellow body, with a golden or brown 'haze' on the head. White ducklings will be all yellow, with no lacing, and even then are a gamble.
    *Buff Orpington: Standard ducklings are a yellow-tan duckling with a tan head, and yellow body. Blue ducklings will have a grey "haze" on the head, neck, and back, still with a darker head, and pastel will often have a light head and body.
    *Khaki Campbell: Standard ducklings are a dark brown, with a dark beak and legs, and white ducklings are yellow with a dark orange or dark yellow beak.
    *Mallard: Standard ducklings are similiar to Rouens, but with only one eye stripe. White ducklings will be almost all yellow, except for very faint eye or body stripes- almost unnoticeable.
    *Crested: The desired duckling is all yellow with a crest, and a healthy body.
    *Swedish: The standard ducklings that are desired Bibbed (and should be) are usually a dark grey, almost black to mid grey duckling with yellow on the chest. Others are pure yellow, but again, white is rare.

    What To Do With Your Rare Phase Ducks
    Rare phase ducks are treasured. They often become pets or breeding stock.
    When using a rare phase duck for breeding, if you only have one rare phase duck, breed it to a very desirable, greatly colored hen of the breed, and keep the resulting "rare phase ducklings". You can breed rare phase father to rare phase hens or vise versa for a generation or two with no ill effects, and then choose the best stock for further breeding with a new father or mother.
    You can show a rare phase duck, but bring an information card showing either proof it is rare phase and purebred, or explain why it's that color. It will have a harder time placing, but it is not impossible!
    If using them as pets, egg layers, or meat birds, treat them just as any other duck.

    Chances Are, It's Not Rare Phase
    I am here to deliver the news that your beloved "mutated" duck is probably not a rare phase. So please, check and check again before you assume. After all, mutts are beautiful too! :D

    Feel free to post "rare phase" ducks down below.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
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  2. Kroelies

    Kroelies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    Any ideas about the brown ducklings? They are mallards. Or mostly mallard. Tagging @baccalynnwv too!
     
  3. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What did both the parents look like? Were they pure?
    They could be a trout variety, although I'm not sure. Rare phases typically only come from a rare phase duck, whether the parents or grandparents have the gene.
     
  4. Kroelies

    Kroelies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Zorro, the duck in the picture is mom, she had 3 ducklings before that are 2 months old now. They are a bit more black than the other mallards that live in my neighborhood. I didn't see all the babies from her first nest, but I don't think there were brown ones. Their dad is gray but without a brown chest (no idea where she found him, he looked weird).

    I am not sure who she had her second nest with. I thought she got back with her old partner but these babies are unlike any I have seen before.

    Are they pure? Well probably not. I love them anyways. I'm just really curious about what these ducklings will look like when they grow up! :pop
     
  5. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes it's possible for there to be many sires in one duckling batch. Is this a possibility? If more than one drake is breeding with the female, the lighter ones could have a different father.
     
  6. Kroelies

    Kroelies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think Zorro would do that. Here's a drake I spotted. He is new here. Is that fawn? I can't tell if he's supposed to have a green head, a lot of drakes are molting right now. Zorro is really angry and doesn't want to go back in the pen. She hates being locked up [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Blue fawn. It would produce lighter ducklings with silver markings. And females don't pick who they mate with, they just get mated. So Zorro has no "wouldn't do that". :/
     
  8. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

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    I'd say you found your baby daddy, lol! Sorry, couldn't resist... :D Zorro is typical wild type color, called grey (or gray) in other breeds... the drake is blue fawn, which is same color as Zorro but with a single blue gene added... the % of offspring colors from that mating should turn out approx 50% mallard (grey) and 50% blue fawn, which it looks like those babies are... :)
    Actually, that's not quite accurate... while other drakes may mate a female, it is well known that the females reproductive tract has many twists, turns, and 'pockets'... they do have the ability to store an unwanted drakes 'deposit' to expel later... thus allowing the female to choose her offsprings father...
     
  9. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never heard that ANYWHERE, even in Holderread's books. However, I will take your judgement with a grain of salt.
    And I'm not sure if the drake is pure or not, but he is at least part Mallard.
     
  10. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

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    There's many mentions of it all over BYC, seen it many times by very reputable people...

    I am not assessing purity of breed, merely their colors... color genes in breeding have absolutely nothing to do with whether they are a crossbreed or purebred... I just simply stated that he carries a blue color gene to make him blue fawn colored, and that mated to grey (mallard) color produces 50/50 greys and blue fawn colors...
     

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