CALL DUCKS - The ideal breed
If ever you have the pleasure of owning one of these ducks, I guarantee you will be hooked! There are so many characteristics of this duck that make them the ideal breed, whether it’s for breeding, showing or backyard pets. My calls have given me many hours of entertainment and now I have them I couldn’t live without them!
I originally only wanted them as backyard pets, snail and slug eaters for our numerous vegie gardens. I must admit when I bought my first pair of call ducks home I was hesitant about whether they were going to be “the right pet for me” but they were perfect and I wanted more!
My husband was just getting into exhibiting poultry and we attended a few local poultry shows. I saw the most adorable little call duck at one show and that’s when I decided I wanted to breed and show them - I want to introduce other people into these fantastic little ducks! They are available in such a wide variety of colours, there's bound to be one you will just fall in love with.
We only have a small backyard and most of the space is taken up with vegie gardens and chook sheds, so I thought breeding was going to be a problem. However, I found a spot my husband hadn’t claimed as “chook yard space” under the fruit trees. The trees should provide protection from birds of prey when they have babies. I set up two pens and installed a kids swimming pool in each with a farm rock surrounding. They love clean water and get very excited when it’s time to change it. They dive in, back flip, somersault and all sorts of funny things (be prepared to get splashed) they put on a real show.
Call ducks are very easy to tame, within a week they were eating worms out of the palm of my hand. I keep them in pens but let them out for a run everyday, where they follow me around the yard. This spring we planted out our vegie garden - no snail bait needed. Every leaf on the lettuces still in tact, I couldn’t believe it!
They are very easy to care for and don’t require much maintenance. If your lucky enough to have a large fenced off area for your ducks to roam, they will entertain themselves and forage around for food. I feed them a mixture of layer pellets, wheat, barley and occasionally finely chop some lettuce or spinach leaves. I did discover they love to eat my freshly planted lettuce seedlings, I now protect young plants with wire mesh covers. They do need clean water, you can use anything deep enough for them to immerse their heads but love being in something deep enough to swim.
They each have very different personalities and love attention. They can be stubborn at times, but they are sensitive and very intelligent! Always up to something, I find mine get jealous if I’m spending more time with one and not the other and it melts your heart when they are just so excited to see you. If you love them, they will love you back!
Coming into the breeding season, I am very excited to have set my first lot of eggs in an incubator! I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my ducklings in the hope that I can produce a little winner! If not this year, then maybe next year. The ducks featured in these photos are ducks I have purchased, not bred myself but I want everyone to see how cute and infectious they are.
Breeding calls for exhibition is a challenge, that’s why they wrote the Australian Standards. It is something to aim for and achieve. I guess you never know when you are going to produce that perfect little call duck. I ring a lot of experienced breeders to get breeding tips and techniques. I probably drive them mad, but most are very willing to help and share their experiences. I think we would all like to see the call duck become more developed and recognised in Australia. I think they will quickly become the most popular domestic bantam duck. It ticks all the right boxes for all the right reasons!