Any Help? Trying to get my muscovies to brood this Spring.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by cgilson, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. cgilson

    cgilson New Egg

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    I've currently got a small flock of muscovies - two drakes and three ducks, and I'd like to get at least one of them to hatch a clutch of eggs. I have a small backyard lot in the city of Chicago.

    I was planning building shelters with 16-gauge 1/2" x 1" GAW rabbit cage floor wire on all sides of the enclosure, partially burried in the ground, with a 55-gallon drum (also partially burried) on its side for protection from rain and wind. I've already got a plan to improve drainage in the yard, so the ground will be dry. Diagrams/plans of something that's worked for others would be extremely helpful.

    I also would like to know everything else they'll need. Should they get feed suppliments? Might the street lights throw them off somehow? How much outside time do they need? Should I keep them locked up all the time when brooding? Do the drakes need access to sit on the eggs as well? I'd really appreciate any advice I could get. Is there a really good instructional book out there that covers everything pretty well?

    @chiknkoop

    *I heard a tragic story recently about urban coyotes killing a bunch of ducks in another flock in the city...
     
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Well as of this moment i only own Muscovy, and i have let them hatch, i had a few nests last year, if anything most Muscovy ducks your usually trying discourage not have to encourage as they are well known for their broody qualities.

    A couple of things though, cause me concern, 1 being your ratios... there off, 2 drakes to 3 ducks? it's really tight. To give you an idea, i currently have 10, only 2 are drakes and i am even adding two more ducks later this spring(different breed but there ducks regardless) I am quite familiar with 'Scovie drakes, that is what i have mainly hatched out, i have had a flock in the high teens in the past and have seen how to many drakes cause havoc.

    You maybe lucky and the birds you have mesh ok but this leads me to a question, how old are the birds? My other concern is you say you live in a small backyard? why do you want to breed? what will you do with the young? Muscovy are big birds, i can see keeping a few as a small yard flock but i cannot imagine breeding in that setting, their clutches are big averaging.. 8 to into the teens easily i know some have had almost in the twenties hatch.

    Supplements? what do you currently feed? Mine get a diet of flock raiser with mixed grains and they forage, i only supplement oyster shell as i do not have them on a layer feed. I never kept any of my ducks locked up while brooding they need and do take time off of the nest, only when the young hatched did i isolate the mama with the brood to avoid any injury not only from the drakes but the other ducks as well. I then later on by about 2-3wks intro the duck & her clutch back into the flock. Generally, drakes do not assist with brooding and again when young hatch can be a danger some are known to kill ducklings that is why i recommend and do isolate the ducklings at first.

    Storeys guide to ducks would be my book recommendation, you can get it on e-book format or even a local library.

    Sadly, i am not surprised at the coyote attacks, that is why the birds in general will need a safe enclosure to house them and while they are outside.
     
  3. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Somerville, AL
    Going Quackers gave great advice and I agree with the concerns that were expressed. In particular: your drake:duck ratio. Housing. Brooding on a small lot.

    What type of housing do they have? What are you going to do with ducklings?

    Large ducks need 6-8 sq ft of indoor space if they are not going to be outside alot. A duck yard should have 10-25 sq ft per duck. For housing, with your winters, insulated would be best. Muscovy like to roost, so they need a bit more elaborate housing than other ducks since they need elevated roosts.

    Ducklings can start on chick starter. Then move to grower then to layer once they start. That can be 6 months of age or so.
     
  4. cgilson

    cgilson New Egg

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    Feb 2, 2012
    We bought them early last fall, and I'm very aware of the space limitations of the yard. You might be surprised at how much you can manage with good planning and regular (twice daily) maintenance, though. We already spend a good amount of time on "poop patrol" - we use deep composting. I've seen the show, "Animal Hoarders" and let me assure you that we try to be a lot closer to "Martha Stewart Living". :) We regularly check in with our neighbors to ask if they've been disturbed by noise or odor, and they agree that it's well-controlled. The neighbor kids like watching them in our yard.

    Currently, they live in a 4' x 9' pen with a small sheltered area and an more open area enclosed with hardware cloth, and they get a lot of time out in the yard. It's nice and fairly secure, but obviously not appropriate for brooding.

    As for the ducklings, we'll probably bring the ducklings to the "live poultry" shop after a few months, although a farmer friend of ours has expressed interest in starting a muscovy flock, so we may give a few to her. The ducks have gotten along so far. From what you've told me, though, we probably can cull a drake before Spring. We'll probably eat most of the eggs, and maybe cull one of the ducks after they're done laying.

    Story's Guides are good, but they're normally oriented towards people with small-to-meduim commercial operations... I remember reading a line in the chicken book that went something like "If you have a small flock (fewer than a hundred birds)..." A HUNDRED BIRDS? SHEESH! We've just got a couple! I'll probably pick it up, if that's what you recommend, though.

    @chicknkoop
     

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