Welcome to the wonderful world of the Silver Bantam duck

ABOVE: A trio of Silver Bantam ducks deciding whether to go into the pond.

SMALL, colourful, active and a great layer are just some of the words that could be used to describe a gem of a duck, the Silver Bantam.

This breed would be one of the least known domestic duck breeds but a wonderful breed that deserves a greater following as it offers a colourful, very attractive bird in both males and females as well as a great laying breed.

left: A breeding pair of John Neill’s Silver Bantam ducks.

As they are a miniature duck breed they can be kept in a smaller garden and are a relatively quiet breed that shouldn’t disturb the neighbours.

This breed has been in very few hands, to such a degree that they appear on the Rare Breed Survival Trust’s watch list as a priority breed. Up until a couple of years ago I had only seen them shown on a couple of occasions at local poultry shows by the McKibbin family from Carryduff. As they were so scarce they were entered into the Any other variety class.

Peter Hamill from County Tyrone took on the breed and enjoyed show success with them. On the national scene at the Domestic Waterfowl Club show in Wolverhampton, England, he won Best of Breed with a wonderful drake.

Peter kindly approached me last year giving me the opportunity to take on his entire breeding team of Silver Bantam ducks including his champion drake.

To improve the chances of the breed succeeding they were divided into smaller breeding groups with one group staying with me, another going to Tannaghmore Open Farm, the only rare breed farm in the country, and another group going to friends in County Down.

John Neill from Portadown had previously established a breeding pen of Silver bantam ducks from Peter Hamill. With five breeding groups of this rare duck, that I am aware of, this gives the breed a better chance of survival here.

History of the Silver Bantam duck

The Silver Bantam duck was formerly known as the Silver Appleyard bantam duck and was created by Reginald Appleyard in the 1940s to make a miniature of his world renowned Silver Appleyard duck.

He used a cross between Khaki Campbell ducks and White Call drakes to create this new breed but they didn’t replicate a miniature of his large Silver Appleyards.

In the late 1980s Tom Bartlett created a miniature Silver Appleyard breed which replicated the large Silver Appleyards and it was then decided that the miniature ducks created by Reginald Appleyard would be a new breed called Silver Bantam Ducks.

The Miniature Silver Appleyards have become popular but sadly the Silver Bantam ducks were kept by only a few hobbyists. Thankfully they survived as they are a wonderful miniature breed which are fantastic layers and in my experience they are the best laying of the miniature duck breeds.

ABOVE: McKibbin family’s quality birds, Silver Bantam duck on the left, Miniature Appleyard duck on the right.

We have had a mixed breeding season with the Silver bantam ducks but if anyone is interested in keeping this very rare but beautiful breed of miniature domestic duck, please contact me on email guysducks1@gmail.com or on Facebook or by telephoning 07752 020831.


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