History & Development
Developed in Ontario, Canada, the Snyder Duck is the worlds first and only established breed of feather legged duck. This breeds trait isn't as prominant as that of feather legged breeds of chicken or pigeon, but is none the less obviously unique. In this breed the feather legged trait has come along way, and definitely shows the potential for further improvement. The Snyder would be classified as a medium weight, dual purpose breed.
The original intention with these birds started out as a simple genetic study on the inheritance of feathers on ducks legs/feet, (a trait that pops up from time to time and is generally known as “stubs” on clean legged duck breeds). When I first started the study I had no intention of taking it any further, than learning the inheritance of the triat. However after seeing an increase in the amount of leg feathers in some birds as the study went on, I was intrigued to see how far I could go with it. The original project birds and the base of the Snyder breed were Anconas and Welsh Harlequins(birds used from both breeds possessed the feather legged trait). Although my first genetic studies on the feather legged gene started in the spring of 2003, it wasn’t until the fall of 2005 when I decided to see how far I could increase the trait.
In 2005, with no selection on colour, the Snyder "breed" was segregating several colour genes(E, e+, Bl, bl+, m+, li, li^h, R, r+, S and s+) which were producing several colours. For the following years, I ignored colour and just focused on body type, size and stabilizing and increasing the quality of the leg feathers, each year making a little progress. (Due to moving to a new residence, no birds were hatched in 2008 and very little in 2009).
In the fall of 2015 I decided to start selecting for 3 colour groups with the hopes of making Snyders available to the public in the fall of 2016. I decided to keep such a wide range in colours at this point in order to appeal to more people to hopefully get the breed going, aswell as to not cause a genetic "bottle neck" effect. 2016 turned out to be a great year, hatching a large amount of higher quality Snyders in several of the 3 colour groups. In the late summer/early fall I started selling Snyders with positive responses to the breed for most of the colours. The Ancona Snyders received such good reception that the entire flock of them was sold to 3 seperate people to continue breeding them.(if interested in Ancona Snyders contact [email protected]
for breeder info). The Aleution, Blue Aleution, Silver Aleution, Snowy, Blue Snowy and Apricot Silver colours are continuing to be bred here at Snyder's Waterfowl. The Pied colour group, unfortunatly didn't seem to get much interest from people so has been discontinued.
The first colour group is the “Ancona Colour Group”. These birds are the same blotchy random colour pattern as the Ancona duck breed. This group consists of Black Ancona, Blue Ancona and Silver Ancona coloured birds. Birds should be homozygous for the Black gene "E", the Runner Pattern gene "R" and the Bib gene "S". The Blue and Silver birds additionally have the Blue gene "Bl".
The second group is the “Light/Harlequin Colour Group”. With this group I'm trying to focus on the pure breeding colours Aleution, Blue Aleution, Silver Aleution, Snowy, Blue Snowy and Apricot Silver colours. The intermediate colours Spot, Blue Spot and Silver Spot, can be present if the Light gene "li" colours are bred with the Harlequin gene "li^h" colours.
The third colour group is the “Pied Coloured Group”. It is simply Pied(homozygous Runner Pattern) versions of the “Light/Harlequin Group”.
A Side Project (Black, Blue, Silver Snyders)
In 2013 I bred a Blue Ancona Snyder to a Black Cayuga with the intention of developing solid Silver Snyders that were on the extremely diluted "white" end of the colour spectrum. These would have been essentially "White" Snyders with dark blue bills(similar to the chinese breed Liancheng White ducks). In the fall of 2016 I needed room for other matings, so two solid Blue pairs of these Snyders were sold to one of the breeders who had purchased part of my Ancona Snyder flock. He plans to continue breeding them(again if interested in these, contact [email protected] for info). I plan to hopefully get some of these back at some point and continue working with them again aswell.