Names Also known as Les carnard du Nord in France / Les canards du
Mertchem in Belgium
Country Of Origin;......... England
Carriage; deep keel which makes it difficult for this type to
successfully mate naturally without a deep pond. Accidents have
happened to males so please consider this before an eye watering
sceneawaits and a vet trip.
Purpose;..........Eggs..Meat...Broody...a good utility duck
Egg Colour...................white ..large ( often blue in the USA)
Breed Defects. . Plumage other than white. Bill other than
white (flesh pink).Heavy droopy behind.
Flying . seldom flies would be similar to an albatross long take off
Breed Hints....Kept as trio or pair .. will go broody and hatch but
some are clumsy mums
Weights; 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 breed. ie Plumage
white . Legs orange = Cherry Valley
*****There are two types of Aylesbury- exhibition and utility.
The pure or exhibition bird has a very deep keel which makes it
difficult for this type to successfully mate naturally. The
commercial type is often called an 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 deep , clean and
Genetic profile/ Gene :White bill and skin/ symbol Y
Characteristic of the Aylesbury. Causes skin and bill and skin
be pink or white.. ie this is what defines the correct pure
Aylesbury from the hybrid commonly known as an Aylesbury duck
Yes it does fill the show pen !
Hants & Berks 2015
female Aylesbury duck
front showing keel
Showing off her pink bill !
Older male in show pen They muscle up after the first year
Check bill/beak colour = NOT orange
Breed History; .
. . Now one of our rarest Native Breeds . . . . . ..
..According to Lewis Wright in the 1880'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, normally Cherry Valley
Ducks. They are recorded as first brought into America
by Mr John Giles of Woodstock Conneticut specifically to
create an American meat bird and by 1864 are well known
as a breed and a crossing parent. ( Domestic Poultry by
Historically they were walked from the Vale of Aylesbury to
London (40miles 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 birdswere 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 further 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 theindustry. J. K. Fowler, writing in
1850, tells us 'oftentimes in the spring, in one night, a ton
weight of ducklings from six to eight weeksold 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.
In 1901 Wright says In one respect the Aylesbury
duck has somewhat changed during recent years. As we
remember it in 860, and for some years
afterwards, it was not what duck-breeders term " keeled "
underneath the body. By degrees this character was more and
more cultivated, from a desire to increase the massive look
of the birds, and at the present day the Standard describes
and requires keel—the term is self explanatory— in
For More Information : The Aylesbury Duck by Alison
Lewis Wright from The illustrated book of poultry : With
practical schedules for judging, constructed from actual
analysis of the best modern decisions / by Lewis Wright
1838-1905 Illustrations by Ludlow were in the first edition 1873
and the second in 1880