If you’ve never hunted or eaten duck, you may not realize how many types of duck there are. Everybody sees the same duck, more or less, in their heads whenever it’s mentioned. Others will tell you that duck is very fatty and difficult to eat without a particular palette.
There’s a lot more to it than that. Yes, some ducks tend to have fatty, oily meat, but much of that depends on how it’s cooked, and the rest boils down to the kind of duck. You’ll see some lists with six, perhaps seven duck meats worth eating.
The reality is, the best-tasting ducks comprise a list of about five. Ducks are both hunted and raised (Like you would chicken) in the United States. Duck eggs are far richer than regular chicken eggs, so people raise them almost solely for that reason.
Best Ducks for Eating
1. Pekin ducks
You’ve probably seen the word “Pekin” adorning a Chinese restaurant sign. That’s because Pekin ducks are not indigenous to the United States. They were originally brought over from China and have slowly risen in the ranks to overtake Aylesbury ducks in eating popularity.
Pekin duck is not as good as Aylesbury, but it’s not an inbred duck, while Aylesbury is. Owning and raising Pekin duck doesn’t come with all of the potential veterinary needs of Aylesbury ducks. They grow rapidly, don’t require meticulous care, and taste great.
They’re easily confused with Aylesbury ducks except for their bills and feet. A Pekin duck has a bright orange bill and bright orange feet.
2. Aylesbury ducks
Aylesbury ducks were once the go-to ducks for eating, especially in the United Kingdom. They are undeniably tastier than Peking. However, Aylesbury ducks were nearly eradicated during the devastation of World War II.
The remaining Aylesbury ducks and their descendants are troublesome to breed, thanks to a long history of inbreeding. It also makes them difficult to maintain because, like purebred dogs, they have more medical problems.
3. Saxony ducks
Saxony ducks are primarily a German breed of duck, hence the name. Unfortunately, you just about have to go to Germany to have a Saxony duck meal because they are endangered in the United States.
Saxony ducks can get pretty big, up to eight pounds, and the meat is extremely tasty. Though they are on the endangered species list in the United States, they aren’t doing so well in Germany either.
4. Muscovy ducks
The Muscovy ducks aren’t indigenous to either Europe or the United States, despite their popularity as meat ducks stateside. They are actually from South America, primarily Mexico. While they aren’t going into the history books as the prettiest ducks around, they’re tasty ducks and capable of reaching 7.9lbs.
This duck is a “unique” taste that might not be for everyone but remains popular nonetheless. One thing this duck breed has going for it is size. A “drake” can reach fifteen pounds, while the hens can easily reach 8 pounds.
5. Appleyard ducks
This is a favorite among small duck owners and breeders in the United States. Primarily because they grow up very fast, reaching between six and seven pounds. They also lay eggs like it’s nobody’s business.
A single Appleyard duck will produce 200 to 265 eggs per year. If you have eight to ten Appleyard ducks, you’ll have to give eggs away so the excess eggs don’t go to waste. It’s hard to argue with a large duck that lays a lot of eggs throughout the year.
Since they grow to a pretty good size, just a single duck will feed a small family. The number of eggs it produces may make it difficult to put an Appleyard on the table, so it’s a good idea to own several.
These are some of the best ducks you can put on the table, with the possible exception of Aylesbury ducks, because they are becoming quite rare. If you are looking for something to replace an Aylesbury with, there are plenty to go around.
The above list features the heaviest ducks out there, and the remaining ducks are nowhere near as big. Medium ducks are a fair enough compromise, and they include the black Cayuga, Crested ducks, Swedish blue ducks, and Buff ducks.
While they aren’t as heavy as those on this list, they can all reach a decent enough size for the dinner table. If you’re planning on raising ducks for food, you should always include their egg-laying capacity in your decision-making process. Duck eggs are rich and delicious as well, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
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