Pekin Duck

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Pekin
Origin Category Egg Colour Sitter
China Heavy Duck White or cream Yes
Pekin illustration by Bruno Dürigen.
Pekin photo by Paul-Erwin Oswald.

The Pekin duck is a large duck that originated in China and was bred for table purposes. Among several breeds they created was one named shi-chin-ya-tze, or roughly "ten-pound duck".

In 1872 some birds of this type were imported to the United Kingdom by Walter Steward; others were taken to the United States by James E. Palmer, where they gave rise to the American Pekin breed. Some soon reached Germany from the UK, possibly via France.

In Germany the Chinese ducks were cross-bred with upright white ducks brought from Japan by Dutch ships, resulting in birds with a steep body angle; those taken to the United States were crossed with Aylesbury birds, which led to birds with a more horizontal stance.

In Britain as in Germany, breeders in the early twentieth century tended to select for an upright body position. The modern British breed derives mostly from birds imported from Germany from about 1970. The Pekins bred and exhibited in Australia follow the British Standard.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head large, broad, and round, with high skull, rising rather abruptly from the base of the bill, and heavy cheeks.

Bill short, broad and thick, slightly convex or straight but not dished.

Eyes partially shaded by heavy eyebrows and bulky cheeks.

Neck short and thick, carried well forward in a graceful arch or curve, and with slightly gulleted throat.

Body broad and of medium length, and without any indication of keel except a little between the legs; broad full breast followed in under-line by the keel (which shows very slightly between the legs) to a broad, deep paunch and stern, carried just clear of the ground; broad back; short wings carried closely to the sides; well-spread tail carried high, the drake's having two or three curled feathers on top. (Note.—A good description of the general shape of the Pekin is that it resembles a small wide boat standing almost on its stern, and the bow leaning slightly forward.)

Legs strong "and stout, set well back and causing erect carriage. Toes straight, connected by web.

Carriage almost upright, elevated in front and sloping downward to the rear.

Wings short and carried close to the body.

Plumage very abundant, the thighs and fluff well furnished with long, soft, downy feathers.

COLOUR

Bill bright orange, and free from black marks or spots.

Eyes dark lead-blue.

Legs and Feet bright orange.

Plumage a sound and uniform cream, deep cream, or creamy white.

WEIGHTS

Weight — Drake: 9lb (4.1kg). Duck: 8lb (3.6kg).

(Note that the Australian Poultry Standard 2nd Edition gives a weight range beginning one pound lighter and going up to the weights given here that are taken from the British Poultry Standard referenced below.)

SCALE OF POINTS

Pekin Points from the British Poultry Standards referenced below.

SERIOUS DEFECTS

  • Black marks or spots on the bill
  • White plumage (Note that this defect is not listed as a serious defect in the APS2).
  • Any deformity.

See Disqualifications

SOURCES

  • The American standard of perfection, illustrated. A complete description of recognized varieties of fowls, as revised by [the Association at its 62d-67th annual meetings, 1937-42.] Public Domain accessed from: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009169004
  • Australian Poultry Standards 2nd edition