The Silver Appleyard duck sounds quite enchanting with an elegant name that seems to have come straight out of a fairytale. Silver Appleyards certainly have some charming characteristics that make them the perfect match for many farmers and homesteaders.
This duck can lay an impressive amount of eggs as well as grow to a desirable weight for meat production, making them perfect for the practical farmer.
About Silver Appleyard Ducks
The delightful Silver Appleyard originated in England, bred by Reginald Appleyard, which is where the breed got its name. Reginald’s goal with this breed was to create a beautiful, well-shaped duck with the ability to produce plenty of eggs and meat.
When one thinks of a heritage breed, they usually picture an old breed, but this is not the case with Silver Appleyards. Reginald began working on creating this breed in the mid-1950s and they made their way to America in the 1960s. Finally, this duck gained recognition by the American Poultry Association in the year 2000.
Silver Appleyard Duck Characteristics
1. Size and Weight
As would be expected of a dual-purpose breed, Silver Appleyards have the potential to reach a large size. A well-bred, full-grown Silver Appleyard can reach a weight of up to 9 pounds. Naturally, hens will weigh a slight amount less than drakes, which makes the drakes ideal for meat production while the hens are kept as egg layers.
Silver Appleyards are generally calm ducks with peaceful temperaments and a love for foraging. It’s not unheard of for a hen to go broody, and they tend to make decent mothers when they get the inclination to raise their own ducklings.
3. Egg Production
Although there are duck breeds that lay more than this breed, Silver Appleyards are among the very best heavy breed layers. A healthy hen in her prime will lay somewhere between 220 and 260 duck eggs in a single year.
4. Meat Production
Silver Appleyards are very good meat producers for a dual-purpose breed, often praised for their lean meat. The breast meat on a Silver Appleyard is especially impressive because this duck was bred for deep, long, wide breasts to supply the maximum amount of breast meat.
Caring for Silver Appleyard Ducks
1. Feeding and Nutrition
During the seasons where vegetation is readily available, you can likely count on these ducks to forage a large part of their diet. It’s always a good idea to supplement with a balanced diet for your ducks regardless of their foraging habits to ensure they’re receiving all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
You can expect to feed Silver Appleyards the same kind of food you would feed any duck. Your intended uses for these ducks can influence how you feed them, so make sure you are educated on feeding laying ducks vs meat ducks.
2. Housing and Fencing
When it comes to housing ducks, they can demand a bit more space than some poultry on the farm does.
For a duck house, 5 to 6-square feet per duck is a good guideline to use when choosing the size of your house. Of course, always allow extra room if you can for happier ducks and to give you the opportunity to grow your flock.
If you choose to keep your ducks confined outside, a spacious run will be in order. A duck needs 12 to 15-square feet minimum to make sure each duck has room to stretch out during the day. Once again, extra room is always welcomed by your ducks and it helps you if you decide to add more ducks later on down the road.
3. Health Issues and Care
If you’re looking for a hardy breed with a robust immune system, look no further than the Silver Appleyard. Naturally, proper care and maintenance of your Silver Appleyard flock are imperative to keeping healthy ducks. If you keep your flock well taken care of, they should live long, healthy lives.
Due to the fact that Silver Appleyards have been battling extinction, this duck could use some passionate breeders. A breeding project with a lovely breed like the Silver Appleyard would certainly be a fun adventure to embark upon.
When choosing your stock, it’s important to purchase from a breeder who knows what they’re doing. Good quality stock can make for reliable ducks for generations to come, but poor stock won’t get you far.
Silver Appleyards are customarily supposed to be a larger breed to better accommodate both meat and egg production. However, many Silver Appleyards today aren’t nearly as large as the Standard of Perfection calls for. When choosing a breeding flock, make sure you are satisfied with the characteristics your birds will be passing through generations.
Silver Appleyard Breed Alternatives
You’ve likely heard of Orpington chickens, but have you heard of Orpington ducks? This is a dual-purpose breed that is quite similar to Silver Appleyards in what they have to offer. Orpingtons have decent egg production for a heavy breed in addition to their good meat-producing qualities.
The Saxony duck is more for meat than egg production, but they are still considered a dual-purpose breed. You can expect 80 to 100 eggs in a year from a single Saxony hen, which is definitely less than what most people are after in an egg-producing duck. Physically speaking, the Saxony shares many similarities with Silver Appleyards.
Did You Know?
There are actually two smaller versions of the Silver Appleyard that are far less common than their standard-sized counterpart.
Reginald Appleyard used various other duck breeds to create a “Silver Appleyard bantam”, although the actual Appleyard duck was not used to breed the bantam duck. At some point afterward, this duck was renamed to the Silver Bantam.
Another breeder created a smaller Silver Appleyard approximately a third the size of the standard Silver Appleyard duck.
The Silver Appleyard is undoubtedly an excellent pick for many farmers looking to find a breed to produce a hearty supply of both meat and eggs. Consider adding a few of these ducks to your farm next time you’re choosing additions. You surely won’t be disappointed.