Redirection of my breeding plans. First hatch photos

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by duckyfromoz, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

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    I have hatched a bunch of ducks this year- and am just not getting the colour I had hoped for. I had a look at my duck genetics book and devised a way to improve the colour without having to start from scratch with a Welsh Harlequin over runners and over many generations choosing for type and colour get get my own line of Harlequin Runners. Anyway- I ran my thoughts by someone with a better grasp of genetics than myself- and had my thoughts confirmed that at least in theory my plans should work although will take a few generations.

    I have a friend way over the other side of the city and went for a drive yesterday to bring home a young duck she had kept aside for me as she knew it was just what I am looking for. Although not convinced it is a female- I brought it home as I could always do with another unrelated drake anyway. I also had spoken to her about buying or borrowing one of her girls that is currently laying. She actually offered to lend me two!! I was over joyed at the prospect and we gathered up the two who in her own flock are proving to be the most appropriate for my future plans. Being that she has also hatch so many recently- I took the opportunity to pick out 2 week old babies as well, that will grow out to be very similar to the 2 ducks she has lent me.

    Here are the babies.

    [​IMG]

    And the two adult females. They have a few feathers missing and are molting so are very much lighter in colour than they are in full plumage- but they are still gorgeous.

    [​IMG]

    Just a few days ago I had 50 ducks and a goose here- and although needing to reduce numbers- I couldnt go past this chance. So for the weekend..I have sold twelve- and brought home 5- so at least I have 7 less mouths to feed- and space in the incubator for the eggs from the two new girl. The lighter of the two is laying eggs with a light green shell - So that will make it easy to know which duck is the mother come hatching time. I know it will be a while before I know the eggs are fertilized by my boys- but I did see them get to work on the girls just moments after them walking out of the travel crate. Poor girls...what a welcome to the place they will be having a summer holiday.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  2. Quacking

    Quacking Out Of The Brooder

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    They sure look like lovely ducks body wise. I hope they do produce what you are looking for. Its great to hear of someone willing to put in the time and effort into breeding rare colours. I dont understand much of genetics myself, but would love the chance to do some experimental colour breeding with either Calls or Runners in future years.
     
  3. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck with your project! I know it can be such a slow and frustrating process. I am right there with you. I was just telling someone else about our Saxony Runner project as well. We just did not hatch enough birds this year that had both good type and color. Some of the birds with great type have color flaws and then you get some birds with good color, but bad type (the same as you would get breeding back to a WH rather than just Runners). It seems so SLOW, like we are just not getting anywhere.

    Anyway, we now have consistently awesome Saxony Runner hens, but the drakes not so much. Some are great type, but have some color flaws (like masks for some reason) that I don't want to pass on in future offspring. We may end up breeding some of the great hens back to Gray, Trout, or Blue Trout just knowing that it will be 1-2 years before again we will be breeding Saxony to Saxony. What else can be done though, other than continuing to cull-cull-cull or outcross back to the other breed? The good news is once you have even one pair or trio that both the drakes and hens are exceptional, you can very quickly increase the size of the flock (especially with Runners). It just takes so much time to get there to begin with and Runners also tend to carry hidden recessives that slow the process.

    Have you seriously thought about outcrossing to a Welsh Harlequin? You might try that at least with one pair to see how it goes. Just hatch out as many as you have room for and only keep the typiest birds for the next season. I may take one of my really typey hens and mate her to a Saxony just to see which route might be quicker (outcross verses rigorous culling from pure Runners). Good luck to you! Harlequins are so gorgeous. I know your efforts will be worthwhile in the end once you finally have a sustainable flock breeding true!
     
  4. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

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    Quote:I did. At first I thought it was my only option- but I went back to the book and tried to work out what coloured Runner I could use that is readily available here in Australia. Even finding a really good WH can be hard here. If I only had the room I would try it as well- but I actually have a low number of poultry allowed here and already way over what I can have. Luckily ducklings under 12 weeks are not included in the count- but it still is greatly limiting to what I can actually do here.

    I dont know if you ever saw a pic of my drake Noggin I posted here- but he was a colour experiment- and while not a saxony- he is a gorgeous boy. He was the offspring from my first planned experiemntal mating- and he is at least close to what I thought a drake from those particular parent should be. Good luck with your project too- I think the colour looks so much nicer on a runner than the original body type.

    I am actually very angry at myself for not learning more about genetics when I first started with Runners. My very first few that I bought were a fawn duck and a Harlequin male. They were a week old when I got them and they were both gorgeous birds. Back then I didnt understand how the two colours could come from the same parents and culled them both from my flock as adults as I didnt know what was behind them. In hindsight I should have kept them both- but it is because of them that I looked into what else I can bring into the flock.

    I had also forgotten that Cinnamon Runners lay an egg with a green tinge. One of the girls I borrowed looks exactly the same as one of my own- but mine lays a white egg. I have also seen some of the offspring produced in my friends yard and was surprised to see in her mixed colour flock some better birds than I have had this year. Of course with her birds I am going by phenotype only- as genetically it really only a guess what is behind hers.

    At the end of the day...I paid $100 each for a breding trio and got nothing worth keeping this year. The borrowed birds will cost me two months of feeding and can go home after I have the incubator full of their eggs- and will get me closer to my goal. I am so thankful to Rollyard for his advise on this and to my friend for lending me her birds.
     
  5. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got your PM and just replied. Thank you for the pictures. He is gorgeous (the bird you PM'ed me about) and does certainly resemble Saxony other than especially the incomplete neck ring. I hope you have some like him in your hatches next year. Ross is great. He will not steer you wrong. I haven't checked out the Australian board for awhile. I will have to do that. It seems like there are at least a couple people there working seriously with rare Runner colors. I am very envious of some of the birds you have there like the Silver Appleyard Runners. I may have to come to Australia for a visit and bring some eggs with me (and some back of course)! LOL.

    Anyway, again... good luck. Once you get a small breeding group that all are the correct color, it goes so much quicker. The first 2-3 years are always the hardest. Don't feel too badly about not knowing about the genetics earlier on. I raised ducks for over 20 years before I even began really learning about the genetics involved. [​IMG]
     
  6. Senna95

    Senna95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like reading these threads, about people's color projects.

    What other projects do people have going on?

    I've got some snowy mallards that I think are missing the dusky gene. It makes for a very pretty color, especially the hens. I'm hoping to breed runners in this color, and later adding the blue dilution gene (like these bantam ducks you have, Dana, I forget what they're called..... overbergs or something). Can't wait till next season, or better yet, the one after that, when I should be starting to see some results

    This brings up a different, unrelated question:

    While I'm not planning on getting rich, is anyone able to sell enough ducks, eggs, etc. to at least pay their feed bill, or is this hobby going to send me to the poor-house?

    Till later!
     
  7. lovesduckies

    lovesduckies Bedroom Farm Inc.

    Jan 11, 2010
    the ducky room
    aweeeeeeeeeee they are soooooooooooo pretty!!!!
     
  8. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

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    My ducks have paid for themselves this year as well as buy a better incubator. The bator cost $850 and I spend anything between $12 and $60 a week on feed and bedding depending on how many i have at the Time. Prices out here in Australia are very different from over there as we dont have the huge hatcheries churning out ducklings by the thousands each week. I sell from home as well as at 2 -3 Auctions run by Poultry clubs. At auction my birds have gone for as much as $70 each but generally are around $40 each per adult bird. I sold about 10 dozen eggs @ $30 and have raised over 100 babies this year. Its alot of work but having ducklings hatching every week is just so wonderful. There is always a hatch to look forward to and plenty of babies to cuddle.
     
  9. Senna95

    Senna95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, you do get good prices for your birds! I can usually get $15 to $20 for hens, and the drakes I have to give away. I'm trying to market them (the drakes) as organic slug control. It's working somewhat, but it still takes a long time to find them homes.

    Ducky, I think you were the one that had the harlequin colored runners, right? I LOVE those. We don't have them here..........

    Good luck with your breeding project!
     
  10. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's possible to make the hobby pay for itself and maybe even a little extra, if you're very frugal with expenses and very savvy with sales. My ducks do a pretty good job of supporting themselves, and I was able to buy a new (inexpensive tabletop) incubator this season. In winter, costs go up and profits down and I usually end up a little in the hole, but I could do better if I were more careful.

    I sell eggs year-round, ducklings in Spring. The hobby comes with aggravations though. Sometimes people who order ducks don't end up picking them up. The duckling demand is very seasonal--this year, I couldn't hatch enough to meet demand in March, April, and May. Then May 31 hit and all of a sudden I couldn't unload them quick enough and ended up passing a bunch on at steep discounts to friends.

    It's totally fun though, and I am already itching to get started again this Spring. Fingers crossed for fertile eggs in late Feb.

    To the OP: your project sounds like a lot of fun and I look forward to updates. Runner colors are so much fun to play with. I'm considering giving up my color project (trying to get an ancona-patterned runner) due to time and space constraints, but I'm rethinking it now.... Hmmm.... [​IMG]
     

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