The search for the perfect (for me) meat duck!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Dusky Beauty, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At the moment I have 13 young duck hens including 5 khakis, and 8 layer hybrids from Metzer (no drakes.) I got them as an experiment for egg laying, and I LOVE them! I really think ducks may be *my thing*. I'm thinking that by this time next year, I should have a really steady egg supply, and I'm starting to think my next set of ducks should be either dual purpose or bigger meaty birds.

    At the moment I am debating between the attributes cayugas, pekins (jumbo, or regular?) and muscovies. I haven't heard as much feedback about other breeds.

    I'd like decent personalities, a duck that dresses out to a decent roaster, and ideally lays regularly (if not as often as my little layers) and maybe even broods well?

    What attracts me to cayugas are the exotic beetle green look, and I read that they can have gray to black shelled eggs (which I would have a lot of fun blowing out and decorating.)

    Pekins appeal to me because they are a good middle of the road duck, and can be pretty decent layers as well as dressing out well. (And I'll be able to get ducklings locally.)

    Muscovies I've read are the premium meat duck and have a lot of character, but I think if I have them around it's inevitable that I'll end up with mules and I'm not quite sure if that's a pro or a con.

    Also, when I get a drake (or two) would it be better for my bevy for the drake to be a meat based breed, or a laying based breed?

    In the long run, I'm hoping to sell duck eggs, but the meat I intend to produce is supposed to only be for family consumption, so my emphasis should be on egg production, secondarily breeding healthy and useful ducklings, and third a decent dressed weight in my culls.
     
  2. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Pekins fit the bill nicely. They are a fast growing duck, with slaughter at eight weeks of age. The white feathering help in a clean, good looking carcass. They are good layers of very large eggs, with a production of over 200 eggs per year if properly managed. The eggs are easily hatched in an incubator.
     
  3. SycolinWoodsChickens

    SycolinWoodsChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2 on the Pekin. We got a straight run flock last year. Sent 3 drakes to freezer camp over a year or so (others were re-homed). They dress out nicely.

    Our 5 Pekin hens lay 4 eggs a day - every day - since they started laying over a year ago.

    Overall a easy bird to raise and handle too.
     
  4. DUCKGIRL89

    DUCKGIRL89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are wanting a good meat bird, nice duck good personality, lays good, and hatches eggs. Go with the muscovy. I have heard nothing but good stuff about them.
     
  5. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any suggestions on my drake question? I'm not sure what would be the best sort of "flock sire" for my needs. Should I get an egg line drake to for my layers and improve on my heavy hens performance? or should I get a slightly heavier drake to bulk out my layers progeny?
     
  6. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are planning on selling hatching eggs, you will be much better off with pure bred. People are not going to pay for unknown hybrids. If you are planning on eggs for consumption, it doesn't matter. If you want to work on developing a breed than choose what you will but this is a huge commitment. If you have space, you could have a layer pen and a meat pen and go with 2 breeds. Many countries breed mullards (sp?) muscovy/mallard crosses for meat. Problem there, sterility in offspring so you can't breed your own breeders.

    Pekin dresses out nice, not broody, lays good, good personality. If you want ducklings you need incubator.
    Muscovy dresses well, broody, lays well, good personality. Excellent mothers, you can get white muscovy so the carcass looks nicer.
    Cayugas, dresses well, fair broody, alys good, good personality. Carcass will not dress as well due to coloring, may need incubator.

    I say muscovy but I'm partial. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  7. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm apparently a very shallow farmer... I went to look up some more muscovy info and the pictures just reminded me how danged ugly they are! LOL When I was a little girl my parents would take me to the park to feed ducks, and I always forced myself to give most of my duck treats to the "ugly duckling" muscovies because i thought no one else would! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I wouldn't try selling hatching eggs (I don't like taking money from people for a 'maybe') but laying breeds are extremely uncommon down here in 'zona, and I think ducklings along those lines would be really prized in my area.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  8. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG] How dare you think Muscovy are ugly!! [​IMG] They grow on you. Kinda of like the caruncles on their heads. [​IMG]

    But seriously, if you think that a laying breed would be valuable in your area, I would go with that. Metzer's website has a basic breed comparison chart for ducks. It doesn't include muscovy though. I think that having something available that is uncommon is a big plus. I would worry about mixing laying and meat breeds only because you don't know exactly what you will get for a few generations. Look for a dual purpose breed.

    I myself had runners and at 7 weeks old have to practically give the ducklings away down here. I am switching to muscovy because I want a meat breed.
     
  9. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think there's too much to runners besides their wackiness. Campbell based breeds reportedly blow them out of the water for egg laying, and they're too small for anything else.

    Does anyone have some dual purpose suggestions? I've heard nice things about buffs. I also posed the question to the Metzer facebook page, so I'll see what he wants to sell me! [​IMG]
     
  10. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wasn't suggesting runners, just saying it can be hard to sell ducklings if there is no demand in your area. [​IMG]
     

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