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March 3, 2010
I have been offered some free domestic Muscovy ducks and ducklings.
I am very interested in them and have done some reading about them. I would like to know what your experience has been with them, if you would recommend them, if you had any big issues with them and what your best advice would be. Did you house them with chickens or not and were there any problems with them fighting or wrecking the eggs of the other? I heard that caring for them was not a whole lot different from chickens. We will be keeping hens over the winter for eggs, so they will have a warm and insulated area with clean bedding.
Does anyone have any recipes for feed? I would prefer a homemade feed without any soy and corn. What grains would be the best…wheat, barley, oats, a mix…? Of course, in summer they will get grass and insects, etc, but I need to know what their needs are over winter.
Wow, sounds like you've got a great oppertunity staring you in the face. I LOVE free poultry!! I've never had muscovy ducks, though I've thought about it, but I have always kept ducks, geese, and chickens together without problems (except when the rooster gets too bossy, and the geese have a Rooster-Humbling party). Best of luck to you!
February 6, 2011
We loved having Muscovies. We kept them until their barn had to be torn down and they had no shelter over the winter. We loved watching them waddle down to the pond. Keep the male numbers low so the females have a fighting chance. They like water, but don't have the oil glands that typical ducks have so they can't stay on the water for long. We had a stray dog chase one into the pond and it nearly drowned by the time it got out. Ours didn't eat much during the winter. We fed them the same thing we fed our chickens- crumbles and corn, so I can't help you with the food. The ducks would probably do ok with the chickens although I'd watch any drakes with the hens. They are very heavy (up to 15 pounds) and would probably kill a hen if he got her down. Other than that, enjoy them! My only pet peeve was when they came up to the house and pooped on my patio–not a little mess. They reproduce easily and can have very large clutches each time (up to 3x per summer), but ours usually hatched out between 8 and 15 at a time. They lay and sit on many more, but don't end up hatching them all. The hen will sit on the hatchlings for a day, until all that are going to hatch are out. Then, she'll take them out looking for food. SO CUTE! She needs access to water while on her eggs, and will leave the nest once a day to get wet and eat quickly. We usually fed her a handful right at her nest. I think they need to get wet to keep the eggs in a humid environment. They are very protective of the eggs/ nest. The drake will stay near the hen and help protect the nest and escort her around to find food. They make the funniest noises as they don't quack. It's kind of a hissing noise. It's funny, once my youngest was told that a duck says quack and she responded, "No, ducks say, 'Hoaahhh' " (mimicking the sound). I hear they are really good eating, but we never ate one. My mom said the eggs are good to eat. If they are left to free range, you won't need to feed them much of anything, even in the winter. They love corn! Ours would go out to the cornfield when the corn was almost ready to harvest and actually take the ears from the stalks and eat them. It was quite funny to watch. They always knew when the corn was ready, too.
Well, I rambled on long enough now. If you have any specific questions, be sure to ask. I would still consider giving them corn.
March 3, 2010
Thank you, we do have them and their bottoms are now feathered. We only just recently gave them a paint tray to go into a bit of water. We didn't want to drown them, and so figured that this was a safe way to do things at the start. We are having trouble figuring out which are drakes/hens at this point. They are almost 7 wks old now. Supposedly, we should know by now according to things I have read. Only one puts its tail up when talked to and it is the first one in and out of places. I can't tell by the beaks as we are new at this, and their breasts and such, well, I may have to wait until they are older and look for the curl on the tail to know for sure.
I will consider corn for some of the feed, I just wanted a variety in their feed, and less chemicals. I don't generally trust commercially available feeds, and this is one of the reasons why. I did get an organic feed recipe of sorts through another list.
lol…I love your stories! I remember when we asked our second girl what a llama said, she would open her mouth wide and say nothing. When our first boy was asked what the horse said or the dog or a goose said (and we made the appropriate sounds), he looked at us very odd until he heard it. Then he would immitate perfectly. Until then, I guess they were mute and we were crazy. lol Our oldest, when asked what a cat said would make a sound like a cat in heat…it was the first sound that actually registered with her from a cat, I guess. Kids are funny!
I do enjoy the ducks' sounds. They sound so beautiful.
I have thought of the deck thing. Ick! I also heard that with other livestock around, if you have water out for them, that they can make a mess of it unless you clip their wings. Have you ever clipped them? If so, how did you do it without getting hurt? We aren't sure if we want to clip them or not. I guess we will find out if they start getting into places they shouldn't be.
I do have some more questions…how do you get eggs if they are protective of the nest? I heard as well, that if an egg is taken, they will look for and move to another more secluded (and easier to protect) location. Do you know if this is true? If it is, how would you get any eggs? Also, how do you protect certain garden produce from them (lettuce, berries…corn)?
We have been enjoying our ducks so far and learning about how useful they can be. What a different experience. It is very fun watching them catch bugs. Are they ever fast and accurate!
December 14, 2010
You really should trust commercial feeds. These are what farmers buy to feed their animals and they depend on good safe feed because that is how they make their living. The mill won't blend antibiotics into the feed unless you ask and they certainly include it in the list of ingredients on the bag.
May 14, 2005
I love Muscovies! I would NOT clip their wings. They will come back if you're feeding them, but they can FLY and they are amazing for being so heavy. The ability to fly keeps them safer. Clipping their wings is like declawing a cat, I just wouldn't do it. I had a couple dozen Muscovies when we lived on a lake in Texas. (I never saw them have any trouble being in water, and they were in the lake a LOT.) I had them trained to the feed bucket and I would bang the feed bucket at dinnertime and they would come flying all the way over the lake from wherever they were. So much personality in those ducks. I think they're smarter than the average duck, LOL. The eggs ARE good to eat, I ate them and baked with them. They do have large nests and are great mothers. They don't quack, which is odd but interesting. They WILL absolutely get up on top of everything, from your house to your car, but you have Muscovies, who cares, they are awesome ducks. They are hard to come by anymore. I would take some in a heartbeat if I could get my hands on some.
February 10, 2009
February 6, 2011
We never clipped thier wings. The hens needed them to fly down to the pond away from the drakes. The drakes could be quite pesky to the poor girls! We didn't ever have them fly away. They will make a mess out of any water they get into. When we had chicks, we would sometimes bring them into the bathtub to swim around.
Suzanne, they can swim just fine, but if they get wet they will eventually start to sink. They have less oil glands than regular water ducks. Ours loved swimming but didn't stay out there all day.
As for the eggs, you can wait until the hen is off the nest for her eating/bathing and harvest them then. Or you can use a stick to kinda coax her to back off. We didn't eat them so we only coaxed her off to count and check to see if any had hatched. It seemed like they always had a few that would turn blus/green and be rotton. Eventually they would push them out of the nest. Unfortunately, our dog loves to roll in stinky stuff and would break them open and roll in them. We couldn't stand to have him get anywhere near us until he'd been in the pond a few times and cleaned off.
We didn't find most of the ducks to be aggressive or mean. If we came up on them slowly we could usually pick them up without much struggle. We only ever had one mean one. He got my daughter down when she was a bit younger (4-ish) and she was black and blue and pretty scratched up. It tramatized my son more than her as he had watched the whole thing.
We never had problems with them and the garden. We had a raised bed right next to their barn and never had any problems. The corn in the fields was another matter. When the ears dropped and opened and they could see them, the ducks would jump up and rip them from the stalks and eat them. If you are worried about them, a small fence around it should work.
Enjoy them. The babies are the cutest. I have a couple of pictures of a mother and all her ducklings in a row, waddling around the yard. Adorable!
September 22, 2011
We just purchased some Muscovies this past June. If I had known that they were so cute and funny, I would have gotten them sooner. We got 10 of them and there are only four females. So I think there may be some squabbles here for a while. We have a chocolate male and named him Cocoa. He seems to know his name. I saw some pictures of Muscovies online and the pictures did not do the birds justice. I only have four white ones. The rest are a mixture of colors. I'm hoping to have more this spring. As far as water is concerned, we don't have a pond, so I purchased a small pool at Walmart and use that for them-they seem to enjoy it, but Muscovies are not big water fowl. And the tail issue with the tails only apply to Mallards, I believe. Males have bigger feet than the females. That's a good indication on if it's a male or female. We go to VA for non-gmo feed for our livestock. There are no places here in WV that sell it so we have to travel about 10 hours round trip plus any stops we have to make. The other day it took us 14 hours since we made another stop in VA for some blue and buff colored keets. I'm really into Guineas.
March 3, 2010
About the small fence. I read that someone saw one of their big drakes scale (climb) a 6' fence. I am thinking that not much will keep them out of anywhere. I have to say, that would be quite a thing to see. They must be very determined.
I would love to get some guineas! I hate ticks, so they would be great friends of mine. I am also wanting to get some araucanas. They are very rare here…you see americanas more often. I think that I found someone who has the araucanas though in a bantam size. I will need to contact her and see how much she might want for some eggs…I hear that the muscovies will hatch anything.
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