Pekin Duck All You Need To Know: Care, Eggs and More…

Pekin Ducks are one of the most popular duck breeds around.

They are so popular that famous characters such as Donald Duck as well as the AFLAC logo are animated versions of a Pekin duck.

Pekins are often kept on homesteads alongside chickens. They are hardy, friendly, and a dependable layer

These ducks just love to play in the water and have a very strong immune system.

Are you considering adding a Pekin Duck to your backyard flock?

Read on as we discuss everything you may need to know when it comes to the well-known and well-loved Pekin…

Pekin Duck

Pekin Duck Overview

Pekin Ducks are some of the most popular ducks in the U.S.

You may have heard people call them the American Pekin, White Pekin, or Long Island Pekin.

They are well known for their easy-going temperament and egg laying ability. They make great companion animals and their outgoing personalities are entertaining to watch.

As an added bonus they are not known to be noisy, aside from the occasional quack.

This beautiful white duck has orange webbed feet. Unlike their wild ancestors the Pekin Duck is not a particularly good flier and rarely even attempts to fly.

Pekins are generally calm and gentle birds. They are quite inquisitive and can sometimes get themselves into some trouble if they are left to their own devices. They are at their happiest when allowed to waddle and paddle around.

Overall, Pekin Ducks are a staple breed for first-time duck keepers.

Pekin Duck
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 5-12 years.
Weight: Hen (8-9lb) and Drake (9-10lb).
Color: Cream white.
Egg Production: 4-5 per week.
Egg Color: White.
Known For Broodiness: No.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Duck: $5-$10.

Appearance

Pekin Ducks

The Pekin Duck has only ever been bred and found in one color variety, white.

Ducklings will hatch in the famous bright yellow color, but their yellow fluffy fuzz turns to creamy white feathers after around 6-8 weeks. However, you can expect your Pekins to hold onto their yellow or orange-colored legs for their lifetime.

You will also find that adult Pekin Ducks have a deep yellow bill which may develop black speckles as they age.

Most other duck breeds will have waterproof feathers, but the Pekin’s plumage is far fluffier making them look larger than they actually are.

Hen vs Drake

So how do you tell if a pekin duck is male or female?

In terms of appearance the easiest way to tell if your Pekin Duck is a hen or a drake is by their quacks.

Female Pekins quack loudly while drakes quack more quietly and have a rasp to them.

You can also look at their tails. Males will have a curled feather at the end of their tail known as a drake feather. Females will not have this curled tail feathered.

Size and Weight

The Pekin Duck is classified as a heavy breed.

Males typically weigh around 9-10lbs and females will average 8-9lbs.

You can expect the average Pekin Duck to be around 20 inches tall and weigh their mature weight at only 7 weeks of age.

There are even Jumbo Pekins that can weigh between 9-13.5lbs. Besides the extra weight, they are identical to regular Pekins.

There are currently no bantam variations of the Pekin Duck.

What Is It Like To Own Pekin Ducks?

Pekin Duckling

Both female and male Pekin Ducks are known for being friendly and gentle birds who can become quite attached to their keepers.

They will certainly keep themselves busy and are on the lower maintenance side than many backyard chicken breeds.

Your Pekins will be perfectly content if left to splash around in any body of water they may find. You can expect them to be attentive and forage in their free time. They can actually make up a large portion of their diet naturally from most backyard environments.

They will generally keep to their own breed rather than your chickens if they are kept together.

If you take into consideration their love for water and the possible consequences that may bring to the housing you have set up for them (e.g. a muddy run, damp bedding), ducks cohabitate well with chickens and can live off of everything you already have set up for your chickens.

Pekins are also incredibly hardy and are known for their ability to live in nearly any climate with few if any problems.

Personality

Pekin Ducks are one of the more friendly duck breeds.

They are docile and get along well with other breeds, including chickens!

Although they are well mannered, they can get nervous and flighty around children. The good news is they cannot actually fly so you do not need to worry about them flying away.

If you and your Pekin are particularly close, they will come up to you for treats and are happy to be hand fed.

Just remember that they are famously bad mothers and rarely go broody. If you are looking to hatch Pekin ducklings you will need the help of an incubator.

Egg Production

Although Pekin Ducks are known to be meat birds they are actually very good egg layers.

Because there are several strains of Pekin any individual Pekin can lay between 50 to 300 eggs a year. The average American Pekin will lay anywhere between 125-225 eggs a year, that is 3-5 eggs per week.

You can expect extra-large white eggs that weigh even more than the typical jumbo chicken egg.

They start to lay at around 20 weeks of age though the range is anywhere between 16-28 weeks.

Do not be skeptical about eating duck eggs! Rest assured that they taste just as good as chicken eggs and some people prefer them for baking.

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 3-5 Eggs.
Color: White.
Size: Extra Large.

Noise Levels

In general Pekin Ducks are not known for being noisy.

All ducks quack pretty frequently but it will depend on the individual whether they are considered loud.

If you really want a Pekin but have neighbors then consider getting a male rather than a female as male quacks are much quieter than female quacks.

Pekin Duck Care Guide

Pekin Ducks should be treated as adult waterfowl at around 2 months of age.

From this point forward they should be allowed to explore a spacious outdoor enclosure and would greatly benefit from a small pool or pond.

Although Pekin Ducks do not need a pond, having a space to swim or at least splash around will keep them happy.

They will also need access to clean drinking water at all times.

Just remember that these Ducks can make a mess of their drinking water source so you will need to change their water frequently.

Feeding

A Pekin Duck Eating

If you already have a flock of chickens then feeding your ducks is fairly easy.

Oftentimes, poultry feed can be given to Pekin Ducks in the same manner it would be given to chickens.

Ducklings can start on a standard chick starter food and move on to normal layer chicken feed from there. Keep in mind however that due to the shape of their bills, Pekin Ducks will find pelleted food or crumbled food easier to consume than scratch feed.

Pekins love to forage and roam and they will catch and consume a great deal more than your chickens. This can range anywhere from worms and nuts to small frogs and fish and can satisfy a significant portion of their diet.

Feel free to give your Pekins certain table scraps from your kitchen as treats. This can include leafy greens, peas, corn, and zucchini. Read What Do Ducks Eat? In The Wild And As Pets for more.

Coop Setup and Roaming

Although Pekin Ducks love the rain, they do not love snow or thunderstorms and should be given a safe and dry environment to retreat to. Your Pekins will need a safe and warm environment such as a coop or hut to retreat to during the colder months.

Ducks generally need a bit more space than what is recommended for chickens.

They will each need around 15 square feet per duck in a run and about 4 square feet per duck in a coop. Giving them as much outside space as possible will help keep them healthy.

Pekins love to forage and should be allowed to free range if possible. They are great foragers and will rid your backyard of any pests in no time. In fact, the more bugs and critters they have access to, the less feed you need to give them and the more time they will spend foraging and not making a muddy mess of their run.

A Pekin Duck’s run will become muddier much quicker than a chicken’s thanks to their love for splashing in pools of water. Spreading straw around the run can help in these instances. On a similar note, although Pekin Ducks are known for their love for water, ducklings should not be given access until they are at least a month old as they do not possess the necessary oils in their feathers to help them dry off and prevent chilling.

Breed History

Pekin Ducks have a long and rich history.

The first account of this duck dates back to around 4500 years ago.

However it is thought that since the 1300s the Chinese have been selectively breeding the Pekin Duck. They used the Mallard duck along with several other domesticated breeds of ducks.

In 1873 in Peking, China (currently known as Beijing), the duck hybrid was introduced to U.S. voyagers for the first time. These voyagers brought the Pekin Duck to New York and in 1874 the American Poultry Association inspected the Pekin Duck and recorded them in the APA’s first edition of the Standard of Perfection.

They rapidly gained popularity and became the top meat duck in the United States. In addition to this, their egg laying ability helped increase their already growing popularity.

After being imported to the United States, the Pekin Duck was crossbred with Aylesbury waterfowl in order to obtain a more horizontal standing duck.

The ducks that originated from China were almost exclusively bred in New York, Long Island. It is for this reason that Pekin Ducks are given the nickname of Long Island Ducks.

Pekin Duck Pictures

Summary

The Pekin Duck is a fantastic beginner duck breed.

They are perfect for those with a chicken flock already established.

These friendly ducks will spend hours in your backyard ridding you of any nasty pests you may have and lower your feed expense in the process.

Pekins are calm and gentle and get along well with other ducks and chickens. Although they should be under supervision with children, they are known to become quite attached to their keepers especially if they become accustomed to being handled regularly.

These adorable white ducks are a joy to observe as they waddle around.

Is the Pekin Duck a right fit for your backyard flock?

Let us know in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

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