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Trying to Find Ancona Ducks in Iberia

 
gardener
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Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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We are following Carol Deppe's advice for the Resilient Gardener and hope to start our ducks this year, having a fully established pond and duck enclosure.  However, I am having the devil of a time finding Ancona ducks here.  I don't suppose there is anyone out there who supplies fertile eggs or live ducklings to Northern Spain?  Otherwise I'll have to go for Muscavoys, cos that's the deal we made with each other.  I'm not keen but him indoors saw that they were very tasty.  First come, first served up - with orange sauce.

 
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I got Ancona ducks because of Carol Deppe's book and others saying how fantastic they are. And, while I love mine (they are beautiful!), I honestly don't think that they are significantly better than other multi-purpose  ducks, like khaki campbells or runner ducks or other medium-weight ducks. I do love my ancona drakes because they aren't as...horny...as other males, and defer to the females more. But, I don't really notice them being markedly better foragers than my other breeds of ducks, or my mixed-breed ducks. . I once had a ancona X domestic mallard duck that laid the most beautiful, huge, teal eggs. She was my best layer, too.

From what I've heard, muscovies have a tendency to go broody...which is great if you want meat, but not so good if you want lots of eggs. Once one duck goes broody, the others soon follow, usually one week after another, and soon you've got no more eggs to eat and mothers who won't lay again for probably 6 months.

I know that Burra (who's in Portugal) loves her muscovies, and others like them, too. I've never had them, but I can say that most medium-weight duck breeds are great. Mine eat spiders, slugs, wood lice and all sorts of little creepy crawlies in the soil.
 
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Im not sure about anything closer to northern spain, but metzer farms ( www.merzerfwrms.com) in the US ships ducks internationally. They dont have ancona, but they do have a large assortment. Perhaps they can help you get the flock you want.

Cheers
Bryan
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Thank you Brian. Will look into this.
 
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Hello there!

I saw your post regarding Ancona ducks and I'm trying to start my own raising of Ancona breed. I'm from Portugal and I'm having a really hard time to find someone of trust who can sell me this breed or a farm/company that can ship them to Portugal (North region).

Can you advise me or give me any information?

Thank you so much for reading this!  
 
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Why are they hard to find? Any particular reason?
 
Catarina Soares
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Hello John C Daley,

Honestly, I don't know. But in fact, I'm having real difficulties in finding this breed for sale. International shipping can't help me, due to this Covid-19 situation, therefore I'm only relying on what I can find in my country. Now I have my Khaki Campbell duck breed and it was also a struggle to find them.



 
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I bought a trio of Anconas this spring and I've hatched some out.  When they are laying they lay very well; I'm getting 6-7 eggs a week from each duck.  I feed them a 20% unmedicated chick starter that I ferment.  They don't really fly much at all and they forage quite well.  Earlier this year one of the ducks wanted to go broody but I didn't let her as I wasn't set-up for it.  I did have a period when they went off lay for a few weeks.  It was a very discombobulating time for them as I had to break them from brooding, one was injured by a raccoon and then I had to integrate them into one flock with the Pekin and Ancona ducklings I hatched.  It's all good with them now, though.

The Pekins seem to grow about twice as fast and are a little noisier.  They don't forage as well, but they're not too bad.  It could be that the Anconas, chickens and turkeys have taught them to forage more.  I know my cornish cross have learned to forage from the layers.  

I agree with Nicole that they're nice ducks but not really what I'd consider best for anything.  I think they're going to be good dual-purpose ducks but they'll have the same trade-offs as dual-purpose chickens.  You won't get as many eggs or as big a carcass.  I haven't done a taste comparison yet between the Pekins and Anconas, but hopefully I can in a few weeks.  My Pekins should start laying soon so it'll be interesting to compare the two.  Unlike Nicole, though, my drake is a horny bugger who chases the young ducks and drives off the drakes.  Good hatching rates, though.

I don't think that they are worth jumping through hoops for if you can't get them easily/inexpensively right now, at least not for me.  Next year I'd like to get one or two layer breeds like the Khaki Cambell, Metzler 300, Runner or Welsh Harlequin.  The Welsh Harlequin is supposed to be a good brooder too, so that would be nice.  I'd like to start raising the Pekins for meat to sell and I think it's better to have a meat and a layer breed if you've got the space.  

Do you have any breeds easily available to you?

edit:  I just wanted to add that many people seem to value the fact that Anconas (and any other dual-purpose breed of any livestock) do not put on as much fat as Pekins (or other meat breed).  Personally, that's a negative for me as I want to be able to harvest as much fat as possible.  
 
Nicole Alderman
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Catarina Soares wrote:Hello John C Daley,

Honestly, I don't know. But in fact, I'm having real difficulties in finding this breed for sale. International shipping can't help me, due to this Covid-19 situation, therefore I'm only relying on what I can find in my country. Now I have my Khaki Campbell duck breed and it was also a struggle to find them.



I think the khaki campbells will do well for you. I like how easy it is to tell anconas apart, and how the boys seem gentler than some other drakes. But, for laying and bug eating, most medium-weight ducks work out pretty well. Unless you're really going for a large flock with a huge desire for production, most any duck will do. I have a lot of mutts now, and they lay about as well, if not quite a bit better than my anconas. My khaki campbells were great ducks.

(I don't raise ducks for meat, so I really can't compare their meat-production to other breeds.)
 
Catarina Soares
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Thank you Nicole for your answer. Since it's my first time dealing with ducks, it's great to have such a great opinion. Indeed I'm quite happy with my Khaki. But my final purpose with duck raising is, besides my own consumption, egg production, and bugs eating, is to create a small touristic farm where people can come to stay and visit. Therefore that's why I pretend to raise Ancona ducks: for the fact that they are a breed that is in risk, also very beautiful and one can raise Ancona ducks in several colours and of course for the fact that the drakes are more gentle.

They are indeed a fascinating breed.
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