Raising Ducks with Pride: John Fazio’s Duck Farm, Part I

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Feb 18, 2010
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The dead of winter is still a busy time for many animal farmers, and a duck farm is no exception.

Meet John Fazio, a small-scale duck farmer in Modena, New York, 80 miles outside of New York City. John started working with ducks over a year ago after being encouraged into it by NYC chefs who believed in his farming methods. I found him because I was interested in discovering where good local duck comes from – ducks that aren’t raised on large commercial farms. Ducks that come fresh, unfrozen with flavor. I met John through word-of-mouth, and in the food business, good word-of-mouth says a lot.

John’s duck farm just happens to supply Savoy, one of the most sustainably focused restaurants in New York City. Savoy is a restaurant I believe in, a restaurant owned by Chef Peter Hoffman, considered the “Godfather of the NYC Greenmarket” and a spokesperson for the local, sustainable food movement.

So come see for yourself where good ducks come from, and learn why John takes so much pride in his product. And stay tuned for Part II, where we’ll show you how Savoy prepares locally raised duck for its customers. Thanks for watching food. curated.

** To taste Fazio’s special cross breed of a Pekin and Normandy duck, you can visit Savoy or Marlow & Sons restaurants, or purchase whole duck at Marlow & Daughters in Brooklyn. **


  1. ian says:

    oooh, thats two things now i need to get from marlow and daughters in bk, they also carry bev eggelstons pork,

  2. GREENWASHING DUCKS & RABBITS! ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ (Sigh) More and more folks jumpin’ on the “green” haywagon, as it were. This guy John Fazio states in his duck video, “We don’t give our ducks any antibiotics”…um…hello? NOBODY does, ducks are not be given any medicated feed whatsoever. Why doesn’t he mention that? He’s hoping the majority of consumers are ignorant to that fact ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ announcing it makes him sound like he’s doing something righteous. Jeez. Here’s a guy who is showing crowded ducklings caged on a wire mesh floor, raised indoors, UNNATURALLY, and stating it’s all natural? Does he think all viewers are stupid or just the ones that don’t live on farms? This is as commercial as it gets…so what if they are not frozen, they are still unhappy ducks raised in confinement. One make more money that way.

    We raise ours naturally, first few weeks in well bedded straw pens in the barn, then they move to the outdoors on green pasture, with a natural pond in the field, grass, not muck or bare dirt, and spend their entire lives there with a shelter they can access when they choose…they eat bugs, grasses, and whole grains. No, we don’t make much money from our ducks or any of our naturally raised livestock. But I can sleep at night knowing our animals are raised humanely, are well cared for and DO live out happy lives while they are here, AND that we are providing good, real, slowly raised food for our farm members and the restaurants who carry our products.. And I like that we are honest with them, and don’t pretend we are something we are not. Ditto on the rabbits raised in confinement!

  3. John Fazio says:

    The reason why I said they are not raised on medicated feed is when shooting the video they ask you questions that the veiwer does not hear and i just answered them as they were asked and 100 % of customers do not no that unless they are told what do you think everyone is a farmer, only a farmer will know that ducks can not eat medicated food not a consumer, so their for i answered correctly. what would you say to a interveiwer? maybee i should have said hey asshole no ducks can eat medicated food, I am sure that would go over big. and my ducks are as you can see 25 to 30 birds in a 80 by 8 foot run so were are they confined. and they do go outside it was about 20 degrees out and the pond was frozen so what good would it do to let them out. and why don’t you try raising rabbits if your so smart, and lets see how your freeranged rabbits do, let me know when you are broke and maybee i will lend you some money I have made from happy customers.

  4. John Fazio says:

    And also you let your birds out so you don’t have to feed them bought food and you can save money. I do know what the freerange Idea is. I buy 3 tons of feed every 8-9 days to feed my ducks and i don’t let them fight 3 feet of snow to find feed, what would they find out their that time of the year I was also on the front page of the local spca for doing such a great job of raising animals, and they showed people even though this is for meet, this is how they should be taken care of, I will go toe to to with anyother farmer on how clean my birds and rabbits are, and taken care of, no one can do a better job then me. they can only be as good but not better. so when ready to go lets see your farm. BRING IT ON!

  5. Montana says:

    Mr Fazio, Actually you do not seem to be very clear on what the “free-range idea is”. We DO feed them free-choice grain, while they are free ranging out of doors, in all seasons. Sure, generally in a snowstorm they choose to stay inside and just look outside, but it’s up to them. Saving money (we don’t) is not the reason we let our livestock graze naturally. We do so because rearing meat animals naturally creates a happier stress free animal, which creates a better tasting meat. Clearly you may have other mistaken ideas about what non-confinement agriculture animals are. Just as you have your own ideas about why it’s okay to keep animals in cages.

    You choose to raise yours in confinement, we do not. We feel blessed to be working with the land and animals each day…We love what we do, and I hope you do too.

    Feel free to check out our website, lots of photos there showing how our creatures live, and you are welcome to our farm anytime, just call ahead to book a time to be sure we’re home. We’d be happy to show you around.

  6. John Fazio says:

    now thats better and I like how you talk in your answer to me, and I am open to talking about anything I do, I have worked and lost lots of money doing this with the ducks, I have worked closly with the returants that i suply and have done the ducks so many ways, we have been trying all different ways of doing them and it seems like the best results in flavor and texture for my customers have been doing it this way, everybody likes something different and thats what makes the world go round, if we all liked everything the same way you would not have a better product then me or me have a better product then you, thats why you have your happy customers and i have mine. I would never knock another farmer for what they do. I love farming, and to tell you the truth it is hard and money, I live in a area were I could take my barn and turn it into 10 apartments and bring in about 7,500.00 a month in rents. but I chose to do this, and can’t uderstand why some people have to knock what others do, I always look and learn what others do without saying anything if I like it i will try it if I don’t then i try something different but i do not tell them they are wrong. Let me no were your farm is I would love to come visit. maybee i can pick up some good points.

  7. Raquel says:

    Well well farmers you both make good points. However I came to this particular site searching for Mr. Fazio I am inspired by the way he farms, everything looks clean to me. I wish I could do some farming like that! Let’s see your video too Montana. I would like to start up a small farm particularly for my family (and maybe some good neighbors)… with ducks, rabbits, chickens, and goats. I’m wishing for some input on how to get started can someone point me the way? What method would you recommend for a humane death??? Thank you sooo much!

  8. karen buckley says:

    how do you get the ducks are they raised and hatched on your own farm ? Do you have the momy ducks ?

  9. Joseph says:

    I want to raise 25 ducks but the feeds available are priced high.i have read about cassava,sweet potato etc these thìngs are älso expensive in kerala.maggot feeding invites diseases. Are there any cost effective methods

  10. very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

  11. Jay James says:

    A very interesting article. I came here in search of more info’ from Mr Fazio, Having seen his video and done a great deal of research I believe his approach to the kindest yet still producing an excellent meat product in bulk, (compared to backyard people like me).
    Mr Fazio if you see this comment I would like to know the space your Does have as yours seem to have more than anyone else yet perhaps I could manage the initial cost of 4 cages.
    I live in England and am trying to raise Hybrid NZW X CAL. The economic present and future requires that I grow vegetables and Rabbits. Highest protein and zero cholesterol or fat. Oh and they taste good too!

    I give this site permission to pass my EMail to Mr Fazio.

  12. joseph stevens says:

    I seen your reply about free range rabbits. Rabbits will free range i have a next door neighbor have free range rabbits now for the last 5 years they have about 300 that free range at night they go into there pen or if you spooke the rabbits they run into there pens. However truth be know the pratice of farming is to make a profit by growing good food. Good food comes from healty animals if your animal are healthy and clean the food will be good. To many people take being humane to animals to far like all the pig rescues that beg for money to feed there 8 y r 600lb hog that living out it life humane when the hog should have been culled and ate cause it food. Where humans not vegans lol.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I know this man, John Fazio and he is such a bullshit artist. He gets his ducks from someone else who already kills them and then he just guts and preps them. Also, he is so abusive to his animals. I have heard stories from eye-witnesses who have seen him remove hair from the rabbit cages by torching them WITHOUT letting the rabbits out first!!! This eye-witness said the rabbit screams sound like little children shrieking and some of the rabbits are so scared or injured that they die instantly or of heart attacks from this treatment. I am looking into ways to report this on a more local scale but in the meantime, everyone should know how horrible this man is. Someone needs to come and inspect his farm because the waste is not being disposed of properly and the conditions have gone downhill in recent years. Make no mistake John, you WILL be reported and something WILL come of this. You have been warned.

  14. Jennie says:

    Hello anonymous.

    Maybe if you would take a look at the farm these ducks and rabbits that are raised daily. If you knew the hard work and effort this man took into
    putting his farm into works together,to make this a free range farm, maybe you would know. Instead of being a envious person who did not think of this idea before “JOHN FAZIO”

  15. Jennifer says:

    Hello anonymous.

    Maybe if you would take a look at the farm these ducks and rabbits that are raised daily. If you knew the hard work and effort this man took into
    putting his farm into works together,to make this a free range farm, maybe you would know. Instead of being a envious person who did not think of this idea before “JOHN FAZIO” did himself suck it up. And if you had such with meat being costumed maybe you wouldn’t be on this website, but in fact YOU seem like every other jealous person who is envious of John Fazio farms in the hudson valley.

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    I love looking through a post that will make people think.

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