Pekin Duck: America’s Most Popular Dual-Purpose Breed

You’ve seen those fuzzy little yellow ducklings in calendars and cuteness baby animal stock photos all over the place. Yep, in the springtime, Pekin ducklings are usually one of the most widely available duck breeds in all feed shops across America.

This breed has several practical advantages that make them attractive for various farmers, in addition to being the most favorite breed of photographer to show the definitive shot of a fuzzy yellow duckling.

Pekin ducks may create excellent duck eggs as well as reach a fat condition, making them ideal for consumption. The Pekin may be a suitable duck breed for you if you’re looking for a good multi-purpose duck.

About Pekin Ducks

Peking, China, where the white duck breeding stock is now known as Beijing, was the birthplace of this species. The 15 original ducks on the trip to America perished, leaving four ducks as the breeding stock for the American Pekin. Pekins were accepted into the American Poultry Association in 1874, after two years of selective breeding.

With tens of millions raised for meat production alone, the Pekin is now the most common duck in America. This duck is a good dual-purpose breed, however its principal function is commercial meat production.

Pekin Duck Characteristics

1. Size and Weight

Since it is so popular for meat production, this is one of your larger duck breeds. A fully mature Pekin might weigh between 8 and 12 pounds on average. Drakes, like most birds, will grow larger than hens as they mature.

2. Temperament

Pekins are often kept as pets ducks, in addition to their meat and egg production qualities. If a duck gets a lot of attention in its first few weeks of life, it will have the strong urge to imprint on its caretakers. If they are spoiled on a regular basis, Pekins are affectionate and gentle ducks that will carry their adoring dispositions into maturity.

Pekin hens are a delicious duck breed, but they have no maternal instinct and do not go broody, despite the fact that they are motherly. You’ll need to get experience incubating duck eggs if you’re interested in breeding Pekins.

3. Egg Production

Some breeds of ducks can lay up to 325 eggs each year, making them capable of producing a large number of eggs every year. Pekins, while not the greatest egg laying overachievers, may outlay several chicken breeds.

A normal Pekin duck hen will lay roughly 150 to 200 big, white eggs every year.

4. Meat Production

Pekins are, without a doubt, outstanding meat producers, as you’ve undoubtedly detected by now. Cayugas were the main meat producers prior to Pekins. Pekins, on the other hand, had a feature that Cayugas lacked. A Cayuga’s black feathers may make it difficult to see the duck carcass. A Pekin carcass is much cleaner and visually more attractive when the white feathers are removed.

Pekins have a lot of positive qualities that make them an excellent meat producer. In comparison to many duck breeds, this duck can grow quickly and convert food to meat at a much faster pace. This is an irresistible meat producer because of its white feathers, large amount of meat, and fast growth rate.

Taking Care of Pekin Ducks

1. Feeding and Nutrition

Depending on your intended usage for your ducks, the method you choose to feed them will vary. Ducklings, regardless of whether they are raised for meat or eggs, need the same amount of food. You’ll have to pick the feed carefully depending on the goals of your Pekins as they grow older. The finest feed for beginning with ducklings is a duckling or waterfowl starter.

While ducks are popular, many feed retailers do not stock a feed specifically manufactured for ducks, necessitating you to choose. While raising ducks, chick starter is sometimes necessary to ensure your ducklings receive all of their nutrients, even though brewer’s yeast is occasionally used.

It’s acceptable to offer your ducks a higher protein diet if you want to grow your Pekins to butcher them as soon as they’re large enough. Ducks will benefit from higher protein feeds, such as broiler feed, which help them reach processing weight quicker. Because fast growth might cause leg and wing issues in an egg-laying duck, you wouldn’t want this.

You’ll need to give your ducks a nutrition that will keep them alive for extended, healthy lives if you’re raising egg-laying ducks or pets. You may move your ducks to a grower feed with around 15% protein at around nine or ten weeks of age, which will encourage healthy growth and allow the birds to lay eggs. You may transfer 20-week old ducks to a laying diet.

2. Housing and Fencing

The subject of duck housing is a little bit different than chicken housing if you’re used to housing chickens.

Duck coops should normally be placed on the ground when it comes to homes because ducks might be fickle about ascending ramps. Provide at least 6 square feet of space per duck inside your duck coop. Since your Pekins will choose to do all of their business on the ground, it is unnecessary to include elevated nesting boxes or roosts in duck coops.

Make sure everyone has enough room to run around and stretch their wings by providing 12-15 square feet per duck outside during the run.

For the health and happiness of your webbed footed friends, providing a source of water is crucial, as it is with all ducks.

3. Health Issues and Care

When animals are produced for a certain characteristic, such as rapid growth, it may cause some deficits in other areas. When a pekin’s legs grow too rapidly, they may develop health problems, which is why a moderating diet is important.

Pekins are robust ducks that will thrive in a healthy environment, with the exception of issues that may arise when laying ducks are fed too much protein during growth.

4. Breeding

If you want to maintain this breed for many generations, you’ll have to hatch your own ducklings since Pekins don’t seem to be prone to broodiness. Always choose the most active and healthy parent when selecting breeding stock, since you want to hatch healthy ducklings.

Pekin Breed Alternatives


1. Cayuga

Cayuga ducks were the most common breed for duck meat production prior to the arrival of the Pekin. Cayugas may lay black eggs and grow to enormous sizes. Cayugas are a fantastic choice if you don’t mind a little black pinfeather now and then.

2. Silver Appleyard

The Silver Appleyard might be your duck if you’re one of those homesteaders who love old breeds. Silver Appleyards are a dual-purpose duck that can lay eggs and provide meat, making them an endangered breed.

Did You Know?

Aflac’s mascot, a Pekin duck, is based on a true story!

Pekins are a great breed for a wide range of applications. While this duck isn’t for every farm, it’s obvious why it’s one of the most popular ducks around!

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