Aylesbury Duck

Aylesbury Duck

The Aylesbury is a large meat breed of duck developed in the town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England in the 18th century. Their status is critical.

Aylesburies are all white with a pale pink bill, orange feet, and white skin.

You will often see ducks labeled as Aylesburies that have an orange bill. These are NOT true Aylesburies; they are either Pekins, crossbreds, or maybe a bad strain of Aylesbury that has foreign blood somewhere in its lineage.

duck
This duck was claimed to be an Aylesbury. And it does have Aylesbury-like conformation. But look at the orange bill! Nope, this is no Aylesbury, at least no purebred.

Of course, bill color doesn’t really make any difference (except for showing and breeding), but if you see a bird labeled as an Aylesbury that has an orange bill, it’s probably lacking other Aylesbury traits as well, and may be very different from the type of duck described here.

They are not active foragers, preferring to keep their heavy bodies close to home.

Neither do they fly. Their conformation and size is far from natural. Aylesburies generally have a deep keel. Exhibition birds often have such a deep keel that it touches the ground, which makes mating difficult, especially on land.

These ducks can easily become obese, so it is important to limit their food supply and encourage them to do some foraging.

aylesbury duck
An Aylesbury with a very deep keel.

Aylesburies lay 35-120 white or greenish eggs a year. They’re docile and friendly.

Fertility levels will be much higher if these ducks have access to water. Utility birds are usually a little closer to natural and resemble Pekins.

They are one of the best duck breeds for meat production. They are grow fast and are very large, with drakes weighing about ten pounds (4.5 kg) and females weighing about nine pounds (4 kg).

Their white feathers also aid their reputation as a meat bird, because the appearance of dark pinfeathers on a carcass is unattractive. Their meat is also less fatty than that of the Pekin.

aylesbury duck breed infographic

Picture and Video Gallery

four aylesbury ducks playing in puddle
Four Aylesburies playing in a mud puddle. Photo courtesy of “inthefarmhouse.”
flock of aylesbury ducks
Aylesbury flock
aylesbury ducklings
Aylesbury ducklings.
aylesbury ducklings
A cluster of cute Aylesbury ducklings.
aylesbury duck breed
Three Aylesbury ducks.
aylesbury duck
Aylesbury duck flapping,
aylesbury duck flock
Aylesbury flock.
juvenile aylesbury duck
Juvenile Aylesbury.
An Aylesbury at an exhibition. Image used with permission from the Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain.

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11 Comments

  1. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that
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    Anonymous
  2. Great article! I love ayelsbury ducks thanks to the beatrix potter books! We finally found a local breeder so had to get a couple! Little Jemima and Puddles are now about a week old and doing very well 🙂

    Luke
  3. How can i find out what breed my 8 week old ducklings are? I got them from someone when they were 4wks old (that’s what i was told) but she didn’t know what they were. They look like these kind but im not sure. If someone can help i can show pics of them…ty

    Dawnita Lowe
    1. Hi Dawnita,

      It’s difficult, if not impossible, to know 100% sure whether a duck is a purebred. I’ve seen many ducks that looked purebred, but were actually mixed breeds. If the breeder didn’t know what they were, there’s a good chance they’re a cross or mixed. Or maybe they’re Pekins. What color are their bills? If they look like Aylesburies but have orange bills, they’re probably Pekins. If they have pink bills, they might be Aylesburies.

      I would be willing to take a look at them, but I don’t think I can help you much beyond this. You could try asking here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/ducks.42/ Backyard Chickens has a great forum with many knowledgeable members and I’ve seen many threads with people asking what breed their duck is.

      Oh, one note: 8 weeks old may be too young to tell what they really will look like when they grow up. You might wait a while before asking. Maybe they’re even white Muscovies and they just don’t have their caruncles yet because they’re still babies.

      Hope that helps!
      Hannah

  4. HI
    This reading is very very useful thank you for putting it up. I’m a new duck owner and have Aylesbury ducklings so wanted to find some good useful info on them and this has been just that thank you again

    Clare
  5. Hi, I’ve a pair of Aylesbury’s. Molly laid 10 eggs in spring and sat on them for 3 weeks when she just abandoned them, I checked the nest and there was only 1 left. I found some in the pond! She has now made a nest and laid 9 eggs so far, but they are under a bush in the garden, not in their perfectly good duck house. We do have a spare duck house and I’m wondering it ok to move them before she starts sitting? I don’t want to traumatise her in anyway or put her off sitting. I live rurally and will build a fence to protect her and the eggs, but wondered about moving them first. Any advice most welcome thank you.

    Joanne
    1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work to move ducks’ nests. They lock onto the location more than the eggs. If you move her eggs into their pen, she may keep laying in her old nest, or she may abandon it and either quit laying or find somewhere new to lay.

      Sometimes, if a duck is fully broody, it’s possible to move them by putting them in a new nest box during the night and locking them in for a day or two. But it’s not guaranteed to work.

      Building a fence should work, though. If you have digging predators where you live, be sure they can’t dig under the fence.

      If possible, I’d recommend having an emergency incubator in case she abandons her nest again. Some ducks are just unreliable mothers.

      Hannah