It is their random, Dalmation like patterns that grabbed my attention initially. Reading accounts of current owners who bestowed the virtue of this mid-size duck, and I knew I had found the perfect duck for my little homestead. On an average day British Columbia’s rainfall does not appeal to the hardiest chicken, and when I would look out my window and see only my pair of call ducks happily utilizing the barn yard, I thought perhaps ducks rather than chickens were a better choice for this temperate rain forest farmstead. Having exhausted my search for the Ancona duck in Canada, I imported hatching eggs from the US in 2012.
The Ancona Duck might well have become non existent on this continent if it were not for the conservation efforts of Holderread Farm and small backyard breeders. Dave Holderread imported breeding pairs from England and spent the next 30 years working to restore the breed. He has since sold the entire line to Boondockers. Many other Ancona devotees continue to work tirelessly on the breed.
A conservative effort is underway to have a standard accepted into the American Poultry Association. My breeding goals are for production for both eggs and meat, and for conformation. I have shown my birds in APA sanctioned events, and will continue to do so.
Ancona’s are a flightless duck, so they don't migrate. They are pleasant, calm and excellent layers. They are also excellent foragers, and will happily help rid your farm of slugs, and insects. I was surprised at how quickly they grew.
Ancona’s were developed in England during the early 20th century, but were not available in the United States until the early 1980’s.The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy still lists them as critical, but their numbers are growing.
"As with all rare breeds, it is especially important to choose stock birds that are vigorous, free of physical deformities and have classic breed traits. Since it is an excellent layer, productivity should be given a high priority in breeders. To produce the highest percentage of offspring with unique patterns, select birds with definite colored areas under their eyes and at least a bit of color in their chests. Avoid specimens that are either solid white or primarily colored with a white bib." (Holderread 2001, 53)