Cayugas make great backyard pets because of their quiet voices, calm temperament and ability to lay 100-150 eggs a year. However, they tend to be a little on the skittish side. They might very well be the most nervous breed of ducks I’ve ever raised. While they might not be super cuddly or friendly, they are well behaved and adapt easily to a small yard without much fuss. They love to forage and swim but their loose feathering causes them to get waterlogged quickly.
The Cayuga is unique because unlike mallards and their domestic descendants, the males and females retain similar iridescent coloring. The best distinguisher of sex for these guys is the drake feather which appears around 7-8 months for the male and their different sounding voices.
Females have a honkier sound and males a quieter, raspier quack. Females also tend to get white feathers as a result of laying eggs, whereas males tend to stay ever green. Unfortunately, beak color doesn’t seem to make a difference and isn’t a good distinguishing feature in this breed.
Compared to other ducks such as mallards and runners, the males are pretty non-aggressive and gentle with their mates.
Not much is known about the Cayuga breed history. They’re thought to have been crossed with the Native American Black duck and the Mallard in New York at Lake Cayuga. Like Runner ducks, Cayugas have an exceptional appetite for greens. They will enjoy raw watercress, romaine lettuce, raw mushrooms, bok choy, gailan, beansprouts, alfalfa and pretty much anything else you can think of.