A Cayuga Duck is a medium-class domesticated duck breed that has been a popular variety in the USA since the 17th century. They are used for egg and meat production, as well as an ornamental bird.
The Cayuga name is taken from Cayuga Lake, one of the lakes in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, where the breed was popularized. The traditional story for the development of this breed is that a miller in Dutchess County captured two wild American Black Ducks and crossed them with white farm ducks. This origin is disputed however, as American Black Duck is actually dark brown rather than black, black variations occur naturally in Mallards, and Black Duck drakes do not have the curled tail feathers seen in domestic ducks such as the Cayuga.
The Cayuga breed is in the "medium class" and has been a recognized breed of the American Poultry Association since 1874. the standard weight for adult males is 8 pounds and females 7 pounds. The Cayuga are characterized by a black bill and black plumage, which is an iridescent beetle green in the correct light. In breeding, an emphasis is put on correct coloration, carriage, and a large breast. The Cayuga Duck has dark brown eyes, black shanks, and toes, except in old drakes where some orange shading may appear. Ducklings have black plumage. For exhibition presence of white color in the outer plumage is a disqualification. It is also well liked by many as a great yard pet as they tend to stay close to home.
For those who wish to keep ducks, but live close to others that would make keeping the Pekin breed impractical because of the loud quack, the Cayuga Duck may be an alternative. Its quack is not as loud except the females are quite vocal while often the male is mute. The temperament of the Cayuga is docile, and adult Cayuga Ducks enjoy eating snails, slugs, and most other insects.
The Cayuga Duck will more often sit on and hatch her eggs than other domestic breeds of duck. Incubation for the eggs is 28 days. When using an incubator the temperature should be 99.5°F at 86% humidity for days 1–25, and 98.5°F at 94% humidity for days 26–28.
- Christine Heinrichs (15 April 2009). How to Raise Poultry. Voyageur Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7603-3479-9. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Dave Holderread (5 February 2011). Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. Storey Publishing. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-1-60342-692-3. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Carol Ekarius (30 May 2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. Storey Pub. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-58017-667-5. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
- "American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Watchlist". Retrieved 2008-03-25.
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