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Apricot Silver Call Ducks

Article and Standard Published in Fancy Fowl magazine, April 2005

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Colour Genetics
Shown at Malvern first in 1995, the Apricot Silver Call has proved to be an attractive and popular colour form. Thanks to the policy of the BWA Championship committee, non-standard varieties have been given classes to themselves. This allows breeders and judges to see and compare birds before they are submitted for standardization. Many feel that the Apricot Silver has long justified its place in the pantheon of accepted Call Duck varieties. Ten years seems a reasonable time for the colour to establish itself and to develop a wide enough band of breeders to formulate a practical Standard.  

Moreover, not only is it popular but the Apricot Silver is a stable colour type. Genetically it has the same basic colour genes as the popular Standard Silver and the Abacot Ranger, with the addition of blue dilution genes from both parents. Put another way, what a Saxony is to a Rouen Clair, so an Apricot Silver is to a Standard Silver. However, these two varieties of Call have the critically important dusky mallard and the harlequin phase genes. Mated to each other they produce the other variant in the series—the Blue Silver Call, much in the same way that Mallard Calls and Apricot Calls produce Blue Fawns.  

A new colour—Apricot Silver Call Ducks - by Graham Barnard
We started to breed Apricot Silvers by an accidental cross. At first we did not know what they were, but soon found out that others had produced drakes like the one we had. But no one we knew seemed to have produced a duck to match. We purchased a trio of ducks at the Stoneleigh Rare Breeds Show & Sale (1993) thinking they were the right ducks to complement the drake we had bred, because the drake in the trio was the same as ours. As it turned out, they were not. We split the birds into pairs and from these we produced two drakes and one duck. We knew instantly that these birds were definitely exactly the same colour as our drake because all of the birds looked almost identical in eclipse plumage. This is a must; if birds do not look almost the same in eclipse, they are most definitely not a matching pair and it is very important when trying to breed new colours to use this as a guideline. Since then we have put like to like and they do produce young in their own image.

 In the last nine years we have produced many of these birds which we have sold to people throughout the country. They are always extremely popular and one of the first birds to sell when offered for sale to the general public. In this time they have proved two different things: first and most importantly they do breed true; second, they are extremely popular. In shows they nearly always have the largest entry of non-standard colour Calls and have been exhibited over the years by quite a large number of people. I feel that when or if these birds are standardized they soon will be one of the most popular colours at the shows. For all of those of you who just enjoy keeping attractive Calls they would be a very worthwhile addition to your collection. Only time will tell whether I am right or wrong.

For the CDA/BWA Standard  2007 on this Call colour  read below the photographs.

Left: Apricot Silver duck bred in 2003 

Below: Apricot Silver drake, bred in 2003

Above left: The same pair of Apricot Silvers. The drake shows the characteristic white neck ring which completely encircles the neck in birds homozygous for the harlequin gene. 

Head and Neck Pigeon blue (blue-grey) on the head and upper neck. Distinct white collar completely encircling the neck. Lower neck coloured as for breast. Eyes: Brown. Bill: Green with dark bean.  
Back:  Upper back: white feathers finely stippled with light blue grey. Lower down the back the stippling becomes heavier until solid pigeon blue on the rump.  
Breast:   Claret with each feather fringed with white. Claret split by more white on the lower breast.  
Flanks etc.  Light claret feathers along the upper flank, each feather edged with white. Lower flanks and underbody white.  
Tail: Paler outer feathers; central feathers darker, each feather having a light blue-grey centre and paler off-white edging. Undertail pigeon blue
Wings:  Primaries off-white, marked with light blue grey, more so on the outer edge and tip. Speculum dark pearl grey with white band on the secondaries. Greater coverts pale grey with white rims. Tertials light grey stipple with browner outer edge. Scapulars grey stipple; outer scapulars claret with white rims. Cream/white underwing.
Legs: Orange

Head and Neck: Fawn to cream hood with faint graining on the crown. No eye stripes. Eyes: Brown. Bill: Light orange-brown with faint brown saddle and light horn coloured bean.
Back: White feathers with pale grey and fawn stippling.  
Breast and flanks:  Apricot mottling on upper breast. Flanks and underbody mainly white.  
Tail: Feathers white with pale fawn centre.  
Wings:  Primary feathers almost white. Speculum pearl grey with white band on the secondaries. Greater coverts pearl grey with white rims. Lightly mottled smaller coverts. Marginal coverts white. Cream/white underwing.  
Legs: Orange