Part of our Breed Profiles series, Cayuga ducks are a medium-sized duck with stunning green-black plumage.
The earliest documentation of the distinctive black Cayuga ducks shows them living in the western, central region of New York state where the Cayuga peoples lived. Often found on or near Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, it’s thought that the ancestors of these ducks came from southeastern New York.
Raised on farms as both egg and meat birds, the Cayuga were included as a recognized breed in 1874 in the first edition of the American Standard of Perfection. By the 1890s, they had largely been replaced by the Pekin duck as the preferred culinary duckling.
Primary Use: Dual purpose egg and meat birds
Temperament: easily tamed
Size: Medium-sized duck
Egg production annually: 100-150
Egg Color: black to white
Average Weight: 7-8 lbs
Bodies are medium size, long and wide with well-rounded breasts. They have a fairly low carriage, especially when compared with an upright bird such as the Runner Duck. Plumage of uniformly greenish-black, beetle wing like, iridescent, may become mottled with white as they age. Greying can show up as early as 4 months of age and any time after 18 months. The true black plumage of the Cayuga comes from a mutation commonly found in Mallard breeds. The same is true of their curled tail feathers, also known as “sex feathers”.
Varieties include blue plumage ducks that were developed and shown in Oregon in 1984
If raised as meat birds, it is recommended to skin the birds, rather than plucking them to eliminate the nuisance of pinfeathers.
Effective brooders and good mothers.
Health and Safety
One of hardiest domestic ducks, able to tolerate the harsh winters of U.S. northeast. These ducks don’t tend to suffer from weather related issues nor are they particularly susceptible to disease.
Dave Holderread Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks
Carol Ekarius Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds
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