In the Eastleach Donkey Paddock we have 3 Miniature Silver Appleyard ducks, a drake and two ladies.
The Silver Appleyard duck bred by the famous Reginald Appleyard is famous not only for its egg laying ability but also for its beauty. But until 1980 it did not have a miniature equivalent. Well known waterfowl breeder, Tom Bartlett changed all that by developing this breed in 1980 and it weights one third of the original breed. The miniature is not to be confused with the Silver Bantam which was developed by Reginald Appleyard. The two breeds have been standardised separately. The Silver Appleyard Miniature was taken up with some enthusiasm by breeders and exhibitors for its sheer beauty and it shines on an exhibition bench. It’s also popular abroad.
As well as being good looking it is also a hardy and lively breed and a good layer. Although obviously a small carcase, as a table bird it is meaty and compact so it is useful for back yard or smallholding purposes. It’s a good garden bird (though it will still eat young plants!) and likes to forage on slugs and snails. They are determined sitters and love to raise a family so if its eggs you want, you’ll need to be strict about collecting every day. It’s an easy breeder of strong ducklings. Keep a breeding trio for best results.
It is bred to a precise standard. The drake has a black green head with a silver white flecked throat which has a silver ring around it. Under the neck it is claret to silver under the body and laced claret along the back. The rump is solid black green and the wings have blue tips. Whilst different, the duck is lovely with her silver white head and neck and creamy white underbody and she also sports blue tipped wings. They must be compact of body. A handsome couple indeed.They are in the bantam duck classification but strictly speaking a miniature is a duck (or chicken) that has a larger counterpart while a bantam has no large counterpart.