Silver Appleyard Ducks
We happened upon Silver Appleyard ducks quite by accident, purchasing a small flock that was being re-homedafter competing in the State fair.
Note: After taking birds to a poultry show, it is inadvisable to return them home to the rest of your flock, unless you are able to quarantine them for a good amount of time. Competition show birds are exposed to germs carried by people from their own flocks and by other show birds. This was early in our learning curve and we were fortunate that the birds we purchased did not carry any diseases.
Silver Appleyard ducks are a heavy-bodied duck that does not fly. They are curious, gentle, and weigh between 8 and 10 pounds when mature. Drakes have an emerald green head that shimmers green, purple and black in the sunlight. As they age, white splotches highlight the green, often at the ‘cheeks’. Their breast is colored with mahogany, and their wings are gray, white, and black with a rich blue accent stripe.
Silver Appleyard hens lay approximately 220 to 250 eggs a year. Primary colors range from dark tan to white, with brown or black stripes down the feather length on the upper wings, back, chest, belly and tail. The hens generally have tan or light gray on the upper, exposed half of their necks, white on the underside.
In recent years, we have expanded and enhanced our flock of Silver Appleyard ducks with Holderread Top Show Quality ducklings. While the Silver Appleyard ducks we started with never threw completely white offspring, I have found that some of those purchased from Holderread do on occasion. If you want an all-white bird, these are a wonderful choice. Regardless of the color, all Appleyard ducks are a superb addition to your farm—well-balanced in body, gentle in nature, and a productive layer that also yields gourmet-quality meat.
According to the Livestock Conservancy, “Rare farm animals represent an irreplaceable piece of earth’s biodiversity and offer incredible variety that may be needed for future farms – robust health, mothering instincts, foraging ability, and the capacity to thrive in a changing climate.” In 2007, Wikipedia listed Silver Appleyard ducks as ‘critically endangered.’ The Livestock Conservancy currently shows the status has been elevated to ‘threatened.’ While that is a significant improvement, we would love to see the Silver Appleyard duck removed from the endangered breeds list altogether someday.
This is such a lovely, gentle breed of duck, it deserves our help to increase its numbers.