abacot ranger (streicher)
ABOVE: Abacot Ranger drake with Welsh Harlequin ducks. This mix produced the first lot of Abacot Ranger females for koljash.
LEFT: The Abacot Ranger drake in full nuptial plumage is extremely eye catching.
CREATED BY: Mr Oscar Grey of Colchester, UK, in 1917.
DEVELOPED: Using Khaki Campbell 'sports' and Indian Runner blood, the Abacot Ranger is not dissimilar to the Welsh Harlequin.
GENETICALLY : Harlequin phase dusky (md, li^h), the Abacot Ranger belongs to the 'silver' phase family.
The absence of the brown dilution gene being the main difference to a Welsh Harlequin, and allows a brightly coloured speculum (violet/green)
WEIGHT: APS 2 notes 2.50 - 2.70 kg (5.5 - 6 lb) for drakes, and 2.25 - 2.5 kg (5 - 5.5 lb) for ducks.
EGGS: Similar output to Khaki Campbell and Welsh Harlequin.
In Australia note: the Abacot Ranger (AR) is often mistaken for a Welsh Harlequin (WH) , and vice versa. The APS2 notes that blue wing bars in a WH is a serious defect. This is in line with the British Waterfowl standards; in the USA, they have both 'gold' (with brown dilution) and 'silver' (without brown) Harlequins. Our birds are bred along the UK standards.
An excellent article written by Megg Miller in Australasian Poultry (Vol 13.no.6) details the differences between the two breeds in more detail.
The drake pictured above carries one brown dilution gene, meaning that he will always produce Harlequin ducks (female), even when bred to Abacot females. In 2014, koljash bred this drake to WH females, producing 'pure' AR and WH females - the brown dilution is sex linked - and WH and AR drakes. The WH drakes are pure as they need 2 doses of the recessive brown dilution to express. The AR drakes however carry a recessive brown dilution allele from their WH mums; therefore genetically identical to their dad
The next stage is to eliminate the brown dilution in the AR drakes ie, to make them pure for AR. Bred to AR females, a percentage of drakes will not carry the WH/brown dilution. The single dose of brown is near impossible to distinguish from a drake without brown; test mating will be required to confirm this.
WH and AR ducklings - it's not possible to tell whether they carried brown dilution until they started to feather up.
Young female WH and AR ducks - remaining similar enough in juvenile plumage; the WH have a green/bronze wing bar as opposed to the AR's violet/green. The central 'splosh' of colour on the body (seen in the pics below) is also further diluted in the WH females.
CLOCKWISE from Left:
While Abacot Rangers ducks have a mostly white body, they retain the darker, central feather 'splosh'. These are young birds, with further changes in the coming months. The iridescent green of the drake's head can be noted on the Abacot drake here. The Harlequin drake behind him is several weeks younger and only just colouring up.
Abacot (left) and Harlequin (right) young drakes display the extended claret and frosted feathers typical of the harlequin phase. Here, the dull bronze/green speculum of the Harlequin drake can be seen. Note that both drakes have a fully enclosed neck ring, a feature of their genotype, and part of the breed's standard
A group of Abacot Rangers is quite a striking sight. They do not fly, and are active foragers. The bird at far right is a Welsh Harlequin drake; he is younger than the other drakes and still has most of his juvenile plumage.