HISTORYAccording 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
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
young birds not to full size note bill colour and pronounced keel
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 scene awaits 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 needed
Breed Hints....Kept as trio or pair .. will go broody and hatch
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.
*****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 little mud
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
The Mallard duck is the ancestor of almost all domestic breeds of ducks and clearly that of the Rouen. Though marked with the same color pattern as Mallards, with drakes having green heads, white collars, claret breast and a blue patch on the wing, Rouens are even brighter in color and larger in size than Mallards. The Rouen was developed in France and was admitted to the American Standard in 1874. It is still considered the superior meat bird in Europe, where much more duck is consumed than in America. In the U.S., Rouens are raised primarily for the restaurant market. These ducks are excellent foragers, calm in disposition and unlikely to fly. Drakes mature at about 8 pounds and ducks at about 7 pounds. Laying rate varies; some strains average 100 eggs per year and other over 150
The Rouen Clair is referred to in early poultry books as the Duclair Duck (Lewis Wright 1880's and others). Again appearing in a variant of the common Mallard colouring bu a useful breed with reasonable laying and brooding abilities.Also known as Le carnard de Rouen clair' in France/Belgium
eggs showing distinctive colouration
Prior History Removed due to complainant. By the 1890's the cayugas were measured at 19 pound per pair and resembling the Aylesbury in carriage**see engraving below**They carry the blood of the original wild black duck, the Black East Indies and probably some Rouen blood introduced for the purpose of larger size. The Cayuga should be bred to the meat type. Desired weights are: Adult drake, 8 lbs.; adult duck, 7 lbs.; young duck, 6 lbs. Some Cayugas fail to attain these weights, and specimens of decidedly deficient size should not be bred
Kept as groups or alternatively trios ..depending upon the drakes energy levels. They lay through the year normally starting in the spring and will brood their eggs if left to sit. The eggs are meant to be covered in a black/dark grey film which will wash off though many now lay white eggs
Appearance: Bill, slate/black Legs, orange/black Plumage, black with beetle green gloss. A broad deep long bodied duck. plumage in both sexes is a deep green black with a pronounced sheen. Bill is black legs and webs as dark as possible black for preference.
Needs: Do require water for swimming to stay health, also need it changing regularly as the oil that produces the sheen and gloss will scum the water
Older ducks showing the lack of colour from age...Males NEVER have any white .Females will be white by 8 years old
Names . . Canard de Cayuga.
Country Of Origin;......... USA
Carriage; A broad deep long bodied duck.
Purpose;..........Meat Production: Egg Production:....Seasonal layer,
Egg Colour .......................black outer ..white shell under sooty pigment large
Egg Numbers............80 /100 . . Seasonal layer,
Breed Defects. . . . .Orange legs; white in male feathers
Broodiness:... . accepatble often a private mother hiding the eggs well . . Incubation: 28 days Maturity:
Breed Hints.... Kept as trio or pair .. will go broody and hatch
Weights; 6 to 9 pounds / drake 3,0 - 3,5 kg duck 2,7 - 3,1 kg
Breed Tip****Females have white feathering as they age .. starting with a few white flecks until by 6yrs the female is often white.NEVER any white on the male.
Flying . females occasionally fly when young a good back garden all rounder;
Genetic profile;-Gene : Extended black/ symbol E/ Dominant.
Causes solid black pigment to be laid down in all areas except those influenced by genes for white spotting. Typical of the Black Orpington(USA) Black Cayuga and Black East Indian. Evidence exists suggesting that extended black influences eggshell colour giving it a grey tint when crossed or 'improved' this is lost first
The following article appeared in our Yearbook and is from one of the leading Breeders
The Cayuga duck is making a terrific comeback, both in terms of the numbers being shown, and in the high quality one sees at the shows. During the 1987 Show season, Cayugas were judged Champion or Reserve Champion Duck or Champion Waterfowl, on several occasions, and in at lone case Grand Champion over all (chickens included) This is not a localized phenomenon by one breeder or one judge, but occurred on both East and West coasts, the Midwest and the South, and was accomplished by several breeders. Whether this trend continues or whether the Cayuga is just going through a cycle of popularity remains to be seen. At any rate more good Cayugas are being bred and exhibited now than in quite some time.Much has been written regarding the Cayugas' early history and development which will not be dwelled upon here. Suffice it to say, when the first Pekins were imported into this country, the Cayugas' fate as a commercial duck was doomed as were a number of other breeds as well. Given credit for keeping the breed alive over the last Eighty or so years belongs to the 'stringman', who carried the Cayuga along with their other breeds to show at the fairs. Research has not turned up one Breeder who bred and exhibited Cayugas exclusively as breeders of Rouen's, Runners, Calls, etc. have done.So why the recent increase in popularity? The first attraction has to be one Cayugas beauty One has to look very hard to find another domesticated fowl with a more brilliant green sheen on black plumage. Seeing a freshly bathed Cayugas preening itself in full sunlight is a sight any waterfowl fancier will not soon forget. Also as Cayugas seem to mature rather slowly,keep feeding them well into their second year to obtain maximum size. Breeding for and holding the brilliant green sheen probably causes more problems for breeders than any other trait. A fairly common problem exists in that Cayuga females and especially the most brilliant green ones, tend to moult in white feathers in their body plumage with age. This is not to be confused with white under the Jaw (which should be culled out in young birds). These white body feathers usually appear in females after their first adult moult, and becomes more prevalent in each successive moult until some females appear almost pure white after 5 or 6 years of age. While some females don't get white body feathers until their 3rd or 4th year, these are usually the self same individuals that lacked the maximum sheen to begin with. So the breeder is faced with a problem. In order to show old females he largely must be content with birds with a little less lustre effect on the sheen of his young birds. One may breed these females to brilliant green drakes with good results although if this practice is continued year after year, I believe the breeder will notice an overall dulling effect on the sheen of young birds . On the other hand if extremely brilliant green birds are bred together year in and year out the white ageing in females will continue until the young females in their first fall may start to show white body feathers. So while we have a situation that requires the breeders constant attention and judgment it is really no worse that other color breeding problems in other breeds. By the way Cayuga males rarely if ever turn - white with age. Some may develop white bibs or white under jaw when they first feather in and these males should be culled. From then on Cayuga drakes stay black their entire life. Bill coloring is rather easily bred for; the standard calling for pure black in both sexes. A small amount of slate or green at the tip of the bill of an otherwise good bird is nothing to worry about. Yellow in the bill however should not be tolerated in the show or breed pen The standard calls for black legs and feet and this also is not a problem once fixed in a blood line. Males may show some reddish orange cast to their legs as they age and this more or less is normal but should be guarded against in young birds. Conditioning Cayugas for exhibition is not a problem if kept in fairly clean pens or runs, with clean bathing water, they really condition themselves. All that remains to wipe any mud off bills or feet before the show. Some exhibitors wipe or spray their Cayugas with various mixtures designed to enhance the Sheen or lustre on to the plumage; This must be done carefully and with restraint as dust from the showroom may adhere to an oily coating and these dust particles actually might dull an otherwise naturally bright Cayuga Also a word regarding proper cooping and lighting in the show room is in order here. To show at its best advantage the Cayuga should not be cooped on the bottom deck or in a dark corner of the room with poor light. In years past, when Cayugas were shown in smaller numbers, they were often relegated to the back corner of the show along side the AOV ducks and I'm sure many excellent birds were overlooked by judges due to this practice Even with today's larger classes of Cayuga some shows need to be made aware of this problem and steps taken to correct it. If given a fair opportunity, today's well bred and conditioned Cayugas can hold their own with any breed. Cayugas are also extremely hardy, taking the most severe Northern Winters in their stride. Thelr black plumage being an advantage when wintered outside with minimum shelter. Warmth from the sun being drawn to their bodies making them more comfortable and therefore requiring less feed than white or light plumaged breeds which tend to reflect solar heat.
Remember this breed was developed in upstate N.B. where severe winters are encountered and on early 1800's style farms which more or less let the ducks fend for themselves around the barnyard. In summer their plumage is a disadvantage without shade as they do seem to suffer more on the hottest days then other breeds without it. Fertility is rarely a problem in Cayugas, and a breeder may safely mate 5-6 females with one male. What is more, Cayugas males remain fertile for many years, if, well cared for with little noticeable drop in fertility. We have used 6 and 7 year old drake with good results. one breeder reports using one male with up to a dozen females and getting nearly 100% fertility and while I wouldn't recommend such a mating I don't doubt its possibilities. Cayuga females are excellent layers, some years being the first duck to lay in the spring, and many times laying in the fall of their 'pullet' year if on good feed. What's more if left to set on their own eggs, I rate them right behind Muscovies and Mallards as Mothers.For the last several years, when we have been crowded for incubator room we here set goose eggs under our Cayuga hens that go broody and they always have hatched goslings for us. Cayugas also make good eating. If one waits until late fall or early winter to dress them they will pick just as clean as a white bird, their skin being a nice rich yellow. Their flavor is wonderful! In breeding Cayugas' type is not usually much of a problem as they breed quite true when bred to the standard with few culls for type. Size and Color will prove to be the breeders greatest challenges. This breed was once Plagued On undersize, probably the results of some Cayugas being compared with Black East Indies. However in recent years this has largely been corrected I feel all one has to do is keep an eye on the size of his birds and breed from a larger than average bird when one occurs in his flock provided this bird has good type and reasonably good colour opportunity, today's well bred and conditioned Cayugas can hold their own with any breed
Also known as Le carnard de Saxe in France/Belgium originally made from crossing Pekin; Rouen and Pomeranians first exhibited 1934; standards agreed by 1958
The Saxony duck is almost a designer duck with a muted colouration, weighing about 3-4kg (7-9lb). The drake's head, back, and wing markings are blue-gray. The breast feathers are a rich chestnut-burgundy, the underbody and flanks are cream, and the neck ring white. Legs and feet are orange or reddish-brown and the bill is yellow or orange, often with pale green shading. The females are buff with creamy white facial stripes, neck ring, and underbody. The bill is orange, often with brown shading. The legs and feet are orange to reddish-orange.
"In eastern Germany, Albert Franz of Chemitz began developing a new multipurpose duck in 1930. He used Rouen, German Pekin, and Blue Pomeranian ducks in his breeding program and introduced this new creation at the Saxony Show of 1934." (Holderread 2001, 85) Most Saxony ducks did not survive World War II, so Franz renewed his breeding program after the war. During 1957 Germany recognized this duck as a distinct breed. Saxony ducks made their way to the United States when the Holderread Waterfowl Farm imported them in 1984. They were admitted into the American Poultry Association's American Standard of Perfection in the Fall of 2000. (Holderread 2001, 85-6)