American Pekin Duck: White Marvels Of Feathered Charm

The American Pekin duck was raised by Keepers only in white varieties. Their ducklings are the yellow ones you see in picture books and ads. The Pekin ducks’ yellow fuzz turns into creamy white feathers as they become older, but their orange shanks, or legs, never change. 

A Pekin duck’s bill is also a rich shade of yellow. After reaching full age, some American Pekin ducks (especially females, in my experience) get some dark markings near the tip of their bills. The main factor favoring this breed for producing meat is its long, moderately wide, and full-breasted body shape.

Breed Name Pekin
Other Names American Pekin or Long Island duck
Breed Purpose Dual Purpose (eggs & meat)
Special Notes Calm, Friendly, Good as Pets
Breed Class Heavy
Broodiness Average
Weight 3.6 to 5 kg
Climate Tolerance All Climates
Egg Color White
Egg Size Large
Egg Weight 90-100 grams
Egg Productivity Medium
Flying Ability Poor
Rarity Common
Varieties White only
Country of Origin United States

American Pekin Duck: Breed History

The history of American Pekin Ducks is extensive and rich. This duck was first mentioned approximately 4500 years ago. Nonetheless, it is believed that the Chinese have been selectively breeding American Pekin Ducks since the 1300s.

First presented to American travelers in Peking, China (now Beijing), the duck hybrid was created in 1873. These explorers took the American Pekin Duck to New York, where they were examined and documented in the American Poultry Association’s inaugural edition of the Standard of Perfection in 1874. They were the most popular meat duck in the US, gaining popularity quickly. China gave rise to the ducks that were bred nearly entirely in New York, Long Island. The American Pekin Ducks are known as the Long Island Ducks because of this.

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Pekin Duck Diet 

Both farmed and wild ducks eat nearly the same things when given the freedom to roam. Poultry birds or chicken feed are commonly fed to American Pekin ducks. Game bird feed should be used occasionally if the flock members are not also allowed to roam freely, since it will supplement their diet with additional protein.

Ducklings can eat chick starting as long as the feed isn’t medicated. The “Layer” feed is an excellent substitute. When given freedom to forage, a American Pekin duck will look for tiny fish and crustaceans, frogs and tadpoles, berries, worms, nuts, algae, insects, flies, and most significantly, mosquitoes. The American Pekin duck is also fond of garden veggies; mine go crazy for lettuce and grapes as a healthy training treat.

The regimen for fall husbandry should include switching to a feed high in protein and providing corn as a nutritious snack. The ducks get an additional layer of fat to keep warm over the long, chilly winter months thanks to both kinds of nutrition. Even in the winter, Ducks will still spend the majority of their time outside, in contrast to Chickens and other poultry birds.

Pekin Duck Behavior

American Pekin ducks, including both hens and drakes, are known to be friendly and non-aggressive poultry birds. They will sometimes tolerate being petted if they are being reared as pets or as egg birds. If you are uncomfortable handling the ducklings, handling them frequently from the moment they hatch will assist them become used to being handled and held. Pekins appear to love attention, so rubbing their bellies while they’re facedown in your lap seems to be a favored pastime.

American Pekin ducks make great free range animals. In most circumstances, they can not only naturally forage for the majority of their food, but they can also stay alert to predators, quickly retreat to the safety of their coop, and run when needed. Pekin hens can be noisy, particularly if they’ve been overindulged. My flocks of ducks and chickens are trained to wait for me at the door of the coop run and to settle down for the night with a small treat.

Appearance

The American Pekin Duck is unique in that it has only ever been bred and produced in white. Ducklings are known for their vivid yellow hue when they hatch, but after around 6 to 8 weeks, their fluffy yellow fuzz transforms into creamy white feathers.

But, you should anticipate that your Pekins will live a lifetime wearing orange or yellow legs. Moreover, mature American Pekin Ducks have a deep yellow bill that may eventually get black specks. The waterproof feathers of most other duck breeds are characteristic of the Pekin, whose plumage makes them appear larger than they actually are.

Temperament

Pekins are among the friendliest duck breeds; they are composed and extroverted. They are a breed that is perfect for pets due to their placid disposition. But don’t get a Jumbo Pekin as a pet. These birds cannot lead comfortable adult lives because they are so big and hefty.

Moreover, their lives are already incredibly brief. Even though Pekins are among the biggest kinds of ducks, they are excellent foragers and highly active. Furthermore very hardy are pekins. They have minimal issues surviving in almost any climate. They resist illness and are hardy individuals.

Pekin Duck Habitat

The ducks will require a secure and cozy coop or hut to sleep in at night and to seek cover from inclement weather. All year long, bedding needs to be supplied that is dry and clean. A duck run will get muddy faster than a chicken run because the ducks will splash their drinking water when they gulp it as well as when they enter and exit their tiny in-run pond or plastic baby pool.

I cover the run with straw throughout the rainy seasons of the year to aid in the drying of the mud produced by the ducks and the weather. It is never advisable for ducks to go longer than eight hours without drinking. While they are free-ranging in the winter, American Pekin ducks will swim less in their run water source or pond. T

hey can still swim occasionally, and in order to stay healthy, they must have access to a daily, unfrozen water supply that is deep enough for them to submerge their heads.

Pekin Ducks Sexing

Because the young ducklings lack visible genitalia and other traits, determining their gender can be difficult. One common tactic is venting. This means that by gently pressing the duckling until it ejects excrement, which causes the cloaca to partially open, the sexer can examine its reproductive organs. These are almost the same in hatchlings, though.

A male duck’s vocalization weakens and it develops a curled tail feather known as a “drake feather” as it ages. It also has one black feather on its back, beneath its wings. The female produces a loud quack covertly. Due to the obvious external differences between men and females, venting is not necessary, but it is easier when the ducks’ genitals are completely developed.

Lifespan

The average Pekin lifespan is five to ten years. It is likely that the average Pekin lives for seven years. Individually healthy Pekins with proper care may live for ten to fifteen years. Generally speaking, Pekins live shorter lives than other duck breeds.

But there’s a lot of variance because there are so many distinct strains of Pekins, some of which are healthier and have longer lifespans than others. Pekins are prone to laying problems since they are often bred for meat rather than lifespan.

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