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"In eastern Germany, Albert Franz of Chemitz began developing a new multipurpose duck in 1930. He used Rouen, German Pekin, and Blue Pomeranian ducks in his breeding program and introduced this new creation at the Saxony Show of 1934." (Holderread 2001, 85) Most Saxony ducks did not survive World War II, so Franz renewed his breeding program after the war. During 1957 Germany recognized this duck as a distinct breed. Saxony ducks made their way to the United States when the Holderread Waterfowl Farm imported them in 1984. They were admitted into the American Poultry Association's American Standard of Perfection in the Fall of 2000. (Holderread 2001, 85-6)
The Saxony weighs between 6-8 pounds at maturity. Its large head is somewhat oval shaped and blends smoothly with a medium-thick neck that is slightly arched forward. The compact body is long, broad across the shoulders, and has a prominent chest that is smoothly rounded. This duck's carriage is 10-20 degrees above horizontal when relaxed. (Holderread 2001, 86) Drakes display the typical "Mallard pattern, but their colors are distinct from any other breed. The drake's head, back, and wing markings are blue-gray. The breast feathers are a rich chestnut-burgundy, the underbody and flanks are cream, and the neck ring white. Legs and feet are orange or reddish-brown and the bill is yellow or orange, often with pale green shading. The females are buff with creamy white facial stripes, neck ring, and underbody. The bill is orange, often with brown shading. The legs and feet are orange to reddish-orange. (Holderread 1986, 1)
The Saxony is an active forager and excellent layer with typical egg production at about 190-240 large white eggs annually. Saxony do not grow quite as fast as some ducks, "but they have interesting plumage, produce meat with more flavor and less fat, are better foragers, and are more likely to incubate and hatch their eggs. Saxonys are one of the best large all-purpose breeds of ducks and adapt well to a wide range of environments." (Holderread 2001, 87)
When choosing a Saxony duck for your flock, select vigorous, strong-legged birds that are free of physical deformities. Consider growth rate, egg production, and forage ability for utility birds. For show birds, choose birds that conform to the standard. (Holderread 2001, 86-7)
ALBC's 2000 census of domestic waterfowl in North America found only four people with 57 breeding Saxony. (Bender, 4) There is a critical need for more conservation breeders of Saxony. Their excellent laying ability, meaty carcasses, and lovely plumage make them a great addition to any small farmstead or backyard producer's flock.
Status: See CPL
Holderread, Dave. Breed Bulletin #8614: Saxony Ducks. Corvallis, OR: The Duck Preservation Center, 1986.
Holderread, Dave. Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, Inc., 2001.