Cayuga Duck – Eggs, Meat, Breeding and More

The Cayuga Duck is easily one of the most-unique looking duck breeds around right now. It is a shame that this is one of the biggest ‘at risk’ species in the world. However, we will talk more about that soon. For now, let’s start by talking about the origin of the Cayuga Duck.

Cayuga Duck (Photo By Eric Dobis)

The Interesting Origin of the Cayuga Duck

There are a lot of stories that are floating around, and it is pretty tough to work out which one is true and which one isn’t.

Historians haven’t really looked into it, probably because it doesn’t matter all that much. However, that is a story for another day.

The story we like to believe is that one day in the early 1800s, somebody saw two black ducks swimming on the Cayuga Lake, in the Finger Lake region of New York.

They then decided to breed the two of them together. Who discovered the birds is unknown.

This is the story that most breeders seem to roll with, so we are going to go with the same. It makes sense to an extent anyway.

At the time, there were not really any known black duck breeds, so the Cayuga descending from wild breeds around the lake is a good story.

By the 1863 it was recognized duck breed by its name Cayuga duck and in 1874 they were recognized by APA.

The Cayuga Duck is the fact that it is an American duck breed. This means it is one of only a few duck breeds that originated in the United States.

As the name suggests, it also comes from Lake Cayuga, which is in New York state. That is about as far as the known history of this bird goes.

cayuga duck
Cayuga Duck (Photo by Dana KeeCC BY 2.0)

The Stunning Look of the Cayuga Duck

This duck is black with a blue head. The beak is also black. Honestly, this is really one of the most distinctive duck breeds out there, and it does look stunning.

This is why it has always baffled us that this is a bird that is bordering on becoming extinct. When fully grown, the Cayuga duck weighs somewhere between 7 and 8 lb. (3.2kg and 3.6kg).

It is worth noting that the coloring of the Cayuga duck does change ever so slightly over time. Some people have noted that their ducks end up with a slightly more orange tint as they get older.

If you look at the duck in certain lights, it will also have a slightly green look to it.

Finally; you may notice some white feathers appear when they molt, but this is a temporary issue, so it isn’t something you need to worry about. It doesn’t mean that your duck is sick!

Cayuga Duck Eggs

The Cayuga Duck eggs are one of the main reasons as to why this duck is raised.

The Cayuga Duck actually lays a unique egg. It is black. Well, at least for a while.

The duck will not lay eggs at some times of the year. When their egg-laying season starts up again, they will begin by laying black eggs.

The Cayuga duck eggs look absolutely stunning. However, they will not remain black for long. As the egg-laying season starts to progress, their eggs will start to become lighter and lighter in color. By the end of it, the eggs are going to be a stunning white.

Honestly, the progression of the color of their eggs is nice to see.

Cayuga duck eggs
Cayuga Duck Eggs (Photo by Dana KeeCC BY 2.0)

Obviously, the taste of the eggs doesn’t actually change, but the change in the color gives you a sort of idea as to how the pigment in your duck is starting to run out.

The Cayuga duck will produce around 160-eggs per year. So, this is a little under one every couple of days. As we said; they will not lay eggs throughout the entire year. However, there doesn’t really seem to be that much of a difference between their breeding seasons.

Cayuga Duck Meat

In the past, the Cayuga Duck was raised for meat. We reckon that it would still be a great meat breed for some people. They are easy to breed, and they are heavy.

However, do bear in mind that the Cayuga Duck does take a little while to mature. So, if you are looking for a duck purely for meat purposes, then the Cayuga Duck probably isn’t for you. It is more for those who want a duck that looks good and can produce a quality number of eggs each year.

In terms of flavor profile, the Cayuga Duck is often regarded as one of the most-delicious tasting duck breeds. However, there are some people who also claim that it tastes a little bit similar to the Pekin Duck which, while popular, is famous for not tasting all that brilliant.

We suppose that it is a personal preference for the duck. We are sure if you raised these in your backyard, it wouldn’t be long before you discovered whether the taste was good for you or not.

The Cayuga Duck for Show and Ornaments

This is where the Cayuga Duck really seems to shine nowadays.

As we said before; the look of the duck is incredibly unique. This makes it fantastic for shows.

Although, do bear in mind that these shows can get incredibly competitive, so if you haven’t been working on breeding your Cayuga Ducks for a while, it is unlikely that you will be able to enter a show and make any headway there.

Cayuga Duck (Photo By Simon RedwoodCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

That being said, the main reason as to why people have the Cayuga Duck is because it looks fantastic kicking around in their backyard. It is a good look, and it doesn’t really cause that much hassle. You are not going to get a breed that looks even a little bit close to the way this one looks.

Breeding Cayuga Ducks

As we have mentioned before; this duck is critically endangered. However, there are a lot of people who believe that the Cayuga Duck is likely to make a comeback over the next few years.

This is because this is a duck that is seemingly being offered by more and more hatcheries throughout the United States, and it is a breed that has managed to spread to a few other countries too. So, we doubt that this is a breed that is going to be disappearing any time soon.

If you want to contribute to the ‘comeback’ of the Cayuga Duck, you will be pleased to know that this is one of the easiest duck breeds to breed. It is easy to get this duck to raise their eggs, and they seem to fertilize well, which is great!

The Quietest Duck Out There

One of the main reasons as to why people love the Cayuga Duck is the fact that it is the quietest duck out there. You won’t hear a peep from it.

It is also one of the friendliest breeds too. Some people will hand feed their ducks with ease. Although, this is something that you are going to need to be doing from a young age with the duck. However, even adult ducks can be a bit on the friendly side.

Two Cayuga Ducklings and One Buff (Photo By Samantha Forsberg)

Although, do bear in mind that it may take them a little while to warm up to you. After all, they will see you as a predator otherwise.

In addition to this, while the Cayuga duck loves a lot of space to roam about, it is not a duck that is ever going to roam too far from where it lives. However, we are going to talk more about that in the next section.

Who is the Cayuga Duck Suitable For?

The Cayuga Duck is highly recommended for people who live in built-up areas. This is because it is one of the quieter duck breeds out there. It doesn’t really quack, and since it doesn’t fly that much, it isn’t going to be annoying your neighbors.

This is a duck that can jump, but it can’t really fly for long periods of time. However, there are a few people out there who may clip the wings just in case.

This means that if you do live in a built-up area, or you are worried about your ducks being able to get away, this isn’t an issue you will need to face with the Cayuga Duck.

It really doesn’t like to do much. It may forage a little bit, but it isn’t going to be roaming around all that much.

We do want to point out that because this is a duck that is on the larger side of things, you probably are going to want to put a small amount of effort into controlling the amount of food that it eats, particularly if it does have the opportunity to forage a lot where you live.

Obviously, you do not want to have your duck becoming obese, because this is just going to cause health issues.

Other than this, there is nothing you really need to worry about this breed. It is one of the simpler breeds to raise. Just let it do its own thing and you should be fine.

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