Muscovy hen setting in cooler weather (now!)


6 Years
Sep 17, 2013
Our Muscovy hen disappeared all day today, but finally showed up tonight, wet (it rained today) and preening. Since our other hen laid four eggs off in the bushes, I can only presume that the first hen is setting on eggs. Knowing that the daytime temps will be in the 40's and 50's Fahrenheit by the time the babies hatch, should I just leave her outdoors for the next month and try to find her nest so we can at least rescue the ducklings if/when they hatch? Or would it be better to find the nest and try to transfer her to a dog cage or something so she can have shelter and get her in the barn. I'm a newbie to Muscovies and rather clueless as to the best plan. At least it shouldn't snow before the ducklings are hatched. What about the four eggs the other hen has in the bushes?
Thanks so much for your help. We live in north Idaho, USA. And one more thought...could I stick the eggs under a chicken who is broody?
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You cannot leave her off nesting somewhere especially at night unless it's in a secure pen or housing, a predator will come along and kill her.

Moving the nest is an option but it can fail, i've tried it... that said the risk of loosing the nest vs loosing the duck is always my route.

A chicken wouldn't likely brood them long enough Muscovy eggs take longer... in abouts 35 days.

As for winter? lol well i had one sit in Feb of this year and hatch, 4 successfully in Mar, complete winter babies.. so it's doable, she was in our duck barn however and supplemental heat was required as well as adding to their diet, they couldn't come out to forage as we were covered in snow and ice, so again doable but i don't recommend it.

Muscovy ducks are well known for being broody and you will never want them sitting every nest, you'd be over run, mine have finally stopped laying, i am hoping it stays that way.

Good points GQ, I remember you and I both had hatched around same time! Yes, what ML calls the birth control is what we need here. LOL I really don't know a darn thing about chickens, but isn't there a fairly recent thread on here about a chicken raising some ducklings right now?

CedarMountain, much easier to deal with losing eggs (since we never count them befotre they hatch anyway!) than a momma duck plus the eggs. Do get her locked up where she's safe.
Thank you GQ and Holly! Given your info, I'm going to stick extra eggs under the broody chicken, get the ducks to the barn area, and see what happens. Since we want to eat duck, I don't mind if they are great setters! Do appreciate your insights.
Muscovy ducks are determined and relentless setters, now there are exceptions but geez... they drive me nuts, i side rail so many nests here, just last week actually. As i said just be watchful with hatching times, Muscovy take longer than chickens so most chickens i do not believe would sit long enough.
Thanks again, everyone. I found the Muscovy duck setting under a lilac bush inside a fenced area. So she is safe from predators at least until the ducklings hatch (and I plan to fetch them inside and hand raise them at that time). The bush and fence will accommodate a tarp or other rain deflecting plastic of some sort, so she can be kept dry for the next month in her own little bush-house with feed and water provided by yours truly. I took the other eggs that were recently laid by another duck and put them under a setty hen. We'll see what happens. Thanks for your insights. You've encouraged me because I really do want lots of ducklings and was getting a little discouraged about not having good hatches. Thank you!
My muscovy duck raised five ducklings in Februrary. They saw some of the coldest nights of the year but made it without an additional heat source - mother duck was enough to keep them warm while cooped up in their shed for the night.

Is your area really predator-safe? Foxes can undertunnel fences with ease, others can climb well.
Hi Frank,
Wow! Tough Ducks!
We don't have foxes. Coyotes yes, but the fence is 7 feet tall woven wire and I haven't known coyotes to tunnel here. Plus, they are scared to come this close to our home. Perhaps I will put mama and babies in a safe barn enclosure together upon hatching rather than raise them without her. We'll see if we get ducklings! :) Thanks so much for your help. I appreciate the input so much.
The ducklings even went to swim in ice water and didn't seem to get chilly. But they retreated into the shed when it started snowing.

Then it might be safe to let them outside. A risk always remains, though. When the ducklings hatch, I would make sure that they cannot be attacked from the air, because crows prey on ducklings and since they like to come in pairs they can outsmart mother duck.

Good luck with the breeding project
Thanks, Frank. Those nasty, vile crows made off with WHOLE EGGS from the ducks this spring. I'm still angry at them. (Talk about non-productive anger, huh?!!!
) I will be totally on the lookout for the ducklings' behalf. Got the possible due date on the calendar and will check daily as the time approaches. Your ducklings amaze me and give me good hope. Thanks a million! :)

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