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New to Muscovys Lots of questions

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have 4 new young muscovys.  Is there any way to tell the drakes from the ducks at a young age?  I am not sure how old these guys are.  They have not feathered out yet but they were well over half the size of mom.  I currently have them in a large dog crate with a heat lamp on them as it is in the 30s and 40s at night.  I will not let them in with my chickens until they are feathered out but I have no idea how long that takes.  I do not like the taste of regular duck.  To me it have a very strong slightly gamey chicken taste I did not care for.  Does Muscovy taste the same or totally different?  The woman I bought them from had them (13 of them) confined in a calf hut.  It was so dirty and nasty you could smell them from 8 feet away with the doorway covered!!!  I wanted to give them a bath but was afraid to.  Is it safe to do so if I make sure they stay warm until they are dry.  They don't act sick and I didn't see any bloody feces but I certainly will keep them away from my other animals until I am certain they are OK.  Can I feed them the same thing my laying hens get or do I have to supply them with different feed?  Sorry for all the questions but I was led to believe they were almost grown and when I saw the living conditions I wasn't willing to leave them there.  If I had had the money I would have taken them all!!  Help.  I will call my vet tomorrow but hope someone gets back to me before then.  Thanks Lisa

post #2 of 3
Don't have any answers about the taste of the meat. Never had it. There are some folks on the duck thread that may be able to tell the sex if you post some pictures (profile if you can get it). They may also be able to guess the age.

Layer feed is not good for them while they are still young. Non-medicated chick feed is okay. A feed for a mixed flock is better, like Purina Flock Raiser. If you are planning on raising them to breed and are concerned with long term health you need to look into their niacin needs. There is lots of info in the duck thread.

You can absolutely give them a bath. They'll probably love it. Just make sure the water is warm and you dry them off after and put them back by the heater. They'll likely get tired quickly so don't leave them unsupervised and take them out as soon as you see them looking tired.
post #3 of 3
I have found muscovy meat to be more gamey than pekin. It's almost as if it is more red of a red meat. Keeping the skin on balances out the flavor.

They'll do just fine on flock raiser, and eat lots of bugs and vegetation as well. Mine go crazy for kale and broccoli leaves. One thing they certainly don't need is finisher feed lol. Ive got some fat ducks in the freezer!

I processed mine a little later than I would have liked, and they were already growing their second set of down feathers. Not fun to pluck. I've read that for easier plucking, process before their wing feathers cross in the back. Either that or wait till after they molt out of juvenile and into full adult plumage. But by then they'll have a stronger flavor.

If your ducks are all from the same clutch, you'll be able to sex them by size. The males will soon be outgrowing the females. But they certainly take their time feathering out.
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