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What is American Pekin Duck Breed: Origin, Characteristics, Production, and Many More

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.

American Pekin duck image credit morningchores.com

American Pekin 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, 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, its beak and legs are dark orange. 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), which 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, depends 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 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 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.

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