C is for call ducks

CThese are the prettiest of ducks, and are usually kept for their ornamental value.

They are fun to have around, and again, very friendly.  For that reason, they attract high prices at poultry auctions.

I bought some eggs a few years ago and managed to hatch these darlings – smile. However, there were too many of them and it wasn’t fair to keep them without a proper pond, so I advertised them for sale.

They were lucky, they went to a local Golf Course, with a huge pond – I was also lucky, I got a nice profit out of them!  One day I hope to be able to have some land with a pond, so I can hatch some more out and keep them!

Instead of a pond, I filled an old wash tub with water for my call ducks to swim in!

Instead of a pond, I filled an old wash tub with water for my call ducks to swim in!

Their history is not at all ornamental.  The following extract is taken from the UK Call Duck Association’s website.

“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.”

an early engraving by Lewis Wright

an early engraving by Lewis Wright

They are a ‘bantam’ version of ducks, even smaller than mallards, and are thought to have been bred by the Dutch during the period when they were a ‘colonial power’ in the Far East.

“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).” 

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