Bantam Ducks make good pets
The Bantam breeds: Black East Indian, Miniature Silver
Appleyard, Miniature Crested, Silver Bantam Duck
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
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.
The oldest breed of Bantam Duck is the Black East Indie - which has nothing to do with the East Indies. The name was perhaps coined to sell the bird; the 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.