If you were to ever visit Ironhorse Homestead one of the first things you will probably notice and hear are the ducks, We have a small flock of 11 Cayuga ducks that free range our 19 acres. The Cayuga is
a dual meat and layer breed, with a black bill and black plumage. Their feathers have an iridescent green sheen in the sunlight, with the male sporting a dark green head. Adults weigh between 6-8 lbs.
While their history is a little fuzzy, the traditional story is that a miller in Duchess county, NY caught a pair of wild black ducks on his mill pond in 1809. The ducks settled in and raised large broods that were prized at market for their excellent meat and breeding efficiency.
A man named John S. Clark introduced ducks that he obtained in Orange County NY to Cayuga County in the Finger Lakes region in 1840.
There is yet another account that states that the Cayuga resemble an English black duck breed commonly found in Lancashire in the 1860″s.
Cayuga Ducks are know to be good layers, laying between 100-150 eggs per year. They initially lay black eggs, but as the season progresses the eggs lighten to a light gray-green color, and eventually to white. Cayugas are a very cold hardy breed and are quieter than some of there duck counterparts. They are very good foragers, feeding on frogs, slugs and insects.
The Cayuga is listed under the watch category on the North American Livestock Conservancy Conservation List. This means there are fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the U.S. and an estimated global population of less than 10,000. We are proud to say that Ironhorse Homestead is a member of the Livestock Conservancy and are listed as breeders on their website, like most duck, Cayugas are sweet and comical to watch as they roam the property, we find their eggs to be delicious, and consider them an important part of our homestead family.