Best meat duck? I can't decide... Muscovy Questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jellybean, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. jellybean

    jellybean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been looking for Silver Appleyards for months and just won't be able to find any until next year. I am ordering a couple runners from Metzers, and was thinking of getting a few Welsh Harlequins. I like that they lay a lot of eggs, I need more layers. But I will also be raising a batch or two for meat. I was concerned that they classify them as a light weight. Are they too small to consider as a decent meat duck? I've really only raised and eaten Rouens, so that's all I have to compare as far as size of a cooked bird, and size of breast meat and all.

    I don't care too much what color the skin is, I don't really want Pekins. Should I consider Cayugas, Buffs, or maybe the Golden 300? They don't say anything on their site about their meat, just their abundant egg laying. I don't need the heaviest breed, but I want it to be worthwhile to process the birds and actually get some meat from them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  2. tamlynn

    tamlynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Muscovies are good eating and in my experience, quite prolific too.
     
  3. jellybean

    jellybean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I keep hearing that their meat is great! But I kinda want something that will lay more eggs. I've heard they don't lay as much as most breeds? Because a couple females will be my layers, and a couple my baby machines. Plus I've got a Rouen female that lays decently, and will be getting a couple runner females. It's so hard to decide, I wish I could have a couple of every breed!
     
  4. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    Muscovies are very fast growing and are much larger than Rouens. the males can get up to around 15lbs. They also like to forrage a lot more than other duck breeds so they can be a little better on the feed bill if you have space for them. They're really friendly and easy to tame so they'd be easy to catch when the time comes to butcher.

    My girls only stopped laying for 2 months this last year & also lay just fine in cold weather. This year they have been laying eggs & hatching babies like crazy! Most Muscovy hens make excellent mothers and have a strong desire to brood but you can find some that would rather lay than sit, a friend of mine has a flock like that and she's always shuffeling eggs from the "layers" to the "broodies".

    You should definitely look more into Muscovies if you're looking for a good meat bird. I do not eat my birds but I have heard ONLY good things about their meat and production ability for meat & i am VERY happy with how well my girls produce eggs and just love that they have such a strong mothering instinct.

    ETA: do some looking in your area and see if you can find someone with some birds with strong brooding instincts & someone else that has some that more prefer to lay than brood. if you can find some of each then you'll be set. if you're just butchering the offspring then it won't matter so much if they're good broodies or not, right?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  5. tamlynn

    tamlynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure how their egg laying compares to other ducks, but I know they can have 3-4 batches of babies per year at up to about 20 per batch! My parents had 2 hens who hatched out 21 and 22 babies when I visited this summer. Also, the no quacking quality is a plus when you have a large number.
     
  6. chicksbestfriend

    chicksbestfriend Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sticking with the Muscovies for the best meat and eggs. I get eggs everyday, and have anywhere from 2-4 sitting on nests at all times. I never had as good of luck with any other ducks than the Muscovies.
     
  7. jellybean

    jellybean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2009
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    I will look into them more, I hadn't really considered them yet. Thanks! There really isn't anything around here, not many people have ducks here at all. Or even anywhere close by. So I'm pretty much stuck to ordering. I always watch Craigslist and other sites, and look for people who might have ducks to get them from. Nothing here.
     
  8. Born A Duck Lover

    Born A Duck Lover Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't know if this helps any, but I think Cayugas are a good multi-purpose breed. Buff Orpingtons are, too, but I've noticed that the Cayugas are a little stockier if you are wanting them for meat. I know you said you didn't want Pekins, but I got some Jumbo Pekins from Metzer Farms recently and I've been shocked at how large they are at such an early age. Just something to consider. And yes, I've also heard that Muscovies are really good ducks all around, though I've never had any myself. Well, I hope you can find something that works for you. Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  9. jellybean

    jellybean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't find a hatchery that sells Muscovy babies right now. Or any within a few hours of me.
    They do get big- do they forage well or do they require more commercial feed because of their size? My ducks have 20 acres and they'd rather eat crumbles than go search for food even though I drive them out to the good stuff- they just come back to the porch ( I don't feed them by the porch either!)

    Are the males aggressive? I have geese, and a male and female Rouen I'll be keeping, as well as getting some runners. Sounds like male muscovies get huge.

    So as soon as their babies get bigger, they start laying and will keep hatching clutches all summer? Mine just hatch once a year and they're done. How long after hatching does it take for them to lay again?

    Are they ok in cold winter weather? Like -20 with a shelter? Do they need a covered pen (mine isn't) so they don't fly away? Or just clip a wing? How well do they still fly if only one wing is clipped- like to get away from predators?

    Thanks for the help, I've been researching them but can't find all these answers!
     
  10. Caprice_Acres

    Caprice_Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To get steady eggs from Muscovies, you will need a large number of muscovy hens. Amassing numbers of birds isn't that hard though - they're addicting. [​IMG] I had 4 hens that were mature this season, and the only time they'd lay was when they wanted to make a nest. If I took eggs away, they'd stop after 3-4, because laying eggs that disapear doesn't help them proliferate... and they seem to know it. One thing 'Scovies are REALLY good at is proliferating. Sometimes you'll think that something got one of your hens because you won't see her for a few weeks... suddenly she'll show up from under your porch, in the dog house, or under the rabbit hutches with 20 peepers.

    I like mallard derivative duck, too... but muscovy is a MUCH less greasy meat. Texture is great, too.

    I've always wanted to try mule duck (cross between muscovy and a mallard derivative) to see what the meat is like. If I liked it, I was thinking about keeping a white muscovy drake in with pekin hens (which are fair layers), and hatch mules. That would give you eggs as well as meat birds. I'd keep some muscovies around as artificial incubators as well.

    Since I can't stand sticking with just one thing, I'm sure I'd still produce pure muscovy, the mules, as well as any egg laying breeds... right now I have Welsh Harlequins and while they haven't started to lay yet I really like them. [​IMG]
     

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