Pekin ducks are a domestic duck breed that traces its origins to China.
It is a unique breed that was originally reared for the production of meat and egg.
However, its unique beauty and general acceptability by the majority has made it the main pet duck breed chosen by owners worldwide.
The popularity of the Pekin duck is because they lay lots of large, white eggs.
They’re also cold AND heat hardy, and rarely get sick.
Pekin duck history can be traced far back as 2000 years ago, though the country of its origin (China) has earlier started breeding ducks (mallards) about 3000 years ago. This breed came to existence from the “ten-pound duck” bred by the Chinese.
The market breakthrough of the Pekin duck in the 19th century came when it was shipped from a town formerly known as Peking ( origin of its name) to an American buyer. The survived ducks became so dominant, as they bred many eggs enough to introduce its existence in the market. Also, the white feature of the Pekin duck makes it a more acceptable one to the former duck (Cayuga ) in the market. This breed also spread to other countries, notably Germany, where another kind of Pekin duck exists – that is why this particular one has the name ‘American Pekin.’
This special duck breed lays white eggs. Though the duck’s egg productivity is not high, it can still lay about 180 – 200 eggs per year. This fact can only be possible if laying and hatching by the duck is not involved. These white-colored eggs come in a very large size and weigh an average of 95 grams. The color can also be tinted; don’t be confused when you see one.
Breeding this duck domestically always has some notable cares that need to be taken care of for the maximum survival of these birds in the duckling stage. These cares come in ways of accommodation, feeding, general hygiene, etc.
Ducks in a hatchling form need a home that guarantees enough warmth to keep them alive. Thus, a farmer should construct a box-like platform with a safe source of light (lamp for instance) close by, before receiving the hatchlings. You can check the temperature using a thermometer and also make sure the floor is soft enough by adding soft materials.
When appreciable growth has been noticed in about 2 months or more, you should ensure the duck gets an adequate spacious accommodation with or without a top closure. The floor space has to been considered so seriously as to allow the birds mature very well.
As earlier said, hatchlings need enough warmth and should be watched properly to know when to regulate the temperature. However, as the Pekin ducks grow, that high temperature is regulated down and subsequently dropped so well from 100 degrees to 53 degrees.
The duck hatchling should be immediately provided with clean water to avoid dehydration. Just like every other bird, feeding starts with a “starter,” continues with a “grower,” and probably ends with a “breeder feed.” However, it is advised that the Pekin duck is fed with feeds produced particularly for them, though Starters of Chickens can serve as alternatives. At the right time, switch to growers and then breeders, but remember to make water available always when feeding them.
Other Health Factors
The health of this breed should be taken seriously and the farmer should make sure not to give the bird wrong feeds. Additionally, this breed is naturally prone to zoonotic disease; therefore the person breeding it should take care of himself and the family. It is worthy of note that kids should be restricted from its habitat. Lastly, proper disinfectants should be used after attending to these ducks.
This is optional because, without it, nothing happens, but it is of a good benefit to an adult duck if it can see where it will swim (pool). For that reason, the farmer breeding them should provide a pool, if possible, and always ensure the availability of very clean drinking water for the ducks. This act should not be extended to young ducks if proper supervision is not provided.
Protection From Predators
Just like every other domestic animal, Pekin ducks are susceptible to predator attacks, and its safety is one that the farmer must always put into consideration in order to maximize profit in terms of meats and eggs.
Firstly, the rooftop of the house of an adult duck should be covered to basically prevent some predators from creeping in. I will highlight the necessary things a farmer needs to do to ensure safety for his ducks.
- Check if the area you planned on erecting their house is infected with predator attack; maybe change the location.
- Do direct marking, thus scaring the predators away.
- You might employ the services of a cat or dog to serve as a guard.
- Avoid leaving the Pekin ducks’ foods outside in the night.
- Release the ducks some hours late after dawn.
- Take in the ducks some hours early before dusk.
- Obstruct the smooth attack of Hawks by placing some hedges on their pathways.
- Make the number of the breed to be in large numbers.
- Make sure to remove laid eggs first thing in the morning.
- Also, the doors and windows of the duck house should be properly and tightly constructed to avoid penetration.
Pekin ducks, a white beautiful domesticated duck, definitely deserves its popularity. This friendly bird, which also serves as a great egg source, is no match for any other type of duck.