The lovely Aylesbury duck is a rare sight, primarily because the breed is incredibly endangered and unavailable in most places these days. At first glance, you might mistake an Aylesbury for a Pekin—but there are some notable differences.
The Aylesbury is a pink-billed duck used for meat production. These friendly birds are charming to have on your property—if you can find them. Let’s talk more about where you can locate a flock and what you can expect when owning the breed!
Quick Facts about Aylesbury Ducks
|Breed Name:||Aylesbury Duck|
|Place of Origin:||Buckinghamshire, England|
|Drake Size:||10-12 pounds|
|Hen Size:||9-11 pounds|
|Color:||White, pink bill|
|Climate Tolerance:||Cold and heat hardy|
Aylesbury Duck Origins
The Aylesbury Duck is a beautiful pink-billed waterfowl rare to come by these days. However, they once ruled the roost. Branching off from other varieties, the Aylesbury has become very rare and under-appreciated at any rate.
These ducks have a shaky history since there’s no definitive point of introduction. However, it’s speculated that Aylesbury ducks came from white ducks in the 18th century.
While it’s popular to use the breed for meat, white feathers were highly sought after for downy filling in quilting and other projects. Later, their hefty bodies and full flavor led to their popularity as table birds.
Aylesbury Duck Characteristics
Aylesbury ducks have a very calm, friendly demeanor, making them humble additions to any barnyard—big or small. They tend to get along well with flock mates, though there can be the occasional squabble in mixed flock situations (not necessarily because of the Aylesbury, simply due to dominance.)
Female Aylesbury ducks are incredibly good mothers and get broody often. They are also known to foster motherless eggs and hatchlings.
Because they are so friendly and easy to maintain, they make excellent keepers for children and first-time owners. These agreeable ducks get along with people and most other animals, perfect for 4H projects and farm activities.
Aylesbury ducks are primarily used for meat production. Although they have majorly declining numbers, if you want to try your hand at breeding, you could revamp the population in your area.
Aylesbury ducks can lay eggs, but it isn’t insignificant enough numbers to rely on. One female tends to lay between 35 to 125 eggs per year. So, while you and your family might enjoy a big, beefy egg, selling isn’t really an option.
Appearance & Varieties
The Aylesbury Duck has a distinct look because of its noticeably pink beak. It’s what sets them apart from other similar breeds—like the Pekin. All Aylesbury ducks are fully feathered in white with yellow legs. These birds tout friendly expressions.
Males and females are very similar in both size and structure. However, like most ducks, they have a distinguishable gender difference once they are fully mature.
Males have a curled feather on their backside, while females have flush feathers. Also, the males have a quiet, husky quack while females are louder and a bit more obnoxious.
These birds are heavy-bodied and short-legged, shuffling around slowly. They are not able to fly, but they make lovely swimmers.
Aylesbury ducks are scarce these days, making up only a small percentage of domesticated ducks. While they were once revered back in the day, they have decreased in distribution and remain in critical status today.
So, if you dare revamp the breed, you’d likely be able to find some if you search in major areas like their home of England.
Aylesbury ducks do wonderfully in small or large flocks. However, you can have them in an enclosure, permitting you to provide access to a constant, clean freshwater source and adequate nutrition. They are also free rangers, as they love snacking on foliage, insects, and some crustaceans.
Having access to a freshwater source is very important to their daily living. Not only do these birds use water to forage and swim, but they also need it to clean their nostrils of debris.
Are Aylesbury Ducks Good for Small-Scale Farming?
Aylesbury ducks are exquisite for small-scale farming. They are adaptable, cold-hardy, and immensely motherly. They make wonderful pets, 4H projects, or meat birds—the choice is yours. If you’re looking for master egg layers, you might want to check out similar breeds with higher production—like the Pekin.
Aylesbury ducks are pretty hard to find these days, so make sure that you do your homework. If you live in an area like England, you might not have as much trouble. If Aylesbury ducks aren’t available in your area, you can always do further research on similar birds.
Featured Image Credit: Tom Curtis, Shutterstock