The Cayuga duck is a breed of domesticated duck that is known for its beautiful iridescent plumage and calm disposition.
Here is some information about Cayuga ducks:
1. Origin: The Cayuga duck is named after Cayuga Lake in New York, United States, where it is believed to have originated in the early 19th century. It is thought to be a crossbreed between wild black ducks and domestic ducks brought by early settlers.
2. Appearance: Cayuga ducks are medium-sized ducks with a sturdy build. They have a relatively long body, a broad chest, and a rounded head. The most striking feature of the Cayuga duck is its unique feather coloration. As juveniles, they have dark gray or black feathers, but as they mature, their plumage gradually darkens to a lustrous greenish-black or iridescent beetle green color. Their bills and legs are usually black.
3. Temperament: Cayuga ducks are known for their calm and docile nature. They are generally friendly, easygoing, and can make good pets. They are relatively quiet ducks and may be less prone to excessive quacking compared to some other duck breeds.
4. Egg Production: Cayuga ducks are moderate egg layers. They typically lay between 100 and 150 eggs per year. The egg production can vary depending on factors such as diet, genetics, and environmental conditions.
5. Meat Qualities: Cayuga ducks are also valued for their meat, which is known for its tenderness and flavor. Their meat is darker than that of many other duck breeds, and some people consider it similar to the taste of wild duck.
6. Adaptability: Cayuga ducks are adaptable to various climates and can tolerate cold weather well. They have a dense plumage that provides insulation and helps them stay warm. They can also handle heat, although some shade and access to water for swimming are still necessary during hot summer months.
7. Conservation Status: The Cayuga duck is listed as a threatened breed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC). While the breed is not currently at risk of extinction, it is relatively rare, and efforts are being made to preserve and promote its conservation.
When keeping Cayuga ducks, they require similar care to other domestic duck breeds. They need access to water for swimming and for maintaining good feather condition. A suitable shelter or coop that protects them from predators and extreme weather conditions is also necessary. Providing a balanced diet that includes commercial waterfowl feed, fresh vegetables, and clean water is essential for their overall health and well-being.
Carriage: lively, clear of the ground from breast to stern.
Type: Body long, broad and deep. Breast prominent, keel well forward and forming a straight underline from stern to stern. Tail carried well out and closely folded, the drake's having two or three well-curled feathers in the centre.
Bill: long, wide, and flat, well set in a straight line from the tip of the eye.
Neck: long and tapering, and with a graceful curve.
Legs: large and strong boned, placed midway in the body, giving the bird a carriage similar to that of the Rouen.
Feet: straight and webbed. Toes straight, connected by web.
Plumage: bright and glossy.
Plumage of both sexes a very lustrous green-black, free from purple or white, the whole of the back and upper part of wings, the breast, and underparts of body deep black, the wings naturally more lustrous than the rest of the body plumage; a brown or purple tinge is objectionable, although not a disqualification.
Bill: slate-black, with a dense black saddle in the centre, but not touching the sides or coming within an inch of the end, the bean black.
Legs and webs: as dark as possible, some dull orange-brown permissible.
Red or white feathers (it should be noted here that the cayuga especially the hens will gain white feathers with age - approx 12 to 18 months onwards);
Orange or yellow coloured bill;
The Cayuga is a relatively new breed to Australia and the overall quality (and purity) of the species can be quite diverse. It is a rare breed that deserves respect and conservation. Our focus in the past has been to improve the colour (glossy black with beetle green sheen - not purple), dark legs and bills particularly in the drakes. Our focus is now to improve the size of the birds while maintaining the integrity of the work we have already done.