From the Archives
Ducks of a 'particular good type'
February 6, 2009
U of S Archives, A-2906.
By Patrick Hayes, U of S Archives
This issue's image depicts of the university duck pond in 1929. It was located on the University Farm near the piggery just north of the main barn. The ducks pictured are pekin and are described as a “particular good type”. The pekin duck is a breed of domesticated duck used primarily for egg and meat production. Originally bred in China, nine ducks were exported to Long Island, New York in the late 19th century. They are sometimes referred to as Long Island ducks or more simply domestic ducks. It is the world's most popular commercial duck breed.
The university's flocks of ducks and geese were established and maintained by R.K. Baker, who was hired in 1913 as the first professor of poultry. He headed the Department of Poultry Husbandry, established in 1916, from 1919 until 1942. Though the department developed a unique collection of antique and exotic breeds, early poultry work concentrated on the identification of hardy breeds and management practices for prairie conditions. Later nutritional studies and cross breeding contributed to the growth of a healthy industry.