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Where she goes, they go: the result of imprinting
Australian freckled duck, male.

Ducks are birds in the family Anatidae. Ducks are closely related to swans and geese, which are in the same family.

Food habits

Ducks lay eggs once a year and are omnivorous, eating aquatic plants and tiny animals. Dabbling ducks feed on the surface of water or on land, or as deep as they can reach by up-ending without completely submerging.


Many ducks are migratory. This means that they spend the summer months in a different place than the winter months. Ducks show a cosmopolitan distribution, they can be found all over the world, except for Antarctica. Some duck species live on the South Georgia and Auckland Islands, which are subantarctic. Many species have established themselves on remote islands, such as Kerguelen or Hawaii.

Farm raised

  • Some ducks are bred and kept, and raised by humans.
  • They are not wild ducks.
  • They are kept to provide food (meat and eggs), or to use their feathers for pillows and other items in the house.
  • Especially in Asia, many people like to eat duck.

Duck terminology

  • Broiler duckling or Fryer duckling - a young duck (usually under 8 weeks of age) of either sex that is tender meated and has a soft bill and a soft windpipe; ducklings classified as broiler-fryers weigh from 3 to 6 ½ pounds.
  • Roaster duckling - a young duck (usually under 16 weeks of age) of either sex that is tender-meated and has a bill that is not completely hardened and a windpipe that is easily dented; they usually weigh from 4 to 7 ½ pounds.
  • Mature duck or Old duck - a duck (usually over 6 months of age) of either sex with toughened flesh and a hardened bill; these ducks are usually too old to lay eggs and their meat is used in processed products.
  • Young goose or gosling - may be of either sex and is tender meated. A gosling weighs about 8 pounds; a young goose weighs 12 to 14 pounds.
  • Mature Goose or Old Goose - may be of either sex and has toughened flesh. A mature goose is usually a spent breeder and its meat is used in processed products.
  • Gander - a male goose.

As pets

  • Ducks are sometimes kept as pets.
  • They are often kept by groups of people on public ponds for their beauty and calming nature.
  • People commonly feed ducks in ponds stale bread, thinking that the ducks will like to have something to eat.
  • However bread is not healthy for ducks and can kill them.

Available meat cuts

  • Whole duckling, gosling or goose including giblets and neck.
  • Bone-in parts such as whole leg, breast quarter and breast.
  • Boneless breast, skin-on or skinless.
  • Giblets (liver, heart and gizzard) sold with whole birds but much liver exported to France.
  • Tongues and feet (delicacy mostly exported to Hong Kong but some used by Asian Americans).
  • Processed products such as smoked cooked breast, sausage and hot dogs.

Cooking times

Approximate Duck and Goose Cooking Times
Type of Duck or Goose Roast Grill
Direct heat Smoke
Indirect heat* Braise
Whole duckling, 4 to 6 lbs
Do not stuff. 30 to 35 min./lb. at 350 °F Not preferred 2-½ hours Not preferred
Duckling breast Brown skin-side down in a skillet over medium heat. Then cook in a 425 °F oven 12 minutes. Grill skin side down 6 minutes; turn and grill 7 to 8 minutes. 1 to 2 hours 60 to 75 minutes
Duckling legs or thighs Roast 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours at 325 °F. Grill legs/thighs 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. 1 1/2 to 2 hours 1 1/2 hours
Whole young goose, 8 to 12 lbs 2-½ to 3 hours+ Not suitable 2 to 2-½ hrs Not preferred
Young goose, cut up 2 hours 35 to 40 min. 2 hours 2 hours

Related pages

Other websites

  • Media related to duck at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of duck at Wiktionary

External links

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