So I've had four young muscovies for a week now. They came from a place where they'd been completely unhandled and penned up in a really small area with smelly, deep, soaked wet bedding and no area at all to forage in. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd never been out of their pen before.
A week ago, I put them in an old dog run with lots of grass and herbs and leaves to scratch around in. I also piled some hay on one side and lined the dog house (their night-house) with hay. Until yesterday, they had not really foraged at all, just spent the day time sitting on top of the outside hay and the night times in the little house. I wasn't sure why but I was surprised they weren't going crazy for all the bugs and grass and things.
Yesterday, I was home all day so I let my flock of chickens out of their pen and into the bigger yard and they all spread out, some of them foraging wildly outside the duck pen. I think the ducks watched them and then tried it themselves. They spent all afternoon voraciously scratching and pecking at the ground in a way I haven't seen before.
It's amazing to me that what I assumed would be an instinctive behaviour may have needed to be taught/learned from another bird.
This is weird! But I'm glad they're finally exploring. I might let them out during the day over the long weekend and see what they do.