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Basics of Keeping Waterfowl

  1. Welsh Harlequin Duck
  2. The Muscovy: Not Just Another Pretty Face
  3. So.. What About the Mallard?
  4. Calls: One Judge's Perspective Part 2
  5. One Judge's Perspective: Snowy Calls
  6. Standard Description for the Butterscotch Call
  7. Call Ducks: One Judge's Perspective
  8. Evaluating the Black East Indie in the Showroom
  9. A Brief History of the Call- from My Perspective
  10. New- Judging Black Ducks
  11. Book Review: British Waterfowl Standard
  12. Waterfowl and West Nile Virus- Updated
  13. New-What You Need to Know About Moulting in Waterfowl
  14. What Every 4Her Should Know About Getting Started in Waterfowl
  15. Judging Waterfowl in the U.K.
  16. Revised Waterfowl Housing Requirements
  17. The Chiloe Wigeon
  18. Calls and East Indies: What You Should Know Before You Buy
  19. Album of Exhibition Waterfowl
  20. Common Flaws in Popular Breeds of Exhibition Ducks
  21. Waterfowl Ailments and Treatments
  22. Raising Ducklings and Goslings Step-By-Step
  23. More Frequently Asked Questions About Keeping Waterfowl
  24. Book Review
  25. Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Started in Waterfowl
  26. Feeding Waterfowl
  27. The Importance of Oyster Shell and Grit for Waterfowl
  28. Conditioning Calls and East Indies for the Showroom

Book Review: British Waterfowl Standard


Book Review by Lou Horton


The most recent edition of the British Waterfowl Standard is a work of high quality which should be in the library of serious waterfowl fanciers not only in the UK but in that of many Americans.

My comments to follow will first pertain to the overall topics and then to the Call portion in particular. I have never been a big fan of the use of photographs in Standards simply because there is always the danger that a reader will mistake the intent of the authors to portray an excellent specimen as truly representative of the Standard description which is almost never the case. The editors of the 2008 edition attempted to overcome that problem by using both high quality artist renderings and good photos. I did observe that the use of the artist’s work was inconsistent- some breeds had no artist’s drawings and some (the African, for example) had only a partial bird illustrated. The photos were generally of high quality but carriage was not uniformly portrayed to perfection which is an ongoing problem when live specimens are photographed.

The goose section in particular used weight ranges rather than exact weights for the breeds. The weight ranges correspond more closely to the real world where weights will vary depending upon the time of the year. If geese were only shown in mid-winter, we wouldn’t need weight ranges but we show our birds in all four seasons. I have seen the weight of some heavy geese vary by as much as 20% during the year. The same is true, of course, of the heavy ducks.

I also was impressed by the attention given not only to lists of disqualifications and defects but by the detail of many of the descriptions of typical defects and the division of defects into major and minor categories. If the main purpose of our Standards is to aid breeders, exhibitors, and judges to breed, show, and judge with access to the best possible information, then such attention to defects should be universal. One more item caught my attention which I have never seen in any other Standard which I have reviewed. When a major color pattern is first covered, a genetic code description is provided. That code illustrates the genetic makeup of the color pattern and is especially useful to the breeder who might want to recreate that pattern. American Call breeders will find that especially interesting since the UK has many more Standard colors than exist in the U. S. and Canada.

It must always be kept in mind by waterfowl fanciers in North America that there are some clear differences in type in some breeds as described by the American and British Standards. Two breeds which immediately come to mind are the Pekin and East Indie. The British Standard  (which has adopted type  and color characteristics described in the German Standard) calls for much more upright carriage in both cases and for the Pekin, the differences in Standard descriptions are startling.

The Call section of the Standard is illustrated almost exclusively by photos. While the pictures are high quality, the type and carriage is uneven in their portrayal. Color is illustrated very well, however. The careful attention to defects typical of the entire book will be very helpful to Call breeders who are working on colors present in the UK but not yet Standardized in the U.S. I would think that any Call breeder would want this book as a reference if they ever work (or intend to work) with any of the color patterns described in the book.

I checked with Amazon.Com and presently the 2008 Edition of the British Waterfowl Standard is not offered by them. I would guess, however, that some enterprising book sellers will contact the British Waterfowl Association and purchase some directly from them for resale in the U.S. and Canada. Keep in mind, however, that with the exchange rates for international currency being what they are, the book might be pricey. The copy I reviewed is paperback; I cannot say if it available in hardcover.


British Waterfowl Standards

2008 edition

Published by the British Waterfowl Association

Edited by Mike and Chris Ashton

Originally published: 06-25-2008
Last updated: 10-07-2010