Bubbles Feathered Beauties
Use : Exhibition, Eggs, Pets, Ornamental
Personalities : Noisy, Talkative, Easily Tamed, Very Active
Egg Color : White or Lightly tinted green or blue.
Egg Size : Small (less than 50 grams)
Egg Productivity : Low
Average Weight :
Drakes 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs (0.55 kg to 0.7 kg)
Duck (Hen) 1 to 1 1/4 lbs (0.45 kg to 0.6 kg)
Flying Ability : Average
Call Ducks are truly the cutest ducks and are perfect for a small backyard flock or homestead. They are bantam sized, weighing between 1 and 2 pounds and have a stout and rounded appearance, with short bills and big White Callsround cheeks that make them look like plush toy ducks. They are also friendly and animated and great with children.
Call ducks were originally known as Coy ducks or decoy ducks from the Dutch word de kooi meaning 'trap'. Willughby, writing in 1678, described how Coy ducks were used to catch wildfowl. The tame ducks were fed at the entrance to great traps constructed in the form of a 'pipe'. Wild fowl were enticed down by the quacking (calling) of the tame birds, and then caught and slaughtered for the commercial market. These early decoy ducks may not have been like the Dutch Call ducks we know today; they may have been decoys by training rather than breed.
In German, the Call Duck is known by the title 'zwerg', meaning 'dwarf', and the Dutch also consider it to be a dwarf form. Dutch writers believe that Calls may have originated in the Far East.
We are led to believe that they are bred from stock imported from the orient in former centuries . . . As old pictures prove, pure Chabo or Japanese Bantams . . . were to be found in Holland in the seventeenth century. There is a possibility that importations were made by Dutch captains from Japan . . . We should not be surprised if some day Japanese poultry and duck fanciers might find in their old books information relating to some old breed of dwarf ducks, especially as the Call duck's type is very different to the ordinary European type of duck to sport from it, and since they breed so true they must be a very old-established breed (van Gink, The Feathered World 1932).
Dutch Call ducks were in Britain by the 1850s. They were described as having a head much rounder that the wild duck, rather like a tumbler pigeon. The breed was one of the first six waterfowl standardized in 1865. It was exhibited at the Victorian exhibitions and kept and illustrated by Harrison Weir (1902).
During the first half of the twentieth century, the Call virtually disappeared. It was rarely advertised for sale, and few articles were written about it. Breeders such as Appleyard and perhaps wildfowl specialists kept it.
Due to the interest of Jack Williams and John Hall, the breed was maintained and became more popular by the 1970s. Having been absent from the UK Standards since the 1865 edition, the Decoy appeared again in the 1982 version and, since then, has increased its popularity.
From the original colors of White and Grey in the 1865 Standard, there are now nine standard colors in the UK. Several others are being developed by different breeders from the UK stock. These include the long-recognized Dusky, the Black, and color variants of the Silver. As well as these, there are now other colors from imported stock.
Some of the Color Variations
Some of the Color Variations
There are lots of varieties of Call duck. The ten standard colors are: Apricot, Bibbed, Black, Blue Fawn, Dark silver, Magpie, Mallard, Pied, Silver and White.
Blue Bibbed Call Ducklings - A striking color combination, this Call Duck is almost all slate blue color, except for a white bib-like patch on the front of the chest that resembles a heart shape. There are also a few outer wing feathers in white. The slate blue color over the body and wings is textured in lacing and reflects green with light. The eyes and bill are dark, and the legs are brownish orange.
Black Call Ducklings - This color variation is a pure black duck with dark bill, legs, and feet. The black reflects greens and purple colors with an effect very similar to the Cayuga or East Indies Duck breeds.
Gray Call Ducklings - Colored like the wild mallard, Gray Call Ducklings have a green head, white ring around the neck, a reddish chest, white belly and gray back. They have blue and white bars on their wings. They have orange feet and beak.
Pastel Call Ducklings - Mallard duck patterning, but with different muted pastel colors. Males have powder blue-gray heads, white collar bands, and rosy brown chests, that fade into lavender. The body and wings are light fawn and silver colors with blue overlaid with golden and light tan colors. Bills are brownish green, and eyes are dark brown. Females are dove-colored with darker bills. Both sexes have orange/salmon colored legs and feet.
White Call Ducklings - This is the original Call Duck color - a pure snowy white, which beautifully accentuates the rounded lines of the breed.
Snowy Call Ducklings - A variation on the Gray pattern, the snowy Call Duck coloration is striking. Males are similar to Gray coloring, with emerald green heads and white collar bands, but with abundant white lacing that highlights the wine-colored chest feathers, the silver and tawny wings and back feathers and even dark wing and tail feathers. Their bill is greenish yellow, and their legs are orange. Females are just as striking but with muted brown and gold colors. Their head is fawn, and their entire plumage is stippled and laced with an intricate and complex patterning of contrasting colors. Eyes are dark brown; bills are brownish orange, and legs and feet are orange.