From the American Livestock Conservancy: Ancona DuckThe Ancona was developed in Great Britain during the early twentieth century and most likely originated from Runner ducks and Huttegen ducks, an old Belgian duck. This is the same foundation stock as the Magpie duck. "They have been raised in the United States for several decades and were exhibited in 1983 in Oregon.
The Ancona averages 6 to 6.5 pounds and is a bit stockier than its close relative, the Magpie duck. 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. (Holderread 2001, 53) Varieties include Black and White, Blue and White, Chocolate and White, Silver and White, Lavender and White, and Tricolored. Chocolate is a sex-linked recessive trait. If a chocolate drake mates with a black duck, all female offspring will be chocolate, while all male offspring will be black. A black drake mated to a chocolate duck produces all black offspring. Only male offspring will carry the sex-linked recessive chocolate gene. (Holderread 1985, 4)
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)
ALBC's 2000 census of domestic waterfowl in North America found only 128 breeding Ancona. While four people reported breeding Ancona, only one primary breeding flock with 50 or more breeding birds exists. (Bender, 4) There is a critical need for more conservation breeders of Ancona ducks. Their excellent laying ability, tasty meat, and calm dispositions make them a great addition to any small farmstead or backyard producer's flock.
We keep a small flock of Anconas consisting of 2-3 drakes and 8-12 hens. Our stock originated from Holderread waterfowl farm. Our stock is primarily the classic black and white though we do have a couple of blue and chocolates as well. They are fabulous layers (laying more eggs/year than many chicken breeds) and we love using their eggs for baking and cooking as they enhance the flavor and texture of any recipe!