JM Freedom Ranger Muscovy for Meat - Any Experiences?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Maeschak, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maryland, USA
    Hello All,

    Experience Questions:
    I am thinking of getting some white Muscovy from JM Freedom Ranger in PA this spring for some meat. Does anyone have any experience with these birds? If so, I am interested to know feed type/protein percentage, foraging info, butcher age, roosting, etc. (I have never owned ducks but have a nice pond with tons of duck weed which I hope they can utilize a bit). Ideally I would keep back a male and a few females as breeders and then eventually add a few Pekins for a few eggs as well as Moulards.

    Housing Questions:
    I can house the dinner Muscovy in a 8x8 grow out hoop coop, but can I successfully train them to return to the hoop coop every night like chickens? I have serious predator problems and I do not have a coop big enough to keep them in full-time so I must be able to free-range the ducks during the day.

    For the Muscovy that I keep for breeding, would it be a good idea to house them with the chickens so that they can hopefully return to the coop every night just like the chickens? I have a chicken coop inside a barn (converted horse stall) that is about 100 yards from a pond that is FILLED with duck weed. Will the Muscovy make the trip every morning from the barn/coop to the pond for their water and food? (I would like to keep their food by the pond to keep the chickens from taking it all. The ducks wont be able to eat from the chicken feeders.)

    As you can tell, I have never raised a duck/Muscovy so any info is appreciated!
     
  2. ARK2016

    ARK2016 Just Hatched

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    Hello,
    I am by no means an expert but I'll share what I've learned with my Muscovy's.

    My Muscovy's are in a 10X6 pen, I left them locked up in there for a few weeks while we built their outside pen. Once they were allowed outside they would always return to their pen at nightfall.
    I find they turn in a little later then the chickens, but always before dark.

    They can eat out of chicken feeders. I didn't think they could get their beaks in but they always managed somehow.

    The females can and will fly short distances, but they never leave completely. They shouldn't have any problem returning to the barn from the pond.

    They will always make their way to where the water is. I would recommend putting a large enough bowl that they can get into inside of the pen, once a few weeks go by and they know that is home just start moving the bowl of water closer and closer to the pond. They'll find the pond and probably not venture far from it during the day, returning at night to their house.

    They forage a lot and they should love you duckweed.

    For the ones you keep for breeding, I'm not sure if they'll bed down with the chickens at night but they will come back into the barn, they might just find themselves somewhere else to sleep. I haven't had mine roost at night, they just cuddle into the straw and ignore the roosting poles.

    As far as feeding goes, I started my ducks on a waterfowl feed (recommended to me at the co-op) and then switched them over to a mixed grain that my chickens and pigs get. They get lots of fruits and veggies and spend a lot of their time foraging. I find they enjoy hay and lots of leafy greens.

    That's it for my current experience. I hope it helped a bit. Good luck!
     
  3. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well that helps quite a bit, thanks so much!
     
  4. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We want to raise some Muscovy, but duck do require get them to the coop every night for safety. It seems too much work for us then chicken. As right now, we have only chicken with automatic open/close door, automatic feeder, horizontal nipple water. We took several weeks vacation during summer without any problem.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  5. peterlund

    peterlund Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raised a few batches of Muscovy ducks. Beautiful birds, and the girls are sweet as can be..
    quiet and great foragers. Lost most to their inclination to roost on my deck railings instead of going back in coop.. loved the ducks, but for me the better meat bird is the chicken. But if you do raise them, the rendered duck fat is fantastic. Good luck in your choices.
     
  6. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, losing birds to predators because they wont coop up at night is my main concern. Do you think you could have trained them to go into an enclosure at night? I have way too many predators for my birds to stay out at night and I really don't want to have to chase them around every evening.

    Did you find that you were able to render much fat from a Muscovy? I was imagining that Muscovy were too lean (even the skin) to provide any rendered fat, but that would be a huge bonus if I could capture a bit.
     
  7. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    I raise free range Muscovies and have been able to herd them in at night, but some evenings prove to be more challenging than others. A "chute" of sorts (made of fencing) can make it easier to direct them into the coop. As a last resort, I have a large fishing net that can be employed, but that doesn't happen often. A bird out after dark is a meal for predators around here.

    I recently processed a couple of drakes, and while I skin them, they did have a little subcutaneous fat. I would love to render the fat, but the difficulty in plucking makes it prohibitive. With skin or skinless, though, they are delicious.
     
  8. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2016
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    Great to know, thanks so much. I'm not keen on herding animals in at night... but no bird lasts a night around here outside of a pen so I guess that is going to be a 'must' if I want to keep any breeders. (I dont mind herding up until butchering, but full-time herding seems like a chore!)

    Thanks again-
     
  9. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    YVW. Maybe you'll be very lucky and get highly cooperative Muscovies that will be more keen to go in at night than mine are. When I only had 5, they were easier to "encourage" to go in, but now that my flock is just shy of 30, they're less cooperative..and it takes two people to get them all in at night. I'm not usually chasing them all over the property, though - most are hanging around the coop in the evening, but only a few will go in voluntarily. The rest usually require a lap around the coop and then direction (I have a long pole made of narrow PVC pipe with a cap on the end that I use as my "herding stick") to go up the ramp into the coop.

    Despite their reluctance to go in by themselves at night, they are really neat birds with many positive attributes, and I think you'll enjoy having them. Good luck!
     
  10. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm... well, maybe 'natural selection' will leave me with a flock of highly cooperative Muscovies for breeding! I look forward to the experience-
     

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