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Aylesbury - Duck
OriginVale of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England
Weight, drake5.5 kg
Weight, duck5 kg
World renowned white skinned table duck with a deep keel. Fast growth rate and excellent meat made the Aylesbury the table duck of choice for the London markets during the 19th and early 20th century. The Aylesbury was developed during the early part of the 19th century and standardised in 1865. Aylesbury's have a pink to white bill that lines up nearly flush with the top of the head. The majority of birds seen today and called Aylesbury’s are in fact hybrids, often created with the use of the Pekin. These were once used as a vigorous commercial substitute to the original Aylesbury. The hybrids have orange/yellow bills and a bold, active and upright habit brought about by the tall stance of the Pekin. The white duck of children’s books is indeed an Aylesbury x Pekin. There is much confusion among domestic poultry keepers and many continue to breed a mix bag of ducks due to the lack of information and publicity describing the Aylesbury. The Aylesbury x Pekin hybrids should not be used for breeding with Aylesbury’s and should not even be traded or sold as such. The hope is the original Aylesbury type can be maintained and kept unique. However, the Aylesbury x Pekin cross is a widely available dual-purpose bird.
The traditional Aylesbury itself comes in two forms. The original was a commercially used utility type sold for its fine carcass during the 19th century. The other is an exhibition development of the utility type. It is likely the majority of existing Aylesbury’s are remnants of this exhibition type. The difference between the two being the exhibition form has a near horizontal, very deep and low set keel. The original utility Aylesbury was slightly more upright, with a less prominent keel. The remaining Aylesbury’s are likely to form part of a very small gene pool maintained by a very small number of exhibitors and hobbyists. Within the existing ‘true’ Aylesbury stock it is still possible to hatch birds of correct type with pale yellow bills. This indicates impurity and suggests that past crossings with Pekin or other duck breeds have still occurred.
Breeding Aylesbury’s should ideally be kept at a ratio of one drake to 3/5 ducks. Select a light, energetic drake to improve fertility. Despite common myth a pond is not essential for fertility, although it would aid these heavy ducks in mating.
Egg laying ability is poor to fair, perhaps reaching 100 eggs per year.
When mature the head and bill measure from 6” - 8” (15 - 20cm) long. Black markings on the bill should be avoided. The neck is of medium length. The body is long, broad and deep with a prominent breast. The keel runs almost parallel to the ground from the breast to the stern. The back is straight and almost flat. The plumage is a pure satin white throughout. Legs are orange and the beak is pink or pink-white.