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The Ancona Duck is an English breed, considered to be critically endangered by the American Livestock Conservancy. Anconas are in the medium class, weighing 6-8 pounds at maturity. Their most distinguishing feature is their beautiful broken-pattern “pinto” coloring. While all Anconas have a colored pattern on a white body, the pattern comes in many colors (though black and white is the most common color).

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One interesting feature about Anconas is they retain the same pattern from the time they’re hatched. This is especially useful for breeders, since it is easy to select the ducklings with the best patterns early.

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The general rule for Anconas is–the more “broken up” and spotted the pattern, the better! Large patches of color and solid feet and bills are to be avoided for breeding stock. Colors should also be uniform–lacing is undesirable.

ancona3Even in the best pairings, there will normally be some mostly solid or flawed ducklings. The good news is no matter what quality markings they have, all Ancona ducks make fantastic pets.

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As adults, Ancona ducks look stunning on the lawn and roaming the barnyard. Unlike many breeds of ducks where individuals of the same breed look alike, no two Ancona ducks are exactly the same. Their marking variety makes them especially fun for kids or anyone who likes naming or identifying their flock!ancona5

Ancona ducks are extremely active foragers and lay large eggs in a variety of shades, from tinted white to shades of deep green. They are considered one of the most prolific egg layers.ancona6

I have found Ancona ducks to be one of the friendliest, calmest, and quietest breeds of duck. They tend to make a “squeaky hinge” noise while foraging, though they are still capable of loud quacks!

If you are looking for a unique breed that is beautiful, active, calm, and great at laying eggs, you can’t go wrong with Anconas.