Chronological / Destinations / Tennessee / United States

The March of the Peabody Ducks

Every day, the Peabody Ducks leave their palace on the roof of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, waddle into an elevator, descend to the main floor, and parade along a red carpet to the hotel’s grand fountain under the tutelage of Anthony Petrina, the current Duck Master. Anthony is fifth in line to be in charge of everything duck related.

The Duck Palace on the roof of the Peabody Hotel

The Duck Palace on the roof of the Peabody Hotel

Duck Master Anthony Petrina

Duck Master Anthony Petrina


The March of the Peabody Ducks began in the 1930s when the hotel general manager was a duck hunter. Live duck decoys were legal at the time. Jack Daniels was not legal but the manager and his friends took it along on their hunting trips. Returning to the hotel after one particular outing, the manager forgot to leave his live decoys at the farm. Under the influence of Jack Daniels, he snuck the ducks into the hotel fountain for the night. In the morning, he went down to the lobby to find the ducks still paddling contentedly in the fountain, entertaining his hotel guests.

The general manager decided that as long as guests were enjoying the ducks, the ducks would stay. The first Duck Master coached the ducks to parade to the fountain to the tune of Da Sousa’s King Cotton March. The tradition continues 80 years later.

The March of the Peabody Ducks

The March of the Peabody Ducks

At precisely 11:00 a.m., we watched five North American mallards march out of the elevator to the fountain. Every day at 5 p.m., the performers return to their rooftop palace.

Sign: There will be no duck served at the Peabody Hotel

There will be no duck served at the Peabody Hotel

There is no duck served on any menu in the Peabody Hotel so there will be no Duck à l’Orange recipe here. We recommend this easy recipe for Orange Chicken Drumsticks.

Orange Chicken Drumsticks

Orange Chicken Drumsticks


(Makes 2 to 3 servings)

6                                           chicken drumsticks

2 tablespoons (30 ml)        orange juice

2 tablespoons (30 ml)        hot sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml)        olive oil

1 tablespoon (15 ml)          orange marmalade

1/2 tablespoon (7.5 ml)     hot sauce


Trim the drumsticks of any excess fat and place them in a bowl.

Combine the orange juice, hot sauce, and olive oil in a small bowl. Mix well.

Pour the marinade into a re-sealable plastic bag or airtight container. Add the drumsticks to the marinade and place in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

Combine the orange marmalade and hot sauce. Set aside.

Oil the barbecue grate and heat the barbecue to medium-high.

Turn the heat to low and place the marinated drumsticks on the grate.

Close the lid. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

Turn the drumsticks once or twice through the cooking time and baste with the marmalade-hot sauce mixture.

If cooking with an oven, pre-heat to 350° F (177° C). If using a frying pan, cook over medium heat. In either case, cooking time will be approximately 30 minutes.

No matter what the cooking method, the drumsticks will be ready when the internal temperature reaches 175° F to 180° F (80° C to 82° C).


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