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The Pekin duck is one of the most common ducks in the USA. It is bred primarily for its meat and eggs as a prolific layer that is not broody.
They are also a beautiful white duck with a tiny splash of yellow on their underbellies. They love to dabble in shallow water and make excellent pets as they are quite friendly.
As Pekin do not like to sit their eggs it makes it really easy to collect them being that most ducks will try and protect their eggs.
Pekin ducks are also not very noisy birds but do get up to some crazy antics. Most owners of these ducks say how delightfully entertaining they are. Their body shape and positioning of their legs give them the authentic duck waddle associated with ducks.
An excellent breed for the urban homesteader, first-time duck owners and families.
|Country of Origin:||China|
|American Poultry Association:||yes Recognized by the American Poultry Association|
|Duck Category:||Heavy Breed|
|Colors:||White, Date of acceptance: 1874|
|Other names known by||White Pekin, Long Island Duck|
|Good starter duck?||They make a very good starter duck as they are calm, friendly, do not fly and are not a noisy duck.|
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|Bantam Variety Available?||No|
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APPEARANCE / IDENTIFICATION
|Gently curves from the face with another gentle upward curve at the end of its bill. *Black bean tipped at the end of the bill.|
|EAR LOBES⇒||Normal||Same as Feathers|
|Small, feather-covered holes behind the eyes|
|Wide apart and far back on its body. Gives the body a boat shape.|
|Thin membrane webbed feet with three toes.|
|WINGS⇒||Not very long||White|
|Do not fly very well and usually do not even try|
|Were used as for down, they have a splash of very light yellow on their breasts|
|*Bean: This is also called the nail. It is a small round bump found at the end of the duck’s bill. It is used for defence and to catch insects. It is almost like a fingernail and is damaged can grow back. It can also get overgrown much like fingernails if they do not have something to grind it down on.|
|** Note: This is an average weight for the male duck and not a guaranteed weight|
Dual Purpose mainly meat and eggs + Breeding. They have a more upright stance and long bodies with graceful swan-like necks.
Meat, exhibition + Breeding. The males are quite hefty lads that can swim really well.
|“They are calm and gently ducks. They are also very inquisitive and get themselves into all sorts of tangles. A pure delight that adds character to any back-yard duck flock.”|
|Good with Kids?||Yes, they are good around supervised kids|
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|Flyers?||They are poor flyers and most do not even attempt to do so|
|Noisy Birds?||They will have their quack but all in all are rather quieter than other breeds|
|Interact with other ducks?||This sociable breed gets along with most any other duck breed. As long as they have companions to waddle and paddle with they are happy ducks.|
|Best duck breeds to mix them with:||Any other domestic duck breed will mix well with Pekin ducks.|
|Other animals?||Most ducks are not too fussed with other animals. I would watch dogs and cats around them though.|
|“A nice cozy duck house to nest down in for the night. A medium sized pool or a small pond with some pond plants in as they are dabblers. A garden with some grubs and insects for them to catch especially slugs and or snails.”|
|Ideal Garden Size?||They are adaptive to most environments|
|Can be Confined?||They are not worried about being confined.|
|Free-Range||They do love to explore but as long as it does not take them too far from their home.|
|Penned Free-Ranging?||They do not mind a closed penned off area to waddle and paddle in|
|Foragers||They are fair foragers|
|Endures heat well||Most ducks will take the heat as long as they have a cool clean dipping pond|
|Endures cold well||They do not mind the cold as long as they have some warm shelter to snuggled down in|
|Special Requirements?||They are pretty much a low maintenance breed of duck|
|Ideal Duck House:||Depending on the size of the flock a normal duck house with bedding and security from predators.|
|Ideal Duck Pond:||A medium-sized plastic kiddies pool or small shallow pond|
|Flock/Paddling Size:||Their needs to be at least two of them.|
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GOOD TO KNOW
|Special Care/Attention Requirements?||They are a hardy breed that does not have any special requirements or attention except for maybe keeping an eye on their feet.|
|Known Predators:||Check with animal control in your area for known predators|
|Conservations Status:||Not Listed For more information on poultry, conservation status, check the American Livestock Conservancy Website|
|Breeders Clubs:||It is best to check with the American Poultry Association for various clubs and or organizations.|
|Where to buy them:||Check with Metzer Farms, Purely Poultry, the APA
or check with the American Livestock Conservancy
|Other:||If you do not want to risk having your ducks shipped check with your local poultry farms for advice on your nearest supplier.|
As sophisticated breeders of ducks the Chinese have been raising and breeding them. It is thought that the Mallard had been domesticated by the Chinese over 3000 years ago. It was with this breed that they created a duck that was named shi-chin-ya-tze. Shi-chin-ya-tze basically means ten-pound-duck and is the breed which is the foundation for today’s popular Pekin duck.
The Pekin duck has been cooked in kitchens in China since the Ming Dynasty right through some six hundred years ago. The Forbidden City was a big draw to chefs from all over China wanting to be able to cook in the palace kitchens. This is where the Peking Duck was first cooked and the recipe perfected.
In 1911 with the end of the Qing Dynasty, the palace chefs disbursed taking the recipe with them where it was then cooked in restaurants all over China.
In 1872 15 Pekin ducks that had been hatched in Pekin were loaded onto a boat at Shanghai. They had been loaded by one James E. Palmer. Palmer was from Stonington, Connecticut in the USA. These ducks were bound for a businessman in the United States named McGrath.
The journey from Shanghai to New York took 124 days in which only 9 of the birds survived. The surviving ducks consisted of 6 females and 3 drakes. The ship arrived in New York in March 1873 which is the date documenting the first arrival of Pekin into the USA.
Of these 9 remaining birds, only 5 were shipped off to McGrath but did not make it to him as they were eaten on transit.
James Palmer had kept 4 of the ducks and these are the birds on which today’s American Pekin duck are founded on. By July of 1873 his ducks had laid over 300 eggs and by 1874 the Pekin duck had been accepted into the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association.
The Pekin soon became the favorite as a meat duck as it has a lighter skin and white feathering which makes it hard to spot any left-over feathering on the carcass. Whereas the favorite meat duck at the time the Cayuga had darker feathering on a light carcass. This meant any left-over fluff could be spotted.
And for all those that love Disney, it is speculated that Donald and Daisy duck was modeled from a Pekin Duck.
Their feet need to be watched as the heavier breeds are prone to some foot problems.
- Ducks need water to ensure they do not get “wet feather” disease. This is where the preening gland dries out. Water also stops them from getting pests such as mites, fleas, ticks, lice, etc.
- Well, fed ducks should hardly have any health issues.
- Any birds kept in a flock need to be dewormed. Although ducks are not as prone as other poultry they should still have a de-worming regime. Speak to a local vet or poultry experts for advice. Our article on Healthy Ducks has some great tips and advice on de-worming ducks.