Heritage Poultry: Goose and Duck Breeds for Your Farm

These heritage goose and duck breeds will benefit you and your farm.


| January/February 2013



African Geese

These African geese are popular table birds because of their large size and exceptionally lean meat.

Photo Courtesy ALBC

Ever thought of adding geese or duck breeds to your home farm flock? While the chicken craze continues to sweep the country, lesser-known fowl species, such as ducks and geese, are also growing in popularity. Ducks and geese are useful, charming, and great additions to the small farm or homestead. They’ll do your yard work — offering free pest control and weeding — in addition to producing high quality eggs. They can further boost your output in the form of meat and feathers. Take a look at some of these endangered breeds of ducks and geese, and see where they might fit into your plan.

Saxony duck

Status: Critical 

Looking for a good all-around duck for the farm or homestead? Look no further than the Saxony duck. Originally developed in Germany in the 1930s, Saxonys were left almost extinct after World War II. During the aftermath, the breed’s original creator, Albert Franz, began developing the breed once again. This time the breed survived, and, in 1984, it was imported to the United States by Holderread Waterfowl Farm and Preservation Center. Today, the breed is a triple-threat, providing quality meat, large eggs and beautiful feathers.

Many breeders suggest that the Saxony is one of the most attractive and useful of the large duck breeds. Saxony ducks average 6 to 8 pounds when mature. Male Saxony ducks have blue-gray head, back and wing markings; their breast feathers are a rich chestnut-burgundy; and the underbody and flanks are cream-colored. Female Saxony ducks are buff-colored with creamy white facial stripes, neck rings and underbodies. The breed is an active forager and quite self-sufficient, which can lead to slightly longer maturation times than some commercial breeds. Farmers can expect 190 to 240 large, white eggs each year. Despite its many great qualities, the Saxony breed is again near extinction, with fewer than 500 breeding birds existing in the United States. Consider Saxony ducks for your farm and reap the benefits of their utility while helping to preserve the breed for the future.

Campbell duck

Status: Watch 

In the 1800s, Mrs. Adele Campbell of England developed the Khaki Campbell duck. Mrs. Campbell wanted to provide her family with a consistent supply of roast duckling, so she crossed several breeds to develop the modern Campbell. Today, the Campbell duck is reputed for its prolific laying ability. Farmers can expect 250 to 340 eggs each year, all with superb flavor and texture. In addition to being a noted layer, the Campbell is an excellent forager, consuming slugs, insects and even mosquito larvae from ponds. Thanks to its origins, the Campbell also makes a respectable table bird with high-quality meat.





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