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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Blue Swedish Duck

History
The Blue Swedish Duck originated in an area of northern Europe that is now part of northeastern Germany and northwestern Poland. When the breed was developed this area was under the control of Sweden, and this is why the breed is known as the Blue Swedish Duck. The Blue Swedish was developed as a dual-purpose breed that would be suitable for meat production and that would also lay a reasonable number of eggs annually. They are classed as a Heavy Breed in the Australian Poultry Standards.

Blue Swedish are relatively placid ducks that will happily forage around the garden for insects, snails, slugs and weeds. They cannot fly as they are too large. They usually attain their adult size by about the age of 12 weeks, however they (but particularly drakes) will continue to slowly mature in appearance and fill out in the breast until 1 to 2 years of age.

Although the breed is named after one colour, when breeding blue ducks such as Swedish both black and silver birds are also produced. All Swedish acquire their solid coloured plumage from two doses of the Extended Black gene. Blue birds have, in addition, one Blue Dilution gene while silver birds have two Blue Dilution genes. Breeding black to black birds will produce all black offspring. Breeding silver to silver birds will produce all silver offspring. Breeding blue to blue birds will produce a mixture of blue, black and silver offspring. Breeding black to silver birds will produce all blue offspring. All colour combinations that are capable of producing blue can produce good blue birds. At the present time, only blue birds can be shown as a recognised or standardised colour.

General characteristics:
The Blue Swedish is a solid, stocky looking duck with a full, rounded chest and a flat back. Ideally, the line of the back should be parallel to the line of the underside - that is, the ideal bird has an even depth along the length of its body. The body should not appear to be long (but neither should the bird look short and stubby). When standing, the bird should hold its body in a slightly elevated position, about 20 to 25 degrees above the horizontal, not parallel to the ground. The tail should be held at a slightly elevated angle, but should not be continuously cocked upwards. The wings should be carried close to the body and should not cross over on the back.

Head:
The Blue Swedish should have a solid, oval shaped head with a slight rise to the forehead. The size of the head should be in proportion to the body, and small or snaky heads should be avoided. The topline of the bill should be straight and the bill should be of a medium length, not appearing to be overly long. The eyes should be brown. In blue birds, the bill of both the male and the female should be blue, however male bills often have a greenish tinge if the bird has a lot of greenery in its diet. Female bills are usually darker blue than male bills. Note that bills are darker in colour in birds with black plumage and lighter in colour in birds with silver plumage.

Neck:
The neck should be slightly curved and of medium length. The neck should not appear to be too thin, relative to the body of the bird.

Legs and feet:
The legs and feet should be medium in length, with a thickness proportional to the body (i.e. not too thin) and set slightly back from the centre of the body to allow a stance that is tilted up at the chest. The hocks should be just visible below the feathering that covers the thigh. Legs and feet should be orange with some black in the male and a greenish/blue orange/brown in the female. In practice, the females often have some orange on their legs however the legs of the male usually show quite a bit more orange than the legs of the females.

Plumage:
Blue birds should be an even shade of rich, slate blue, however each feather should also exhibit fine, dark blue lacing around its edge. The lacing has the effect of darkening the body areas that are most densely covered with small feathers (e.g. the breast). Lacing is usually stronger in males than in females. Male heads are a darker shade of blue than female heads. Black birds should be black all over (except for the bib and white primaries) with a green lustre. Silver birds vary from a shade of light blue through to white with blue flecks.

Note that all birds based on the Extended Black gene (as all Swedish are) will gradually go whiter with age usually starting around the head, neck and breast area. This seems to affect mainly black females (especially females that have the glossiest green sheen to their feathers). It is not a fault.

Both males and females should have a tear-drop shaped bib on the lower neck and upper breast. The bib should be about 7.5cm x 10cm in males and slightly smaller in females. Avoid very large bibs in males and also avoid breeding large-bibbed males to large-bibbed females as this will produce offspring (particularly males) with huge bibs. In practice, it is difficult to breed birds with neat, unbroken bibs of the correct size. Even when both parents have excellent bibs, some offspring will have poor bibs.

On both males and females the last two primary wing feathers should be white. In practice, this is hard to achieve and birds with more than two white flights can still be valuable as breeding and show birds. Breeders should aim to show and breed from birds with five or fewer white primaries. Ideally, birds should have the same number of white primaries on each wing, although this is also difficult to achieve.

Standard Weights
Male 2.70 - 3.60 kg
Female 2.25 - 3.20 kg

Eggs
Eggs are large (about 80 grams) and can be white or blue in colour. Blue Swedish should lay between 100 to 150 eggs annually.

Colours (as per Australian Poultry Standards 2nd edition)
Currently, only blue birds are recognised in the Australian Poultry Standards.

Serious defects
From the Australian Poultry Standards, 2nd edition:
    A lack of size
    A visible keel
    White bib that extends up the neck to the lower mandible of bill
    Russet, brown or rusty tinge in the plumage [note that this often appears on the breast and underside and most often in males. Most birds will develop some brown as they age. Exposure to sunlight will gradually introduce a brown tinge to the feathers that will moult out in autumn]
    Black flecks in plumage [note that all blue birds will exhibit some black 'leakage' in the feathers however the goal is to breed and exhibit birds with as little black as possible, especially in the wing and tail feathers]
    Lack of white primary feathers

Photos
Blue

Below: A Blue drake

Image

Below: A Blue duck

Image

Below: A Blue duckling

Image

Black

Below: Young black duck showing the two white primary feathers specified in the Australian Poultry Standards

Image

Below: The black duck in the photo below is the same duck after her first adult moult - she has started to develop 'ageing white' in the feathers on the back of her neck. This will increase with each annual moult.

Image

Silver

Below: A Silver duck (thankyou to Aussihen for this photo). The two photos below show the range that Silver (i.e. two doses of blue dilution) can cover - from pale silvery blue to white with faint blue flecks.

Image

Below: A Silver duck showing excellent type.

Image

Below is a video that describes some of the characteristics of the breed :)

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Sources of information
Australian Poultry Standards, 2nd edition, 2011
Chris and Mike Ashton (2001) The Domestic Duck, The Crowood Press, Wiltshire, UK
David Holderread (2001, 2011) Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:56 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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ps. I have sent the draft content to Kylie Booth for her comments, as she has been breeding Swedish for longer than me and I'd really value her input. All other input very welcome of course!! :-D

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Cheerio, Rach
Blue Swedish Ducks


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:43 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Still waiting for pics of blues - mine are all moulting right now but once they are finished I can get some shots of a male and a female - maybe in about a month.

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Cheerio, Rach
Blue Swedish Ducks


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:47 am 
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Wise One
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Fabulous Rach! It's well laid out with plenty of detail. Love the added photos and video, which give it greater emphasis.

I know zilch about ducks, let alone Blue Swedish, and found your draft to be extremely informative for someone keen to learn.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:59 am 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Location: Canberra
Thanks very much, Helen :)

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Cheerio, Rach
Blue Swedish Ducks


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:42 pm 
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Sultry Swan
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Location: mid victoria
hey rachael
i really like your profile.
it is clear and thorough but in language that is easy to get.
even the colour explaination.
well done. kylee :-)

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 1:44 pm 
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Assist Admin
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Really love those pics! Gorgeous ducks

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Erika


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