The ancona duck is a beautiful dual purpose breed of duck with outstanding foraging abilities. They are a champion layer of roughly 260 white, cream, or blue eggs per year. Care should be taken to preserve production quality when breeding anconas. The ideal bird is roughly 3/4 white and 1/4 another other colour (Breed Bulletin #8502). The traditional ancona is black and white, laying only white eggs, though most modern flocks (including mine) contain multiple colours and eggs which range from white to blue, occasionally bearing a greyish tinted coating. Among these mixed flocks, the most common colour is black, with chocolate taking a close second. They also come in lilac, lavender, silver, tricolour, and the most rare blue. Similar to paint horses, each ancona duck will have a unique pattern.
While the breed is not recognised under the American Poultry Association, they are listed as critically endangered by the livestock conservancy and need responsible breeders to take part in the revival of this breed.
“The ancona has a medium-sized oval head; medium shaped bill that is slightly concave along the topline; average-length and -diameter neck that is only slightly arched forward; and a medium-length body carriage of 20 to 30 degrees above the horizontal when relaxed.”
They have a low-fat meat (for a duck).
"The Ancona averages 6 to 6.5 pounds and is a bit stockier than its close relative, the Magpie duck. It has a medium sized oval head, a medium-length bill that is slightly concave along the top line, an average neck that arches forward slightly and body carriage is 20 to 30 degrees above horizontal. The broken, mottled plumage is unique among ducks for, like Holstein cattle, there is no set design. 'Any combination of white and color is acceptable as long as there are obvious broken areas on the head, backs, sides, and underbody.' The neck is normally solid white, bills are yellow with dark green or black spotting, and the legs and feet are orange with black or brown markings that increase with age." - Livestock Conservancy
Birds should not have leg feathers, crests, or tufts. Pencilling of the feathers is considered an undesirable trait.
I run a ratio of drakes to ducks of about 1:4 but anything between a 1:4 and a 1:6 is desirable.
I breed for temperament, parasite resistance, foraging ability, and conformation. experimenting with hatching out mostly blue eggs to achieve a greater ratio of blue to white eggs. I'm also working on improving the broody qualities of the breed.
If you wish to breed ancona ducks I suggest you purchase a breed bulletin from Holderread Waterfowl Farm.
Hatching eggs – $6 each.
Ducklings (local pickup only) – $8 each.
To place an order or reserve ducklings, please send me an email at detailing your name what you’d like (i.e. the breed and the quantity of eggs/ducklings) and I’ll get back to you with a paypal invoice. If what you want isn’t available I can add you to a waitlist and get in touch when we have it. I cannot guarantee hatch rates since I do not control the conditions the eggs are under once they leave my care, though I will replace broken eggs if you pay the shipping.
I collect all my eggs the day they were laid and date them with a pencil for easy identification. Eggs are viable for up to 10 days from their lay date, but significantly lose viability after 14 days. I don’t ship out any eggs older than 3 days from the date they’re laid. Once they exceed 3 days, if I have enough, I incubate artificially or put them under a broody.
I try to use as little non-biodegradable material as possible when I ship. Typically I’ll use whatever good material we have on hand. I wrap each egg in fluffed newspaper and tissue paper. I then place each egg in a box packed with shredded newspaper, straw, and occasionally wool from our katahdin hair sheep.