Call Duck: Info, Care Guide, Traits (And Interesting Facts)

Call Duck: Info, Care Guide, Traits (And Interesting Facts)

Call Duck

The Call Duck is a small bantam breed known for its loud calls. It’s often kept for decorative purposes or as pets. Originally from the Netherlands, this duck breed is popular for its attractive looks and lively character.

Call Ducks come in various colors and patterns, have a round body, a noticeable head, and a short, curved neck that makes them look alert. They weigh less than one kilogram, making them one of the smallest duck breeds. Despite their small size, they are hardy and adaptable.

They need a safe environment to explore. To care for them, they need good food, clean water, and protection from predators. This helps maintain their friendly and gentle behavior.

Origins and History of The Call Duck

The Call Duck is a small breed originating from the Netherlands, with ancestral roots in the Far East. It was introduced to the British Isles in the mid-19th century. This breed’s name comes from the Dutch ‘kooi,’ meaning trap, as they were used to lure wild ducks into traps or within shooting range for hunters. Their high-pitched quack was effective in attracting other ducks, which made them popular for hunting.

Call Ducks were imported to Great Britain from the Netherlands and quickly gained recognition for their hunting utility. By 1865, they became one of the first six waterfowl breeds to be standardized in the British Isles. Over time, they also became appreciated for their ornamental qualities and friendly demeanor. This led to a shift in their use from hunting to being kept as fancy breeds.

The breed was officially recognized by the American Poultry Association in the 1870s, marking its transition to a breed valued not just for practical purposes but also for its contribution to avian diversity.

Physical Characteristics of The Call Duck

Call Ducks are small waterfowl with an average weight of under one kilogram, making them one of the smallest duck breeds. The drakes are slightly heavier than the females, but both genders have a rounded body typical of bantam breeds.

Their short necks and small heads with short bills give them a distinctive, upright posture. Their small size doesn’t detract from their lively appearance. These ducks have bright eyes and various color patterns, including the Blue Fawn variant with bluish-grey and fawn markings.

Call Ducks are also known for their high-pitched call, which was historically used to lure wild ducks for hunting. Their vocalization is consistent across different color patterns and remains a defining characteristic of this breed.

Call Ducks are also popular among bird enthusiasts and conservationists.

Breed Varieties of The Call Duck

Call Duck breeds come in various colors and patterns recognized by poultry associations, including the American Poultry Association (APA). These small ducks are part of the bantam category and are known for their colorful feathers. The APA has listed several color varieties in their official standards, which are reference points for breeders and judges at shows.

Popular Call duck varieties include the Mallard with a green head, the pure-white White, the subtle Blue Fawn, the warm-toned Apricot, the glossy Black, and the contrasting Magpie.

The Australian Poultry Standard Committee maintains standards for the Australian Call. It’s a larger version of the standard Call duck with its own color standards.

Breeding Call Ducks to these standards involves a detailed understanding of genetics and selective breeding. Call Ducks are valued as pets and for competition, often winning championships in North America. They attract interest from both poultry enthusiasts and the wider public.

Vocal Characteristics of The Call Duck

Call Ducks are known for their loud and high-pitched quacking, which can be heard over long distances. This feature historically made them useful to hunters who employed them to attract wild ducks into traps or shooting ranges.

The ducks’ vocalizations play a significant role in their behavior since they are active and often communicate vocally. This makes them relatively easy to tame and interact with humans. However, their loud calls can be problematic for potential owners due to noise concerns.

From a young age, Call ducklings show a propensity for vocalization, suggesting this trait is inherent to the breed. They often quack to signal various needs or to communicate with other ducks.

Care and Husbandry of The Call Duck

Call Duck care requires a safe environment and clean water for their health. These ducks are popular for their looks and friendliness but need careful attention to do well.

Housing and Security

  • Enclosures must protect call ducks from predators like foxes and raccoons.
  • Shelters should resist weather and provide a safe space from harsh conditions.
  • Ducks need enough room to behave naturally to avoid stress and health problems.

Diet and Nutrition

  • Call ducks should eat a mix of duck pellets, grains, and greens for nutrition.
  • Clean water for drinking and bathing is essential for health and cleanliness.
  • Consistent feeding times and watching how much they eat can prevent obesity.

Health and Socialization

  • Clean living spaces are necessary to stop disease and parasites.
  • These social birds need other ducks for company.
  • Human interaction should be calm and regular to match their gentle nature.

Breeding and Uses of The Call Duck

Call Ducks were originally bred in the Netherlands for hunting, using their loud calls to lure wild ducks into traps or shooting areas. These ducks were important for hunters, who would use them as live decoys. Through selective breeding, their traits were refined for this purpose.

By the 1860s, Call Ducks became one of the first six waterfowl breeds to be officially recognized in the British Isles, signaling a shift in their breeding goals to include aesthetic qualities for exhibition purposes. Their small stature and distinctive calls, once practical for hunting, became appealing for show.

In Australia, the Australian Call Duck emerged as a separate breed with its own set of recognized colors and characteristics, reflecting the specific breeding goals within the country.

Nowadays, Call Ducks are less used for hunting and more for ornamental reasons, as pets, and for natural pest control. Their breeding focuses on both their appearance and their utility, making them popular among bird enthusiasts.

Common Health Issues of The Call Duck

Call Ducks are prone to several health problems. Bumblefoot, caused by Staphylococcus bacteria, often results from dirty living conditions or injuries. Call Ducks’ small stature makes them more sensitive to health issues that larger breeds might tolerate better. Those who keep Call Ducks, whether for shows or as pets, need to closely monitor their health.

Key health concerns for Call Ducks include:

Respiratory issues like:

  • Aspergillosis: A fungal infection common in moist areas.
  • Gapeworm: Parasitic worms that cause breathing difficulties, typically found in birds housed in areas with feces-contaminated soil.

Nutritional deficiencies like:

  • Angel Wing: A condition linked to a high-calorie diet causing rapid growth, which outpaces the development of the wing supports.
  • Niacin Deficiency: Affects young ducklings, leading to leg problems and stunted growth, but can be prevented with a waterfowl-appropriate diet.

Infections and parasites like:

  • Bumblefoot: A foot infection that can lead to severe lameness if untreated.
  • External Parasites: Mites and lice can cause feather damage and anemia.

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for Call Ducks’ health. This duck breed requires specific care, including a clean habitat, balanced nutrition, and adequate exercise. Preventative care can help prevent these health issues and support a longer and healthier life for Call Ducks.

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