Keeping Muscovies home

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Kymarose, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Kymarose

    Kymarose Out Of The Brooder

    Hi, My name is Kymarose.

    I posted on the "intro" thread.... but thought I'd better bring my Muscovy questions here.

    I have chickens, geese, runner ducks and Muscovies. Muscovies are my main focus right now, and with that I have some questions.

    This spring I bought my first Muscovy ducklings... nine of them. Three were drakes, so two of those three went to my grandson's farm. He has two big ponds, and at present those two drakes are the only ones. Out of the remaining 6 females and one drake.. I now only have four. [​IMG] Two females died from a dog attack. And one female flew away. There is a huge pond about 1/4 mile from us. When the ducks began to fly... I let them. Not good. So.. when they got back home I clipped wings. Still not good. They could still fly enough to cross the road and walk/fly to the pond. [​IMG]Long story short... I now have only 3 females and one drake. They are staying close to home now. I wonder if something very bad happened at the pond... as now they make no effort to go there. That brings me to my first question. To clip, or not to clip? It seemed to only disable them, but they still found a way to the pond. Or to pinion? But I really don't know how to do that and I'm afraid to try. Would I need to hire a vet to do that? And... will that keep them home?

    Second question. One of the ladies is now making a nest in our front yard up close to the house. (They are free-range by the way, but I lock them up at night.) It is late October... do I break up her nest, or let her set? As I see it, I have three options. Break up her next.... move her nest to the barn... or just let her set. The first two options is Zero.. as far as having ducklings. If she sets.. hatching out in late November... will they survive? This part of Oregon usually has very mild winters... maybe only 2-3 weeks of freezing weather, if that. At the present she is just depositing eggs there.. and not yet sitting. What to do.. what to do?

    I'm sorry for such a long, rambling post... but when I start talking about my birds that's the way it is.

    I look forward to being a part of this group... and look forward to your some suggestions.

  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada

    Well i run a pretty good size scovie flock here. Sounds to me like there has been some trouble at this pond which is a shame but sadly many preds do come round to drink and possibly grab a snack too.

    Do you have Storey's guide to ducks it does include drawings on how to clip, sounds like you may have not done enough. Now i do leave my whole flock full flight but they have no access to ponds or rivers here... i keep a 1/3 of an acre fenced around there mini barn and keep all feed and pools in this, it brings them back to this area frequently throughout the day.

    I open the gate in the AM to let them free range the farm and close it back up at dusk, then will eventually lock them in at night. They all know nothing else, and teach all who come after them.

    They can clear the 5ft fence, the ducks.. drakes usually by closer to a year are simply to heavy too.

    As for nests, well i had one set this Feb, and they hatched in March, i am in Canada so we get cold, long drawn out winters the clutch made it, i did have to add supplemental heat( a basic heat lamp) but she raised out a clutch of 4(1 egg was a dud, so she set on only 5 eggs) so it is doable, do i recommend it? not really, the babies didn't get out till later than my later spring/summer clutches have and having to add heat was a drag, whole purpose of having real ducks set is not having to go through that.

    Now i should mention she made the nest in the duck barn, i would not suggest setting a nest outside a barn or safe penned area a sitting duck is literately that.. and are subject to preds.

    Hope this helps, many here keep Muscovy so can lend you some input definitely depends, i am probably in the minority with mine being full flight but being they free range many acres i feel it's the best line of defense being we're rural.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  3. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Sorry for your losses. I had the same thing earlier this year. I wanted to leave my scovy full flight, then 2 females left for a week or so. They came back I clipped a wing but they still were able to fly and left with 2 more and a male. About 3-4 weeks later they returned. All but one. I think that once they build their muscles enough to fly, clipping doesn't help as much. I am now clipping all of my keepers. I'd rather not have to but it's a necessity.

    I had a hen set late last year. She hatched out 13 in December. I don't recommend it. I provided supplemental heat and I live in Alabama but we had a lot of below freezing temps. I would break her from the nest if it were up to me. She isn't in a protected area and if you've had problems with dogs she is too vulnerable. Take some of the eggs and make her a nest in their night time house. She may start laying there, then you'll be set for spring.

    I agree with GQ that maybe you didn't clip enough. I did that once when I lived in FL and my hen was able to get over a 6' privacy fence. I had done the beauty clip (I think that's what they call it) where you leave the first 2-3 flight feathers. Needless to say those feathers were also clipped and she didn't get over the fence again.
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

  5. Kymarose

    Kymarose Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you... I copied the picture to my "Ducks" folder. Clearly I didn't cut enough off. I was concerned about cutting a blood feather. Whatever, or where ever they are. I have read about blood feathers, but I'm not sure which they are. The next time I cut, I'm going to take this picture to the barn with me. Thanks again.
  6. Kymarose

    Kymarose Out Of The Brooder

    Oh... I forgot to mention. I'm going to pick up little Miss Mama's eggs and make a nest of them in the night enclosure. She may, or may not accept that.... but she will be safe. Another question now.... how does one entice the ducks to set inside their night enclosure? It seems they want a way-out place with more privacy.
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I have a copy hanging in my duck house.
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Give her a lil space by of her own, I just used some pieces of ply wood we had laying around. I'll get you a pic.
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    [​IMG] I did this one for my goose, but I have similar for my ducks.
  10. Kymarose

    Kymarose Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks for sharing your picture.
    I could stack bales of hay to make a private place in the corner. She might accept that. What I really need is a new duck/chicken house. [​IMG] Have had designs floating around in my head for awhile now... but, slim chance we can do that. The cost of building materials is waaaaay to expensive. What I have now was a two stall pony barn with a lean-to for the cow. (Former owners animals). When we moved here we made screen doors with hardware cloth and covered all open areas with fence wire. It works. Been here nearly 8 years with no critter problems in the hen house. Dog attack on my ducks... sad to say... was them flying into our fenced back yard with the dog. They are careful not to do that anymore. Who said ducks were not smart? I think our Muscovies are very smart.

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