- click here for home page

The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Keeping ducks
..For Eggs
>..For Meat
...Housing them

Almost all the ducks we eat are Aylesburys.

The Aylesbury is the traditional white duck with orange bill and feet. A good Aylesbury will lay up to 100 eggs a year so this breed is sometimes referred to as dual-purpose. However, if you work out the comparative cost of producing an egg from an Aylesbury or a Campbell (three times as much) it is quite obvious that Aylesburys should be bred to fatten. Fed well, an Aylesbury can grow to around 8 lb live weight in 8 weeks. This is when the birds should be marketed. It is the easiest time to pluck them as they are moulting and not yet in full adult plumage. Ducks are not nearly so easy as chickens to pluck.

In France the Rouen duck is the most widely eaten. It is a handsome, black and white bird which takes some six months to reach the weight of a two-month Aylesbury. This slower growth is said to give more flavour. The bird is generally killed by smothering. This is said to add to its particularly fine flavour; what it certainly does is make it more likely to 'go off as it has not been bled. It has to be cooked within a very short time of killing to be safe and for this reason it is banned from sale in the USA.