ASHTON WATERFOWL

Bantam Ducks make good pets

Miniature Silver Appleyard, Black East Indian, Miniature Crested, and Silver Bantam Ducs

BANTAM DUCKS are garden ducks. Much lighter in weight than the traditional egg-laying and table birds, the bantams can make good pets. Tight sitters and fair layers, these smaller ducks will make less mess in the garden than Rouens or Indian Runners. If pets and looks are more important than performance, then bantams are a good choice.

Bantam ducks are now given a separate category from Call Ducks at the shows since the Calls are so numerous, and now have several standard colours.
Ducks in the Bantam category are either miniatures or bantams. The Miniature Appleyard is 1/3 the size of the Large Silver Appleyard.
Bantam weights like the Silver Bantam duck are strictly ¼ the size of larger strains. All of these bantam ducks are better layers than Calls, and make good pets.

Black East Indians

BREEDS
The oldest breed of Bantam Duck is the Black East Indie (Indian) - which probably has nothing to do with the East Indies. However black ducks are now known in China, and it will be interesting to find out how long these black birds have been known in the Far East. Did Black ducks reach the USA and Europe from the Far East? Or was it the other way around? The long history of duck domestication in China suggest that black breeds did come from the east, perhaps from varieties such as the Putian black.
The  BEI name was probably coined to sell the bird; this bantam breed was actually developed in the USA and became an early import and favourite in the UK. Good specimens are real eye-catchers. Paul Ives (1947) comments 'In 1943 the committee of three professional artists invited to select the most beautiful bird in the Boston Poultry Show, from a purely artistic standpoint . . . selected a Black East Indian drake as the most beautiful bird among 5000 specimens of all varieties of land and waterfowl.'

The other breeds of Bantam ducks are relatively recent. The Silver Bantam was developed by Reginald Appleyard. It originated as a cross between a small Khaki Campbell and a Call duck and was standardized in 1982, though Appleyard unveiled it in 1950. It looks rather like the Abacot Ranger in colour.


The Silver Appleyard Miniature (below) was developed by Tom Bartlett in the 1980s. It is a replica of the large Silver Appleyard duck, only 1/3 the size. In the rush for this popular breed, the Bantam tended to get neglected, but seems to be making a comeback at present. Young Miniature Appleyards