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Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Welshies, Jul 12, 2016.
What do I need to know about Muscovies before I buy a breeding pair?
From your previous posts it looks like you know most of what you need. The one noteworthy thing I can think of is your other ducks. Your Muscovy male will mate them. If you end up hatching any of the other ducks’ eggs, the offspring will be infertile, although they’re fine for meat.
Just in case, here’s some other general information:
They lay 40-120 eggs a year. We are in a warm location, so we get closer to the 120. I’m not sure how they would lay in Alberta.
Males can sometimes be aggressive towards humans. Our first male was EXTREMELY tame, but this tameness turned to boldness and he started trying to pick fights with us. So when we got our other two males as ducklings, we made a point of not taming them too much.
They perch…they can fly…they have razor sharp claws…
They are wonderful mothers and can hatch more than 20 eggs (up to 30 I think). This year we got seventeen. (Actually eighteen; one died.) Chickens’ eggs take about 21 days to hatch, ducks take 28, and Muscovies take 35.
They do not need water as much as other breeds. Our ducks have bathtubs around most of the time, and some of them only take a swim once every few months. (Others do it every day.) But when it rains hard and the yard fills up with water, they all have fun swimming and looking for minnows that wash out of the pond.
They’re great foragers and they love small creatures – frogs, lizards, mice, fish, whatever.
Oh, and their meat is chewy. I was reminded while eating it yesterday!
@HannahDuckLover, would you say their meat tastes like other duck meat, but the texture is different? If you've had venison is it like that?
And yes, I knew about Mule ducks... I think I'm getting a buff hen to go with the Muscovy breeding pair, and the buff will be my layer. I only have room for up to 12 ducks right now, and so a pair and a hen will be fine as long as I make sure the drake is not overzealous in his mating.
Also do Muscovies need roosts? Will they fly away? (I was hoping to free range them once I got 5-10 adults)
I haven’t tasted very many types of meat, sorry. It’s kind of a similar texture to chicken breast, I think, but chewier.
They will perch on anything they want. Here’s some pictures. You don't need to give them designated perches, and I don't really think they would like the kind of roosts like what people give chickens.
This girl could fly. This is an old picture, before we clipped their wings.
Now they can't fly anymore, so they use things like this:
Also, they may or may not fly away. I would clip to be safe. You might want to ask someone who actually does let their birds fly, to get a better idea of what they would do. We sometimes procrastinate a few weeks to clip a flying bird, and those would fly every morning when we let them out, to the area they spend most of their day at. Occasionally they would fly really high and circle the property, which scares us, because if they landed off the property, the bushes are so thick that it would be near impossible for us to get them back.
What is the best age to clip their wings at? And how many feathers should I clip- some people say all of the primaries, others say only 5 or 6.
Did you see the video I posted twice on other threads? Even without watching it, you should be able to see the diagram, right? It shows what the wing should look like when it's ready to be clipped (fully developed) and some possible clipping paths. It will work both ways, all the primaries or just 5. I like doing less so it's not so obvious, only that way I occasionally end up with an exceptionally strong duck who can still fly with a clipped wing.
The exact age is whenever the wing is fully developed. Three months of age is about right. Or whenever they start flying around a little and actually getting off the ground.
You only have to clip one wing, by the way.
If their wings are clipped can they still get onto low branches, etc. to escape roaming dogs?
@HannahDuckLover would know, I'm not sure.
It depends on the height of the branch. They can jump up to 4 feet high. But there's no way I would trust their jumping abilities to save their life.