Pekins and muscovies are arguably the two most common domestic ducks in most countries. All the different breeds of ducks have much more in common than differences. They all love to swim and play in water, they all love to patrol for slugs and snails, they all lay delicious, rich eggs, they all are very disease resistant, and they are all fun to watch as they go about their daily life.
Today we are looking at the pros and cons of both the muscovies and the pekins and at the end of this episode you should be able to make an informed decision as to which breed to go for between the two. I do raise both the pekins and the muscovies, so I do have first hand experience regarding their characteristics their advantages and their disadvantages.
1. BEAUTY AND APPEARANCE
No doubt, pekin ducks are good looking and attractive while muscovy ducks are not beautiful, especially the adult drakes. The caruncles on their faces are a bit scary, to say the least.
If you live in an area where noise is a big No-No then muscovy ducks are your only option. They are often called the quietest duck. Although they are not super silent, however, the hisses the males make and the soft quacks the hens do are very low in sound that if you are anything more than 10 metres or 11 yards away from them you will hardly hear anything. On the other hand, pekins are super loud and noisy. The female pekins are the noisiest. When they are hungry or when you disturb them or frighten them, they will yell at you and the noise can be herd from afar. Luckily, during the day when all is well and they are well fed, pekins don't normally make any noise.
3. MEAT PRODUCTION
Duck meat is special meat that is usually a bit pricey compared to pork, beef or chicken. One of the primary reasons why we raise ducks is to have meat. While both muscovy ducks and pekin ducks provide us with quality meat, pekins are more of a meat breed than muscovy. Pekins grow much faster than muscovies and the pekin meat is softer and tastier than that of muscovy. Although pekin meat is more greasy, it however, tastes much better than muscovy meat which has a very strong flavour that's more gamey than ducky. When well fed, a pekin duck can reach 2.5kg in 6 to 7 weeks while a well fed muscovy can reach 2.5kg in 9 to 10 weeks.
4. HATCHING EGGS AND BEING GREAT MOTHERS.
Well, pekins will fail dismally on this one and muscovy ducks will excel when it comes to hatching eggs as well as taking great care of their young. Pekin ducks take 28 days to hatch. Pekin hens may at times sit on their eggs but usually they get tired along the way and neglect the eggs and the nest altogether before they hatch. On the contrary, muscovy ducks will sit on their eggs for a whooping 35 days and hatch almost all the eggs before nursing the ducklings until they grow old. One trick here, if you want to raise more pekins, is to keep 2 or 3 muscovy ducks, probably 1 male and 2 females. The female muscovies will then brood your pekin eggs and 28 days later you will have pekin ducklings. Instead of using muscovy hens to brood pekin ducks, you can also use chickens, turkeys or an electric incubator.
5. ABILITY TO ESCAPE FROM PREDATORS AND FLY
This is both a pro and a con. While muscovy ducks can fly, particularly the females, this means they can easily escape from their enemies, and you of course because you can't fly. Pekin ducks can't fly, so they can't use their wings to escape from you or from predators either. Male muscovies are usually too big and fat to get off the ground, but females can fly and roost in trees if you let them. This isn’t as big of an issue if you have no fear of clipping a few of their primary flight feathers. Muscovies also have claws on their feet that pekin ducks lack, and they’re sharp enough to cut if you’re not careful.
6. CALM AND FRIENDLY
Whereas pekins will enjoy sitting with you and even pet, muscovies have retained their wild side and become wary. There are cases where they can be friendly, but it may be more genetics than anything else. Muscovy drakes are at times very aggressive, especially to females and ducklings. Although raised predominantly as a meat bird, Pekins do make wonderful pets. Owners report that their friendly ducks follow them around like dogs would.
When it comes to cleanliness, muscovy ducks are much smarter than pekin ducks. Pekins love playing with water. If you don't give them a pond to swim in, they will make good use of the water you give them to drink and the whole fowl run will always be wet. That's not really the case with muscovy ducks. They can maintain the dry conditions of the coop.
8. GREAT EGG LAYERS
I believe that both lay a relatively large amount of eggs, the difference being that a muscovy duck will go broody, and a pekin might, but in most cases it doesn't or it does but halts the process half way down the line. This means that once the muscovy ducks lay a certain number of eggs, she will want to set. It is very difficult to break them from setting. Generally, muscovy ducks will lay between 10 and 22 eggs per clutch, depending on the hen's age and body size. Muscovy ducks will give you up to four clutches of eggs per year. This means you generally get 40 to 88 eggs per year from each muscovy hen. On the contrary, pekin are good layers, they may not be the best in the egg laying race, as khaki campbell ducks have the capacity to bless you with as many as 340 eggs per year, but pekins will not really disappoint. They have the capacity to lay an impressive 200 to 240 extra large eggs per year.
9. PEST CONTROL
Muscovies tend to eat anything that moves and that they can put down their throats, including houseflies and mosquitoes and ticks, whereas pekins are a bit selective on their diet. Although pekins eat a lot more than muscovies do, nonetheless, they won't eat anything and almost everything like what muscovy ducks do. If you let them free range, they eat much less feed because they’re busy devouring insects and vegetation. and muscovies eat more grass than pekins.
10. MY FINAL VERDICT
So, there you have it guys. You have realised that both breeds have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. If noise is your deal breaker, then go for muscovy ducks. If taste and growth rate is what you need the most, then go for pekins. If you want pekins but don't have an incubator, then raise a few muscovies as well, so that they can sit on your pekin eggs and hatch them four weeks later. Now you know the pros and cons of Pekin ducks and Muscovy ducks. My personal recommendation is that you raise both, then either increase your pekin flock or increase your muscovy flock depending on your personal preferences, situation and intentions.