“The Ancona is a hardy, adaptable, all-purpose duck. It is an excellent layer, typically laying 210-280 white, cream, or blue eggs yearly. The Ancona also grows relatively quickly, and produces high quality meat that is more flavorful and less fatty than that of most Pekin ducks. Anconas are well suited for situations where they can forage for some of their food and are capable of eating large “banana” slugs. “They make excellent pond or yard ducks since they tend to stay close to home, do not fly under normal conditions and are large enough so that they are less likely to be preyed upon by winged predators. Typically they have moderately calm temperaments and make fine pets.” (Holderread 2001, 52)
Splendid Toad Art Farm has been home to a flock of Ancona ducks since 2010. They lay large, cream-colored or mint-green eggs. They keep the pond clear of algae, and happily devour flies, beetles, worms, and grubs. They will hatch eggs if given the opportunity to sit on the nest.
The Art Farm flock is composed of birds selected for temperament, health, nesting instinct, and laying ability. Naturally the hallmark of the Ancona is the splashy coloration, but the best-marked Ancona is no good if it has a poor temperament or fragile health.
As a flock they tend toward being mild-mannered. The birds don’t enjoy being picked up, but will tolerate being handled without panicking. New birds are accepted into the flock without drama, drakes usually get along, and there have been no human-aggressive drakes in the line. Of course, nesting mothers get a pass for being snappish.
Anconas come in a variety of different colors – black, chocolate, blue, silver, lavender, lilac, and tricolor. Occasionally they also exhibit mallard, pencilled, blue fawn, or dusky coloration. Perhaps 1% of the time, one may hatch solid white. Ideal markings are asymmetrical, the wilder the better.
Eggs are nearly always for sale, for eating or hatching. Eating eggs are $5 per dozen and can be picked up locally. Hatching eggs are $3 apiece, minimum 6, and can be shipped for $10 per box. 20 eggs can fit in a box. I rinse each egg with warm water, dry them carefully, and wrap them individually in bubble wrap. They are shipped in a Priority Mail box. Fertility has been consistently well above 80%.
Adult birds are for sale from time to time, and ducklings a few times per year, picked up locally. Babies are ‘tentatively sexed’, which means I check them each a couple times and if a penis pops out it’s a boy for sure – that’s all I can guarantee. Sometimes I have stealth boys that don’t show their true sex until their voices change.