Extracted from Breeding Leghorns
& Articles from Members of the Leghorn Club of Australia

 Duckwing Leghorns      return to           return to homepage

Breeding Duckwing Leghorns
Cross an Old English Game {OEG) Duckwing cock to a Black Leghorn cockerel breeding female to get your initial Leghorn type. This plus leg colour, is your sex Link Factor for Duckwing.

You then take the cockerel of the best Leghorn type, with striped hackle. It may look like a Bircham or a Grey. Mate to a pullet breeding brown which is as light and as close to the standard as possible. You should then get some very good types of brown females. ONLY USE THESE FEMALES TO BREED DUCKWINGS.

Mate these females to the original male you bred with at the start, or an OEG Duckwing with light or yellow legs if possible. This should produce silver duckwings of both sexes.

Your brown female will act as a neutral hen for breeding golden or silver. If you want golden you go for a darker female and for silver a lighter female.

Once you have created two separate strains, you line-breed mother and son and father and daughter.

Cockerel Breeding
You take a brown Leghorn Cockerel of best show standard, making sure he has a good striped hackle, sound black breast and wing bays to the end of the wing. Mate the cockerel to a duckwing pullet or hen of coarse marking, rust in wings. Sometimes you may get silver winged bays in females, this is an advantage. You may get a pullet or two with olive green legs, or feet with yellow soles or pads. These will produce good cockerels. The harlequins which were bred at the start can be mated back to a silver to also breed good cockerels.

At this stage you are on your own to achieving your goal. You may find you will get some females with good body colour and black hackles and some harlequin with salmon breast and black bodies. Do not destroy these off-springs because they blend in, making your colour duckwings. It is somewhat like mixing paint.

The main characteristic of a Leghorn is its head, which means good deep wide serrations, almond shaped lobes, and good eye colour. The colour is useless without the right head formation, so at all times remember that you are breeding Leghorns. You must breed to type.

by courtesy of Slack, Canon Hill, Qtd ....
A keen and devoted breeder of the less popular leghorn colours as well as being an enthusiastic supporter of blacks and whites.

*     *     *

A letter from down-under:

What a challenge !

Not knowing what is available in the UK or continent  I cant really advise you other than doing some slight research. If I may get on my soap box I am a strong believer that there are two colours of Duckwing and that includes the females. I also go further and believe that Duckwing have CB and PB. The CB being the Gold and the PB being the Silver. In the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s only Gold Males and Silver female were shown. Forgetting the Metallic colours Silver males have only two shades White and Black  (with a little slate to gray in the fluff department, whereas the Gold Males have up to 13 colours . To further stake my claim, if one studies the Gold and Silver females to the Brown counterparts, you would see the hard colours in the Gold and the soft colours in the Silver.

I have a very interesting Book entitled “Leghorns of all Varieties” by H. Hesford . First published in 1896 I have the  2nd Edition 1904 although one page was ripped out and replaced with a photocopy of the missing pages. The missing pages were photocopied from the 1st edition and they are out of sync. But all there.  In the preface of the 2nd edition mention was made of Rev. Sturges. I have found his article and here it goes.

The Duckwing Leghorn

This again is an English –made variety and from the same originator, (of Piles) Mr G. Payne. As the Pile Game suggested the Pile Leghorns , so the Duckwing Game suggested this charming but little cultivated variety.
In colour it is a reduplication of the Game in all but one respect, viz. that, in the Leghorn, the neck hackle is striped with black and not a silvery-white as in the Duckwing Game cock.
The body colour of a Silver Duckwing hen is one of the most delicate colours in the whole range of poultry coloration, a clear delicate French-grey daintily pencilled with black , like the Brown, and presenting a charming contrast with the fawn colour of the breast and neck , while the silvery neck-hackle striped with black gives the finishing touch. It is a more pleasing contrast than in the Brown Leghorn.

For some years there was a confusion caused through the two varieties of the Gold and Silver Duckwing, the cocks looking quite distinct , but the Gold pullet looked at best only like a very poor imitation of a Brown Leghorn.

Their Origin

Captain Payne, who was the first to exhibit Duckwings in both sexes, and who did most to originate the breed, has not taken the public into his confidence, but as he was the originator of the Pile Leghorn, from the Brown and the White, it is presumed that he used some of the mis-marked birds bred in this way as the foundation for the Duckwing. We know from the laws of colour that the white would dominate all the black, and that some would come with blue plumage (a mingled black and white, particulate inheritance) where the Pile shows white on the breast and tail, etc, viz. in all those parts where the black feathers are found in the Brown Leghorn. This would form the foundation for the silver penciling in the Duckwing. It is also stated by various writers that use was made of an utterly alien cross, viz. the Phoenix or Yokohama fowl. This ancient Japanese race is noted chiefly for the excessive length of tail feathering. It is bred in all colours and the Duckwing colour is among them. The colour, so long fixed in the Phoenix, would impart itself to the Leghorn, and also the abundant sickle feathering, which sometimes manifests itself even now.

Another breeder, Mr. Terrot, had exhibited Duckwing cockerels before Mr. Payne, and the breeds used to make them were the Game Duckwing Cock and the Silver Grey Dorking hen and Brown Leghorn. It will be seen, therefore, that the Duckwing Leghorn of to-day is made of various breed, two of which carried the Duckwing colours on the male side, and the Silver Dorking pullet the sweet soft colour of the Pullet.

I have often thought that the huge combs sometimes seen on the cockerels are derivable from the Dorking, as well as the square build of the body, and, in fact the resemblance is often striking between the Silver cockerels of both breed, while the colour has been derived from the phoenix and Game.

If I had to start a new strain of Duckwing I should confine it to the Brown and Black Leghorn, and expect the black pigment in the Black to harmonize with the black plumage of the Brown Leghorn, while it destroyed the brown of the partridge colour and left the silver in its place, finely penciled with black. If the colours did not become sufficiently definite, a cross with the Duckwing Game would be desirable, and a dash only of it should suffice. As it is they are of a very composite mixture and difficult to breed true to colour, and this is a hindrance to their popularity.

Rev.T.W. Sturges M.A.

extracted by Neil Penny: Victoria, Australia

return to