Khaki Campbell Ducks
Mrs Campbell of Uley, Gloucester created the Khaki Campbell Duck. She heard of an Indian Runner Fawn&white duck which had laid 182 eggs in 196 days, and purchased this prolific bird to mate with a Rouen. The result was a breed which could be relied upon to produce an average of 200 eggs per year. In addition to the Indian Runner and Rouen, wild duck (mallard) was also used to make the breed more hardy. The original Campbell drakes had a dark green head, grey back, pale claret breast, black stern and white ring around the neck. The drake was more like an Abacot Ranger.
The duck has greyish-brown feathers pencilled with dark brown, and a plain brown head. These are now known to be 'light phase' Campbells without brown genes. These early versions were not the colour of the khaki.
Right: Photo of our Khaki Campbell drake - Best of Breed at the first BWA Championship Show at Malvern in 1987
Joseph Pettipher (1923) wrote: "Perhaps it may not be generally known at the present day that at the outset the original strain was what might roughly be termed a grey duck. The Khaki colour was an afterthought, that came in during the course of perfecting and fixing the breed . . . It was in 1901 that they were first announced as a breed. In that year, when corresponding with me about them, she wrote 'What shall I call them?'. I replied 'Campbells', and as such I first gave them that name in the press. The prefix came afterwards, when the khaki colour came in."
Mrs Campbell never wanted the Khaki Campbell to become an exhibition bird. It was bred as a utility duck. However, the fame of the breed and its egg-laying capacity spread and, since some people wished to exhibit them, she drew up this standard.
Drake: Head, neck, stern and wing bar: bronze, brown shade preferred to green bronze. Rest of body: an even shade of warm khaki. Legs and feet: dark orange. Bill: green, the darker the better.
Duck: Khaki colour all over, ground as even as possible. Back & wings: laced with an even shade of khaki. lighter feathers on the wing bar allowable. Bill: greenish black. Legs and feet: as near body colour as possible. Head: plain khaki, streak from the eye considered a fault.
Campbells are remarkable ducks. They are alert, sprightly birds which in some strains produce over 300 eggs per year. Their white eggs weigh about 2.5 ounces. They are hardy foragers, always busily looking for slugs, snails and worms. They love water - but manage to stay in good condition even when water is only in buckets and bowls. However, like all ducks, their feathers do stay in best waterproof condition when they have bathing water.
The Khakis are not the only Campbell, but they are more popular than the White and the Dark. The White was derived as a 'sport' from the Khaki. White is masking colour and hides colours in a bird's genotype. True White Campbells will also have khaki colour genes. The Dark was created by H.R.S. Humphreys in the 1940s. The colour is sex-linked and the dark can be used with khakis to produce sex-linked colour in the ducklings - a very easy way to determine the sex at hatch.
Blue Campbells (with a single blue gene added to the Dark Campbell ) are a non-standard colour, but are very attractive. From these we also developed the 'Apricot' with two blue genes in this dusky sequence.