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Silver Appleyard – Everything You Need to Know

Silver Appleyard

Looking for a duck breed that looks similar to Mallard ducks but provides more meat and eggs for your family’s consumption?

If yes, the Silver Appleyard may be the one for you!

This dual-purpose breed may be rare and less popular in the poultry industry, but they’re a breed prized for its beauty, personality, and meat and egg-laying capabilities.

Do you want to get to know more about this Appleyard duck breed? Great!

In this guide to Silver Apleyard’s world, we’ll discuss:

  • When and why was Silver Appleyard developed
  • How they deal with fellow waterfowl and their owners
  • What makes them an excellent addition to your flock

This will help you determine whether Appleyard ducks are the right breed for you. Whether you’re a newbie homesteader or an experienced poultry farmer, you’ll benefit from this guide.

So, let’s get right into it and dig deep into its history!

Quick Facts About Silver Appleyard

Origin: United Kingdom
Size: Female: 7 to 8 lbs.
Drake: 8 to 10 lbs.
Egg size: 2.5–3.7 oz. (large)
Egg color: White
Egg production: 220 to 265 eggs per year
Primary purpose: Meat and egg production
Conservation Status: Threatened

Silver Appleyard infographics

Silver Appleyard’s Origin and History

Silver Appleyard ducks came into existence thanks to Reginal Appleyard, a skilled poultry breeder and renowned writer from Ixworth, England.

He developed the breed at his famous Priory Waterfowl Farm near Bury St. Edmund.

His goal was to create an excellent all-around utility and farmyard duck that produces good meat, big white eggs, beautiful feathering, and deep, long, and wide breast.

This goal was stated on his 1940 farm brochure and achieved by crossing Pekin, Rouen, and Aylesbury duck breeds.

He also developed the miniature Silver Appleyard by crossing a small Khaki Campbell with a White Call.

But unfortunately, he died before submitting a standard to any poultry association. 

However, his effort didn’t go to waste because the birds he produced won at shows, and the ducklings were great table birds that reached 6.5 lb(3kg) in just nine weeks. 

Due to the lack of interest in duck breeds, the original line of Silver Appleyard declined in 1945.

But thankfully, an English breeder named Tom Bartlett recreated the Silver Appleyard breed.

He bought ducks from the market with the desired traits and selectively bred them to look similar to E.G. Wippell’s painting. 

These various efforts led to the acceptance of the breed by the British Waterfowl Association in 1982. 

Bartlett further developed a miniature version in the 1980s, and his creation was shown at the 1987 British Waterfowl Champion Waterfowl Exhibition. 

The mini silver Appleyard ducks are one-third of the standard breed’s weight, and the standard was established in 1997. But it was reclassified in the UK as the “Silver Bantam” breed.

The Silver Appleyard found its way to the United States in the 1960s and became available to the public in 1984.

The American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection accepted the large version of Silver Appleyard in 1998.

silver appleyard ducks

Silver Appleyard Duck’s Physical Characteristics and Standard

Despite being unable to submit a standard, Reginald’s Appleyard breed has been recognized through the help of E.G Wippell, a famous artist who painted an exquisite Silver Appleyard canvas in 1947. 

Silver Appleyards look similar to Mallard ducks, but several differences set them apart. To help you recognize this breed, let’s discuss its distinct characteristics.

Large Silver Appleyard Ducks

This breed has a stocky, compact body and a slightly erect posture similar to but not as much as Indian Runner ducks. 

Silver Appleyard Drakes

Male Silver Appleyard ducks feature a greenish or yellow bill with a black tip, brown eyes, and a greenish-black head and neck, with some silver shading effect that grows larger as they age.

Their breast, sides, shoulders, and flank are reddish-chestnut with some white frosting and lacing, while their underbody is creamy or silvery-white. 

The males also boast gray and white wings with bright blue cross-stripe. Their tail is blackish bronze, while their legs and feet are orange. 

They can be mistaken for Mallards but what makes Appleyard ducks different is their two restricted dominant genes that are light recessive.

That results in a light-colored pigment on their body and face or a silver shading effect that are visible on their head, neck, and other parts of their body.

As they grow older, that head’s silver shades become more pronounced, and the chestnut plumage gets darker. 

Female Silver Appleyard Duck

The head and neck of these Appleyard hen range from silver to white, while their beak is orange.

When the duck hen is young, the belly and chest area are extremely pale, and as they age, they become a darker shade of pale.

Like the drakes, the hens’ speculum features an iridescent blue, green, or violet shade. But as they age, that area becomes more prominent and brighter.

Silver Appleyard Ducklings

Most Silveryard ducklings have yellow plumage color on their entire body except on their head which boasts a mohawk pattern and a dark tail. 

Miniature Silver Appleyard Ducks

Unlike the large varieties’ restricted and light genes, the miniature ducks have dusky harlequin genes.

However, their simple plumage coloration and pattern make them even more appealing.

miniature silver appleyard ducks
Miniature Silver Appleyard

Silver Appleyard’s Temperament and Disposition

This waterfowl breed is calm and docile and can be friendly when hand-raised. They’re less temperamental than chickens, so you don’t have to worry if they’d get close to your kids. 

Silver Appleyards are also excellent foragers who settle wherever there’s enough food. Therefore, you can save a considerable amount of feed if you offer them a large area for foraging.

Silver Appleyard’s Meat and Egg-Laying Capabilities

If you’re planning to purchase and raise a Silver Appleyard duck, one of the most crucial purchasing factors is how much meat and eggs it can produce.

So, let’s discuss how this breed performs in the meat and egg-laying department.

Meat Production Quality

Silver Appleyard ducks are fast-growing and produce high-quality, lean meat with less fat.

Furthermore, their large breast is often prized by duck meat breeders and gourmet chefs because of their mild, non-greasy texture. 

Egg Production

Now, let’s move on to its egg production capabilities. Although Silver Appleyard ducks are not popular in the poultry industry, they can produce an excellent amount of eggs.

How many eggs do Silver Appleyard ducks lay?

Appleyard ducks can produce 100–270 eggs annually, which is why they’re ideal for poultry businesses. 

What color eggs do Silver Appleyards lay?

Their eggs are white, weighing around 2.5–3.7 oz. (57–85 g), so they fall into the medium to large category. 

How long does it take for Silver Appleyard duck eggs to hatch?

It takes 26 to 29 days for Appleyard eggs to hatch and lay in a nest at times. 

Silver Appleyard Duck’s Lifespan and Conservation Status

These hardy and versatile ducks have a lifespan of around 4 to 8 years, but there are still Appleyard breeds that can live beyond 12 years. 

The Livestock Conservancy’s Priority List lists it as “threatened.” Furthermore, it’s protected by the Rare breeds Survival Trust in the UK.

silver appleyard drake

How to Raise a Silver Appleyard

Silver Appleyard ducks are generally healthy. However, if you want to raise ducks of this breed, you need to provide them with the best possible care to make them more productive and happier.

Here are some tips on how to raise these ducks the right way.

Diet and Nutrition

The most crucial aspect of Appleyard’s duck farming operation is providing the birds with high-quality, nutrient-rich duck feed.

Therefore, strive to constantly feed your ducks adequate nutritional feed and never give them tainted feed.

You can give your ducks some poultry feed; however, they have higher Niacin requirements, so a duck feed specially formulated for ducks is a better option. 

Don’t forget to give them an accessible fresh and clean water source because it’s crucial for duck’s health. And if possible, supplement their feed to boost their health and immunity.


A good and comfortable shelter or housing system is necessary for Appleyard ducks to keep them safe from all kinds of predators and bad weather.

So, when building the home for your ducks, ensure that there’s a good ventilation system and enough light and air flowing through the structure and that it’s easy to clean.

A mature Silver Appleyard duck requires 4 to 5 square feet of housing space because of its medium to big size.


Ducks are social birds who enjoy the company of their fellow waterfowl.

So, if you want to make your duck happier or start an Appleyard farming business, you must give your bird a companion. 


Ducks can exercise by foraging and swimming. So it’s best to provide your bird with a large space for foraging or a pond for swimming.

But if that’s not plausible, a small duck pool should do. That should work and keep them refreshed during hot, sunny days.

Breeding Tips for Silver Appleyard Ducks 

If you want to breed your Silver Appleyard, you must provide a space away from the rest of the flock.

Keep one mature drake for every 8 to 10 females for the best likelihood of long-term breeding success.

Overcrowding in a flock of ducks can result in possibly fatal internal injuries and permanent damage to both male and female reproductive organs.

Silver Appleyard ducks don’t require special husbandry methods for diet or housing compared to other duck breeds.

To shelter them from the outdoors and predators, a duck house with run or duck coop and run will do just fine.

silver appleyard ducks for sale

Where to Find Silver Appleyard Ducks For Sale

It’s best to buy Silver Appleyard ducklings from reputable local breeders. However, these ducks are challenging to find since they’re not as popular as other breeds.

But you can purchase female, male, and unsexed ducklings from the following hatcheries and poultry farms:

However, there’s a downside to purchasing online. The shipping can be stressful for the baby ducks, and the availability may vary, so you need to be patient in looking for one.

Frequently Asked Questions About Silver Appleyard Ducks

Here are other common questions about the Appleyard breed that you may find helpful when purchasing.

Do Silver Appleyard ducks fly?

Appleyard ducks fly really well. While it enables them to escape from predators, it also makes them excellent escape artists.

That’s why some owners clipped their Appleyard’s wings.

How much is a Silver Appleyard duck worth?

Silver Appleyard’s cost may vary depending on the sex, quality, and number of ducklings you’ll purchase, but you can get one as low as $9.58 to as much as $17.94.

Females are usually more expensive than males.

Are Silver Appleyard ducks loud?

These Appleyard ducks are quieter than other breeds, so they’d do well as backyard ducks. But they can also get extra loud when they quack when hungry.

How big do Silver Appleyards get?

Appleyard ducks can get large, averaging 8 to 9 pounds. Drakes are larger than females as they have blocky conformation, and they’re slightly cheaper.

How long does Silver Appleyards live?

Appleyard ducks can live up to four to eight years, but others can live longer and beyond 12 years when properly cared for and given enough love and attention.

Are Silver Appleyard ducks endangered?

Silver Appleyard ducks are listed as “threatened” by the Livestock conservancy, which means they’re at risk of extinction.

But by keeping, breeding, and raising some Appleyards, you can help preserve this breed and save them from extinction.

Are mini Appleyard ducks noisy?

They’re generally quiet, especially the drakes, but females sometimes get quacky, like other ducks.

However, they’re still more tolerable and less temperamental than other breeds.

silver appleyard ducklings

Pros & Cons

  • They’re versatile
  • Friendly
  • Excellent foragers
  • Grows quickly
  • Produce plenty of eggs
  • Naturally flighty
  • Takes time to tame
  • Females can be noisy

Silver Appleyard: Final Thoughts

Silver Appleyard definitely ticks off all boxes since it has all the qualities you’d look for in a duck breed.

It sports a beautiful plumage that transforms over time, a calm and docile personality, and excellent meat and egg-laying capabilities.

The problem, however, is it’s challenging to find since it’s rare and unpopular.

But if you’d ever find one, this breed will surely not disappoint you!

If you’re looking for other breed options, check out the article below.

READ NEXT: Mallard Ducks – Get to Know More About These Flying Wild Ducks

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