The Call Ducks are a lively, charming little bird with a small body and short bill. The name originates from the Dutch word ‘kooi’ meaning trap. They have a high-pitched call which carries over a long distance. The ducks were used by hunters to attract wild ducks towards traps or shooters. The tame ducks were tethered at the entrance of the traps and the more ‘calling’ the ducks did the better.
The Call Duck is a direct descendant of the Mallard duck although through selective breeding they have shorter bills and a smaller body.
Call Ducks are lively and talkative. If you are thinking about keeping a few Call Ducks make sure you ask your neighbors first. They are clean, tidy birds and if provided with clean water and good food will keep themselves in good condition. They are also easily tamed. The drake should weigh 550 – 700 grams and the female 450 – 600g.
Call Ducks are the smallest Domestic Duck. They are easy to look after and are inexpensive to feed. Their requirements are as follows.
1) A secure place for your birds, particularly at night. This can be a shed, a poultry house with a run, or a fenced-in garden with a coop but I feel the ideal would be an enclosure. This means that the Calls can stay out 24 hours a day in a vermin-proof pen.
2) Food: this consists of chicken layer pellets and whole wheat. You should also give them access to small quantities of mixed poultry grit containing limestone chips. This is for grinding down food in the gizzard, and for extra calcium for the duck in the laying season. Make sure the particles are small enough for Calls. Break up the larger pieces if necessary.
3) Water: ducks need water to drink and also to bathe. This does not mean that you have to have a large pond; a tin bath sunk in the ground or anything similar will do. Make sure the birds can easily get out, a duckboard will suffice. Of course if you have a pond it will mean that you do not have to clean it out and add fresh water so often.
Standardized colors of Calls include Mallard, Blue Mallard (Blue Fawn), Apricot Mallard; Silver, Blue Silver, Apricot Silver; Black, Chocolate, Bibbed and Magpie (all with the black gene); Mallard Pied; White. The Dusky has now been standardized.
Call Ducks become very tame and will be a pleasing addition to your home and family. Children in particular find that because they are small enough to handle they become irresistible. Also they are extremely amusing to watch and will give you hours of pleasure with their inquisitive behavior.
A word of warning – your coffee breaks etc. will tend to lengthen if spent watching the Call Ducks, as they become compulsive entertainment.
Uses: Exhibition, originally as decoy ducks for traps.
Eggs: 50 to 150 White Eggs.
Origin: Unknown – most probably Asia before arriving in Holland.
Weight: Drake: 1 – 1 ½ lbs, Duck: 1 – 1 ¼ lbs
Useful to Know: Call ducks, despite their size are the noisiest ducks and if you have neighbors, this should be a consideration. Calls require low sided trays and bowls for drinking and bathing.
Bantam Ducks are very good garden ducks. Much lighter in weight than the traditional egg-laying and table birds, the bantams can make very good pets. Tight sitters and fair layers, these smaller ducks will make less mess in the garden than Rouens or Indian Runners. If pets and looks are more important than performance, then bantams are a good choice. Bantam ducks are now given a separate category from Call Ducks at the shows since the Calls are so numerous, and now have several standard colors.