There’s probably not a person around who doesn’t know who Donald Duck or the AFLAC Duck is. Did modern television make the Pekin duck popular, or did the breed make these well-known characters popular? We may never know. I suppose it’s a bit like the chicken and the egg – and the age-old question of which one came first?

It’s really neither here nor there — the point is that the Pekin duck is a favorite indeed. Let’s learn some of the reasons why!

Pekin duck up close looking bright eyed and happy

Top 5 Reasons The Pekin Duck Is So Popular

#1 Super Friendly Quacker

The Pekin duck is known to be sugar and spice and everything nice! They are very friendly ducks and therefore, great for families of all kinds. They won’t sit in your lap while you drive to the grocery store, but they can learn to come up to you for treats!

#2 Hardy Helpers

Pekin ducks are not only very hardy, but they are also amazing helpers. They do very, very well in both hot and cold climates and they are easy keepers. These friendly waddlers also do a fine job of eating weeds and pests (like worms, crickets, and mosquitos).

#3 Quiet and Cute

For ducks, this breed is relatively quiet – all the while being extremely cute. They are silent, but they aren’t super annoying either. The females are louder than the males, however. The volume level is low considering and any noise they do make fades away because they are just so incredibly cute. They almost look like they are smiling. 😍

#4 Egg-erific

These girls are some terrific egg layers. They produce about 125 to 225 beautiful extra-large eggs per year. So get your baking apron on and go to town! Chicken eggs are great, but ask any French chef and they will tell you to use duck eggs!

#5 Meat Maker

If you just want a pet you can pass right over #5, but it is one of the winning points for this breed. It finds itself listed on the biggest duck lists all over the place. They were bred for both meat and eggs and it is the most popular market duck for sure. I personally can’t eat these cuties, but the word on the street is that the meat is great tasting.

What Does a Pekin Duck Look Like?

If it looks like a (Donald) duck and it walks like a (AFLAC) duck, then it’s a duck….a Pekin duck that is. Both Donald Duck and the well-known AFLAC duck that has won so many hearts are modeled after the Pekin duck. I suppose the Pekin duck is about like the White Leghorn chicken breed – it’s what we relate to when we hear “chicken.”

Pekin ducks come in one color only – white! They are white and fluffy and have orange feet and a yellow bill. The bill is sometimes a little speckled. Amazingly enough, the ducklings hatch out yellow – but they always end up with all white feathers.

They are large and in charge (in charge of your hearts). The males, otherwise known in the duck world as drakes, weigh in at about 9-10 pounds. The Pekin hens weigh around 8-9 pounds. There is a jumbo variety, and Jumbo Pekins are…well…JUMBO! They can weigh a whopping 13 pounds. Duck for Thanksgiving anyone?

Male or Female?

The most telltale sign of a female Pekin is the volume at which she quacks. These aren’t overly loud ducks, but the female is generally louder than the male. The drakes usually have a raspy, and noticeably quieter, quack. The males will often sport a drake feather at the tail (a cute little curly feather).

Pekin Duck Vs. Peking Duck

So…..what is it? A Pekin or a Peking? Have you ever wondered? Or is it just a typo? So many questions – you do have to wonder though. The answer might surprise you! I’ll let explain it:

 A Peking duck is a famous Chinese cooking method, tracing its roots to the Imperial Era. Using pumped air, the duck skin is first separated from the fat. The duck is then seasoned and roasted, often in a vertical oven, until the skin is crispy and golden. The finished duck is then traditionally carved table-side and served with a Chinese “pancake”, plum sauce and cucumbers or scallions.

A Pekin duck is a duck breed, a Peking duck is a famous cooking method. Who knew?

Just How Popular Is The Pekin Duck?

Simply put, it’s said that there are more white Pekin ducks raised than all other ducks combined, at least in the United States. That pretty much sums it up.

Are There Different Types of Pekins?

Yes, there are. There are different strains of Pekin ducks, the two most well-known are the American Pekins and the German Pekins. The strain called German Pekins has a yellowish tint and a thicker neck. The American Pekins are also known as the White Pekin and the Long Island duck.

Pekin ducks walking in green grass

Do Ducks Need A Coop?

Yes, and no. They definitely need shelter to get out of the elements and to protect themselves from predators. Some people use a simple duck house, much like a dog house. Others use something more like a chicken coop…or they actually use their chicken coop. Ducks don’t need roosting bar though.

Ducks are messy and splash a lot of water around too. So you have to take special care if you try to keep ducks and you chicken flock together in harmony.

Do Pekin Ducks Need A Pond?

Need? Maybe not. But WANT? Yes! Pretty much every duck dreams of a pond to swim around in. It is best for them so they can glide around and enjoy life fishing and frogging and the like. However, if you don’t have a pond you should most certainly provide a small pool of some kind.

Do Pekin Ducks Free Range?

Yes, they can and they do. And they love it. You just need to be sure they are safe in your particular situation. If you can’t let them free range then they need to have a sizeable run that allows enough space for them to run and waddle and play and splash.

Also, if they are cooped up, you will want to provide them with high-protein treats to replace what they aren’t getting naturally. You can find the best treats ever here (be sure to pay special attention to the ingredients in these treats).


If you are looking for a duck and don’t want regrets, give a Pekin a try. Do your research though, because all ducks have traits that may or may not fit your lifestyle. You can read up on other breeds like Indian Runner ducks, Call ducks, Khaki Campbell ducks, or Rouen ducks. As far as the Pekin duck, they are friendly, good egg producers, and have tasty meat.

Leah Betts

A happy wife, mother, teacher, writer, hobby farmer, lover of chickens, and contributor to Pampered Chicken Mama!

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