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American Pekin Duck Breed Profile and Characteristics

Pekin duck or American Pekin is one of the most popular duck breeds for commercial production and in this article, we are going to explain the details.

American Pekin Duck History and Origin

Yi and Yu-Ping (1980), stated that the Pekin duck is native to the northwest of Beijing in China, where its exploitation has been carried out for many centuries, although it was improved in the US and Europe, it is the best-known breed of ducks to world level.

In their natural environment, they are commonly found in fast-flowing waters in which they thrive thanks to their great swimming ability.


Breed Characteristics

  • The female is of high posture, especially if she is selected for it. Her skin is yellow and her flesh is white.
  • The color is bright orange bill and reddish-orange legs and is highly communicative
  • It has a high rusticity, precocity, simplicity, and profitability.
  • It is par excellence the best breed when it comes to ducks for consumption because its meat is very tasty and nutritious.
  • High power of adaptation to different climates, resistance to diseases and adverse environments, and high growth speed.
  • Great economic impact on its breeding due to its simplicity of breeding and lower feed consumption than other breeds of ducks.

This species tends to accumulate more fat than the Muscovy duck because it is more precocious.

Their natural diet is based on small fish, insects, and plants. Its plumage is white, and its beak and legs are dark oranges. According to Nordby and Herbert (1970), the Pekin duck is long, deep, wide, and somewhat more upright, compared to the other breeds. In addition, the back should show a definite downward curve from the shoulders to the tail, and the line on the back should be nearly horizontal.

American Pekin Duck Production

An important advantage is that the incubation of fertile eggs is shorter than in other breeds, with a period of 25-26 days being normal. Females can lay 180-200 eggs per year.

Adult ducks can reach weights greater than 3.6 kg in the improved lines. These species can measure between 34 to 45 cm. A 2,725 to 3,778-gram duck can be produced at 8 or 9 weeks, with an average of 1,135 to 3,178 grams of feed, for every 454 grams of live weight gain (Bundy and Diggins, 1991).

The productive characteristics of the breed are as follows:

  • High meat production.
  • Resistant to different climatic environments.
  • They reach the weight suitable for slaughter in a short time (3.5 kg between 7 and 9 weeks).
  • Rustic and early.
  • It is raised in a small space and without water is essential.
  • Low sexual dimorphism (it is difficult to differentiate the male from the female with the naked eye), facilitates the commercial production of meat.
  • The adult weight of males is 4 kg, and that of females is 3.5 kg.
  • Great resistance to diseases due to its rusticity.
  • Good egg producers: 110 to 200 eggs/year, depending on genetic quality, management, and feeding. The female starts laying at 5 months of age.
  • Eggs with a high percentage of fertility, thus obtaining 85 to 95% hatchability (fertile eggs) and 85 to 90% hatchability (hatchings).
  • Meat is a little greasy, which can make it difficult to market.  The incubation time varies between 28 and 30 days.
  • The feed conversion is from 2: 1 to 1 or up to 3: 1 (kilograms of concentrate per kilogram of weight gained), in the same way, egg production behaves.
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The American Pekin duck is the most popular breed of duck in the Philippines and can be seen in backyard farms and also in commercial production. They are preferred for “balut” production because of the high volume of eggs.

Questions About American Pekin Duck

Are Pekin ducks friendly?

Although raised predominantly as a “table” or meat bird, Pekins do make wonderful pets and lay ducks. They are docile, and friendly and can lay between 150-200 large white eggs per year.

What is the lifespan of the Pekin duck?

American Pekin ducks are multi-purpose duck, which is used for egg and meat production, as well as ornamental purposes for hobby farms and ponds. Pekin ducks can weigh approximately 8-9 pounds when fully mature. The lifespan of American Pekin ducks is 8-12 years.

Why are Pekin ducks special?

The selective breeding process used to create this duck breed allows hens to produce extra-large eggs and more meat than the vast majority of other common duck breeds. Pekin ducks are highly regarded for their environmentally hardy nature, even in locales that suffer long and cold winters.

Do Pekin ducks lay eggs?

American Pekins start laying eggs when they are about 26–28 weeks of age and can be kept economically for about 40 weeks of production when they will have laid about 160 eggs. Egg production and overall performance are best if breeding ducks are housed together in groups no bigger than 250 birds.

Do Pekin ducks need a pond?

Ducks don’t need a pond to be happy, but they enjoy splashing and paddling around in a kiddie pool. In addition to having a place to bathe, ducks need a deep enough water source to keep their mucous membranes moist.

Will Pekin ducks fly away?

American  Pekin ducks, for the most part, are too heavy to get airborne. However, individual ducks may be lighter and capable of short flight, so clipping their flight feathers or (pinioning) their wings will ensure that they will not be able to fly away. They are gregarious and will usually group.

Will Pekin ducks lay eggs without a male?

You don’t need a male duck (called a drake) for the females to lay eggs, but they won’t ever hatch into ducklings without a drake around. Also, ducks tend to be better year-round layers than chickens, continuing their egg production right through the winter without any added light.

What is Pekin duck in the Philippines?

Pekin ducks are a domesticated duck breed primarily used for meat and egg production. It was said to have originated and bred from the mallard in China, then later brought to the West in 1873. In 2004, Mario saw the lack of a local Pekin duck farm in the country.

What is the most common breed of ducks raised in the Philippines?

The native or Pateros duck, commonly called itik, is the most popularly raised locally. Although smaller than imported breeds, they are good layers and non-sitters. Their eggs are large. Its predominant colors are black and gray.

Is duck meat popular in the Philippines?

Yes, duck meat is popular next to chicken meat. In 2021, around 15.62 million ducks were slaughtered for meat production in the Philippines, down from the previous year’s total. The total number of ducks slaughtered for meat production in the country reached its peak in 2016.

What kind of duck breeds are good for raising in the Philippines?

The native Pateros duck commonly called itik, is the most popularly raised locally. Although smaller than the imported breeds of ducks, they are good layers and non-sitters. This type of duck produces large eggs. The itik is characterized by predominant colors black and gray.

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