Animal Facts

Cayuga Duck

Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos cayuga

Fast Fact:

Female Cayuga ducks can lay 100 to 150 eggs per year! The eggs incubate for 28 days before hatching.

Cayuga Duck

The Cayuga duck is considered one of the hardiest of all domestic duck breeds. They can be easily tamed when introduced to humans just after hatching.

STATUS: The Cayuga duck is listed as Threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC). These domesticated ducks are raised for their meat and eggs, but other duck breeds have now surpassed them in popularity. Cayuga ducks are also bred as pets.

HABITAT: These ducks were developed in the 1800s in upstate New York and named “Cayuga” after the native people of the area. The species prefers vegetated, freshwater wetlands like its mallard cousins. The Cayuga ducks can tolerate harsh northeastern winters.   

DIET: Cayuga ducks forage on snails, slugs, and insects and may be fed duck food pellets.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: These birds have black feathers with an iridescent green sheen; these feathers may become mottled with white as the birds age. When hatched, Cayuga chicks’ fluffy down is a dark grey. Cayuga ducks’ legs, webbed feet, and beaks are black, and they have dark brown eyes. Their webbed feet serve as paddles and provide support on the soft ground surrounding their watery habitats. Female birds weigh about seven pounds, and males are slightly heavier at around eight pounds. Because Cayuga ducks have large, heavy bodies, they are poor fliers. The birds are calm and quiet and quack gently. Domestic Cayuga ducks kept as pets live about eight to 12 years. They resemble, but are slightly smaller than, Pekin ducks, the breed chiefly used for commercial duck meat in the United States.

Colors for Each Season

Cayuga duck eggs are different colors depending on when they are laid. Eggs deposited at the beginning of the laying season are dark, while those laid later are light gray, blue, green, and then white by the end of the season.

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