Breeding Muscovies

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by cactusrota, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. cactusrota

    cactusrota Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lurk on this forum alot and don't post much, mostly because if I look hard enough I can find answers to just about anything pretty quick! This is such a great site. Anyways, I'm not sure i can find answers to this. My brother has acquired three Muscovies, a drake and two nice ladies. He loves them, has a nice sized pond for them, and they seem really happy. We call them The Fonz, Laverne and Shirley. My brother also has somewhere short of 50 mixed chickens, all free ranged on about 1/4 of an acre, and the ducks fit right in, sleep with the chickens in their coop, and have recently started laying a couple eggs in one of the chickens nest boxes. They've also laid a couple elsewhere. My brother is now getting the bug to incubate some of their eggs, and was talking about raising them to increase his flock of ducks. My concern was whether inbreeding between parents and kids could be a problem once the ducklings are mature. I've heard it's not really a problem with poultry like it is with mammals, but I'm always concerned about those sorts of things. I also mentioned to him about letting the ducks sit on their own eggs if they're willing. Has anyone ever let their Muscovies brood their own if they seem to want to? None of us have bred ducks before, so we're total noobs on this. He had runner ducks for awhile and they were pretty aggressive to his chickens, but he couldn't tell the sexes of them, so there may have been too many drakes. These three are absolute sweethearts!
     
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Generally speaking Muscovies are good mothers and awesome brooders. They are much harder to be unnaturally incubated vs being done by ducks.

    I had one mum last year pull off a clutch of 19 then follow up that with another 8 in the fall. Yes, insane. Muscovy can have large nest and raise quite a few young ... as i have described already. They typically are serious about a nest when the feathers start plucking off.. they will build it to their own personal level of eggs, i have had small nests too just depends on the birds.

    Some of my birds are related but i have also added new blood over the years too, i have no issues at all.
     
  3. jaycee

    jaycee Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi I have muscovies and they all came from the same stock and they reproduce fine and healthy without outside blood. I agree with what Quackers said about incubating. I tried just incubating the eggs at first and they are notoriously hard to incubate successfully. They are supposed to take 35 days to hatch, well mine took 40 and I only got 5 live ducks out of 2 dozen eggs that were vital at the start. The ducks will start to get broody when they have a clutch of a dozen or so, much easier to let them do the work themselves and they are a lot smarter than you when it comes to hatching eggs hehe
     
  4. cactusrota

    cactusrota Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is very encouraging! Thankyou! So, what about with chickens around? Like i said, right now they are sharing the chicken coop and laying some eggs in there. My husband says that every duck he's ever seen that raised ducklings around chickens the ducks killed the chickens to protect the ducklings. My brother does have a pen he uses as a grow out for chicks, it's about 10 x 20 with an attached mini coop. It's right up against the main yard so that the adults can get used to the pullets before letting them out with the big birds. It works really well. These ducks were kept in there for a couple weeks before being released into the main range. If one of the ducks starts getting broody, could he move the eggs and mama duck into that pen? Would she continue to sit after being moved??
     
  5. cactusrota

    cactusrota Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 17, 2014
    Fort Thomas, AZ
    So, they've got 7 eggs and it looks like one of the females may have decided to sit. Will have to see if this lasts or not. I really hope they don't have problems with the chickens around ducklings...
     
  6. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I raised Muscovies the hens would hatch out 20+ ducklings at a time and they were awesome mothers. I had about 50 hens back then so it may have helped that multiple hens were contributing to the large clutches. I switched out my drakes often enough that I did not need to linebreed but you can get away with breeding father to daughter or mother to son for a generation before you outcross. You should never breed brothers and sisters together, though, because they share too much genetic material. You can keep hen ducklings from the first hatch and breed them back to the drake but then you have to switch out your drake in order to hatch their eggs.

    If you have two drakes so that you have two lines, then you can move your hen ducklings into the other line and keep breeding that way without replacing drakes but you would have to separate the two groups for breeding. When you are not hatching over the winter you can run them all together again but Muscovies tend to be more aggressive and territorial than Mallard derived breeds so they could fight.
     
  7. cactusrota

    cactusrota Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 17, 2014
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    So, the one girl has been sitting tight for about two weeks now. She started out not totally committed as a couple of the chickens were able to kick her off to lay their own eggs every once in a while, but we were going in to remove to try to keep it all duck eggs. Once she decided to sit tight, the hens still lay eggs around her now, but not as much. We didn't get a chance to get a last count before she sat. My brother has been worried that she's gonna starve herself to death (he's never let a bird sit on eggs before, and honestly I haven't either). I've been convincing him and me that they do it in the wild all the time, I'm sure they slow down their metabolism so they can go long times without eating and drinking. This morning I got up a bit earlier than usually and caught her up stretching her legs and preening so I rushed over to try to count the eggs. She had covered them with straw to keep them warm while she was out so at first I almost panicked that something had gotten to them. I saw 20 duck and 2 green chicken eggs. I guess we'll have to get something together soon as a small brooder, because if those chicken eggs hatch they'll be on their own I think. As soon as I was done about a few yards away she turned around and went back in to sit again. If all 20 of those duck eggs hatch I think my brother is gonna be beside himself! I just hope the chickens or the rooster can be trusted around the ducklings. We put a small grow out pen the size of a chicken tractor up against the fence for some smaller chicks a week ago and he took to slamming the fence to try to get to the chicks the first few days. It really made me worry about the ducklings. For the most part, the hens and rooster give the drake space and respect, even though he's so gentle.
     
  8. cactusrota

    cactusrota Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 17, 2014
    Fort Thomas, AZ
    These are the best pics i could get with my cheap little phone. This is Laverne and Shirley. It's the black hen that sitting on the eggs. Below is The Fonz. He's such a sweetheart and has doted on his girls so lovingly since day one.

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  9. cactusrota

    cactusrota Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 17, 2014
    Fort Thomas, AZ
    Well, I'm hearing pipping coming from underneath her, so it looks like at least one if not both of the chicken eggs that got mixed in with her duck eggs are at least trying to hatch. Those that have had this happen what do you think is most likely to happen? Could she smother them? Kill them? Ignore them? I put together a little brooder just in case we're able to save them. Her eggs aren't due for probably up to two weeks still.
     
  10. cactusrota

    cactusrota Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 17, 2014
    Fort Thomas, AZ
    Well, I guess the peeping was some ventriliquist bird, but I did take the chicken eggs out and put them in the incubator and one hatched. Her eggs finally hatched yesterday... 16 out of 19 eggs. I figure that's a pretty good hatch rate. :)

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    That nest coop is what my brother had built for the running ducks he had before, and it's where she laid the eggs. When they came close to hatching he put the fencing around it to keep the ducklings safe from the chickens since we're not sure if any of them are going to show aggression or not. 3-4 of the ducklings were swimming in the water, but when I walked up to take the pictures they hopped back out right away. She's being such a good mamma!!
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016

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