I have gotten 16(1 extra) Muscovy ducklings from Fifth Day Farm. I picked them because Muscovies don' travel well, and they are only half a state away.
They say that their brood stock is French, so these are probably Grimaude Freres Muscovies, which are supposed to reach 12 lbs in 12 weeks. That would be the males, of course.
They all made it here alive. A couple were shaky, but I gave hem all warm sugar water and got them under the heat lamp. In a very short while they were eating and drinking and eagerly exploring their new world. These are a white variety, but as chicks they are yellow and some have dark markings on the top of their heads.
Mine are now 17 days old, and I thought I would start a thread to inform anyone else who might be considering Muscovies. They grow very quickly, and are dimorphic. I think the males are already about a pound in weight. At 14 days I had my first territorial huffing from one of the bigger males. It was very cute. They can't bite hard enough to hurt yet.
I'm feeding them organic chick starter crumbles and supplementing their water with niacin. I'm adding in a generic vitamin supplement as well, just to be extra sure. They grow so fast that they often have bare patches on the edge of their wings and on their necks. I put some herbal ointment on those, because the bright color makes the others more inclined to peck at it.
I have been fermenting my feed for about a week, and this is very successful. I think everyone should do it. The idea is that you ferment the food with a lactobacillus, which breaks down the grain and makes it more digestible to the birds. Then end up eating less, drinking less, and excreting less. Their droppings are soft solid, rather than the usual splat.
I couldn't get them to eat the ferment wet, so I squeezed out extra moisture, and spread it in trays to dry in the sun. I add some extra regular feed to get it dry enough to pour through their feeder, but when I am more organized, I should be able to do one hundred percent fermented feed.
Fermenting is easy. You just add a lot of water( you want water to cover the feed even after it expands). And add some starter. Live yoghurt or a probiotic capsule will work. You can also let it sit and ferment naturally. I prefer the controlled method, because you want the bacteria based lacto ferment, not the yeast based alcohol ferment. Both are in the air..
You let it sit for a day or three. No harm in longer, then scoop it out, expell extra moisture, and dry it to feed. Or if you are lucky, your birds will eat it wet.
The leftover liquid will provide the culture for the next batch. Just toss more feed in the bucket and let it to its thing..
My ducklings are doing very well so far. I am amazed by how thick their legs are, a sure sign that the niacin is doing its thing. It also intrigues me that the very first feathers they grow are on the tail. They have an inch of feathers on the tail, and none yet on the wings. Muscovies have longer tails than other ducks, and apparently use them for communication. There is certainly a lot of tail activity in my group.
They also love eating bugs. I put a banana peel in their brooder to attract fruit flies, and those things don't stand a chance,
I will include some pictures in my next posting