As a duck breeder, you could be looking for new and exciting breeds to rear. The Pekin duck might be of interest to you owing to its docile and friendly nature. It is a breed that originated from China and stands tall, almost straight due to its distinct build.
In this review, we will be looking at some interesting facts about the breed and what you need to know if you would like to keep them as domesticated ducks.
7 Quick American Pekin Duck Facts
- The Pekin ducks have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years
- There are two types of Pekin ducks; the White Pekin and the Long Island Duck.
- Pekin ducks can be bred for egg or meat production
- The scientific name of the Pekin duck is Anas platyrhynchos domesticus.
- The Pekin duck does not have teeth but a jagged edge on its bill for filtering food.
- The selective breeding process of the Pekin ducks allows the hens to provide massive eggs and more meat.
In the United States, Pekins are the most popular duck breed that is commercially raised. They were introduced in 1873 where they were brought from China to the United States. They are a direct descendant of the wild mallard that used to be reared in China over 2,000 years ago.
They are likely to have been domesticated in Southeast Asia and were first exported to England in 1872. Later, they were brought to America, where they rapidly became the duck breed in the most significant demand in the market.
What do American Pekin Ducks look like?
In terms of physical appearance, the Pekin ducks only have a single color, white. The adults are white, while the ducklings are yellow. This is typical of most ducklings that you will find on the cover of nursery books.
Gradually, the yellow transitions to creamy white feathers while the legs remain orange for the rest of their lives. Their bill is also deep yellow, but some adults have some dark spots close to their bill’s tip once they have reached maturity.
They have a long body and are fully breasted, a feature that makes them ideal for meat production. Mature hens will grow to about 8 pounds, while mature drakes will grow to 9 pounds.
The Jumbo Pekin ducks can grow to 12 pounds when they are mature. This makes them relatively heavy birds that are also huge. They are typically bigger than a chicken.
In terms of height, the Pekin duck will grow up to 50 cm (20 inches) from its tail to its crown. They are also cold-hardy and will easily survive the cold winters.
There are two main varieties of the American Pekin:
- White Pekin: These were the original Pekin ducks to be brought from China. They are also lower in fat and higher in protein as compared to other breeds.
- Long Island Duck: This was locally bred in America for its softer flesh and milder flavor. Specialized nutrition makes them better for meat production.
White Pekin duck has white feathers with orange feet while the Long Island Duck has blackish-grey feathers with orange bills.
How to tell Pekin duck gender
The easiest way to determine whether your Pekin duck is a male or a female is by its quack. The females tend to have a louder honk while males are quieter.
The males also have a drake feather which is the curled feather at the end of their tail.
What is it like owning a Pekin Duck?
Pekin ducks have non-aggressive and friendly personalities. They will accept petting by their owners, and they are not sensitive to being touched.
They quickly get accustomed to being touched, and if this is important for you, you will not have a problem with them.
The Pekin ducks are excellent at laying eggs, and when reared properly, they will produce 200 to 300 eggs per year. The hens will typically start to lay eggs when they are between 5 and 6 months old.
Each egg is white, massive, and usually weighs about three ounces. They are 50% larger than the eggs that are laid by a chicken. Its yolk is bigger than that of a chicken which makes the Pekin eggs prized by many chefs. They require at least 10 hours of light in a day to lay eggs.
They can lay eggs even during the winter if they are getting enough hours of light.
The Pekin hens can be pretty loud if you are used to spoiling them. When you are about to give them a treat, they will become louder to hurry you up. The drakes are not as loud and only have a quiet quack.
American Pekin Duck Care Guide
Pekin ducklings should be reared at a warm temperature as they mature. They will get used to external temperatures by the time they are five weeks old, but you should keep them warm before that. This is to ensure that they are free from all illnesses.
They are also susceptible to bumblefoot, which usually shows itself as a black scab at the bottom of their foot. Catching it early enough is the best way to get it effectively treated.
Ensure that the Pekin ducks always have access to clean and fresh water for drinking. They are also known to mess with this water quickly, and you will have to change the water frequently.
It would help if you also were feeding them food that has been specifically designated for ducks.
You can start with the formulation for hatchling ducks, then transition to the grower feeds at ten weeks before moving to the feeder formulation when they are 18 weeks old.
Coop set-up and Run
Once your ducks are about two months old, you will need to start treating them as adults. Ensure that they have enough space in their outdoor enclosures. You also don’t need to worry about them flying away, but a top would be preferable to ensure that predators are always kept away.
Every adult requires at least 3 square feet. The more space you give them, the better for your Pekin ducks.
It is essential that their shelter is free of drafts during the winter and has hay on the floor. The summers will require shade and more water to keep them comfortable and adequately hydrated.
Their coop can also get messy quickly, and it is essential to keep it clean to keep them healthy and avoid any disease outbreaks. The coops should also be protected from predators such as dogs and raccoons.
American Pekin Growth Stages Overview
A sharp point identifies newly hatched ducklings at the end of their bill, used to make a way out of the egg. At ten days, the ducklings are already growing incredibly fast and have added some weight.
In three weeks, they are still growing and getting much hardier than the chicks. They are also more confident and can go outside briefly when the weather permits it.
At this point, they are still yellow. At four or five weeks, the yellow color begins to fade to a white plumage. The white color takes over completely at 7 to 8 weeks old, where they might still be very fluffy.
At ten weeks, they start to grow mature feathers and keep maturing and growing up fast. They will have a completely white appearance at the point of maturity, and their build will also be more stable and hardier.
Do Pekin Ducks make good pets?
Pekin ducks are docile and friendly. They have unique personalities, which makes them excellent pets.
The ducklings are messier than chicks, and you should be keener while they are still young. You will have done them a massive favor with a pool and contributed to their growth and development.
The females are loud when getting a treat, but the males tend to be generally quieter. They are also calm, which means that you will have a great time having them as your pets.
Frequently Asked American Pekin Questions
How much are American Pekin ducks?
The best way to purchase Pekin ducks is by getting them when they are a day old. They will cost you between $4 and $8, depending on the quantity that you purchase. Females are also slightly more expensive than males.
Do American Pekin Ducks migrate?
Pekin ducks are hardy creatures that are not as fragile as other types of duck breeds. As such, they can easily survive the winter and will not need to fly south when it starts getting cold.
They are also great foragers and do not need to migrate to find food. At this time, they will usually snuggle down on the hay you’ve got placed on the floor to stay warm.
Keeping them warm during the winter will ensure that they produce more eggs while maintaining their weight during the cold season. They do not fly and have no way of migrating before the winter.
Why do many people love Pekin ducks?
Pekin ducks are known to produce larger eggs and more meat as compared to other ducks. They also have a visual appearance that is appealing to the eye. As such, many people prefer to keep this duck breed as compared to many other breeds. It has even been reared as a replacement to the Cayuga duck breed.
Is it hard to raise the Pekin ducks?
Pekin ducks are easier to raise as compared to other breeds of domestic ducks. This is due to their ability to survive in extreme conditions such as cold weather and a strong immune system. This means that they are better at surviving, and rearing them will not be stressful for their owners.
Are there Pekins who are celebrities?
Yes. The Aflac duck and Donald duck are both Pekins. As you can notice from the shows, they have orange beaks and white feathers, identifying them as Pekin ducks.
What do Pekin ducks eat?
Pekins ducks are scavengers in nature, and as such, they will eat anything that they can find. They are known to be good free rangers and can find food from land and water surfaces. They are not used to diving underwater and will only eat what they can find on the surface.
What is the difference between Pekin and Peking?
Even though these names might sound alike, they do not refer to the same thing. Pekin is a duck breed, while Peking is a tasty Chinese roast duck dish. It is important to learn the difference since many people tend to confuse the two words.
The Pekin duck is an interesting breed of duck known for extra-large eggs and great meat production. They are docile, friendly, and make good domestic pets. They are also hardy and will survive right through the coldest winters.
They are reliable birds to keep, and provided you give them the needed protection; they will be the best ducks you’ll ever know. With the information provided above, you now have a better knowledge of the Pekin ducks and the many benefits that they provide.