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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

Calls: One Judge's Perspective Part 2

      Calls: One Judge’s Perspective Part 2

                                            By Lou Horton


Of all the Call varieties since the original Whites and Grays, the Butterscotch is easily my personal favorite. The female color pattern is not only unique but it is also complex and beautiful. It all starts with two butterscotch eye streaks on each side of her head and continues with the distinct butterscotch band that runs down the back of her neck. The butterscotch stippling on the breast (called speckling in the ABA Standard) is superimposed over the cream overall base color and the delicate lacing on the back completes the highlights of a plumage pattern which can be frustrating to perfect but at the same time is most striking. The most common color flaw in the female begins with those eye streaks or lack thereof. There should be two and they should be very distinct. As a longtime Butter breeder, I can tell you that once lost (because one used females with indistinct or missing eye streaks or males out of such females regardless of other outstanding qualities) it is very difficult to re-establish that characteristic. A total lack of eye steaks in the female is, therefore, a disqualification in the Butterscotch Call.

Butter female

                Ideal Butterscotch Call Female

Another common color flaw is a blue rather than cream base color over the back. A lack of  distinct butterscotch lacing in that area is also often seen.

The male color pattern is somewhat similar to that of the Snowy and even has some similarities to that of the Pastel male pattern. A frequently seen color defect in the Butter male is a head/neck color which is too dark rather than the pastel blue called for in the Standard.  A loss of color or fading of the blue color at the lower jaw area is also common. Another flaw which is quite frequently encountered is a lack of extensive “frosting” on the claret flank coloration. The breast claret feathers should also be liberally frosted with cream color.

Butterscotch Call male

                Ideal Butterscotch Call Male

Unlike the Pastel and Snowy Calls which are often crossed with Grays to improve type, I am unaware of any cross which will truly duplicate the authentic Butterscotch color pattern in female offspring. That means that there is no “quick fix” for type or size problems.

     A 2001 hatch Pastel Call from Acorn Hollow

The Pastel Call was introduced by the renowned Call breeder M. G. Oakford who also introduced the Snowy color pattern in Calls.

The “Pastel” name was a very apt description especially of the female. The base color of the female’s plumage is a rich golden brown. The back of the female’s neck is marked with a darker brown band that actually starts at the crown of the head. It is not quite as distinct as that of the female Butterscotch because of the difference in base coloration. The base color of the female over its back changes to a silvery gray lightly penciled with buff.

One pet peeve of originator Graham Oakford in terms of Pastel male color flaws was a bill color closer to the olive than to the “apple green” specified in the Standard. The bean of the bill should be dark but Oakford  objected to specimens which had black patches in other areas of the bill. He felt that the drake’s bill color was a unique characteristic and it should not be lost or degraded. Last but not least, Oakford stressed that the drake’s bib should be clean and not ragged or allowed to extend to the bird’s flanks.

Breeders have generally done a good job of eliminating the only two disqualifications related specifically to Pastels: the previously mentioned extension of the male’s bib color into the thigh coverts and a definite white neck ring or white chin in the female.

Next time: the Snowy Call.



Originally published: 12-19-2014
Last updated: 02-03-2017