We now have Aylesbury Ducks and Aylesbury ducklings for sale. We also have Chocolate Muscovy Ducks, Sebastopol Geese, pure Suffolk ram lambs and Oxford Sandy and Black weaners for sale from time to time. Please call for details.
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Great Britain
Records of the first poultry show in 1845 show classes for 'Aylesbury or other white variety' and for 'Any other variety'. Since that date the particular characteristics of the AYlesbury breed were standardised and selected to create a good meaty bird.
White with greenish tinge; Good utility lines can produce around 150 eggs a year. Although, I decided to keep a record on one bird and recorded from 31 January to the end of August when she stopped laying she produced 185 eggs !!
10-12 lbs. (4.5-5.4 kg)
9-11 lbs. (4.1-5kg)
The utility types are very efficient converters of feed to meat with a less pronounced boney keel than exhibition stock. It is said that at 8 weeks they are at their best, weighing around 4-5 lbs.
Lazy, happy go lucky eating machines who enjoy their pond.
My birds are for sale for those of you who enjoy birds and who appreciate waterfowl and enjoy seeing these beautiful white ducks walking around and enjoying themselves. I take orders for my birds in late autumn early spring, day old ducklings and chicks are sent unsexed and will not be replaced if you do not receive the desired sex. Birds are priced according to age. Minimum duckling order: 6. No minimum order when picking up locally. Delivery will be available, weather permitting. I will only deliver when temperatures are above 30 F (-1c) and below 85 F degrees (30c). Price of birds, box fee and delivery cost to be paid in advance and in full by the buyer via cheque, cash or credit card if picking up locally. It is VERY important that you are at home to take delivery of your birds.
Undoubtedly, in my opinion, the Aylesbury duck is the principal table bird. It achieves around 8 – 10lb and the white skin makes the bird a very attractive meat proposition. Sometimes a cross is made with the Pekin which is a favourite in the USA. This may increase size and vigour although whether this practice can be justified is debatable. The Pekin has a yellow skin and is not regarded as having the same superior flavour as the Aylesbury.
Historically Aylesbury Ducks were walked from the Vale of Aylesbury to London, a distance of some 40 miles. The drovers would often stop for the night at inns along the way where the birds were kept in large enclosed yards. Each morning, they would be driven through a cold tarry solution in a shallow ditch followed by a layer of sawdust, which provided the birds with a set of crude shoes to protect their feet on the road to London.
Throughout the 19th Century the main market for duck meat was provided by the wealthy people of London, and by 1839 the ducks could be transported by rail. J K Fowler, writing in 1850, said "often times in the spring, in one night, a ton weight of ducklings from six to eight weeks old are taken by rail from Aylesbury and the villages round to the metropolis." As the popularity of the famous Aylesbury Duck grew, visitors flocked from far and wide to buy the local delicacy from the town's fat stock markets.
During these years, almost everyone who lived in the 'Duck End' of Aylesbury bred the Aylesbury Duck. It became a poor, crowded part of town, with the residents living in cramped unsanitary conditions. The ducks were reared inside the already damp cottages, and the young ducklings were sometimes taken to bed to keep them warm. However, after 1850 the number of establishments breeding the ducks began to decline. The introduction of new sanitary regulations made duck rearing in cottages difficult, and the soil quality in Aylesbury deteriorated to such an extent following many years of duck raising that it caused an outbreak of 'Duck Fever'. In 1873 the Pekin Duck was brought to Britain from China, and the Aylesbury breed was frequently crossed with it. As a result, the pure breed began to disappear and by the Second World War ducks in and around Aylesbury had almost vanished.
The Aylesbury is a pure white duck which throws rapidly and reaches a considerable size (around 10lb). A deep, broad body is a characteristic, with the keel almost touching the ground. The wings are carried high around the body. A prominent breast is essential; so is a horizontal carriage.
The wedge-shaped bill (set in a strong head), should be white or flesh pink. Any tendency towards yellowness may be an indication of loss of the white skin – an undesirable feature when top table birds are required.
Fortunately, exhibition and utility standards are very much in harmony. However, utility birds often lack the very deep keel. The deep keel is an essential feature in exhibition birds. Over the years the very low body has been developed to an exaggerated state. Many think that the process may have gone too far. However, those who breed exhibition birds will know that only a small minority reach top class and, therefore, the majority of Aylesbury ducks will be fit only for the table. If the interest is in utility birds then the exaggerated keel is better avoided, but still aim for typical birds – those which fatten quickly.
Once colour and type are established the aim should be to obtain size. Suitable accommodations and an approperiate run are essential. Above all, a high protein food is necessary to develop the massive body. Corn put into a water trough is a typical diet, but for exhibition stock (and for fattening birds), it will not produce the maximum results a layer’s mash (or pellets) is much better and this may be left before the birds at all times in a suitable hopper.
Special fattening foods may also be employed. In the early stages Turkey Starter Crumbs may be used. These would be followed on with high protein foods which are ready available at any poultry supplier / farm shop. Remember the aim is to have the birds ready for killing within 7 to 9 weeks of age.
The Aylesbury duck lays a large egg (around 3¼ oz, 92g) which is white or greenish white. Numbers laid in a year vary, but as many as 100 per year is quite common and an annual output approaching 200 is possible – no mean achievement for a “meat” bird. Having said this I have counted from one bird which laid 185 eggs from end of January to Mid August ! However, since meat production and high-yield egg laying are opposing aims, most breeders are content to obtain around 80 – 100 eggs.
For exhibition purposes two or three ducks to a drake is the usual recommendation. Select birds which have a large frame, but are neither too old nor too fat. All birds should be of the appropriate type with the desired deep keel. Do not expect to breed top class birds from small parents quite untypical of the true Aylesbury. If just starting, be careful “Aylesbury-type birds” which may simply mean large white ducks. Therefore, do make sure by enquiring from the breeeder or, better still, pay them a visit. For a pair of top quality birds expect to pay a considerable sum.
On the other hand, if not interested in showing, the Aylesbury duck which is not “Keeley” may be quite adequate. It will fatten quickly and grow to the necessary 5lb or more within 9 weeks. Moreover, the breeding pen may consist of around six ducks instead of the three recommended for exhibition stock.
For the best breeding results feed a layer’s rations and provide the ducks with an adequate run. Any type of run will suffice, but ideally this whould be in a small paddock, grass covered. Alternatively, a small orchard or an enclosed part of the garden will suffice, but remember, an area may become “sour”, especially when drainage is poor. This is the advantage of the well-drained grass run.
An alternative to grass or earth for the floor of the run is fine gravel. The hole for the area should be dug out and filled with tones of rubble, pebbles and fine gravel in that order. In addition, there should be a frame with grill-type cover, adjoining or surrounding a small pond, thus allowing adequate drainage.
The general strategy with a gravel surface is to allow the rain to wash down the surface which can be supplemented with a thorough spraying down with a hose pipe.
The approach may be acceptable for very small ducks, but the larger ducks such as Aylesburys require considerable space. Exercise and a foraging area are essential for healthy ducks.
We now have Aylesbury Ducks for sale. Please call for details.