As I stepped outside of the house at 7am yesterday, I was greeted with an abundance of birdsongs and chirps not heard since last fall. My heart, too, sang, as I took a deep breath of the humid 65 degree spring air. After a quick breakfast, I met my mom and cousin and we headed to Duck Dance Farm. Today was the day we would tour the farm and decide which breed of duck might be best suited for our farm. The thought of ducklings, with their adorable tiny webbed feet and downy feathers, just makes me smile no matter how I am feeling in that moment.
When we arrived at the farm, located in Celo, NC, just outside of Burnsville, we were greeted with big hugs. We took a quick peek at the incubation station and then toured the farm. We toured their aquaculture set up and then met each of the breeds they work with. Apart from the Khaki Campbell’s, all of the birds they breed are endangered and/or are heritage breeds. After great discussion and thought, we decided on 12 Ancona’s. This breed tends to be a little more skittish, which means they have a better chance of escaping predators, should that situation arise. We also learned that the drakes, the males, are particularly kind to the female members of their flock and do a good job of looking out for them. And believe you me, this is not always the case. Males of other fowl breeds can get quite frisky, to say the least!
We also considered getting some Silver Appleyards, as they are so cute and sweet, and are more pet-like than their counterparts. However, these sweetie pies are not so quick on their feet, something that concerns me when thinking about adding them to a larger farm that has other animals…and neighbor dogs.
While we were there, we also placed an order of 12 Khaki Campbell’s for our friend. Thanks to education and increased awareness of heritage breeds, the Khaki Campbell is no longer endangered. This may also be attributed to their all around good nature and incredible egg production.
Initially, we thought we would get more than one breed of duck to increase diversity on our farm. However, with the endangered status of the Ancona, we decided we would see how it goes and possibly breed this bird so that we could increase their numbers and allow others to have the same option.
To learn about the other breeds the farm carries, be sure to visit their website and click on the ‘breeds’ tab at the top.
Duck Dance has a strong commitment to conservation, demonstration and education, and we are privileged to have them in our community. If you are interested in aquaculture, permaculture design and/or water fowl, be sure to tour their farm soon, and see below for pictures of their set-up!