The Pekin duck is probably one of the best-known ducks in the world. Because of their sociable and talkative nature, Pekin ducks are great as pets. On the other hand, this breed of duck (well, a slight variant of the breed) goes into making an amazingly popular Chinese dish. So, right away, you know that the Pekin duck is going to be making a remarkable food dish.
Before we go anywhere, we are going to point out that we are going to be talking about the American Pekin duck here. There is also a German Pekin duck, which is similar, but not quite the same. So, we are explicitly focusing on only the American version, just to make things simpler!
Pekin Duck Facts at a Glance
|Eggs||150 per year|
|Egg Shell Color||White to tinted|
|Temperament||Friendly and docile|
|Use||Meat + Eggs|
|Weight||Male: 4.5 kg (10 lb.)|
Female: 4.1 kg (9 lb.)
|Country of origin||China|
|Admitted to APA||1874|
|Status||Not at risk|
The Origins of the Pekin Duck
The Pekin duck, as you may have guessed, originates from China. However, the American Pekin duck is a ‘furthering’ of ducks that came from that region. In fact, the entirety of the American Pekin duck can be traced back to just four birds that were shipped over from Pekin (which now goes by the name Beijing).
The duck was first imported to the US in the 1870s. The bird very quickly became popular as a meat duck breed, and it is now one of the most popular breeds raised in the United States due to this.
In fact, millions upon millions of Pekin ducks are consumed every single year in the United States alone. The Pekin is to ducks what Cornish breed is to chickens. We will talk more about that soon.
As we said, there is also a German version. This began with the same breeding stock that the American Pekin duck had. However, the bird was crossed with British birds, something that never happened in the United States.
Therefore, it is regarded as a completely different duck breed in United States. All of this happened at the same time that the American Pekin was being bred.
The Look of the Duck
This is a large bird. It has to be. It is used, mostly, for meat after all.
The Pekin duck is 9 – 10 lbs. in size.
This breed of duck is well known for their large head and their thicker neck.
Although, apart from that, they look pretty much like your average duck. There isn’t that much differentiation between duck breeds, after all.
APA recognizes only one variety of this breed and that is white. So the duck from this breed is always a white-colored bird. They will always have an orange beak and orange legs.
While there are shows for the Pekin duck, they tend not to focus on the look of the breed all that much. Instead, they focus heavily on the usefulness of the bird. So, most of the shows that you find will be focused on agricultural events.
We suppose that the Pekin duck is going to look good roaming around your backyard. However, it is still a fairly basic duck. It is never designed to be used as an ornamental breed. It is always going to be destined for the table.
If you do want to breed a bird to improve the breed, however, then the Pekin duck is great for that. You have countless breeders all over the United States working on this breed, and you have several different variants of the breed as a result.
They are all still classed as the Pekin Duck, though.
The Pekin Duck as a Meat Bird
One of the main reasons as to why this bird became so popular so rapidly is due to the color of its skin.
Before the Pekin came along, the breeds of ducks being consumed in the United States had darker skin. They just didn’t look good when the small pin feathers haven’t been removed. However, this wasn’t an issue with the Pekin duck. You couldn’t see any feathers that had been left behind!
These birds grow incredibly fast. In fact, in less than 2 months, they will be ready for slaughter. This is why these birds are only ever really used for meat. Their fast growth means that they are likely going to be dying of organ failure if they are allowed to live too long.
If you are going to be raising a Pekin Duck flock, then know that it is mostly going to be for meat purposes.
The Pekin Duck as an Egg Bird
Chances are, most of the ducks are going to be slaughtered before they become egg birds. However, those that live long enough are capable of laying 150 eggs per year, which certainly isn’t too bad for a duck.
In terms of breeding from the eggs, the Pekin is semi-good. This is a very fertile duck. Again, another reason why they are used heavily for meat. It is able to produce more ducks with ease.
The problem is that the Pekin doesn’t actually sit on eggs. This means that if you are planning to raise the ducks, then you will need to have an incubator. Without an incubator, you will not get any new ducklings.
Well, you may do, but it is going to be pretty much a gamble!
Raising the Pekin Duck
The Pekin duck is also raised commercially because it doesn’t require a lot in the way of feed. So, if you are planning on raising Pekin ducks purely for meat, then this is probably going to be the best duck that you can buy.
It is an affordable breed that, as we said, breeds incredibly well if you are able to get your hands on an incubator.
This is a great breed in terms of friendliness. However, we doubt that you are really going to be bonding with this breed. This is because it is (mostly) going to be a breed that you will be slaughtering at a young age. As a result, a lot of people will keep the ducks cooped up.
The ducks are too large to be decent fliers. However, they can fly. So, you will either need to get their wings clipped, or you will need to have a coop that is secure so that your ducks will not be escaping.
All in all, the Pekin duck is going to be a tremendous duck for those that are new to raising ducks and want something that is easy to raise while also being highly productive.