Muscovy nesting questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by JustTom, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. JustTom

    JustTom Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 27, 2009
    Eastern Panhandle, WV
    I'm hoping someone here can provide a little advice. I posted my questions in a Muscovy yahoo group, but didn't get any responses, as I think it is more of a pet group.

    I have Muscovy that I got last August as 3 moms, a dad, and month-old ducklings, so I haven't had experience with breeding and mom's raising true little ones yet.

    For the most part they stay in a mobile coop at night. I built a feeder in the coop, which I think helps to make them want to come home. So now I'm trying to prepare for spring with a couple of drakes and a half dozen or so females.

    To try to help me learn a bit more, I bought and read the Storey duck book, but it doesn't really go into much depth about breeding details, or much at all about Muscovy.

    So, a few questions if I may.

    1) Nests: I know that Muscovy prefer nest boxes on the ground and that the moms remain there steadfastly, so I need to choose a good location. I was thinking that I would just build them and lean or attach them to the coop since the feed is in there, so everyone is fairly close together. Is this a bad/good idea? Should they be further away from the main coop or further away from each other?

    2) When should I plan to have the nests out and ready? Do I need to time it, or just put them out whenever and the moms will take up residence when they're ready?

    3) I've lost a couple over the months to raccoons. So, I'm planning using electric netting around their area to try to protect them a bit more. Will that do, or do I need to close up the nests once their sitting and provide individual feed and water to protect mom and eggs during hatching time?

    4) I'm in northern WV so it's still cold here and spring is still a few months away. When should I anticipate them starting their first clutches? Then the next ones?

    5) I feed waterfowl pellets and the occasional treat, and they forage of course. Should I supplement the mommas with something extra before, during, or after or is the free choice pellets all they need?

    6) Are there any good "duck" books that anyone can recommend specifically for Muscovy care, breeding, and health?

  2. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    My girl lays eggs behind the door in the nursery. She just build her nest in the dirt and straw. Mine lays as soon as you take her last chicks away; is why I have 10 drakes running around! How lucky was I?[​IMG] She like layer and corn. They are pretty carefree but I have not ever had her nest outside!
  3. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Mid west Michigan
    Quote:1. Ducks can nest near each other but some might be more protective than others. I've had some even set on the same nest. See photo on my websites Muscovy page.
    Drakes can disrupt the nest by trying to breed a setting hen so keep an eye open for that.

    2. Muscovy's are slow to get started in my experience (in Michigan).
    They like it to be warmer like late spring before they start laying and setting
    although you'll get some eggs during early spring but they probaly won't set.
    They'll let you know when they're ready.
    They will start digging holes/nests in the ground. I just give them a pile of clean straw to make their nest out of. When they're ready to set they will line the nest with down and feathers.
    At first they will sit on the eggs at night and be off the nest all day. Do not be alarmed. This is typical for Muscovies and they might do this routine for a few days prior to setting for good.
    If you want to make sure all the eggs get set at the same time (recommended) just leave some golf balls in the nest to encourage the duck to keep laying especially if more than one duck is laying eggs in the same nest.
    I typically don't allow a duck to set on more than 15 eggs at a time but I've
    had up to 20 under one of those little girls.
    Candle the eggs at 10 days and throw out any clear ones.

    3. Nothing works better than being locked in at night in a predator proof shelter but electric netting will probably work but that doesn't protect against owls who hunt at night.

    4. See #2

    5. They will need oyster shell and granite grit.
    Some will set on the nest for days and not get off to eat or drink if you let them.
    I have to literally pick some of them up and put them outside to eat, drink and bathe. They will try to peck you so just grab them as best you can.
    Ummm...when moving them, make sure their butt is positioned away from you or you will get a super blast of the rankest smelling poop in the world!
    That happened to me ONCE! [​IMG]
    I lock them out while I'm doing chores and let them back in when I'm done.

    6. Dave Holderread's book is the only one I know of
    so you're all set there.
    The heavy weight duck club disbanded and there seems to be very little
    organized interest in the Muscovy breed.

    Hope this helps and have fun.
    Muscovies are great ducks!
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
    IvanK likes this.
  4. keeperofthehearth

    keeperofthehearth Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] Tom.

    Good luck with your Mucsovies this spring. This will be my first year with them also so I'm looking for info also.
    Thanks, Cottage Rose, for all the good info.
  5. justhatchin

    justhatchin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2008
    Galva, Kansas
    cottage rose pretty well said it all and very well.

    The only thing I can add is to reinforce the watch out for the super poop when they leave the nest, wooow!

    My scovies like to hide their nest under anything they can but it is not safe. I have had nest under the bush hog, the porch, the old peice of tin we needed to pitch, I provide wood boxes or plastic dog houses for mine. Plastic is easier to clean than wood.

    It is best to keep them off the ground as a heavy rain can get the eggs wet. So a bottom is needed. I have seen a tupperware tote used by turning it upside down and cutting a hole in the end. It being easy to clean by taking off the lid.

    My muscovies free range during the day but I now put them up every night, nest boxes are in the covered pen. I have a easter egg hunt every spring till they understand the nest boxes are their only choise.

    They are great ducks and pretty much take care of themselves.
  6. reveriereptile

    reveriereptile Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2008
    Northern NY
    My two female muscovies tried hatching out their own last summer. One kept getting out and laying her eggs across the road in a small barn area. Her and the other duck finally started laying in some nests we had. We used some plastic barrels that we cut an area out for them to get into and put hay/saw dust into. We also nailed a perch to the nest but the ducks didn't use it. The nests were on the floor in a green house coop that had some sides open for air and to keep it cooler and at different corners. They were in with our chickens and geese at the time. Most of the birds just stayed outside the coop except for roosting and eating. The food was in the coop with them and I had a small bucket of water next to each nest so the ducks just have to reach out for water. I also tossed some food into the nest since they barely left so they would at least get some. They did make noises if anyone came near the nests. One duck hatched out 12 healthy babies. The other one didn't have as good of luck. A RIR hen kept laying eggs in the nest everytime she left for food. We took the RIR eggs out but she thought the duck eggs were hers and wouldn't leave the nest even with the duck biting her. Their eggs got knocked around to much and only one hatched but died assuming from being stepped on. I have to agree with the poop. Don't get behind them when they get off the nest. Just think of how much they poop when not nesting and for them to hold it and poop about a few days worth out at once isn't a pleasant sight especially to step in.

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  7. AhBee01

    AhBee01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2007
    yo. ohio
    I have a coop for mine and they nest there. I will block her off from the others. It has worked for us. I will try to only let 2 go broody at one time so I can keep the mommas separate. I can put up a gate between the 2 mommas! The first year the nested together the ducklings wanted to all be together and would get through the gate, and the mommas would freak, so I moved the gate and the 2 mommas would co-parent. Take turns watching them, and took alone time, it was so cool to watch!
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009
  8. ricklo

    ricklo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine like to nest on the floor of the coop in a cut tire with hay, she just adds her down feathers. They eat everthing in sight, but corn is astaple food.

    Now the Turkey is using the Tire:lau
  9. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    Update: My hen is mating! Hope yours starts soon!
  10. lowcountrypoultry

    lowcountrypoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    I currently have two hens setting, one is on 20 eggs and they are due to hatch in about 5 days, another is on 15 and they will hatch around the end of march.

    Best of luck! and [​IMG]

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