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HEAVY DUCKS

'Heavy Ducks' are those which generally weigh over 7lbs in the duck and 8lbs in the drake.

Aylesbury

The Aylesbury duck derives it's name from the town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, where it was bred as a table duck to supply the London market in the eighteenth century. The Aylesbury duck was a leading waterfowl exhibit in the first national poultry show held at the London zoological gardens in June 1845. This was the beginning of live poultry exhibitions, and it was the Victorian stress on size that led to the development of the modern Aylesbury duck with its pronounced keel and long pink bill which are a must for exhibition birds.

The Aylesbury is a heavy duck with the drakes weighing 4.5-5.4kg(10-12lbs) and the ducks weighing 4.1-5.0kg(9-11lbs). The females are not very good layers only producing 80-100 eggs per year.

Aylesbury duck and drake
Aylesbury duck (left) and drake (right)

Blue Swedish

The Blue Swedish emerged as a breed in northern Europe during the nineteenth century. The Blue Swedish is a heavy utility bird with the ducks averaging around 150 eggs a year and the extra drakes fattening well for the table. When breeding exhibition Blue Swedish you can expect to produce three different colours of offspring, the blue, black and the silver.

The blue Swedish is classed as a heavy duck, with the drakes weighing: 3.6kg (8lb), and the ducks: 3.2kg (7lb). The colour of the Blue Swedish should be a solid blue on the body with two white primaries.

The drakes are very active in the breeding season so it is advisable to keep one male with at least two or three females.

Cayuga

This breed takes its name from Lake Cayuga in New York State. Some people believe the Cayuga is descended from the wild black duck while others believe it's a result of hybridisation with wild mallards. It was first standardised in Britain in 1874. Its main appearance is very similar to that of the smaller black East Indian: black plumage with brilliant green iridescence. The drakes tend to retain their black plumage but the females develop white patches as they get older.

The Cayuga is a heavy breed with drakes weighing: 3.6kg (8lb) and the ducks weighing: 3.2kg (7lb). When the ducks are in full lay you can expect between 50-100 eggs per year.

Cayuga
Cayuga

Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata)

The Muscovy is a heavy breed of duck that originates from central and southern America. The Muscovy duck is the only breed of domestic duck that is not descended from the wild mallard but belongs to a group known as the greater wood duck. These are heavy-bodied birds with relatively short legs that give them a horizontal carriage.

Muscovy
Muscovy drake and ducks

The Muscovy has three other characteristics that are readily apparent: they have an erectile fore-crown crest, wart like 'caruncles', especially in the case of males, and webbed feet equally suited to perching as swimming.

The drake weighs 4.5-6.3kg (10-14lbs) and the duck 2.3-3.2kg (5-7lbs)

One of the main things that the Muscovy is known for is its willingness to incubate and hatch not only its own but the eggs of other breeds.

Pekin ducks

The pekin duck was imported from china into Great Britain and America between 1872 and 1874, it was crossed with various other breeds and had a large impact on the table bird market. There are two distinct strains, the American which has a less upright carriage, and the European which has a cream coloured plumage and is very upright in its stance.

The pekin should be a heavy bird with the drakes weighing 4.1kg (9lbs) and the ducks 3.6kg (8lbs). They are reasonable layers for a heavy breed with ducks laying 150-200 eggs per year.

Pekin drakes
Pekin drakes

Rouen ducks

The Rouen duck is originally from France where they were used as a meat bird. They take 2 yrs to reach their full size of 12lbs, because of this they are now used more for showing. The Rouen duck is a very large imposing breed which looks like an oversized mallard with the females being brown with black lacing on the outside of the feathers. The drake has a green head, claret bib and grey body. Exhibition females don't lay a huge number of eggs laying between 100-150 eggs per year. They are a docile breed and tame reasonably easily. Because of their size they cannot fly.

Rouen drakes
Rouen drakes

Rouen clair

The Rouen clair is a heavy breed originally from France and was bred for meat. It is distinguished from the Rouen by the pale ground colour of the female plumage, the slightly upright carriage and a number of other plumage characteristics common in the light phase colouration. The Rouen clair is a not the best layer with the ducks only laying between 40-60 eggs a year, this number varies from strain to strain. But as with most other heavy breeds the extra drakes make for good eating.

Drakes weigh 3.4-4.1kg (7.5-9lbs) and ducks 2.9-3.4kg (6.5-7.5lbs)

Rouen drakes
Rouen clair

The Silver Appleyard (an extract from BWA Standards)

These big ducks were developed by expert waterfowl breeder, Reginald Appleyard in the 1930s. First shown in the 1940s, they were never standardized until rescued by Tom Bartlett. Wippell's 1947 painting of the breed was used as a standard. The drake is recognized by his colourful plumage. The claret feathers of the breast are tipped with white, and the scapular feathers are also edged with chestnut. The trademark of the drake is in his head markings; the green head of the mallard is stamped with silver eyebrows and silver throat. The ducks are particularly attractive with their creamy white feathers flecked and streaked in fawns and brown-grey.

Silver Appleyards
Silver Appleyards