Lemon the Duck

Jumbo Pekins
Laura Backman
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     Because there has been a recent flooding of the market with Jumbo Pekin ducks, many are now showing up abandoned at local ponds. Many of these ducks are falling into the hands of rehabbers and caring people wanting to save these very sweet birds. It is however important to know about the genetic make up of these birds so we can fully understand what they require in terms of care. Jumbo pekins were bred for one purpose, meat. And although many of us would prefer not to think about such things, it is important to realize that this is the thought behind the breeding of the Jumbo Pekin. Because these ducks tend to be very affectionate and actually seek out human companionship, it is easy to kill them with kindness. Too many treats and too much food will lead to a short life, full of medical problems. Jumbo Pekins will really start to put on the weight around four or five weeks (for slaughter at eight weeks) and if not slaughtered or put on a restricted diet, will just balloon. At that point they will loose the ability to walk and suffer heart failure. For any one wanting to keep these "production" meat ducks as pets, it is extremely important to make sure their diet is controlled. Jumbo Pekin Ducks that are intended to live long happy lives as pets need to develop their skeletal system to support their weight, before the fat starts piling on. This is a real challenge with the Jumbo Pekins because breeders of these Pekins have created a duck that develops fat and muscle without the need for skeletal growth. To counter act this genetic predisposition to gain rapid weight, it is essential to have Jumbo Pekins on a restricted diet, low in protein and low in fat. Made even more challenging is the fact that these are very large ducks and their daily energy requirements are high. A balance between enough energy and protein to support their metabolisms, without giving them too much to cause weight gain has to be achieved. Jumbo pekins were intensively bred for high feed conversion. Meaning, the ability to gain a lot of weight on minimal amounts of feed. Skeletal development and organ health played no role in developing this breed. Ag businesses theory being "no sense wasting food, developing non edible bones." If you find yourself caring for such a duck, please use these feed rations. This will keep your Jumbo Pekins healthy and give them a longer life.


How do I know if I have a Jumbo Pekin?

    It is not all that easy to tell when they are young whether or not you have a Jumbo, but generally they will have a blocky appearance and a shorter wider bill. Once they reach three weeks, you will begin to notice that they are developing a fatty lobe between their legs and just have a very fat looking appearance. Unlike true Pekin ducks, Jumbo Pekins have massive features, large breasts and abdomens and are 30% larger than a true Pekin. They are capable of reaching 12 lbs at eight weeks old.

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