Major Breeds

Thousands of years of selective breeding have resulted in ducks that come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. The differences in these ducks have come to be recognized as distinct breeds as well as different varieties within a particular breed. Several breeds have been developed particularly for meat purposes. Pekin (Fig. 4), Rouen, Aylesbury,

Table 12. World and Continent Duck Meat Production (1997)

Quantity Percentage of world (metric tons) production (%)

Table 12. World and Continent Duck Meat Production (1997)

Quantity Percentage of world (metric tons) production (%)

World 2,734,417 100

Asia 2,274,740 83.3


296,148 10.8

North and Central America

74,180 2.7


52,189 1.9

South America

30,978 1.1


6,182 0.2

Table 13. World's 10 Largest Duck Meat Producers (1997)


Quantity (metric tons)







United States


United Kingdom












"Hong Kong included.

"Hong Kong included.

Figure 4. Heavy male Pekin duck (pure breed).

and Muscovy duck have all been selectively bred to provide a large carcass. Pekin duck is the most commonly marketed meat duck today. The Pekin is a large, pure white duck. It is typically marketed at 7 to 8 weeks of age. At this age, it generally weighs between 6.25 and 7.5 lb. The Muscovy duck has become more popular in recent years. Although it grows more slowly and therefore takes several weeks longer to reach optimum weight, it yields a much leaner carcass. The Muscovy also maintains a more efficient feed conversion ratio. The appearance of the Muscovy is quite unlike that of any other breed of duck. It is easily recognized by the large caruncles or fleshy red growths on its face. The Muscovy can be seen in a number of colors or varieties; however, the white Muscovy is most typically used for market purposes. Mule ducks, a sterile hybrid of the Muscovy and the Pekin (or occasionally another meat breed), are also becoming increasingly popular in the meat duck industry. The primary egg-producing breeds are Khaki Campbell and Indian Runner. The Campbell is primarily khaki colored, as the name implies. The Campbell has been bred for high production and exceeds even some of the best chicken breeds. It is not uncommon for some strains of Campbells to lay 300 or more eggs per year. The Indian Runner comes in a variety of colors, with white the most common. The average egg production of the Indian Runner is typically slightly less than that of the Khaki Campbell.

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