Special animals… special species on Heartland… In May 20012, we received a visit from our friend on Heartland, who brought a friend to show her the Zebus. Her girl dream were "Aylesbury ducks", which she had fulfilled a few years ago. She was raving about these unbelievably charismatic ducklings for the whole Sunday. As the nature desires, one of her ducks suddenly began to breed little ducks. Because I always have a solution, the first ducklings moved without further ado to their new duck home on Heartland.
Hence we don’t want to keep all 22 ducks, we are selling the perfect Christmas roast or living ducks :-)
This race has its origin in the 18th century. The ducks were mainly raised by workers and sideline farmers. It was usually the task of women and children to take care of the chicks and pups.
Usually the workers and sideline farmers had a pond in their property to raise the ducks. There were understories next to the pond where the ducks could rest. At night they were kept in living rooms or even in the bedroom. Isabella Beeton reported, that there were boxes laid-out with hay along the walls, where the ducks could rest. Mostly the ducks belonged to the workers, but where raised on behalf of wholesalers.
Aylesburry-ducks bred very early in the year, so that they were could already be butchered around the 25th of July. This duck race was reckoned to be very delicious in Great Britain in the 19th century. The primary market for these ducks was London, approximately 64 kilometers in the south of Aylesbury. The ducks were moved in herds to London at first. Guesthouses along the road offered big, fenced areas, where the herds could pass the night. The stay was mostly payed with ducks. To protect the feet of the ducks, they were shooed through flat tar beds and afterwards through a flat sawdust bed. Since 1839, there is a railway to London. Hence the exhausting march became unnecessary and the animals were transported by train.
The flesh colored beak and the orange feet and legs are some of the duck race characteristics. It is a massy duck with a pale skin and a wide chest. The ducks carry their back parallel to the ground.
An important distinctive mark of this race is the pink – flesh colored beak. Ducks with differing beak colors are cross-breedings. The Aylesbury- duck is one of the biggest and heaviest house duck race. Full-grown drakes reach a weight of 4,5 to 5,4 kilograms. The ducks reach a weight between 4,1 and 5,0 kilograms. Pure Aylesbury- ducks are very rare these days.