Silver Bantam Duck – Breed Profile & Facts
If you are looking for extremely rare ornamental duck breeds for your backyard flock, Silver Bantam has you covered. Silver Bantam ducks are usually raised for exhibition or as pets. These ducks are extremely rare and their population is gradually going down.
That is why they are listed by The Rare Breeds Survival Trust as a priority breed. Read on to learn their history, characteristics, and care.
History of Silver Bantam Duck
Quite a number of people are still confused about the Silver Bantam duck breed and the Silver Appleyard Miniature. Their confusion comes about as a result of the striking similarities that the two duck breeds have.
However, the Silver Appleyard Miniature duck was developed just a few decades ago (in the 1980s to be precise) while the Silver Bantam was developed a little earlier in the 1940s. The Silver Bantam duck breed was developed by Reginald Appleyard, a renowned large duck Silver Appleyard duck breeder.
The Silver Bantam duck breed is a smaller version of the large Silver Appleyard duck breed. Despite the close resemblance between these two duck breeds, the Silver Bantam duck is a separate duck breed of its own kind.
Reginald just developed it with the “Utility” performance idea in his mind. What this means is that the breeder was not looking for its physical attributes but was after developing an effective layer as well as a table bird.
The breed’s physical appearance makes it resemble the Abacot Ranger more than the large duck breed Silver Appleyard. By the time it was standardized in 1982, the Silver Bantam duck breed was referred to as the Silver Appleyard Bantam. Its name was changed from Silver Appleyard Miniature duck breed to Silver Bantam breed thereafter.
The male Silver Bantams have a black neck and head with some deep green sheen around the neck. Shoulders and breasts have red-brown lacing while the belly and flanks are silver-white in color.
For Silver Bantam ducks (females), the neck and head are fawn with a few dark-brown grains. The breast features brown and cream streaks with cream color extending to the underbelly. The back is usually black with a few white edges. Legs for both drakes and ducks are orange colored. But drakes have an olive-green bill while the ducks come with a dark-slate bill tinged with green.
Silver Bantam Duck Characteristics
The Silver Bantam ducks are an extremely rare ornamental duck breed. Their color is sex-linked, so by the time they are eight weeks old, the sex of Silver Bantam ducklings can easily be discerned. Here are additional characteristics to look out for in a Silver Bantam duck breed:
– Size and Weight
From the name, it is obvious that the Silver Bantam ducks are a small-size breed. Originally from the United Kingdom, these ducks are classified as Bantams. Their average weights vary between ducks and drakes.
With that being said, the drakes weigh an average of 0.9kg (2.0 pounds) while the ducks weigh approximately 0.8kg (1.75 pounds). As you can see, the male ducks are slightly heavier than the females.
Due to their sizes and appearance, the Silver Bantam ducks are suitable for gardens, family pets, and exhibitions. Besides, these Silver Bantam duck breed is cheap to keep, making them ideal for beginner backyard poultry owners. Their popularity rose following the widespread banning of wildfowl such as Carolinas and Mandarins in the United Kingdom’s exhibition pens.
The Silver Bantam ducks are known to be docile, quiet, and friendly birds. Due to their peaceful nature, the Silver Bantam ducks can make great pets among those families living in the urban setup.
These ducks are also active and easily tameable. They are active foragers and have a large appetite. In this regard, they can settle in well in places they are well-fed, secure, and provided with other basic needs such as medication and shelter.
Silver Bantam ducks need plenty of space and land to roam and forage during the day. Water is also essential in keeping them hydrated and cool during hot summer months.
So, if you are looking for a pet or an ideal bird for exhibition, a Silver Bantam duck should be your ultimate choice. All you need to do is to check with your local ordinances to be sure of whether your neighborhood is allowed to keep ducks or not.
When subjected to the right environment, well-balanced and highly nutritious food, and security, the Silver Bantam ducks can live up to 12 years. But the average lifespan of this duck breed can range from 4 to 8 years. Make sure to look after your Silver Bantam ducks well if you want to help them live longer.
– Egg Production
The Silver Bantam ducks are a dual-purpose breed in addition to being kept as pets or exhibition birds. They can produce tasty eggs for your family or commercial purposes. The Silver Bantam hens can lay between 60 and 180 eggs per year. This number of eggs produced annually depends solely on the strain.
Even though they may not be among the top egg-laying duck breeds, Silver Bantam ducks can lay a reasonable number of small white eggs. These eggs are highly nutritious. They contain plenty of nutrients such as proteins, fat, carbs, vitamins and minerals.
As a matter of fact, the Silver Bantam duck eggs are more nutritious than the chicken eggs partly due to their larger size. So, you are likely to get more nutrients in duck eggs than what you will get in chicken eggs.
The egg yolk for Silver Bantam eggs is a rich source of carotenoids to protect your DNA and cells from oxidative damage. Apart from that, the egg yolk contains choline and lecithin nutrients that play a significant role in keeping your cell membranes and brain cells healthy.
The white section of a Silver Bantam egg is known for its rich proteins. This part contains compounds that have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties to protect you from age-related diseases and infections.
Although the Silver Bantam eggs are highly nutritious with potential health benefits, they may not be good for everyone, as they can cause some allergies and heart disease if consumed in large quantities.
– Meat Production
The large breasts on this breed are the main reason this duck meat is prized by gourmet chefs and meat duck breeders. The non-greasy texture and mild flavor of Silver Bantam duck meat is another reason why this duck breed is growing in popularity among duck keepers.
Its nutrition value makes it the top choice of duck meat among poultry farmers. The meat contains calories, total fat, sodium, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. All these nutrients play important roles in your body. So, if you are looking for healthy, lean poultry meat, the Silver Bantam duck meat should be your best choice.
Silver Bantam Duck Care
Silver Bantam ducks can make good ducks for meat and egg production. They can also be a great choice of ducks for both commercial poultry keepers and amateur homesteaders wishing to raise a backyard flock of birds.
Just like other duck breeds, the Silver Bantam ducks need proper feeding and nutrition, housing, and security to thrive best in their living space. Also, they deserve occasional veterinarian services to ensure that they are free of poultry diseases and parasites.
Here are the basic requirements to consider when keeping Silver Bantam ducks:
– Feeding and Nutrition
Food and nutrition are hallmarks of keeping your ducks healthy, active, and productive. With proper nutrition, your Silver Bantam ducks will grow fast and reach the slaughter weight quickly.
For their balanced diet, you may feed them on commercial feeds routinely. At the same time, you may supplement their feed with some tasty treats such as kitchen scraps and table scraps, a few greens, fruits, and even grit to help in their digestive system.
You may also allow them to roam the backyard while looking for worms, grubs, and insects all day long. Provide them with clean fresh drinking water throughout. Plus, make sure they have a small swimming pool, pond, or a relatively large container with enough water for swimming and cooling off in hot weather conditions.
All poultry and other farm animals deserve a good shelter. This is the same case with Silver Bantam ducks. Make sure their coop or duck house is spacious enough to accommodate each bird comfortably.
Add a few nesting boxes to the coop for easy egg collection. Erect a fence around the duck house to contain them and keep predators out. In case of a run, ensure that it is well-covered with mesh wire to provide enough cover against aerial predators such as hawks, owls, and eagles.
– Health Problems
Even though Silver Bantam ducks are hardy in both cold and hot climates, they are also susceptible to various health problems. Top among these problems is poultry diseases.
Examples include viral diseases such as avian influenza, circovirus, duck virus enteritis (DVE) or duck plague, duck virus hepatitis (DVH), infectious bronchitis, and many more. Bacterial diseases include bumblefoot or staphylococcus infection, chlamydiosis, colibacillosis/ E. coli, and mycoplasma gallisepticum infection among others.
Fungal infections that affect Silver Bantam ducks are aspergillosis or mycosis. Nutritional deficiencies include angel wing/slipped wing and choline deficiency. Parasites that are likely to cause health problems in Silver Bantam ducks are cecal worms, gapeworm, gizzard worm, lice, large roundworms, mites, and tapeworms.
Finally, miscellaneous health problems may include blocked tear duct, curled toes, egg binding, foamy eyes, impact crop, lameness, and others. Make sure your Silver Bantam ducks receive veterinarian services routinely to prevent some of the above-mentioned health problems.
Can Silver Bantam Ducks Fly?
Yes! The Silver Bantam ducks can fly very well but not as perfectly as birds of flight. They may only get a couple of inches off the ground or move forward about a few inches. This is actually their flying capabilities.
Bear in mind their bodies are small and their wing feathers are somehow well developed to help lift off from the ground. This means that you should provide adequate protection around your Silver Bantam’s living space. Fencing should be provided to prevent them from flying to your neighbors or becoming prime targets to ferocious land and air predators.
How Much do Silver Bantam Ducks Cost?
The cost of Silver Bantam ducks can vary from one place to another. They may also vary depending on the age and gender of the ducks themselves. For instance, ducklings will cost less than adult ducks while mature ducks will be pricier than mature drakes.
The pricing for straight-run Silver Bantam duck can range from $9 to $13 but this also depends on the quantity you are buying. Males can cost between $7 and $10 per bird while the cost for a female duck can range from $13 to $18.
Are Silver Bantam Ducks Loud?
The Silver Bantam ducks are somehow noisy compared to a few quiet duck breeds. However, they are less noisy than the Call duck breed, not to mention being docile most of the time.
The Silver Bantam ducks were developed in the 1940s just after the Second World War. This bird was bred in Suffolk, the United Kingdom by Reginald Appleyard by crossing a White Call duck with a small Khaki Campell duck.
The resulting duck was more of the Abacot Ranger than the Silver Appleyard. Initially, the Silver Bantam duck breed was called the Miniature Silver Appleyard until its true bantam version was created and standardized later in the 1970s.
Generally, the Silver Bantam duck breed is hardy, docile, less noisy, and friendly. This is why it is considered a perfect choice of an ornamental duck breed by many families. In addition to that, this breed is raised for eggs and meat, making it a dual-purpose duck breed.
It is easy to keep and maintain. Therefore, you may consider adding it to your existing flock of birds, especially if you are a beginner.