Congleton, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Posted Sep 27, 2012
This is a very pretty, even tempered duck with a classic 'quack' call. It's also the classic duckpond bird of 1950s England.
This is a very heavy duck an their bellies are quite low to the ground. As a result their feathers will get muddy, particularly if it's quite a way to the pond. They will need to be washed every so often as a result. If you have a baby bath then fill this with water and wash them in it. As long as it's a warm day they will love to splash and their even temperaments typically means no problems washing them this way. And kids love playing like this too.
Aylesburys are a dual purpose bird, and become heavy quite quickly (they were once the Christmas bird of choice for poorer families). If you like duck eggs, they are prolific layers. However, the ducks do get broody, but this does means that they are protective and attentive mothers if you want to increase your flock's numbers.
As heavy birds, they are very prone to fox attacks in areas where foxes are endemic. So you really do need to keep them indoors over night. They play well with other fowl however so you can keep them with chickens, geese, other ducks an even quail.
Depending on your pond and where it is, they will mainly graze and forage for their food. However, it is good to supplement with commercial waterfowl feed every now and then. They also enjoy treats of wheat, greens and the occasional slug or earthworm.
Like most ducks they enjoy dust baths as well as bathing with water. If you can provide them with a sand pit of fine sand that will help them keep their skins and feathers clear of any parasites and infestations.
Aylesburys are quite affectionate ducks and if you hand feed them they will follow you, waddling slowly behind. Which is an excellent way of introducing them to new environments. They need water, but it does not have to be a pond, a low moving stream works just as well. Never keep them singly and if you allow them to wander outside, note that despite their size and weight they are prone to wander to make their enclosure duck proof (ensure they cannot squeeze under or through a gate).