|Photo Source: Wikipedia.org|
The Cayuga is a breed of domestic duck with glossy, greenish-black feathers. They are also known for their meat and eggs.They were introduced to the Finger Lakes region of New York State in about 1840, and are named for the Cayuga people of that area.
They are a medium to heavy duck with a weight range of 8 pounds for adult drakes and 7 pounds for ducks. Its feathers are black with a gleaming beetle-green iridescence, however, some feathers may lighten or turn white as the duck ages, which can result in disqualification for show purposes. The bill, legs, and feet of the Cayuga are black or as close to it as possible, and the eyes are dark brown.
The Cayuga is a duck breed primarily raised for meat, but it is also kept for ornamental or show purposes. During the second half of the 19th century, it was the main breed for meat production in the United States. However, by around 1890, it was replaced by the American Pekin, which was easier to pluck and clean due to its lighter colored feathers. Today, Cayugas can be raised for both meat and eggs, with ducks producing 100-150 eggs per year, which are incubated for 28 days if they are to be hatched. The eggs start out dark at the beginning of the laying season and gradually lighten to pale greenish blue or white by the end. The black feathers of the Cayuga can also be used in the creation of fishing flies.
The origin of the Cayuga duck is unknown. The widely held belief is that it is descended from the American black duck (Anas rubripes) instead of the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), which is the origin of most domestic ducks. The true black color of the Cayuga is the result of a genetic mutation, which is common in breeds derived from the mallard. The Cayuga also possesses other characteristics that are consistent with mallard ancestry, such as the curled drake feather in its tail, which is not present in the American black duck.
In 1840, John S. Clark obtained some ducks of this breed in Orange County, New York, and brought them to Cayuga County in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The Cayuga was included in the first edition of the American Standard of Perfection in 1874 and was exported to the United Kingdom in 1851. The first British standard was published in 1901.