Breed History and Details:
Mentions of the Stanbridge White are few are far between. It was created by Lord Greenway in Hampshire, and was formally standardised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain in 1920. It appears to be a breed based on the Magpie Duck (a Welsh Breed created about the same time).
It is described that the Stanbridge favours the general shape and build of the Magpie and shares its ability to lay a pale green egg, but that it is pure white in plumage and has a slightly dished bill.
And while a dished bill is present in the associated Magpie and other breeds – it was selected for prevalence in the Stanbridge. Along with various traits it is noted for its refined head, alert character, upright keen stance, broad body and long back.
By 1930 it was described as a great utility duck and was sold as such for its laying ability and also because it could make a reasonable easy to pluck table bird.
Decline of The Breed:
Sadly, for a time the Stanbridge was all but extinct, very much like the fate of the traditional type Aylesbury: it was a victim of poor public perception (“Another White Duck”).
In 2007 it was rediscovered when the Rare Breed Society identified it in Gloucestershire. The birds had been maintained solely by William Osbourne, whom had procured them from an elderly man in the village of Aylburton. The elderly man did not know what breed they were and described them as simple farmyard ducks that “laid like stink”.
Egg Laying Ability:
The breed must be noted first and foremost for its utility purposes. William Osborne went on to say he has: “Been keeping poultry for over 50 years and has never come across ducks that lay as well as these do, not even when I kept Khaki Campbells.” The Stanbridge will lay exceedingly well, starting in February and ending into late October. They will lay a light green or cream tinted egg, unlike many other breeds.
Differentiation from Other Breeds:
It could be differentiated from other breeds by checking the weight, an undersized Aylesbury or commercial type bird could be a Stanbridge White. The head and face is more refined and in no way thick or cumbersome like some commercial mixed birds.
The Encyclopaedia of Historic and Endangered Livestock and Poultry Breeds mentions the Stanbridge: “In Britain, pure white rejects (of the black and white Magpie Duck) were developed into a utility breed called Stanbridge Whites. Stanbridge Whites were easily confused with White Campbell ducks.
"White Sports" from breeding the Magpie duck are "as is", the Stanbridge however is a separated breed.
The poor Stanbridge is currently having an identity crisis and is often mislabelled as an Aylesbury, Pekin or Campbell, or any white laying breed. In fact it is a rare treasure and should be recognised as such. The breed is noted as rare and the current population is reputed to be only from a few lines.
Description and Features:
The bill should be yellow with no exceptions, and the legs and feet orange-yellow. Plumage must be pure white and neat without a creamy tone. Eyes are typically grey-blue but can be hazel, but by no means should they be a very dark black-brown like that of the White Campbell or Pekin type duck.
It is by no means a particularly light duck but it is not the heaviest either. Weight for the drake is 5.5 to 7.5lbs, similarly the weight for the duck is 4.5 to 6.5lbs.
Anove Image Courtesy of RBST