POULTRY 101

DUCKS

As with chickens, there are meat, egg, and exhibition breeds of ducks. Some of the egg-laying breeds can lay more eggs per year than many chicken breeds. Some of the meat breeds of ducks are also used to produce foie gras, which is delicacy made from the fatty liver of ducks or geese.

Vocabulary

All the different breeds of ducks (except for Muscovy's) are descendant from the wild mallard. This is based on the presence of the sex-feather in the tail of the male mallard as well as the males of the domesticated breeds. The mallard is the only wild duck that has this type of tail feather.

Pair of white Pekin ducks

Pair of ducks

Although we call the muscovy a duck it is technically not a duck. The muscovy is a South American waterfowl that has a body like a duck, behaves like a goose in that it hisses rather than quacks, has a breast like a turkey and roosts like a chicken. The incubation period for a muscovy is 35 days, instead of the typical 28 days for ducks. Although muscovies will breed with domestic ducks, the resulting offspring are infertile and are called 'mule' ducks. The term 'moulard' duck is sometimes used for the offspring of a muscovy male and a pekin female. Again the offspring are infertile. The term 'magret' refers to the breast from the moulard duck and it is sometimes aged out to 7 days to augment flavor.

Muscovy duck

Female muscovy duck

Head of a muscovy male Head of a muscovy female
Male Female

You can tell a duck from a goose by looking at its head.

Ducks

Head of a Crested duck Head of a duck

Geese

Goose head Goose head

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