Ancona Ducks

Ancona Duck

The Ancona duck is a large dual-purpose duck breed that’s beautiful, friendly, excellent at foraging, and, unfortunately, critically endangered. The latest ALBC survey indicates that there are less than 200 breeding birds in the U.S, a sad number for such an amazing breed.

Anconas originated in England in the 20th century. They were bred for the express purpose of being a homesteading duck for people who wanted a few family ducks for eggs and meat.

They’re always pied, like pinto horses and Holstein cattle, with random color patches that are usually either black, buff blue, chocolate, lilac, silver, or lavender, with black and white being the most common.

Their feet are orange and bills are yellow, and often covered in spots and dark patches.

They’re similar to the Magpie duck, although stockier.

Ancona drake in snow

They are excellent layers, producing 210-280 large blue, green, gray, cream, or white eggs a year.

They’re not the best broody ducks, but they do sometimes go broody, and when they do, they’re usually decent mothers.

Anconas make good meat birds, as they grow fast and have meat that isn’t as fatty as Pekin meat.



Ancona ducks weigh approximately 5 (2.3 kg) to 7 (3.2 kg) pounds, with drakes generally weighing slightly more.

An excellent video that’s an overview of the Ancona breed (although it covers pretty much the same points I cover here):

They are considered to be one of the friendliest breeds of ducks, and they’re also usually quite calm, don’t wander far from home, and are very hardy and disease-resistant. Moreover, they’re excellent foragers.

Their flying ability is poor and their normal lifespan is approximately ten years.

They are one of the best possible choices for any duck raiser.

PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY

Ancona Duck

Ancona duck

Ancona Ducklings
Image by “Andy Chase” on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Ancona Ducks
Image by “Jennifer Kleffner” on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Ancona Ducks

3 thoughts on “Ancona Duck”

    1. I think you should either get another adult, or a juvenile. A duckling would have a hard time because the other duck would not adopt it, so it would be alone and abandoned until it got older. If you opt for a duckling, you would need to get more than one so they won’t be lonely while they grow up. You would also need to provide protection and a heat source, since they won’t have a mother.

      Hope that helps!

  1. My husband picked Anconas as our backyard duck, we have a small flock, and it was definitely a wise decision. They got along with the geese, mostly ignoring them, they lay plenty of eggs, and love to get out every morning to bug hunt at dawn, or as early as we can get to them and let them out. I haven’t had an issue with predators going after them except coyotes so the ducks go into their kennel at night when we feed them. I raised Khaki Campbell’s as a kid and don’t think they’re quite as hardy as the Anconas. I have one female that broke a foot as a duckling that I didn’t see early enough to splint but she pulled through. She hobbles around everywhere, when she was younger I had to free her from roots and things she’d get her leg stuck in but she is now in her second year going strong. She doesn’t keep up with the flock but she has herself all worked out and even contributes to the egg laying. If you raise them you’ll find at least a few with their own personalities and habits apart from the flock (in addition to their own color markings). I’m so glad we chose Anconas.
    To Donna’s question, ducklings require special care but Anconas do grow fast. An adult will mean less work for you but cost more to purchase. It’s really up to your needs and situation. I’d probably get an adult unless I wanted to get a few birds, then I’d get ducklings.
    Think of it as an opportunity to diversify your flock. 🙂

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