Broody Muscovy

LuLiJo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 10, 2014
14
0
22
Hello

We've been keeping a small backyard flock of chickens for five years, and added two Muscovy ducklings this spring - one male, one female. We knew that one of the ducklings was a male, but we just took him along with the female so that they could keep each other company. Our intent was never to breed them.

We've never had any of our chickens go broody, but our duck seems to have. Yesterday, she left the nest and the egg, but I could tell she put more effort than normal into making a cozy nest. Normally she just lays it in her spot, but there's no structure or anything. Today she never left the nest. I saw her go in to her house to lay at about 10am, and checked on her twice throughout the day. She was mad at me for disturbing her.

In a way we think it would be neat to let her hatch some eggs. We like her eggs, and we like Muscovys - they're so quiet - so it might be nice to keep another female or two. BUT, I have some reservations and some questions.

1. It's October 11th. Can she hatch these ducklings and keep them healthy in fall/winter? We live in Portland, Or., so it's not too cold here. I have no desire to invest in any incubation equipment. If she can't do it all herself, I just don't really have time for it.

2. The male could be her brother. We had been thinking about getting a couple of ducks, and when we went to buy some pullets at our farm store, the pullet guy had these cute ducklings. So it wasn't a complete impulse buy, but... We asked him if ducks would inbreed, and if that was a problem. We assumed they were siblings. He said they were from different mothers, but I have no way of knowing if that was true.

3. The male has angel wing. I know many people believe that that's about dietary imbalances, but others think there might be a genetic link. We didn't know that angel wing was a thing until he was pretty close to grown. As a result, we never tried to correct the growth of his feathers when he was smaller. What if he passed it along to offspring?

4. We do not really enjoy having a drake. He's a bit of a...male. He's pushy and bossy, and tries to mate the chickens as well as the duck. What if we get a whole batch of males? We don't want them. Would others want them? We'll keep our current drake for his entire life, because he's our pet and we commit to our pets, but we won't ever get another.

Any advice you have would be great. Also, if we need to get her un-broody, how do we do that?
 

Pyxis

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She should be able to do it all herself - muscovies are generally excellent mothers. She will be able to keep them warm, and ducks are really hardy anyways. As for the male and the angelwing, I think it's usually just dietary problems, but if it proves to be genetic you can of course correct the problem in the ducklings and then just never hatch again. And the problem with him mating with the chickens - you'll want to stop that. Male ducks have different reproductive organs than a rooster, and a duck mating a hen can actually kill the hen. A few more females of his own kind may get him to knock that off as he'd have something else to focus on. Also, them being from a feed store, the chances of them being related is slim to none. Hatcheries have many many many ducks all living together and the chances of you ending up with a related pair is just highly unlikely. Even if they are related, inbreeding is not a huge problem in poultry, and is actually done all the time in line breeding. Certainly one generation of inbreeding shouldn't cause any problems for you. As for people wanting male muscovies, yes, they do - but you might not like what for. Muscovies are really a meat breed, and the males are big and delicious - people buy them for eating, or they may also want them for breeding with their own females. You could try to find them that kind of home. People also keep them just for pets and pest control, so that could be an option too. It just depends how the market is in your area.
 

Going Quackers

Crowing
9 Years
May 24, 2011
7,839
975
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On, Canada
Hello

We've been keeping a small backyard flock of chickens for five years, and added two Muscovy ducklings this spring - one male, one female. We knew that one of the ducklings was a male, but we just took him along with the female so that they could keep each other company. Our intent was never to breed them.

We've never had any of our chickens go broody, but our duck seems to have. Yesterday, she left the nest and the egg, but I could tell she put more effort than normal into making a cozy nest. Normally she just lays it in her spot, but there's no structure or anything. Today she never left the nest. I saw her go in to her house to lay at about 10am, and checked on her twice throughout the day. She was mad at me for disturbing her.

In a way we think it would be neat to let her hatch some eggs. We like her eggs, and we like Muscovys - they're so quiet - so it might be nice to keep another female or two. BUT, I have some reservations and some questions.

1. It's October 11th. Can she hatch these ducklings and keep them healthy in fall/winter? We live in Portland, Or., so it's not too cold here. I have no desire to invest in any incubation equipment. If she can't do it all herself, I just don't really have time for it.

Probably, i had one hatch a clutch in March, we are not 'spring' here in any sense of the word that time of year. That said good shelter and feed is important. I would keep an eye too and ensure she is okay as well as the brood.

2. The male could be her brother. We had been thinking about getting a couple of ducks, and when we went to buy some pullets at our farm store, the pullet guy had these cute ducklings. So it wasn't a complete impulse buy, but... We asked him if ducks would inbreed, and if that was a problem. We assumed they were siblings. He said they were from different mothers, but I have no way of knowing if that was true.

Most have no idea how related the ducks are, for awhile it will be fine it's not the same in the bird world.

3. The male has angel wing. I know many people believe that that's about dietary imbalances, but others think there might be a genetic link. We didn't know that angel wing was a thing until he was pretty close to grown. As a result, we never tried to correct the growth of his feathers when he was smaller. What if he passed it along to offspring?

Possible, their is many a debate on it's cause too many have one random bird so to hold it all on as diet isn't a reasonable answer, many factors, Keep an eye on the young, wrap if you see trouble and don't feed overly high protein diets, variety is good i let my birds decide by doing a 'buffet' style feed regimen.

4. We do not really enjoy having a drake. He's a bit of a...male. He's pushy and bossy, and tries to mate the chickens as well as the duck. What if we get a whole batch of males? We don't want them. Would others want them? We'll keep our current drake for his entire life, because he's our pet and we commit to our pets, but we won't ever get another.

Watch him with those chicken hens he can do harm, even kill one. He needs more females. You can sell extras, i have sold drakes before. Muscovy are great pest control and for those that do eat duck, fantastic meat.

Any advice you have would be great. Also, if we need to get her un-broody, how do we do that?

I remove eggs and you may have to lock them out of the desired nesting area, it takes time to break a broody but i have done it. just don't be surprised if they try again elsewhere Muscovy are broody machines and are very good at hiding nests.
 
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LuLiJo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 10, 2014
14
0
22
Thank you for the replies. Sorry it took me so long to get back here.

So we decided to let her set on her eggs, but she only laid one! We debated taking it, and having her start over, but we just let her go with it. How long is a duck usually off of an egg? During the week, it's hard to tell how much time she spends off of the egg, but sometimes it seems like it's a few hours at a time. That seems like a lot to me. Maybe she's still learning. She started sitting on this one on October 11th, so we should candle it soon, right? What would I be looking for?

As far as the issue with our drake going after the chickens, how many other duck hens would it take for him to lose interest in them? It does seem that he's backed off of them a little bit already. Are there seasons when a male is more aggressive about mating?

In looking for other ducks to buy (We don't really want super young ones if they don't have a mom right now), I'm seeing a lot of Muscovys in our area, but also Cayugas. What are they like? I read on one site that they're pretty quiet too.

Thanks so much for the help.
 
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LuLiJo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 10, 2014
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pop.gif
Bumping!
 

Pyxis

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So she's 11 days along now right? You should be able to candle the egg and if it's alive, it'll have veins and an embryo visible now! Candling is my favorite part of hatching (besides hatch day of course :p ) Cayugas are going to act differently than your muscovies because they are actually another species altogether - I raise welsh harlequins and muscovies and they are definitely different. And if they interbreed, the babies are called mule ducks - all are sterile, like mules, because the parents are different species. The females will never lay eggs. They are really good for meat though because they supposedly all grow large, although I can't verify that as I've never had any.
 
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LuLiJo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 10, 2014
14
0
22
Well, the particular Cayugas I was looking at are gone, so maybe just muscovies. We're very much an urban-backyard-pets-who-lay-eggs operation over here so I don't know that I'd let any other breeds set on the eggs anyway. I don't need tons and tons.

I'll update when we candle the egg.
 

LuLiJo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 10, 2014
14
0
22
I did my best to candle the egg tonight, and I think it looks like it's developing. (But this was my first time so...) My flashlight setup wasn't very good, so not much light got through. I could see some blood vessels and I think I saw something pulsing at one point, which I took to be a good sign. Duck went right back onto the nest when I put it back.
 

LuLiJo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 10, 2014
14
0
22
As far as the issue with our drake going after the chickens, how many other duck hens would it take for him to lose interest in them? It does seem that he's backed off of them a little bit already. Are there seasons when a male is more aggressive about mating?
I wanted to re-ask these two questions from my previous post. Anyone have any input? Right now it's just him and one female duck, and we have two chickens. Would one more duck solve the problem, or would it need to be more than that? And are there seasonal or age differences in mating behaviors?

THANKS!
 

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