LONG ISLAND TRADITION.
The history of Long Island duckling began in early 1873 when a British resident of China, Major Ashley, obtained White Pekin ducks of unusual size, the eggs of which he later hatched. Shortly afterward, James E. Palmer, a passenger on a clipper from Stonington, Connecticut, came across these ducks and arranged to take a small supply (one drake and three ducks) home to New York.
These four ducks are the ancestors of today’s Long Island ducks, for it was soon found that Long Island, with its humid climate, abundance of fresh running water and sandy soil, was well suited to duck raising.
For over a century Long Island’s duck tradition thrived, though the majority of Long Island duck farmers have left the area and made huge profits by selling their land to developers. 30 years ago, there were 40 duck farms in the Eastport area, 75 miles east of Manhattan. Today, Crescent Duck is the only major producer that remains.
Crescent Duck’s President Douglas Corwin has no interest in selling the land that has been in his family for nearly 400 years and ensures that Crescent Duck’s Long Island tradition will thrive for many years to come.
At Crescent Duck, we spend a great deal of effort and energy towards the care of our birds, which involves both their inner health and outer well-being. Crescent ducks are fed a nutritionally enhanced computer-generated diet consisting of corn, soybean meal and wheat. Vitamins, minerals and amino acids are used to enrich the diets. Hormones are never used. Antibiotics are never used to assist bird growth.
Our duckling diets have been derived primarily from university poultry and duck research. Our longstanding ties with Cornell University have been invaluable in allowing us to formulate quality diets. Plus we have on our farm a research facility in which to experiment nutritional advances.
We are also unique amongst poultry producers in that all of our flocks are looked after by family members. Each flock is personally tended to 3 times a day, 7 days a week. This ensures that our birds are given the most comfortable environment in which to be healthy and vital.
Our ducks’ quality of life of is a priority to our family, and to that aim the prevalence and risks of food-bourne illness provides a unique challenge. Avian flu poses a huge peril to any grower of poultry and exposure to wild birds creates a huge bio-security risk to the ducks.
To eliminate this risk to both the ducks and to consumers, all birds are kept in well-ventilated and well-lit barns. The birds freely roam around in large, open pens spending their days freely accessing all the food and water they desire.
A SUPERIOR PROCESS.
There are many stages to Crescent Duck’s duck production. The process begins with the ducks (and drakes) placed in large, open pens within breeding barns to mate and produce fertile duck eggs. These eggs are collected many times daily and taken to our hatchery. Here they are incubated for 28 days to produce baby ducks.
These baby ducks are then placed in the first of 3 growing stages within our nurseries. A special, highly enriched diet is given to all baby ducks in the nurseries which are kept very warm to slowly adjust the ducklings to the real world.
After a few weeks in the nursery, the ducks are herded to a middle stage for growth. After a few weeks here, the birds are then herded to a finishing stage for maximum growth. Each stage gives the ducks a larger degree of space and ventilation to keep their comfort optimal.
Finally, the birds are taken to our USDA licensed processing plant for harvesting. Here under the strictest of sanitation, welfare and supervision guidlines, the ducks are transformed into Crescent Duck products ready for market. Feathers are removed, washed and baled to supply the apparel industry. The birds are eviscerated, inspected and chilled to become the premium duck meat products that are served at our nation’s most esteemed culinary establishments.