BackYard Chickens › Breeds & Supplies › Other Poultry › Ducks › Muscovy



Pros: Slow, easily caught, good meat, quiet, cheap to feed

Cons: Sharp claws, strong wings, females can fly

We have had Muscovies for several years, and have had a very good experience. While the males do "hiss", it's the Muscovy equivalent of a "quack". They are very quiet ducks and very laid back. Ours are friendly, and will follow us around, Most eat out of my hand and one female trills to me whenever I'm around. They are good around other breeds - ours share a pasture with chickens and Welsh Harlequins and there are never squabbles (at least, not with the ducks!).


They are good foragers, and will "clean" up a yard of bugs, slugs and snails. They eat mosquitoes too. They eat a variety or weeds and can easily forage for most of their food in the spring/summer/fall months, requiring supplemental food only in winter (easy, cheap keepers). I do bring them "treats in the afternoons, to keep them friendly! They require little housing, even here in Washington state, they prefer to be outdoors most of the time. We do not shut ours in at night, we let them choose where they go. They are very cold hardy.


Babies can be tamed very easily. I hand tame babies in the spring to sell as pets. After they hatch, they are brought into the house for a few days for "taming". They are taken for walks outside, to show them "food" and "bugs". The babies come when called and will accept other pets (like rabbits, dogs and cats) as buddies.


They lay lots of eggs, and make good mommas, sometimes even sharing duties with each other. I don't clip wings, and even though capable of flight, ours never bother leaving. When one "accidentally" gets out of the pasture, it tries really hard to get back "in".


They also are fast growers, and produce big meaty birds in a few months. The meat is very lean and exceptionally tasty. Some people compare it to lean veal or ham, although I thinks it's much richer flavoured. We never have a problem selling our meat birds, or our baby "pet" birds (all our babies are called Henry).


We have a steady customer base, and we have a freezer full of meat. This is our first choice for a duck breed (The Welsh Harlequin is our second choice).


Our birds sell as follows

hand tamed babies - 1 week old $10

females - 4-6 months $15/20

Males - 4-6 months  $25/35




Pros: Quiet, "dance", mine are sweet and make wonderful layer and meat birds

Cons: creepy looking and smelly

I adopted my ducks as adult. I love this duck! They prefer land to water so they don't need a big pool. My ducks dance where ever they go and a very sweet birds. My drake, Elvis likes so walk up behind me and hiss. I love him very much! I have two females and use for eggs and a male I plan to show in 4h. They are very quiet  and females make a weird cooing noise while the males hiss. They are the perfect duck if you live in a small continuity that doesn't allow noisy animals.













Pros: Grows fast, Leaner meat, Does not quack, Loves land more than water, Beautiful color combinations, Very prolific, Great mothers, Very friendly

Cons: They like to wander around the yard more than the chickens and turkeys

The Duck Test:
 If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

This may be true for most cases, but what about the Muscovy?



At my farm, the most important animal is the turkey. We started raising Royal Palm turkeys, then got some "Mini Royal Palms" (Brahmas), then, lastly, added some "Water Turkeys" (Muscovies). So you can image that I think that the "Water Turkeys" are very beautiful because of their caruncles. I was told by many people not to get Muscovies because they are very aggressive, but over the 18 years I've been around ducks, every Muscovy I've met or owned has always been very nice and loved attention. 

Another thing to note is that Muscovies do not quack (another plus!) and are very quiet. They "dance" around when they walk by twerking their tails and bobbing their heads (they literally are the natural party animal) When they want to communicate, they whistle, hiss and do a little "chatter" sound. Throughout the day, my breeding ducks will all get together and have several "clubbing" sessions, dance together and that is as loud as they get when they all hiss and chatter together (normally this is at the pool). We like to hear our turkeys gobble and chuck-chuck-chuck to each other, our chickens when they lay an egg, the roosters when there is a predator and that is about it. A quiet yard creates happy neighbors (even if you live in the country like I do, you should always be considerate of your neighbors and Muscovies are great at that).

The best thing to note is that, although these ducks love water, you will not see them in it a whole lot! We have a swimming pool specifically just for the animals to take a dip in on hot days. They will take baths in the pool once or twice a day, but they do not sit in it all day like other ducks do. For some people, this is a pro, others it is a con. For me, it is a pro because having clean water in the pool is great for all of the chickens, turkeys and other Muscovies. Another pro for my farm is that the ducks are always clean. They love to roost though and can fly pretty well. So trading in dirty water to low roosting poles is a trade I would do any day!

When I first brought them home, they would all lay eggs in the same area. That is three ducks/hens all laying a nest in one area. After a bit, one hen adopted all of the eggs and went broody (it took about a week for all three to get a very sizable nest). Now I have two ducks/hens laying eggs in another area now and the other hen is about to go broody (I believe in about another week or so when they have a few more eggs). So, you can believe how prolific these birds are! They are also amazing mothers and will frequently adopt abandoned eggs or nests that they find (like I have one that is trying to go broody on a Sebright's nest she found with six eggs in it and another that tries to adopt turkey eggs that she find laying in the yard). My ratios right now is one drake to three hens and my fertility rate is 100% (this year I have not had a single infertile egg). I would say one drake to every five ducks/hens would be good. And the drakes are a little meaner when doing the deed. They will chase after the female, grab her by the neck then proceed. When they start to miss feathers on the backs of their heads (like when I first got them, they were paired up one to one so a single duck/hen got all of the abuse from him) I know I need more females or to separate the drake.

The only con I could list is that they love to wander around the yard more than the chickens and turkeys. I will go outside and they will be up in the front yard just doing duck things. Of course, this is unacceptable because the road is in the front yard. So containing these ducks may have to be done by certain farms.


Pros: Can fly , have unique personalities, can be individually identified by their markings, protective over young, co-brood, males protect nest

Cons: Will go in the woods to forage, like to fly up on high places, only some have sharp talons for tree scaling

These are my best ducks and are great mothers, very sweet, have beautiful babies


Pros: Funny to look at, quiet, big, really good at flying, nice eggs

Cons: funny to look at, big, randy, really good at flying, messy

 We love our  Muscovy drake  but he is very very randy. He will try to mate with any bird he can get his beak on, which made for an awkward situation with the neighbors. He would fly out of his pen and go visit the neighboring flock. The silkies were not impressed - at a quarter of his size, he was just too rough! I had to cut off the flight feathers on one side to keep him penned in.


He's a big, ugly guy, but harmless enough to us people. You probably don't want to get him to guard any hens (he's happy to let them get eaten and just fly off -- chivalry is not a strong suit) He's let 2 different mates get gobbled up.  When his Muscovy mate was around, she laid nice eggs.


I would not say he is friendly, but he is not unfriendly either. He's done fine with just a little pool of water, so he would be okay if you do not have a pond. He doesn't want to be held or pet. 


Every time he molts more feathers come in white. When he was a chick, he was entirely a beautiful green. Now he is quite a weird looking guy. 


People are always shocked when they see him and want know what is wrong with him. If you want to have a conversation piece, go for a Muscovy.


Pros: good broody, good mother, delicious meat, lay pretty well, large clutch

Cons: Produce sterile offspring if bred with other ducks and I guess claws

Muscovy are great birds to raise.  Quiet, good foragers, excellent at bug control, many colors.  I raise mine for meat.  Their meat is similar to beef, not at all fatty. 


Typically (there are differences in every bird of every breed) they are great broodies and great mothers and will sit on a huge number of eggs.  In most areas, they are seasonal layers.  Right now, I have a hen sitting on 22 eggs (it is her first time going broody) and it is the end of November.  I have had a hen hatch out 11 of 14 eggs before and all of the hatchlings survived.


They are a great breed if you don't want the loud quacks of other breeds.  Don't get me wrong, they still make noise.  When my girls get to whistling you can hear it you just wouldn't think it was a duck. 


The males get BIG, some lines get huge. 


All muscovy have claws, the breed is a perching duck so they need them to climb and cling to branches. 


In my experience, people that say that they are mean birds have raised them as pets and when the hormones start, the bird changes and the cute little duckling turns into a hormone machine.  Again, I don't coddle mine.  They are treated well but they have a purpose.  I don't handle mine but they still will come up to me for food and eat out of my hand. 


The hens are protective of their babies, but that is only natural.


Pros: very good layers, good broody, quiet

Cons: Messy

I love all my Muscovy baby's, they hatch out allot of new baby's and keep bugs down. They eat grass, bugs and scraps. With all the ducks I love they are my fav. Every one gets scared of my big Drake bc he hisses but that is not bc he is being bad that's just his way of talking. They are big birds but so sweet.


Pros: Good egg Hatchers

Cons: Ugly beak, and face, they hiss, mean, heavy with sharp nails!

I had a muscovy, I did not like him at all, He was huge and had very sharp nails, muscovy's hiss which can get quite annoying! I also thought he looked a little ugly with their red faces, They also flip out when in a cage, small space, or just caught. They are not good for a pet, I dont think, because, kids think of ducks quaking and having them follow you, being able to touch them, and the muscovy doesn't do any of those, they can also fly a little ways, which can be bad! This is just my opinion, and I may have had a bad experience, but I dont think they are a very good breed!


Pros: Very Social, Very Quiet, Acts like a dog, great brooder's and mama's

Cons: Poop is smelly, they have sharp claws, great flyers, Seasonal Layers

Overall Muscovy ducks are worth the while. They are very compassionate, and friendly. They wag their tails like dogs and great you every time they see you. They hiss not quack. Perfect duck for the city! They have very sharp claws and love to perch. Once you gain your Muscovy's trust the bond is very strong. They are great hatchers and mama's! I highly recommend them!


Pros: Reproduce well, gentle, quiet, grow fast, great foragers, highly intelligent, culls taste of beef, big eggs, duck parties!, independent minded, calm

Cons: Seasonal layers, must be pinioned as babies to be kept in fence, hard to pluck if butchered after 16 weeks, ladies MUST sit, claws

I absolutely love my muscovy flock. I don't know if all lines are like this, but my line is totally child safe, they reproduce like crazy and try to get in three 20+ egg clutches every year with a great hatch rate, my favorite drake even cares for his own ducklings and leads them around the yard and sits on them (until they are old enough to realize he can be dominated, unfortunately, and then he's relieved when the males are gone), they're quiet, so friendly (except for nesting mamas-watch out!), they love foraging, they look you right in the eye and talk and dance to you, and when you finally do have to correct the male/female ratio to preserve peace and safety the meat is the best thing ever. But that's the bad part. For most of the year the best males are like puppy dogs and the girls are a riot-a little less friendly if they remember you as the egg stealer, but still party animals in their own right. The ladies honk when upset, trill when they're happy, and the drakes just HUFF and hiss. So funny. They're also amazing foragers and will empty your yard of snakes and other *surprises* for better or for worse (we had a lot of snakes, aka duck spaghetti).


As far as cons go, they are definitely seasonal eggers. Mine start laying as soon as it starts staying above freezing, then stop when freezing sets in again-not counting the times on nests, of course, but they eat so little feed while nesting I really don't mind.

They can FLY like eagles, and I'm talking over your house, not just over the fence, and they LIKE it, so you either have to pinion in the first week (not hard or traumatic surprisingly), or watch carefully for molts and do your yearly duck rodeo to make sure your birds don't get lost or hit by cars if that's the kind of area you live in. I've discovered it's a lot harder to ride your drakes and clip those huge wings while they try scratch you off with all they've got-and they're pretty big and strong. And heads up, pinioned birds can still fly about four or five feet high, but like I said, you won't see them winging it to the next county, just the occasional escape from the pen.

The feathers when processing do not want to come out if you do them too late. Scalding and duck wax will become mandatory if you procrastinate like I did this year (shame on me, but I think most people can understand).

Those girls are wired to make clutches, feather their nests, and SIT...for 38 days. As soon as the spring season starts they become single minded, but even that's not terrible as long as you can handle it. And the worst mine do is pinch when you go under them. Just watch out for that nasty, cement colored broody poo. Never upset a sitting muscovy hen or she may foul her nest and you.

The worst part is their massive claws. They are flying, perching ducks. Their talons are sized accordingly. They WILL try to scratch their way out of trouble, and if you don't know what you're doing, wear a big thick coat and gloves for the first year whenever you have to handle them because they WILL scratch you deep, and it WILL get infected. I'm to the point now I don't usually get scratched unless I do something stupid (hey, female ducks don't like to be absent mindedly patted on their fluffy underpuffs like a football-totally my fault), so I usually don't anymore, but DANG those claws. Babies have sharp little scratchers too. Luckily once they get big, at least if you've clipped their wings or have them pinioned, you really don't have to handle them often. All you have to do is herd them and it's all great.


All in all they are great birds. I love them, and I hope to never be without them again (unless, of course I couldn't let them reproduce, then that wouldn't be fair to the girls who become hatch machines every spring, but re-become themselves each winter).


Muscovies are the only domestic "ducks" that are not bred from the mallard. They are a wild South American species that has been domesticated. They are actually a "close cousin" to the duck. The muscovy being to the duck what a donkey is to a horse. Males are very large, and can weigh up to twelve pounds and females may reach eight pounds. They will lay 50-120 eggs a year.

Egg ColorCreamy White
Breed Colors/VarietiesThe original, wild muscovy is predominately black and white. Domesticity has produced other colors,such as all white or black,chocolate, blue, lavender and more, and patterns such as barred.
Breed SizeLarge Fowl
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Breed Details:

The Muscovy are considered by some to be ugly birds because of the large red "warty" caruncles around their eyes and beaks. And while you may consider them ugly, if you've ever spent time with a Muscovy you can't deny they are very intelligent birds, funny and full of personality. They are known as the "quackless" duck and hiss ( females making a quiet squealing sound) rather than quack, making them perfect for the small backyard keeper, whose neighbors might not welcome the loud quacking of other domestic breeds. While Muscovy can fly, they are more likely to just fly around than to fly off. They have big strong sharp claws for perching and will fly up to perch on all manner of things. The muscovy female lays in clutches and is an excellent mother. They multiply quickly  a drake and five ducks can hatch over a hundred offspring in one year. Not only do they make excellent pets, but the eggs are tasty and the meat is compared to a good cut of veal. Raising muscovy in the back yard flock is a joy that has to be experienced to be believed.


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