Cayuga ducks are beautiful with their black and iridescent green feathers that shine in the sunlight. These beauties also have black bills, black legs, and black webbed feet but turn an orange tint as they age. Although they do not remain black all of their life, they develop white feathers with age, usually appearing after each molt. This is commonly known as "snow"; pigment loss in feathers. Cayugas age gracefully, just like their humans do!
In advance of purchasing any duck, I always recommend researching the breed first. This will help you understand their behavior, temperament, and housing conditions so you can completely meet all of their demands. Being informed will produce a happier, longer-living Cayuga duck.
Cayuga ducks are a threatened breed. Their name originated from Lake Cayuga, west of New York, when they were introduced by John S. Clark around 1840. They became popular as table birds and were raised in large numbers on duck farms until the 1890's when the Pekin duck emerged as the leading table duck. Many have concluded they were created from a wild black duck and Rouen duck. But some say there is also East Indies duck in them. Cayuga's were accepted into the American Poultry Association, Inc. in 1874 and exhibited in the medium weight class for ducks.
10 Tips for Raising Cayuga Ducks
Keep your ducks safe from predators. Ours have their own gated house with a large fenced-in grass area. They get locked up in their house at night.
Cayuga ducks need to be protected from the sun, and shade must be provided when temperatures reach 70° Fahrenheit. We have a pear tree for shade in their grass area, and they love the pears when they drop from the tree!
Ducks need fresh drinking water that is deep enough to cover their bills so they can clear their nostrils and eat. Clean water daily will keep your duck healthier.
Cayuga ducks thrive when they can free-range and love to forage for bugs without destroying your yard. This also adds to their well-balanced diet.
Cayuga's need a windbreak and warm bedding in the winter but are very hardy and can withstand the cold weather.
They need a well-balanced diet, including foraging and non-medicated commercial feed. We also give our ducks fresh fruits but avoid citrus as it can cause thin eggshells and problems with calcium absorption.
With proper care, Cayuga hens will lay 100-150 eggs per year. She will start laying eggs around five months old, and they will be very black but will lighten up over time.
Cayuga males and females have the same coloring, but their quack can identify them; males make a raspy bark, and females quack. The male Cayuga will develop his curly tail feather around ten weeks. They also flourish in pairs as opposed to being a single duck.
Cayuga ducks do not fly but can get about 6" off the ground. They can't get away from predators, so you need to protect them.
They tame easily with their intelligence, quiet temperament, and docile, friendly behavior, significantly if raised from a duckling. Cayuga ducklings can bond with you and are generally good with kids.
Cayuga Ducks Joined Our Family
Our Cayuga ducks joined our family several years ago when my daughter researched show quality, friendly ducks. Our Cayuga ducks travel with us, and we exhibit them in poultry shows across the Midwest. We have won Champion Medium weight duck numerous times and have claimed a few Overall Champions as well. Our ducks don't mind the travel but always enjoy being home, just like we do too. Along the way, we have met many Cayuga duck owners, had plenty of insightful conversations, and are still acquiring and educating flock owners about our beloved Cayuga's!