Burwell Hatchery

The Burwell Hatchery Flocks

Our ducks are a special strain of Pekin duck, introduced into Great Britain in 1873 and specially bred from the Mallard in China to give both more proven weights at time of slaughter and greater egg yields throughout the year.

For much of the day the ducks follow each other around, foraging in the deep straw or preening and splashing in the water troughs. They like to have a safe and private place for laying their eggs in the early hours and we provide many nest boxes for this purpose. The ducks are housed in open partially open barns in pens of 300.

The birds are bedded down with fresh barley straw, three times a week, to improve hatchability and water troughs are emptied every morning to keep them clean. The troughs are also raised on concrete ramps to keep the bedding clean.

As a safeguard the ducks are vaccinated against Salmonella but even so, regular testing takes place to ensure we have healthy, happy flocks.

The family is proud to have achieved certification from Freedom Foods for the hatchery; acknowledging our resolve to improve welfare standards, specified and monitored by the RSPCA.

Common Name:
Duck - Pekin

Other Common Names:

Domestic Duck, White Pekin Duck

Scientific Name:

Anas domesticus (Full Taxonomy)

Origin or Range:


Average Lifespan:

10.5 years
Pekin Ducks were imported into Europe and North America in the 1800s. Originally bred from the Mallard in China, the Pekin Duck was first seen in shows in the 1870s. Though originally referred to by the same taxonomy as the Mallard
(Anas platyrhynchos), the Pekin is now usually referred to as Anus Domesticus as it quickly became associated with the image of the domestic duck. If you were to ask most people to describe a domestic duck, they would describe the Pekin. The most famous Pekin Duck is Donald Duck.

The Pekin's popularilty as a pet stems from the fact that it is one of the most hardy of all the varieties, and has one of the most placid temperaments. They are also one of the most vocal of all species of duck. While the female develops a loud quack, the males' vocalisations become weaker with maturity. The Pekin is most commonly associated with farms and ponds.
Due to the breeding of domestics ducks, Pekin's do not make good fliers, having shorter wings and a heavier build.

These ducks usually weigh between 8 and 9 pounds. Their plumage is white and they have yellow to orange bills, with orange legs and feet. The ducklings have bright yellow plumage and are commonly associated with easter. They are one of the fastest growing ducks, being ready for the table by about 7 weeks.

This species is also one of the most popular egg-layers as an adult can lay up to 200 eggs per year. They will try to lay their eggs in a safe place, though they can be tricked into laying eggs elsewhere placing a golf ball or something similar where you would want them to lay.