Muscovy General Questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by rkhyland, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. rkhyland

    rkhyland Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 10, 2008
    South Dakota
    I have 6 muscovies, pretty sure there are 4 ducks and 2 drakes. We have had fertile eggs, both in the bator and under the ducks. But, after attempting to hatch 3 clutches, all have failed. There are 2 ducks that nest together and fight over eggs, I think they end up getting in and out of the nests several times so I think that explains why they have not hatched any! They steal chicken eggs too as they moved into the coop for the last clutch, flew over the wall and went in where the living was fine! Food and water right there, living large! But, the other 2 ducks have sat diligently and still had rotten eggs! Not sure what the problem is. Planning to sell 2, maybe 3 of the ducks, getting a duck with babies this weekend, she is proven at least and I will most likely keep back a few babies, she has 15 so there should be plenty to choose from! Any ideas about my ducks not hatching babies?

    Winter care suggestions needed, we are in the process of dedicating a building to the ducks, would have free range days and locked at night. Feeding suggestions? How best to keep water available?

    How do you know what color they will be when looking at ducklings?

    And, finally, how do you sex muscovies, or any duck for that matter, before they are old enough to exhibit sexual behaviors/characteristics?

    Loving my ducks, just trying to get a good working set up for them before the winter hits!
  2. houndit

    houndit There is no H or F in Orpington!

    Jul 13, 2008
    Braymer Missouri
    I do not know why your ducks are not hatching their babies. They are hard to hatch in an incubator but the Mothers usually do it very well. About them fighting, that could have something to do with it. Especially if they take hens eggs or the hens lay them under them. I have had hens ruin a lot of Muscovy nests. In the winter they are aloud to freerange during the day and are in the henhouse at night. They are very cold hardy. We give them hot water at least twice a day. It is supposed to help increase egg production and helps keep it thawed longer. If you have the rubber pans it is relatively easy to beat the ice out of them.
    The funny thing about Muscovy ducklings is that there is no way to tell what color they will be unless you have purebred colors. With most birds yellow babies means white or buff adults. With the Muscovy ducklings they can be any color. I have had yellow grow up to be barred black you name it. And them on top of that you have brown and Mallard colored ducklings.
    How you tell the sex of normal ducks is by there voice or the sex feather. In drakes the voice will be a very soft raspy quack. The females are the ones with the loud Quack Quack! The drakes when they are mature will grow a little curled feather on there tail. The Muscovies do not grow a sex feather. But the drakes are at least twice as big as the ducks and can only hiss not trill. Hope this helps.
  3. ChaosTheory

    ChaosTheory Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    I'm new to muscovies too, are you sure the eggs are fertile? Are you sure your muscovies are 100% muscovy? It could be that they are hybrids (or at least just your boys, or just your girls), and if that's the case the ducks are infertile. Do you have any pictures of your ducks?
  4. Birch Run Farm

    Birch Run Farm Biddy up!

    Sep 5, 2008
    Good point, Chaos.
  5. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    As long as muscovies are dry & sheltered from the wind, they do amazing well in cold weather. I've had some problems with frost-bitten feet in -10 or lower, you'll want to limit their water access during the worst weather. I feed mine Purina feeds. Muscovies need A LOT of room or they don't produce well. I keep mine in pairs or trios, only. The males especially will fight to the death if they can & especially during the breeding season. As for their water, I use those rubber black tubs. They are deep enough for the ducks to splash around in & still small enough for my weakling self to empty/clean them. I plan to use smaller waterers this winter to prevent the frostbite & wet litter I dealt with last year. Yes, ducklings' colors can be determined pretty early on.
    Black is black, yellow is white, brown is brown, light blue is blue & so on..

    Muscovies are tricky to sex but the males will have longer bodies, thicker legs, longer faces and soon--they will double in size, growing MUCH faster than the females of the same age.
  6. keeperofthehearth

    keeperofthehearth Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you get yellow ducklings w/grey bills they will be barred ducklings. You can determine the color of the barring by looking at the little color bar on their tails. Knowing the color of the parents of course helps but within a week or two at the most you will be able to see a small black barr, blue or brown. Barred ducklings are soooooo cute.
  7. AhBee01

    AhBee01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2007
    yo. ohio
    We use water the dog dishes that plug in, in the winter for the ducks, buckets for our goats! Never have to beat ice out, and only have to fill once a day!
  8. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    My boy ducklings feet are ALWAYS at least 1/4 bigger than the females, even at just a week old. but i am used to mine and all 'lines' and what not are different.
  9. MDC

    MDC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2008
    Quote:Artificially incubating Muscovy is rarely very successful. You really have to have things *just* right and few can really relay what they're doing *right* that works so well for them, then it seems impossible to duplicate!

    Quote:I have never had a shared nest hatch more than 3 or so ducklings. They do tend to fight over eggs so a lot of times eggs will be left out in the open until the embryos die and then they'll just roll 'em right back in the next time they go to do nest maintenance. I do not allow shared nests any longer because of this.

    Quote:Well, first, it could just be that they're bad mothers. Not all Muscovy are good setters so if these are auction birds or some you picked up from someone as adults it could just be that they're bad Mums and that's why they were sold.

    There are some things that I have learned through trial and error and as a result, I set up my nest boxes in specific ways. First of all, I put all nest boxes on bare ground. The ducks will start digging a slight depression, then as they progress they'll begin adding nesting material and finally down when they're really ready to set. While I do not have any scientific proof, I firmly believe that the nest being on the ground helps regulate the temperature/humidity of the eggs. I will provide some straw for nest making, however, the nest is still built on dirt. Any time that I've had birds set off the ground, in the straw-pile, for example, I've had poor hatch rates. That said, we generally only receive about 19" of rain a year so I cannot tell you how significant rainfall would effect a nest in a rainy climate.

    The nest boxes I use are quartered 55 gallon drums that have a landscape timber attached to the front. This prevents eggs from being rolled out and it also decreases the size of the opening. Muscovy love their privacy and feel better if they think they're well hidden. In addition, I line 3 nest boxes up in a row so that half of the opening in the back two nests is decreased by half. You can see my set up here:

    far as winter care, the thing you have to worry about with Muscovy is the fact that they're extremely territorial. Too many birds in too small of a space equals stressed birds which pick as a result. Even at night, if they're confined in an area that does not allow each a bit of personal space, you could have major problems.

    Otherwise, I would keep water outside unless you live in a climate that receives a huge amount of snow and/or ice. If you do put water inside, you can work out something like a kiddy pool filled with straw or hay or shavings with a smaller waterer inside that so that any spilled water is contained within the kiddy pool & can be easily removed/cleaned. While they're not as nasty as mallard derivs, water indoors can be a problem even with Muscovy. I personally do not leave feed out overnight as it invites vermin.

    Determining the color of a duck by the down is fairly easy if you're familiar with the different varieties and know what color the parents are. They're fairly easy to sex about 4-6 weeks in by a few different size/characteristic differences. I think that page on my site is:

    this helps....
  10. LittleSquidgenHome

    LittleSquidgenHome Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oh thank you all of you! I just picked up some adult moscovies, yesterday, and I was wondering all kinds of things.

    Especially, what kind of nest box they would prefer. ɱůşçōvý you anwsered my question perfectly without me even asking, and BONUS I already have everythign needed to make that type of nest box, Yay! *Snoopy Dancing* Thanks so much.

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