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Help with Muscovy Duck Living (area pics included)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Sherwood, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Sherwood

    Sherwood New Egg

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    Jan 19, 2013
    MI.
    I'm getting my first Muscovy Ducks.(to provide meat and tick control) They will be free range. I have many possibilities for shelter (if they want it.) I live in Michigan so they will need some shelter for the winter. I need some input on the housing behavior of these birds. How do you think they will choose to sleep/nest or roost?

    Variables:
    4 acre spring fed pond/swamp (only about 5 ft deep with this drought)
    Hay barn 50yrds from pond (2 lofts inside with rooms under lofts)
    chicken run/coop

    I first wanted to make a floating duck house, but i don't know if they would use it. Another idea would be to use some 55gal. plastic barrels and suspend them above the water with a steal pipe. ( the pipe would fit the barrel like a riding spur fits a boot) but i don't know if they would be able to get into it.
    or
    I could have the barrel houses laying at the edge of the pond. I don't even know if they will use them.
    or
    They could have access through the back of the barn to some nesting boxes( but i don't want poop all over the barn)

    I feel that they would sleep on the pond in the summer or roost in the trees around it.( would they even use a shelter i build them?)

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    Would a Muscovy be able to enter this, or even want to use it?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  2. Muscovynmore

    Muscovynmore Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2012
    NC
    Well, I don't have a pond, but I know a few people who have Muscovies on theirs. The Muscovies do not stay on the pond all day. They spend most of their time on land, hunting for bugs and scavenging. Whether or not they sleep on the water probably depends on the bird, but the ones I know sleep on land.
    Good luck! (And sorry, I wasn't much help.)
     
  3. Sherwood

    Sherwood New Egg

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    Jan 19, 2013
    MI.
    Any shared experience helps. I want them to be self reliant but i also want the ability to interact with them and provide them some safety.
    I've read that they are active at night, and sleep on the water. Id like to provide them with safety but not lock them up.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Muscovy don't sleep on the water. They roost. I suppose they may occasionaly sleep on the water but in the wild they roost in trees and nest in hollows in trees. Having lived in FL for a good part of my life, in an area that used to have TONS of feral muscovy, I've seen them sleep on land, when trees weren't available.

    My muscovy have roosts in their coop that they use after a few months of age and they use every night. I have never had a muscovy active at night unless disturbed. Too many predators around at night for a prey animal to be active.

    They may use floating nests, I would think it would be a fluke, but you need to keep in mind that predators swim too. The only way to truly provide them with safety will be to lock them up. In the winter they will need shelter from wind/snow/rain etc.

    Best bet, make them a spot in the barn. If you are getting day olds, you will need to protect them regardless until they are a few months old. If you are getting adults, you will need to keep them contained until they know where home is.

    I also raise mine for meat. I want mine to be as self relaint as possible but in the winter, they will require feed supplements, especially up north. I will also always have housing, I'd hate to lose them all to predators.
     
  5. Sherwood

    Sherwood New Egg

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    Jan 19, 2013
    MI.
    Do you think a wood duck house would work? There are trees around the pond.
     
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    On, Canada
    While Muscovy like water, they are not big swimmers nor float around in a pond type.. more a bathe in/out, odd time diving etc. Mine LOVE to forage, they love mud/ love dirt... grass and so forth.

    Frankly, i would not/could not recommend a floating home for this breed due to its' general behavior/characteristics. Mine do have a ledge in their mini barn, the ducks use it and so does the drakes.. but not all do, under this "shelf" i have had a few nests but generally i don't find they need a nest box in the truest sense.

    I agree with Jdywntr, i would build something in the barn or even off the chicken coop, perhaps like an addition. My birds have a mini barn and then 1/3 of an acre fenced around this then i let them loose in good weather times to forage the farm.

    This is their mini barn, there is a side addition to the right but that is buried under trees... Muscovy females fly so very well, whereas most drakes by 1yo have ceased the size pretty much keeps them on the ground making them prone to predators....


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    See Going Quackers post.

    The trees around your pond look to be heavily branched with small thin branches, a muscovy drake can weigh 10-12 lbs and gets big. I think they would have a hard time finding a safe roost there. In your winter weather, they will need a predator proof shelter. Muscovy are tropical ducks and while they adapt well to colder temps, they cannot live outside in below freezing temps.
     
  8. Sherwood

    Sherwood New Egg

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    Jan 19, 2013
    MI.
    So it seems I'm going to have to have a shelter i have to lock them in at night. I was really hoping they could have a place they could go in and out as they please.

    I had some guineas (to loud, thats why im getting the muscovys) and they jumped in and out of the chicken run when they wanted food and water.
     
  9. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    From the best chance of having survival yes, they are domesticated ducks... they are very hardy, and good foragers but also make a nice meal for any predator lol
     
  10. Sherwood

    Sherwood New Egg

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    Jan 19, 2013
    MI.
    Also, There is a lot of WILD ducks and geese and egrets that stop by and stay at the pond (nothing stays in the winter). Will they harm or drive away the muscovies?

    The chickens (brahma and cochin) like to go under that larger tree by the pond. Will the muscovies keep them away from their favorite tree?
     

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