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Aylesbury Ducks;

'The white Aylesbury duck is, and deservedly, a universal favourite. Its snowy plumage and comfortable comportment make it a credit to the poultry-yard, while its broad and deep breast, and its ample back, convey the assurance that your satisfaction will not cease at its death' So wrote Mrs Beeton in her 'Book of Household Management', published in 1861.

Also known as Les carnard du Nord in France/ Les canards du Mertchem in Belgium
Country Of Origin;.

........ England

deep keel which makes it difficult for this type to successfully mate naturally without a deep pond

.......Eggs..Meat...Broody...a good utility duck

Egg Colour
; ...................white ..large ( often blue in the USA)
Egg Numbers


Breed Defects. .
Plumage other than white. Bill other than white (flesh pink).Heavy droopy behind.
Flying .
rarely flies
Breed Hints....
Kept as trio or pair .. will go broody and hatch
9 to 12 pounds
Breed Tip
****They should be of horizontal carriage with a keel that is parallel to the ground.The bill is pinkish white or flesh coloured NOT ORANGE THAT IS A COMMERCIAL X. ie Plumage white .Legs orange.

There are two types of Aylesbury- exhibition and utility. The exhibition bird has a very deep keel which makes it difficult for this type to successfully mate naturally.

The commercial type Aylesbury is able to mate naturally, especially if the birds are protected against obesity by being allowed to be active. and is in effect an Aylesbury /Pekin crossbreed with occasional nasty temperaments as found in 'meat' breeds destined for a short life.. can be nasty to other ducks

Breeding Tip
Kept as pairs or alternatively trios ..depending upon the drakes energy levels.They are one of the larger duck breeds and as such must have good access to water for mating on as they are too heavy and ungainly to mate successfully on land. For good fertility they need a rich and varied diet with plenty of greens as they are not as hardy as the other large breed possibly through a narrower gene pool due to their popularity as an exhibition bird.

Young birds drop in depth with age so watch from the middle aged sag in very elderly birds as they spend considerable time swimming . . ie they need water

Genetic profile
Gene :White bill and skin
symbol Y

Characteristic of the Aylesbury. Causes skin and bill to and skin be pink or white.. ie this is what defines the correct pure Ayleabury from the hybrid commonly known as an Aylesbury duck


According to Lewis Wright in the 188o's the AYLESBURY ducks should be of the purest white with a bill set well up on the skull and the beak almost in a line from the top of the head to the tip (similar to the Runner) and of a delicate flesh colour . Although pure ducks exist and are thriving as a breed most of those that the general public perceives as an Aylesbury are commercial meat crosses which are frequently pictured in children's story books.

Historically they were walked from the Vale of Aylesbury to London (40 miles max). Each of the inns they stopped the night at allowed the birds to be kept in large enclosed yards and in the morning the birds were driven through a cold sticky tarry solution in a shallow ditch and then through a layer of sawdust. This made somewhat crude shoes to protect their feet for the day and the next night this was repeated with a charge of a few birds at each stop. The alternative was to try to camp on the common or 'waste' and stop the local poachers from removing a few for the pot.

The breed is thought to have evolved during the early years of the eighteenth century by selective breeding of the common duck, usually brown or grey in colour but occasionally white. Breeders were aware that the London dealers had a preference for white plumage, the feathers being popular on the continent as quilt-filling and the pale pink skin of a plucked white bird is somewhat more attractive than the yellow of coloured ducks.

Prior to 1839, the ducklings if not "walked" were transported to London by packhorse or carrier's wagon, the opening of the branch railway line from Cheddington to Aylesbury in that year providing a boost to the industry. J. K. Fowler, writing in 1850, tells us 'oftentimes 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'. Throughout the nineteenth century the main market for duck meat was provided by the wealthy people of London, very little of it being sold locally. Aylesbury ducks start laying eggs in early November, the two month old ducklings coming to market from February whereas the Rouen, its main competitor, began laying in February, coming to market as a six-month old bird in the last three months of the year. Peak season for Aylesburys was therefore late March and early April, the Rouen being geared for autumn and Christmas.

The number of establishments in Aylesbury began to decline after 1850 due to a number of factors, including the introduction of sanitary regulations which made duck rearing in cottages difficult. The deterioration in the quality of soil in Aylesbury following many years of duck raising has also been given as a contributory factor.

Bibliography: The Aylesbury Duck by Alison Ambrose, published 1991.


young birds not to full size note bill colour and pronounced keel



....these will be the giant exhibition birds that are now very rare NOT the cheap commercial meat hybrids
Rinke Beikenbosch
Tel 010 501 7787
Colin Dick
01721 752 297

Tel 01691 655 635 weekends

Tel 07818 036 118 weekdays

Alan McKee
Tel 02825 651 284
Paul Meatyard
Tel 01749 812 758
Darrel Sheraw
001 814 745 2941


............ http://www.feathersite/Poultry/Ducks/Ayles/BRKAyles.html...Feathersite


............... pics etc

 **Standards used are the Poultry Club of Great Britain pub 1998**  

Please note that photographs and text on this site belong to the Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain. They should not be reprinted (commercially) without prior permission but are freeely available for educational  purposes and can be printed up for classroom use; we do not have printed fact sheets/booklets for sale etc but can occasionally email uncompressed digital images

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