The Silver Appleyard was developed by the respected poultry man Mr Reginald Appleyard in Britain by the 1930s or 1940s at his Priory Waterfowl Farm at Ixworth, England. He called his place ‘England’s Leading Stud of Ducks and Geese’. His goal was to produce a type of duck for utility, exhibition, and meat ,“to make a beautiful breed of duck, with a combination of beauty, size, lots of big white eggs, and a deep long and wide breast.”
By the time Mr Appleyard died in 1964 the breed had not been standardised in the USA. Following World War II interest in waterfowl breeds declined and the breed was close to extinction. By the 1970s respected breeder Tom Bartlett, of Folly Farm England, who shared the same interests as Appleyard, went on to get the breed more recognised and standardised. Bartlett developed the Miniature (bantam) Appleyard which arrived in the USA in the 1960s. In 1998 the American Poultry Association held a meeting to recognise the Silver Appleyard as an official breed and in 2000 it was added to the American Standard.
History of the breed's arrival & development in Australia is scarce.
Today it is known around the world as a beautiful show bird, and is slowly becoming closer to Mr Appleyard’s original aim of a good all purpose duck which matures quickly for the table and lays well. Their plumage is rather sleek and silky, with their colouring and patterning being just one reason why this breed is so attractive to the eye.
There is a section for bantam / miniature versions of this breed in the Standards, and they were rather up in numbers at the Canberra National in June 2008. Bantams are rather easier to breed and are more prolific and hardier than the larger variety, so you are probably best to start off with these rather than the large variety of this breed if you are just starting out with breeding or showing or both. The bantams can fly easily (just like all bantams). The bantams of this breed would make good backyard & children's pets.
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Classification: Heavy breed
Eggs: are large & white from the large variety. Some written records state they lay 100-180 eggs per year but in Australia the large variety doesn't lay as well as that. Bantams are good layers of smaller tinted/white eggs
Comments: A general purpose duck, in Australia they are mainly kept as exhibition birds. Compared with Pekin Ducks, the Appleyard does not grow quite as fast, however they have much more interesting colours, are better layers, better foragers, and are more likely to incubate their own eggs. They are also fairly calm.
Selecting Birds: Select birds that are robust, strong-legged and excellent producers of large white eggs. Many Appleyards are undersized, so birds of correct size with solid muscles need to be considered for breeding. On the other hand, for exhibition select big, solid birds with no keels, smooth silky plumage and proper colour, as well as being true to type. Avoid lack of cheek and throat markings, lack of iridescent blue on wings, or keels & colours other than stated in the Australian Standard. Also avoid birds that are excessively over or under weight or that do not come close to the Silver Appleyard breed standards.
Breeding: They mature quickly and are an interesting and rewarding duck to breed, although the colouring is difficult to keep well and maintain through breeding. Don’t hesitate to chat to other breeders for more information and I’m sure you will be well on the way. It has been known that most breeders to have a bit of a difficult time breeding them true to the Australian Standard (especially the large version), but it is very rewarding once you have struck the right bird/s, that generally fit the the criteria.
Feeding: They are very good foragers so, unlike Muscovies, they do not need to be fed much or often, as the Appleyard does not lie around depending on you for their food. Instead they go out and forage around themselves. They can be easily overfed too, so watch for weight.
Availability: The large version of this breed is not overly common but is slowly making a comeback. The bantam variety is slowly increasing in popularity as well. Good healthy, vigorous birds from decent show lines can be a fair price. The bantam variety can be a little more costly than the large variety as they are less common.
CARRIAGE - Slightly erect with the back showing a gentle slope from the shoulders to the tail. Looks lively. TYPE - The body should be compact and well rounded, yet broad. The tail is also broad, with the drake having the curls. HEAD - Alert & fine with the bill of medium length & width. Eyes prominent. NECK - Of medium length & held upright. LEGS AND FEET - Legs short and set midway in the body.
COLOURS: Duck & Drake: Eyes hazel. Bill yellow. Legs light orange.
Drake: Head and upper neck to be green-black with silver white throat, flecked with fawn. Silver-white ring completely encircling the base of the neck. Remainder of neck below the ring, and shoulders, are a light claret colour. There is a suggestion of this colour running along the upper thigh coverts, but not onto the flank. His wing coverts, lower breast, underbody & flank are a light silver colour, with the usual band of iridescent blue on the wing. Back and rump is black-green, with white tips to the tail feathers.
Duck: Silver white crown and back of neck, flecked with fawn. Deep fawn line through the eyes. Shoulders and back flecked strongly with fawn, followed by the usual iridescent blue on the wings. The tail is fawn.
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