The Call duck is the smallest breed of domestic duck, weighing only 1-1/2lbs. They were
literally developed as calling ducks, to call down the wild mallard to the great traps or decoys
of the Fenlands of the UK and the marshes of Holland. They were first known as the decoy duck,
the name coming from the Dutch word 'de kooi' meaning 'the trap or cage'.
First standardized in the UK in 1865, the call duck is said to have been imported from Asia into
Holland. Decoy ducks were used in Holland in the 1600s, but these are thought to have
been decoy ducks by training (i.e. tame ducks) rather that the true Decoy or Call. The Call itself
seems to have suddenly become popular in Holland around 1800. For this reason, it is suspected
that the birds could have been imported from the Far East.
Calls were virtually unknown in the show pen from 1900 to the 1970s. Then their popularity took
off. They are now the largest entry at a show, often reaching over 300 at the BWA's Championship
Show at Solihull Riding Club (the first weekend in November each year). Calls are cheap to keep
and transport but really difficult to breed and find a winner. They are wonderful pets. The females
do have a very loud quack, which is why it would not be advisably to keep female call ducks if you
have close neighbours.
Call ducks are not great layers and the females are most likely to lay in clutches of 8-12 eggs
and if left to sit and hatch them out the duck will look after the resulting ducklings with great
care and attention.
More information is available at our associate's website, the
Call Duck Association