Pekin Ducks for Dual Purpose - Eggs and Meat

Duck Characteristics and Temperament:

Pekin ducks, wrongly written sometimes as Peking ducks, are hardy and don't mind severe weather. Water to drink seems to be all Pekins require to bring them to perfect development. Some people have been more successful in rearing the Pekin duck bred with only a shallow dish filled to the depth of one inch with water than those which had the advantages of pond and running stream.

The Pekin is supposed to be a nervous bird liable to heart attacks if chased. However, I am sure that if most ducks were chased in this manner it wouldn't just be the Pekin who would suffer the same end.

Pekins are very intelligent birds. They like to stick to little groups and walk around in packs, and will often gang up on anything that is unfamiliar to them, such as a cat or dog who happens to wander into their path. They will happily chase lizards away an will quack loudly to warn of any predators about.

If not bothered, the Pekins are broody and make good mothers, as long as they feel that they are in a safe and secure environment. The Pekin ducklings are fast growers and at 6-9 weeks of age they are known as 'green ducklings' meaning that they are large enough to eat, but have not developed their pin feathers yet.

Primarily, the Pekin is kept as a table bird, although your ducks will lay, on average, 140 eggs a year.

a solitary Pekin duck floating on a pond
A Pekin duck floating on a pond

The History of Pekin Ducks

Pekin Ducks were first imported from China by Mr. J. E. Palmer, of Stonington, Conn., in the spring of 1873. They were at first mistaken for small-sized geese. They have long bodies, quite long necks, and carry their tails erect when startled. A large number were brought on shipboard, mostly young birds, but only a very few survived the passage. The importer saved a drake and three ducks.

The Markings of Pekin Ducks

The Pekin and Rouen are the most popular farm flock meat ducks. The more rapid growth rate and white feather color tend to favor the Pekin. They are, without doubt, a larger bird than the Rouen, and for their beauty and size a great acquisition to our poultry stock.  

The bill is yellow, and the legs are a reddish or orange-yellow. The wings are short, and as they cannot fly well, it is quite easy to keep them in small enclosures. They are very prolific. Two of the ducks of the first importation laid nearly one hundred and twenty eggs each from the last of March to about the first of August.

Pekin Ducks have taken their proper place in the list of domestic fowls, and are rightly esteemed for their size and white plumage. However, due to the small number of survivors of the importation inbreeding weakened the stock until a new importation was brought in some years later by a Major Ashley.

Hatching Pekin Ducks

When hatching, the eggs take 28 days to develop in the egg at 99.5°F (37.5°C) and 55-75% humidity. A heartbeat can usually be seen by the third day of incubation when candling the egg.

When the eggs are hatched under hens, the ducklings come out of the shell much stronger, if the eggs are dampened every day—after the first fifteen days—in water a little above blood heat, and replaced under the hen.

The ducks are very large and uniform in size, weighing at four months old about twelve pounds to the pair.

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Other Comments

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Hatching Problems and Pekin Ducklings 
This is my first time with Pekin Ducks I have 2 female 1 male. 1 female has been sitting on her eggs and been so faithful, and doesnt leave the nest …

Perky Pekins Not rated yet
We have a small brace of Pekin ducks and they are a delight. We also have a few mallards mixed in and the mallard drake seems to be the dominate one. We …

Veteran duck raiser Not rated yet
I have raised all sorts of poultry on my farm since I was a little kid. Pekin ducks are very easy to raise. Ours lived on a steady supply of clean …

just starting out with ducks Not rated yet
We are wanting to get ducks. We are wanting them for both meat and eggs. What do you think would be the best kind of ducks we should get? *** …

Easter Pekin babies Not rated yet
Last Easter my DIL and I decided to get Pekin ducks. We went and looked at babies and traded 8 hens for them. We chose 2 and came out with a male and female …

ducks having a heart attack Not rated yet
I had no idea that ducks could have a heart attack if you chased them! Thank you so much for the info.

Orange wings on Pekin duck Not rated yet
My Pekin has developed an orange tinge to the edge of her wings. Any ideas why?

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