Please tell me about Muscovies!!! :)

Cowgirl71

Songster
9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
3,176
81
221
Missouri Ozarks
I'm planning to get some Muscovies. I'd like them to be semi-feral, like our Guineas. I'm interested in them because they're supposed to be excellent for organic fly control for cattle. We have the Guineas for ticks and they work VERY well. I'd keep the Muscovies down by our creek, where the cattle - and the flies - like to hang out during the summer. The Muscovies will also be able to swim to their heart's content.

How will the Muscovies do with predators? Do they try to flee? Or are they aggressive and try to attack the predator, and often times win?

Will they roost in the trees? Or do they need to be locked up in a coop every night? Do they need a shelter? What kind of a shelter do they need?

What's the optimal male/female ratio? Are they like Guineas where you can have 50/50 males/females and the females will be fine? Or are they like chickens, where you only want one rooster per 10 hens or so?

I've heard they make excellent broodies and mothers. Can they defend their ducklings pretty well from predators? Or do they need to be locked up somewhere predator-proof until the ducklings are bigger?

If I get adults and turn them loose in the area I want them to stay (near the creek), and sprinkle food on the ground a couple times a day for a week or two, will they learn that this is home and stay there?

I'm sure there are many things I'm missing. If you can think of anything else to mention, please do!
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Oh, and I've never had ducks either. So please educate me on all duck-specific things!
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gmendoza

Songster
9 Years
Mar 23, 2010
2,341
44
204
Rock Hill,SC
*WHEW! thats alot of questions.

How will the Muscovies do with predators? Do they try to flee? Or are they aggressive and try to attack the predator, and often times win? Our Muscovies fought off a possum and had it pinned down.Later I made a box trap and killed it.They seem to be ok with predators their size,but the old saying" a sitting duck" had to come from somewhere.

Will they roost in the trees? Or do they need to be locked up in a coop every night? Do they need a shelter? What kind of a shelter do they need? They can roost in trees because of their claws at the end of their webbed feet.We keep ours in a duck coop.Its partially covered,partially open.

What's the optimal male/female ratio? Are they like Guineas where you can have 50/50 males/females and the females will be fine? Or are they like chickens, where you only want one rooster per 10 hens or so? Optimal is 3 hens to a drake for 100% mating.We have two hens and a drake.

I've heard they make excellent broodies and mothers. Can they defend their ducklings pretty well from predators? Or do they need to be locked up somewhere predator-proof until the ducklings are bigger? They are excellent broodies,but if you dont want them to be broody,thats a hard task.ours were broody in our shed,and we had to block them off from going in there.they would plow their way in all the time.They will defend their duckings to the death.

If I get adults and turn them loose in the area I want them to stay (near the creek), and sprinkle food on the ground a couple times a day for a week or two, will they learn that this is home and stay there? I dont know.I never tried that since we dont have alot of property,nor a creek. you need to research that yourself.

I'm sure there are many things I'm missing. If you can think of anything else to mention, please do!

Oh, and I've never had ducks either. So please educate me on all duck-specific things!

When the ducklings do hatch,its wise to have some hard boiled eggs in the coop because a drake might kill the ducklings because the lack of good protein,so I hear tell.Out in the wild, who knows.

Heres some pics of our chocolate muscovies and their coop:

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Mutt (Drake), Flysalot (hen) and Limpy (hen)
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Chickies-duckies-etc

Songster
11 Years
Jun 5, 2008
594
4
141
Kansas
If you get muscovies that are feathered out - either young or adult - and turn them loose at your creek, most likely they will fly away. They need to be penned for at least a couple of weeks to let them know your place is their home. The pen needs to have a top on it also as they fly very well. Food, water and safety will give them reasons to stay. Once they are established, they usually will stay very well. They like to fly but will come back.

They can only protect themselves so much. A larger predator will be able to overpower them. How safe they will be on your creek will depend on what lives in the creek. Turtles will catch and eat the ducklings and depending on size, like a large snapping turtle will get the adults also.

Muscovies like bugs, frogs, fish, grass, weeds, etc. They might get most of their diet from free ranging if greens are growing and the bugs are out. Some grain or commercial feed can round out their diet and help in getting them to do what you want them to do. Such as going into a coop at night, etc. They will be safer if they are penned in a predator safe area at night.

Muscovies generally only lay during the spring and summer unless you live where it is warm all year long. A scovy hen will lay a clutch of eggs and then set and hatch them. They make good moms and will usually raise the ducklings. Again, a little duck can only do so much to protect them if confronted with a larger predator, or nasty weather. A hen might lay several clutches of eggs a summer. She is very good at hiding her nest also, and once she starts to set a nest it makes her a, ummm. sitting duck, for predators. Having a place that is protected for her to lay and raise the ducklings would help the survival of all.
 

spish

De Regenboog Kippetjes
9 Years
Apr 7, 2010
1,853
29
206
Belgium
oh and they are very addictive. i started with one, got her a friend, got thel a boyfriend, then got another and another and another (i now have 9 ladies one drake!)
really great ducks, all have personalities....but just watch out when you pick them up. they can and will kick/scratch you with their claws!!!
 

srsmith69

Songster
10 Years
Aug 25, 2009
320
10
121
Oklahoma
Since Muscovy ducks have been classified as migratory waterfowl you'd want to be cautious of breaking federal laws. The code of federal regulations says in 50CFR21.14, "You may not release
them to the wild, sell them to be hunted or released to the wild, or transfer them to anyone to be hunted or released to the wild." If they have no coop or pen to be shut up in, it would be difficult to say that they haven't been released to the wild. I think there is a proposal out to modify the regulation but the proposed changes I've seen still say, "• You may not release muscovy ducks to the wild or to any location used by wild ducks"
http://govpulse.us/entries/2010/10/...t-exceptions-and-waterfowl-sale-and-disposal-
 

Cowgirl71

Songster
9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
3,176
81
221
Missouri Ozarks
Thanks for all the help!

That's a good point, srsmith69. That's a good reason to give them a coop, though it sounds like they should have one anyway.
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