Our Pick: Great Ocean Ducks
Let's talk about duck! Here at Cannings, we get our beautiful free range ducks from a small farm called Great Ocean Ducks - and we think they're pretty special.
Great Ocean Ducks are a family run free range duck farm located in Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road. At the helm of Great Ocean Ducks are Jodi and Greg Clarke, who have been raising ducks on their 40 acre property for the last 10 or so years now. What began as a small project of 30 ducks a month for stay at home mum Jodi has grown significantly over the years, with the farm now processing around 300 ducks a week, which are sold to top restaurants and a small number of lucky butchers. (To give you some context on just how ‘top’ we’re talking, Great Ocean Ducks supplied their ducks to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Crown!).
The Clarkes breed Aylesbury and Pekin Ducks. They are completely free ranging animals, and are grazed on paddocks all day then popped away at night on hay in pens to protect from foxes.
Great Ocean Ducks are fed a variety of fruits such as strawberries, quinces, apples, pears, figs and cherries when in season, as well as a mix of grain, apple and wheat. They are also free to forage for insects and graze on wheat and grasses growing as they freely roam in their paddocks.
Great Ocean Ducks are true free range, sun soaked, happy birds. Their diet, as well as the extra time they get to roam, forage and generally work their muscles results in a very special bird of a larger size, and with a distinctive flavour prized by the best chefs at home and internationally. The ducks have free access to water at all times, where they can drink and wash themselves, however in summer they are also given access to paddling pools where they love to splash around and play.
Great Ocean Ducks use a paddock rotation system to ensure that their pastures stay healthy (ducks eat a lot of grass and wheat!). The ducks only stay in the same paddock for a maximum of three days, which gives the pastures a chance to regenerate. The Clarkes are almost self sustaining when it comes to hay for their ducks, growing their own hay on-site. In addition to this, the hay used for their ducks’ bedding is cycled back through the farm, with dirty hay being taken away each morning by tractor and spread over the paddocks to fertilise them.