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September 07, 2018

Cayuga Ducks

There is no definitive origin of the Cayuga, but traditionally it is believed that a miller in Duchess County, New York caught a pair of wild black ducks and decided to raise them for eggs and meat for both his table and the marketplace in 1809. It is then said that John Clark obtained some of these black ducks in Orange County, New York and introduced them to Cayuga County, New York in 1840 where the Cayuga got its name. Should the traditional origin be true, this would make the Cayuga the first duck originating from the United States.

The Cayuga was added to the American Standard of Perfection in 1874. A very hardy duck with great utility, they were very popular for meat purposes until the Pekin was introduced to the market in the 1890’s. Today they are considered a threatened species by the Livestock Conservancy.
Adult Cayuga Male
Cayuga are a medium weight duck, about 4¾ to 6 pounds, and have meat that is considered quite flavorful. Due to the dark pin feathers and the dark coloring they leave in the skin, however, the carcass is not as clean appearing as a Pekin. They can lay about 150 eggs a year with egg color ranging from black to light gray. Cayuga are quite docile and easily tamed making them excellent pets. While their plumage can be considered a greenish black, they shine iridescent green in the sun and start to turn gray or white as they age. Sometimes this change starts in one year and sometimes it takes several years for the white feathers to begin appearing. Interestingly, some flocks originating from the same parents will molt to white feathers sooner than others. We breed our Cayuga exclusively on our farm and sometimes at the end of some years we have a lot of whitish birds, and other years there are none. Therefore, change must be induced by something in their environment. What that something is we have not been able to determine.

Freshly laid Cayuga eggs

Egg Production
Bluish Eggs
Egg Size
4.75 - 6 pounds
75-90 grams
APA Class
Foraging Ability
Conservation Status
Our Show Quality
Flying Ability
Excellent Color, Good Type

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