More on Birds.
It's hard to generalize about ducks in general - except that some of the many species populate every continent except Antarctica, and get pretty close to there too. For domestic ducks, though, it's easier to generalize - because all except the Muscovy were developed from the wild Mallard, regardless of current size, shape, color or disposition.
Male ducks are often decked out in very fancy colors, but females are, due to their nest tending needs, dressed in dull brown camouflage. Male ducks take no part in hatching eggs or tending the young.Types, Sizes & Uses
Mallard - [Wild Duck, Anas platyrhynchos]
Nearly all domestic ducks were derived from the wild Mallard, but
unlike them the Mallard is relatively small (not much over 2-1/2 pounds)
and a strong flyer. The photo shows the typical male
coloration. There has recently been some effort to farm mallards, but the
commercial potential is still unknown and depends on public acceptance. Will
people (mainly chefs) pay more for wilder tasting duck?
Photo © i0036.
White Pekin Duck - Long Island Duck
- [Anas platyrhynchos domestica]
This duck, developed in China, accounts for about 95% of the ducks eaten in North America. They are also known as Long Island Ducks because some were brought there from China in 1873 to establish commercial duck farms. Flavor is mild and flesh is relatively low in fat. They are killed at about 7 weeks when they weigh about 7 pounds. White ducks are preferred for meat (as are white chickens) because they look clean after plucking.
European Pekins are rather different from the North American variety and
walk quite upright, though not as upright as an Indian Runner.
Photo © i0035.
Muscovy Duck -
Native to Brazil, this is the only domesticated duck that isn't derived from Mallard stock. Muskovys account for about 2% to 3% of the North American market. They are sold mainly into the restaurant trade where their large breasts are appreciated. Their meat is relatively low in fat and has been described as more like veal than like poultry. Muscovy livers are also used to make foie gras.
These are large ducks with the males reaching over 15 pounds
and females can be as heavy as 9 pounds. They are generally killed at 11
weeks when the breasts have reached a mature size. The individual in the
photo has a black face but they more commonly have red faces. Muscovys don't
swim much because they have deficient oil glands, but they can fly, and are
the only domestic duck that roosts on branches at night like a chicken.
Photo © i0034.
Rouen Duck -
Indian Runner Duck
The photo specimens are the "fawn and white" variety, but there are white
and penciled (whatever that means) varieties. It's main competitor is the
related Khaki Campbell which is an even better egg layer but is still not
common. Thin and tough, runners are not desirable as meat ducks.
Photo by Bjoern Clauss distributed under license
Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic.
Duck Eggs - Raw: These are now produced in quantity in
California and are in good supply in the Asian markets. When buying, just
make sure you're getting raw eggs, not salted - read the label.
Details and Cooking.
Duck Eggs - Salted: These are now produced in quantity in
California and in good supply in the Asian markets. When buying, just make
sure you're getting salted eggs, not raw - read the label. Some producers
dye the salted eggs red or package them in red shrink-wrap - but others
don't. Details and Cooking.
Duck Eggs - Preserved: The mysterious amber jell in some
Chinese pastries many Americans have encountered without knowing what it
was. Fourty years ago these were shipped over her in great ceramic jars
packed in rice straw and ashes, but are today sent over by the container
load, cleaned and put up in foam plastic trays.
Details and Cooking.
Duck Eggs - Feathered: You'd probably really rather not know,
but these are eggs incubated 16 days to develop the embryo. Much eaten as
an "appetizer" in China, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. They are now
produced in California to meet demand from our Asian communities and can
be ordered on-line. They are available over the counter at the
San Gabriel Superstore in San Gabriel, CA.
Details and Cooking.