Ancona Chicken Characteristics

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Ancona chickens are common fowls that originated from Italy. The black mottled with white plumage contributes to their striking beauty.  Ancona hens are highly productive layers of large white eggs approximately 220 eggs per year. They are a great starter chicken with their wonderful hostile nature.

Ancona chicken is widely popular in the USA and UK. It is very similar in appearance to the original Mottled Leghorn. But it is nowhere related to Leghorn, a very distinct breed. Ancona was once one of the prime egg-producing breeds in Europe, later it was exported to America in the early 19th century. Read below for more interesting facts on Ancona chicken.

Ancona Chicken Characteristics

The Ancona has a distinct plumage with black coloring and white-tipped feathers. The white tips grow larger following each molt. A closer look will reveal its ‘beetle-green’ feathers.

The feathers hug their body tightly, light yellow colored legs. Legs are free from feathers.

Anconas generally have a single comb. But also a rose comb Ancona chickens do exist.

The ear lobes are white.

On average, an Ancona hen lays about 220 eggs per year. 

Anconas rarely go broody and will forage and lay well.

Ancona chickens are bad brooders that lay plenty of eggs but don’t sit on them. So incubator is used for the hatching of eggs or any good brooding hens like a silkie, shamo, Iowa blue chickensumatra chicken

The eggs are of good size. The egg color is white and the size ranges from medium to large.

They forage a lot, and happy outdoors. Anconas are fantastic flyers. In order to protect themselves from the predators, Anconas do fly.

Ancona does well in both cold weather and hot weather.

The average weight of Ancona chicken rooster is 2.7 kg and the hen is 2.3 kg.

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Caring for Ancona Chickens

1. Housing and Fencing

Anconas are flighty birds with wily personalities that make them good at evading predators. This makes the breed a good choice for a free-ranging flock. These chickens are also very good at flying and will need a high fence or covered run to contain your birds if they are in a run.

On the subject of runs, you’ll need to provide a minimum of 8-10 square feet per chicken in a run if you choose to use one. Inside the coop, 3-4 square feet per chicken is advised to keep a healthy environment for your birds.

2. Feeding and Nutrition

This is not a demanding breed as far as feed goes. It’s recommended to place your chicks on a good chick starter from hatch to 8 weeks of age. If your chick starter was a starter/grower combo, keep your grow-outs on this diet for a few more weeks.

If you don’t have a starter/grower combo for your chicks, it’s best to place them on this from 8-16 weeks old if possible. Between 16 and 18 weeks, make the final transition to laying feed for your pullets that should be coming into lay any day now.

3. Health Issues and Care

While all chickens are prone to an array of common and uncommon illnesses and health issues, Anconas are not overly susceptible to any diseases.

Your best method of prevention would be to maintain clean living quarters and keep a watchful eye on the behavior of your chickens. It’s also good to make sure your birds have good areas to dust bathe where they can kick around to manage external parasites such as mites and lice.

4. Breeding

When breeding Anconas, you will need to purchase an incubator due to the fact Anconas very rarely go broody. Also can consider best brooding hens like silkie, shamo. However, these birds are a fun bird to breed and have many fun traits to breed for.

When working on breeding your Anconas, one in every three feathers should be tipped with a heart-shaped mottled white.

Benefits of Ancona Chicken

  • Ancona chickens are steady layers all year round. Produce medium to large white eggs about 220 per year.
  • The egg size is medium to large.
  • Famous for continuing to lay into the colder winter months, quite a hardy breed.
  • The Ancona chickens are very intelligent and friendly and this makes them a very good choice if you want a smaller one breed flock.
  • As an ornamental breed, Ancona chicken is a good choice. They look good with white ‘V-shaped’ spangles at the end of each ‘beetle-green’ black feather, makes a beautiful show bird.
  • Protects your garden or farm from pests. They are good foraging breed, which also provides nutritious fertilizer. The Excellent foragers translate into excellent feed conversion. This lowers the feed cost. As they forage for food. Less feed and more eggs, which keeps any farmer happy.
  • Very socializing breed of chicken, love to play with kids. Active, playful and a lot of entertaining. Will be friendly towards you and your family.
  • Chicks mature very quickly, will ready for laying eggs.
  • Very good for free-range rearing, to go some free-range eggs and meat. 
  • Having observant and alert chickens is a big deal to every chicken keeper. Ancona chickens are the flock that will alert or act upon an intruder or predator.

Cons of Ancona Chicken

  • Hens are not at all prone to broodiness and will hardly ever take to sitting on a clutch of eggs. Hatching of eggs should be taken care of an incubator or broody hens like silkie, shamo.
  • Ancona chickens are not best for meat production.
  • Ancona chickens are aggressive towards another chicken breed when some other chicken disturbs the pecking order.
  • Being flighty means need a lot of fencing and also not a good idea for backyard chicken. Also too much of noise.

Ancona Chicken History

From the early leghorns and other breeds, Ancona chickens are evolved in the place called Ancona, Italy. Anconas were originally known as Black Leghorns because of their color, which is black with evenly white-tipped feathers.  But they do carry Mediterranean ancestry. They were once one of the prime egg-producing breeds in Europe and joined American farm flocks in the 19th century.

The Ancona traveled from England to America in 1888 and became recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1898 (single comb) and 1914 (rose comb).

There has been a Blue Mottled Ancona developed in Germany and Holland. Breed called Ancobar which was developed in America which is famous for autosexing.

The Ancona has a “Watch” status on the Livestock Conservancy list of heritage poultry. The Livestock Conservancy defines “Watch” status as “less than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States and an estimated global population less than 10,000.”

Brief characteristics of Ancona Chicken

Breed NameAncona
Other Namenone
Country/Place of OriginItaly
Breed PurposeDual (Ornamental and eggs)
Breed Sizesmall
Weight Rooster(Male) 2.7 kg to 2.9 kg
Weight Hen(Female)2.2 kg to 2.0 kg
Eggs200–270 per year
DispositionDocile, friendly
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
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