We started our foray into ducks two years ago. At that time, I was sold four ducklings which I was told were Buff ducks. However, as they grew, I came to realize that they did not match the breed description for Buffs. Instead, they more closely resembled Saxony ducks. Regardless, I thought they were beautiful. They were also good layers and foragers and had great personalities. And thus began my obsession with Saxonies.
Chances are my ducklings were actually a cross between Buffs and Saxonies. Their parents certainly looked more like an assortment of the two breeds, even though my ducks looked more like Saxonies from their markings. The only thing they really lacked was the size. Some of their markings weren’t quite right either.
And while I love my Saxony mixes as pets and egg layers, they didn’t fit with my ultimate goal of preserving purebred, exhibition quality birds. So the hunt for breeders of purebred Saxony ducks began. As it turns out, that is not an easy task. The breed is listed as Critical with The Livestock Conservancy. There are very few breeders in the US raising and selling them. I ordered hatching eggs from one breeder in Alabama, but the eggs were so poorly packaged that one arrived broken and none of them hatched. I did discover Holderrread Farm in Oregon, who originally imported the breed in 1984 and still keeps a flock of exhibition quality Saxony ducks. I made plans to order ducklings from them once I had the money and decent housing. With our predator problems the last couple of years, I wanted to make sure I had a way to secure them and keep them safe. I couldn’t keep them with our other ducks since I wanted to keep them purebred.
As it so happens, someone moved into my local area this last year who had Saxony ducks from Holderreads. I had seen her ducks at some local shows and she did very well with them. She had ducklings available, but I held back because I still didn’t have separate duck housing built. Then something interesting happened…the girl had to move on short notice and was selling her flock of adult birds. Well, crap, so much for waiting for perfect timing and housing, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me up. So, I found myself the owner of five new Saxony ducks. I brought them home in the trunk of my car. Now I don’t have to worry about ducklings being shipped cross country or feeding them for six months before I can get hatching eggs. I have a ready made flock and some of their eggs are already in the incubator. I am a happy duck momma. They’re temporarily living in a chicken pen with one of my Australorp flocks, but everyone seems to be getting along swimmingly (bad pun intended).
Did I mention they’re also really nice quality? They’re the size of my Pekin ducks. I have the two drakes registered for the poultry show this weekend. I can’t wait to see how they do.
Here are our two Saxony mix drakes as well as some of our Pekins. This picture was taken November 2013. Sadly, a fox killed one of the drakes and one of our Saxony mix females this past fall. You can see how their markings differ slightly from the two purebred Saxony drakes above.
Looking for more information on keeping ducks? Join me at the Beyond Off Grid Summit as I discuss why ducks are perfect for the homestead and how to get started.
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