Letting Muscovys Run Wild?

The Griff

In the Brooder
May 15, 2015
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I have a 12 acre property with approximately 3 acres of pasture and 9 acres of forest with a half acre pond. I currently don't live there but would like to add some more "life" to my land. As of now I just have a few sheep.

I am wondering if muscovy ducks would do okay living on my land without supervision.

I think the main threats would be coyotes and hawks.

I know most people nowadays are all about intervening with livestock as much as possible and think it's impossible to let animals run wild, but I know this not to be true in at least a few breeds of livestock. So I am curious if ducks, particularly muscovy ducks, might be an option for this.

I am especially interested to hear from someone who has actually tried this. Please advise.
 

needlessjunk

Crowing
6 Years
May 19, 2014
2,601
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Georgetown, TX
No, not a good idea. Domestic ducks are domestic for a reason. It is because they cannot fend for themselves due to us breeding them that way. Muscovy ducks are a better breed for what you have in mind because the females can fly and they tend to rooster but the males are still sitting ducks and easily eaten by anything that comes by looking for a meal. While you can leave some livestock like cows and sheep, ducks and chickens need protection. I would assume some would survive for a while but why would they stick around then?
 
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The Griff

In the Brooder
May 15, 2015
5
0
22
Not the answer I wanted but I had a feeling it was the case.

So I do plan to live on my land in the near future. And so I suppose I'll have to wait until then to acquire the ducks.

When that day comes, what will the ducks actually require from me? Does providing shelter at night pretty much keep the predator problem under wraps?

With regard to feed, can they survive completely on free range or is supplemental feed a must?
 

needlessjunk

Crowing
6 Years
May 19, 2014
2,601
2,460
347
Georgetown, TX
Not the answer I wanted but I had a feeling it was the case.

So I do plan to live on my land in the near future. And so I suppose I'll have to wait until then to acquire the ducks.

When that day comes, what will the ducks actually require from me? Does providing shelter at night pretty much keep the predator problem under wraps?

With regard to feed, can they survive completely on free range or is supplemental feed a must?
What about trying to attract wild birds till you can move there? That way you get all the nice things about ducks without the care that domestic ones require. Ducks are like chickens and needs a safe completely predator proofed house at night. Anything with a gap larger than 1/2 inch leaves them open to becoming a meal or getting their limbs ripped off.

What you do during the day depends on what kind of losses you are willing to accept. If you completely free range them during they day on an open pasture then they are an easy meal for fox, dogs, Hawks or anything else that decides to come by. Mine free range my yard but it is fenced in with a wood privacy fence. There is still a chance that something can happen when I am not there but I feel that I have minimized the risks as much as I am able to control.

I imagine some people may completely free range their ducks but I don't think it's a good idea. Again they are domestic and just don't know what to do and don't have a mother duck to teach them. My ducks are on chicken layer pellets and get fed twice a day or more if they are letting me know they want food. As ducklings they need more nician than what is provided in chick started and need to be supplemented.
 

txcarl1258

Songster
9 Years
Sep 11, 2010
1,044
29
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Pleasanton
Muscovies would be fine for what you are wanting. Predators would be your only problem. There are several feral populations of muscovy ducks in the US. That is why it's illegal to release them into the wild or public parks as they do very well and reproduce faster than rabbits. Mine free range and eat very little feed I put out for them.
 

The Griff

In the Brooder
May 15, 2015
5
0
22
Muscovies would be fine for what you are wanting. Predators would be your only problem. There are several feral populations of muscovy ducks in the US. That is why it's illegal to release them into the wild or public parks as they do very well and reproduce faster than rabbits. Mine free range and eat very little feed I put out for them.
What do you do to help manage the predator problem?
 

txcarl1258

Songster
9 Years
Sep 11, 2010
1,044
29
174
Pleasanton
Personally I don't have predators. I wouldn't worry about hawks as Muscovies are big and I doubt a hawk could make off with them. You could try a livestock guardian dog such as a Great Pyrenees or Anatolian used to have them when we lived on a 15 acres and they did an awesome job keeping the coyotes away. Be prepared for some losses but you should be fine if you can keep predators away.
 

Amykins

Crowing
6 Years
May 11, 2013
4,771
472
276
Personally I don't have predators. I wouldn't worry about hawks as Muscovies are big and I doubt a hawk could make off with them. You could try a livestock guardian dog such as a Great Pyrenees or Anatolian used to have them when we lived on a 15 acres and they did an awesome job keeping the coyotes away. Be prepared for some losses but you should be fine if you can keep predators away.

Forgive me, but I just don't think it's humane to put a bunch of domesticated, flightless (or limited flight, many domestic scovies can't really fly at all) ducks onto a huge property with absolutely no supervision. I just fail to see the purpose of it at all, all it will do is give the birds a rough life and if the OP only wants ducks for the sake of having ducks to look at, there are better ways of going about these things than just leaving them to fend for themselves. You said yourself you aren't even living on the property at this time.

As for predators, you'd be surprised what an eagle can make off with. But even if a whole bird is too heavy it won't stop them from being attacked. Please, I implore you, really think your motives through before going through with this plan. As an animal lover, as a care worker and as a duck owner, please rethink this.
 

Ducky-MOMO

In the Brooder
May 7, 2015
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0
37
Northern NY
700
 

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