Origin, diffusion and economic characteristics
Campbell is a domestic duck with an exceptional and very fortunate history, today certainly one of the most famous and widespread in the world. Of the three duck breeds created by British breeders in the early twentieth century (Campbell, Streicher and Orpington), the Campbell duck is certainly the one that has had greater success and spread. The reasons are many, but we could summarize them in the right characteristics, in the right historical moment and with the right name.
Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Mrs Adele Campbell, residing in Uley, Gloucestershire, began experimenting with crossbreeds between a female white Indian chamois chaser (who had produced 195 eggs in 197 consecutive days) and a male from Rouen, with the aim of creating a duck that maintained the characteristic laying hen of the Indian Corritrice, but with a more substantial carcass. Subsequently, for a breeding season, he added a male Mallard to improve the fertility of the offspring.
Years later, in 1923, she confessed that the idea was born to please her husband and son who were "passionate" about roast ducks. And in order to meet their demands, Ms Campbell needed to have a duck that produced a lot of eggs and that was more massive than the Indian runner. The first Campbell, born from these repeated crossbreeds, had all the benefits of the hybrid: high vitality and excellent fertility. The males of the original Campbell closely resembled the males of the Abacot Ranger or Streicher, while the females very reminiscent of the coloring of the Indian female trout corrutors or the Rouen Clair. From these specimens (Mark I) Mrs. Campbell obtained in a few years the first specimens of Kaki Campbell (Mark II), later the colors "White" and "Dark" were created.
Mrs. Campbell was immediately reticent about the choices and tricks used in the selection. The reality is that the creation of Campbell is still a mystery: a genetic analysis seems to exclude the truthfulness of what we have taken for granted for decades, in fact the most famous coloring, the khaki, is not the primary coloring. Dark is the primary coloring, which is nothing more than the manifestation of the "Dusky" gene or dark phase, a primary mutation with the classic wild coloring. The khaki coloring is the product of the same together with the "brown gene" or brown. The Dusky gene is present in the dappled chamois white color, but of course not in the Rouen and not in the Mallards. It is strange then to understand how specimens came out having the Trout and Wild Silver coloring, which are evident in Harrison Weir's photos of early 1902, (photos depicting the Mark I specimens of Mrs. Campbell).
Ms Campbell's account was called too simplistic even by Reginald Appleyard himself. In fact, according to him, the "pied gene" or piebald that carries white is very persistent in young people, while Campbell almost never have white spots. In fact, the first breeders reported only the presence of the white "collar" in the males and some white spots in the necks of the females.
There is probably no passage in the story of the "godmother". A secret that was and will always be kept, a secret that makes our daily selection work fascinating. Ms. Campbell has always been adamant that "her" ducks could participate in local shows and exhibitions. Her creature was born for the production of eggs and her "super specialization" would have been lost, had she become a "beauty queen". If we want to use a term that "ignited" the discussions of the time, the Campbell duck was created to be a "Utility Duck" and not a "show" breed. In 1943, to confirm this, Reginald Appleyard, a great breeder and poultry expert, called it "... a living egg machine."
Only in 1926 Kaki Campbell was recognized in the Poultry Club Standards; the complete standard was not published, however, until 1930, after a long "arm wrestling" on scores and general characteristics with Mrs. Campbell, who reluctantly accepted the whole thing. The first standard mirrored a compromise between utility and display features. A lot of emphasis was placed on the criteria related to utility, between 1921 and 1924 in the actual official spawning tests, only the females who laid at least 223 eggs in 48 weeks were selected for breeding. Very rare case in the history of poultry selections, where it is not selected according to the genotype or phenotype, but following the "utilitarian" characteristics of the future breed.
Color is one of the keys to understanding its success, the khaki coloring is described as the color of the withered grass or as the military khaki color, which at the time of its creation (late nineteenth - early twentieth century) was a color "very patriotic ”, precisely because it reminded the color of the camouflage of British soldiers during the Boer war (1899 - 1902). The word "khaki" derives from the Pakistani Urdu dialect which means "color of the powder", as the coloring of military uniforms it was introduced in India from the second half of the nineteenth century, with the beginning of the guerrilla actions. Mimicry made the movement of British troops safer. Ms Campbell knew this camouflage very well because her son served the British Crown in the Second Boer War. The success of the "name" is clear enough: the Second Boer War had brought great benefits to the British Crown and much pride in English hearts; riding this wave of patriotism was certainly a master stroke. It should also be considered that from that period onwards, the Indian corrector became more and more a "show duck" and less and less selected for the laying attitude. And so Campbell became an essential duck for British farms.
The "White" coloring was created in 1924 by Captain F. S. Pardoe, maintaining the same depository capacity as the most famous Kaki. It was registered as a standard only in 1954 in England.
Much later in the 1950s, the "dark" or "Dark" version was created by H. R. Humphreys, with the same characteristics as the other colors.
The Dark was actually the expression of the "Dusky" gene or dark phase, primary mutation of wild coloring. The interesting thing about the dark coloring is in Humphreys' intent to produce a self-sexing duck breed: by pairing a Khaki male with a dark female, you will get all dark males and all Khaki females, therefore recognizable at birth by the color of the duvet. This is because the brown gene found in khaki is a self-sexable gene.
The genetic profile of the male Khaki is composed of the pair of chromosomes d / d and that of the dark female from the pair D +/-, therefore the males will take the gene d (brown diluiton, or the gene that allows the dilution of the khaki color) from the father and the D + gene (non brown, dark wild-like gene) from the mother; since d is recessive while D + is dominant, the male children will all be dark but bearers of khaki.
The girls will instead be 100% pure khaki, since they will inherit only the father's gene d.
If, on the other hand, you try to pair a dark male with a khaki female, the ducklings will not be autosessable as they will all be born dark: the dark male is genetically D + / D +, while the khaki female is d / -, therefore all children will have the gene dominant D +.
Unfortunately, self-sexing ducks have never been commercially successful, so Mr. Humphreys' dreams of glory never came true.
Recently the spouses Christine and Mike Ashton have created two new colors, the Blue and the Apricot or Pea Yellow, not yet recognized in England.
Started in 1901 from a garden in Gloucestershire, in a short time the breed won the sympathies of many breeders, thanks to its exceptional laying capacity.
Official tests report incredible records of over 300 eggs laid in 12 months, the annals tell us of a female who laid 225 eggs in 225 days continuously and another specimen who laid 346 eggs in 365 days. These extraordinary numbers also attracted foreign investors, including the Dutch Christian Kortlang, who in 1939 founded a farm with 2000 Campbell in Kent. Subsequently this breed was exported to all five continents.
There are an estimated 5 million Campbell specimens worldwide today.
Campbell is a fairly small duck, the weight is about 2 kg. The posture must be alert and slightly vertical, not horizontal like the Rouen, but also not vertical like the Indian Corritrice, close to 35 degrees. The head must be thin and refined. The movement of the body must not be swinging, as happens in the heavier domestic duck breeds. Campbell is an excellent laying hen, the best among ducks, excellent as a "table bird" and simple and rustic to breed.
The head of the khaki male must be bronze, while the head of the dark male must be bright green. The designs of the khaki and dark females must be evident and marked.
- Male: 2.0 - 2.5 kg
- Female: 1.9 - 2.3 kg
curated by Giacomo Cellini
Campbel Kaki Ducks (photo www.avicoliornamentali.it)
Male Khaki-Campbell duck (photo website)
Female Khaki-Campbell duck (website photo)
Dark-Campbell ducks (photo www.avicoliornamentali.it)
Dark-Campbell ducks (photo www.avicoliornamentali.it)
White-Campbell ducks (photo www.avicoliornamentali.it)
White-Campbell ducks (photo Sarah [email protected])
Breed standard - FIAV
I - GENERALITIES
Origin: England. Selected by Lady Campbell, using the Indian Correction Duck and the Rouen Duck.
Minimum weight g. 70
Shell color: white to green.
II - TYPE AND ADDRESSES FOR THE SELECTION
Medium-sized duck with a slightly tall habit and lively temperament. It was selected as a laying duck. Maintain high deposition capacity.
III - STANDARD
General appearance and characteristics of the breed
Trunk: Stretched and well rounded, rectangular.
Head: Well rounded, slightly high forehead, well hollowed and rounded throat.
Beak: Medium length, strong, not too wide.
Face: Cheeks just mentioned.
Neck: Of medium length, slightly curved, at the end of the torso, it gradually enlarges up to the shoulders.
Shoulders: Wide and rounded.
Back: Long, slightly rounded, carried inclined towards the tail.
Ali: Well fitting.
Tail: Follows the extension of the back line, carried slightly open.
Chest: Carried quite high, prominent, well rounded, without keel.
Legs: Legs hidden in the plumage of the hips; strong tarsi, medium long.
Skin: Soft, white.
Belly: Full and wide; in duck it is very well developed but must not touch the ground.
2 - WEIGHTS
MALE: Kg. 2,0-2,5
FEMALE: Kg. 1,9-2,3
Yellow, reddish or lead colored beak; light eyes; tight habit.
Male: weight less than kg. 1.8
Female: weight less than kg. 1.7
Lombard Avicoltori Association - www.ala-avicoltori.it - [email protected]
Source: Italian Standard for Poultry Breeds - FIAV - www.fiav.info
3 - PLUMAGE
Conformation: Very hard and bright.
IV - COLORS
basic color uniform dark khaki brown with slightly reddish hues; dark brown head with greenish reflections and joins the khaki colar of the neck without a clear division. Dark khaki breast and trunk; darker traces are tolerated on the back. Dark brown croup with intense brown curls; dark khaki brown wings, the ends may be slightly lighter. Velvety brown wing mirror, better if it is not evident. Khaki helmsman. Duvet colar cream. Eyes: from hazel to dark brown; beak: green; black nail; tarsi and interdigital membrane: dark orange; nails: dark.
head, neck, back and wings of khaki color with wild design of opaque brown color, the least pronounced possible. A slightly evident velvety brown wing mirror, it is preferable that it is not noticed. Khaki tail and helmsman. Cream-colored down jacket. Eyes: from hazel to dark brown; beak: dark green, as dark as possible; black nail; tarsi and interdigital membrane: brownish; nails: dark.
White spots under the throat; neck colar soybean in the male; white curls; traces of white in the plumage; white or gray down jacket; rouen type design very pronounced in the female.
MALE AND FEMALE
The plumage must be uniformly pure white. Pure white down jacket. Eyes: blue gray in both sexes; beak: orange yellow; clear nail; tarsi and interdigital membrane: from orange to pale pink; nails: clear.
Any presence of other color.
Black head and neck with green reflections. Brown eyes. Bluish green beak with black claw. Shoulders, chest, lower parts and hips: light brown-gray, each pen with fine dark brown-gray peppering that gradually fades into gray to the sternum up to the greatness. Croup: black with green reflections. Tail: dark brown-gray. Black tail coverts with green highlights. Wings: Dark brown-gray primary remiges. Dark brown wing mirror with slight shine, bordered by a thin light gray line. Small dark gray coverts with light gray flecking. Large dark brown-gray coverts slightly flecked with light brown. Under wing gray. Tarsi: dark orange.
Dark brown head and neck with darker veins on the top of the head, without eye strips. Lead colored beak with black claw. Back: Brown with darker design. Brown shoulders, chest and hips, each pen with a well-defined darker brown design. Tail: dark brown. Ali: Dark brown primary remiges. Wing mirror similar to that of the male. Small brown peppered coverts. Tarsi: as close as possible to the color of the body.
presence of white, spotted under wing; white in the remiges; yellow or pink beak.
In the male: presence of a white ring; red brown breast.
In the female: presence of eye strips, white bib or ring.