Anconas are the "cow ducks" here on the farm.
They come in a variety of colors and patterns and no two ducks look the same.
They are great for eggs as they can lay upwards of 300 eggs per year per duck. They are also good for meat as the males can average up to 8 pounds.
They are a mild mannered duck and make excellent pets with their calm and inquisitive personalities.
Ancona ducks are not yet recognized by the APA but I am working with a group of breeders to get them recognized. We are working with black ducks first as each color has to be recognized separately.
I breed each of my colors, black, blue, chocolate, lilac, lavender and silver, to our standard. So a majority of the offspring that I hatch are top quality in size, conformation, color and pattern.
UPDATE 2019: The APA will not recognize this breed as they require a specific pattern in their written SOP. We plan to launch the Ancona Duck Association this winter where members will be provided with the association's written standard for the breed.
Egg production (aim for 300 eggs+/- per year, per bird)
Meat production (so extra males serve a purpose and are not wasted!)
Foraging ability (to help lessen feed costs during months where they can graze and forage for bugs and natural grains)
Temperament (breeding towards a more calm natured, friendly homesteading bird)
Broodiness (currently working towards hens that are excellent at sitting and hatching a nest as well as brooding a clutch)
Fertility (for those looking to breed)
Pattern and conformation (for showing purposes as we work towards getting Ancona ducks Standardized with the APA)
This is the original color for the ancona breed and makes up a majority of most ancona flocks. Babies are easy to differentiate as they are black right from hatch. Adults may have a green and/or purple sheen to their feathers, a desired trait.
Blue is black with one dilute gene. They appear grey in color, and can vary in shades as babies and adults. Adults may show a black feather here or there which is simply black bleed through in the feathers.
Chocolate is another common color in anconas. As babies they have a chocolate color to their down. Adults will appear dark, rich brown in color and may also have a green or purple sheen. This color fades fast so sun bleached feathers may appear tan in color. This color can be used to produce color-sex-linked babies. Breed a chocolate drake with a black hen and you will get black males that carry chocolate and chocolate females.
Silver is a diluted blue. As babies, they tend to appear yellow with very slight grey markings under the eyes, and some will even have black or grey foot markings. As adults, they are a very light blue color. Some will not show color until they have reached adult molt. Others may appear white with dark bills and foot markings only as they can be so lightly marked you can't see their color. These too can have black bleed through feathers as adults.
Lilac is a diluted blue combined with chocolate. As babies these appear a very light tan in color with chocolate foot markings. As adults, they are tan in color with a blueish purple hue to their feathers.
Lavender is easy to produce by combining chocolate with blue. Babies tend to look smoky brown as babies and will have brown marks on their feet. Adults appear blue-purple with a tan tone to the feathers. This color has the highest likelihood of having chocolate bleed through feathers on the body also
This color tend to confuse many as the name for them is tricolor, but it has nothing to do with their color and everything to do with their pattern. They will have a full facial mask and mostly if not fully marked body. They can come in any of the three base colors (black, blue or chocolate). Black tricolors almost always feather out penciled. Tricolors are considered a disqualification and should not be used for breeding as they do not display the typical ancona pattern.
Anconas can also be solid white in color. They tend to get a colored bill as they age, but will not show any other colors at any point in time. Whites are considered a DQ as they do not display the typical ancona pattern.
These terms refer to certain colors and patterns that may appear on anconas also. Penciling is common of females and can be a solid color or feathers with black outlined in brown. Rust is found predominately on males. Both are usually found on the chest, belly, or under the wings. The amount of penciling and rusting varies by the bird and can be a small patch or can cover an entire side of a bird. Penciling is most common on black birds, rusting on the blues and blue derived colors. These are neither desired nor non desired traits.