Domestic Waterfowl Club.

Breeding ; Defects

Breeding Defects

Breed  Defects

Do research on your breed. Different breeds have different sizes, conformations, egg production rates, fertility, hatchability, feed consumption and productive lifetimes. Research your breed to find the expected characteristics of your ducks. Breeders should have sound bones, straight toes and tight, well-fitting scales on the feet. Breeders should not have crooked breast bones or split wings and scruffy feathers unless in moult.

To check age :-Younger ducks will have bright colors on their legs and bills, a pliable, gristly breastbone and a soft and easily dented windpipe ( they do NOT like this checked!) . Older ducks will have dull legs and bills with hardening of the skin( soft on babies) , a hard breastbone and strong windpipe. On geese many grow a white line of feathers between the beak and the feathers this widens with age

Ducks Colour  Black, Chocolate, and Blue ducks often lose colour, especially in older females in Calls, Runners, Cayuga etc. Males are succeptible to developing white feathers after injuries and/or fights with other drakes. Solid coloured males (such as blue,chocolate, and black) should ONLY have white feathers from fighting - never from age . White feathers in colored plumage is a breed defect EXCEPT white around the bill, which is a sign of age in females with self colouring .

The Indian Runner's head must be quite slender ... long, flat, and trim. Placing a pencil on the skull can be used to determine how flat the head is and can measure the head's length. (A dished bill is a breed defect so do not use as the first thing to go .) A trim head does NOT have much depth between the top of the head and the bottom of the jaw.

Incorrect Beak Colour. This is a genetically dominant feature passed on by the male in many breeds so check the standards FIRST and do not buy other peoples rubbish for your breeding pen. These birds are fine as pets and should be clearly sold as such

Curled Toes

If you are hatching your ducklings, you may see some come out of the egg with toes curled up like a fist. If they don’t straighten out after a day, you should correct them with a homemade splint. Cut a piece of cardboard to match the size of the duckling’s foot. Uncurl the foot and flatten it against the cardboard. Stick it to the cardboard with band-aids. Keep the splint on for about eight hours and check the status. Put on a new splint if needed. For broken twisted legs use cotton buds as splints remeber bird bones are hollow so anything for a splint must be light and non abrasive as their skin tears easily. Do not use for breeding

Angel Wing In Ducks And Geese

Angel wing, also known as slipped wing, crooked wing, airplane wing, or drooped wing, is a condition of ducks and geese where the last joint of the wing is twisted and the wing feathers point out, and do not lay smooth against the body. This happens more in goslings than ducks  with large breeds and Muscovy more prone than Calls. It is more common in geese and typically in either the left wing or both wings, only rarely in the right wing only. Males develop it more than females. The birds that develop the problem are perfectly healthy, they are just not as nice looking.

Due to a high-calorie diet, especially one high in proteins and/or low in vitamin D, vitamin E, and manganese, one or both carpus (wrist) joints are retarded in their development relative to the rest of the wing; for reasons unknown, if only one wing is affected, it is usually the left one. The result is a wrist which is twisted outwards and unable to perform its usual function. Angel wing symptoms include stripped remiges (flight feathers) in the wrist area, or remiges protruding from wings at odd angles. In extreme cases, the stripped feathers may resemble sickly blue straws protruding from wings.

 You see, waterfowl that normally mature in the Arctic environment do not show any angel wing because of their naturally fast growth. It does appear, however, in those species that come from a more temperate environment where they grow slower under natural feeding conditions. But by feeding them unlimited, high protein, high energy feed, they grow unnaturally fast and their wing weight seems to outgrow the strength of the wing to support it. Theorized causes of angel wing are genetics, the excessive intake of carbohydrates and proteins,together with insufficient intake of vitamin E, low dietary calcium and manganese deficiency.  Further proof that this may be the cause can be found in an article that said"If their wings start drooping they are put on a diet of alfalfa; grass or layers pellets (instead of Chick Growers) until the condition clears up."

The only wild waterfowl populations known to be affected are those fed by man. In Sweden, ten different park populations of Canada geese produced angel wing. The following year one flock was not fed any artificial feed and there were no angel wing goslings produced.

Try not to feed high protein, high energy feed (such as turkey feed), provide plenty of room for exercise, keep in small groups, provide plenty of grass or green feed and keep the pen dark at night if possible so less eating occurs.  If you do notice a twisted wing, however, you can form a sling to hold the wing in place to allow proper development. If really bad and hindering the birds life or in a long lived goose like a Toulouse it can be removed by the vet and will look to be pinioned. Normally this will not breed and pass on with possible exceptions in Sebastopols who seem to pass the trait on.

 Breed Standards . . .  first , second third get a copy of the Poultry Club Standards (for  your Country) here it is done by the Poultry club of Great Britain . . if not sure  try an old fashioned thing borrow a library version. Alternatively read online at   (2009 edition)   It is expensive , heavy , crammed with facts and the best buy you will ever make. . .  if poorer hit ebay and get an older one as the standards get tweaked and get better pics/more information but are still pretty much that same through the years. They still have not added my suggestion for all Muscovies to have a pedicure before shows to stop me being grabbed by those claws if cross  but I can hope

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