Blue Ducks

Blue Runner x Magpie ducks
Blue Runner x Magpie ducks

I mentioned before I was wondering about the color genetics of my now two-month-old “baby” ducks. I re-read the color section in Holderread’s book (Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks), and now I think I understand. So, I crossed a black Runner hen with a silver Magpie drake. Black x Silver always results in 100% blue offspring. So, these guys are technically “blue” ducks, and this cross will always give me this pattern.

The genetics of the black, blue, silver color crosses are as follows:
Blue x blue = 25% black, 50% blue, 25% silver
Blue x black = 50% black, 50% blue
Blue x silver  = 50% blue, 50% silver
Black x Silver = 100% blue
He doesn’t say what Silver x Silver produces, but I’m guessing 50% blue, 50% silver?

So, as subsequent generations of these blues mix with each other, or mix with the two Silver drakes I have now, I’m going to get all three colors in the future!

I wondered about their tiny black spots. The book explains that in the blue coloring (which is a dilute of black) typically some black “leaks through.” Of course, all will always have some pattern of white, since both the Magpies and Runners carry that gene.

Magpie Drakes

Here are my Magpie drakes, father and son. The son is very pretty, and I understand good markings are hard to get on Magpies. I said I’d never show my ducks, but I may change my mind about him! If only I can find out how you get them clean for the show table! I need some advice there.

I’m pleased with the crossbreeds; I wasn’t sure I was going to want crossbreeds at first. But I’m beginning to reflect that pure Runners are too delicate for dog work; and the Magpies are too heavy and slow. The cross makes an agile duck that’s still robust enough to resist injury. I’m also having better luck with the viability of the eggs-both times, I’ve had more crossbred eggs survive than the purebred Magpie eggs. Hybrid vigor?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *