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Why do muscovies have those caruncles?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ejctm, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. ejctm

    ejctm Songster

    Apr 25, 2009
    I have been enthralled reading the super-long thread with all the scovy pics. I had always thought scovies quite ugly (don't persecute me:D) but have seen so many beautiful birds that I have changed my mind. I do think the girls are much prettier than the boys though.

    I was interested to find out if there is any evolutionary reason why they have developed the caruncles? Is it something like bald-headed vultures, who have their heads inside a carcass so it makes sense not to get their feathers mucky? Could there be a reason why scovies needed their faces to be protected by an extra thick layer of skin? Or could it be like chickens have a wattle and comb - actually I don't know the reason for that either - heat loss perhaps?

    So many questions, but I am intrigued:/
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  2. TennesseeTruly

    TennesseeTruly Songster

    Mar 5, 2009
    Church Hill, TN
    This is what I had found on the web when I was asking the same question.

    "Chickens grown under warm conditions will usually develop
    a relatively larger comb and wattles than those grown in cooler climates." This
    comment should also be seen as relating to the caruncles on the Muscovy as any
    breeder will confirm the fact that caruncles are larger and more developed in
    warmer parts of the country."

    I gleened this information from: http://www.muscovyduckcentral.com/witt_farms/themuscovyduckstandard.html
  3. lovesduckies

    lovesduckies Bedroom Farm Inc.

    Jan 11, 2010
    the ducky room
    i had my scovies inside my room for 7 months and they didn't have crauncles. now they've been outside for 6 weeks and my drake's face is getting red.
  4. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator Staff Member Premium Member 11 Years

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    THey have caruncles to make them pretty [​IMG]
  5. MysticalMom

    MysticalMom Songster

    Jul 1, 2009
    Quote:Hahaha! I agree with you!!

    And just an observation....I got 4 of my girls from a rescue, and while they were very healthy ducks, they'd been kept mostly indoors and their caruncling was a dull kind of orangey yellow. 6 months being outside on my farm and it's as pretty and bright red as my other boy and girls.
  6. ejctm

    ejctm Songster

    Apr 25, 2009
    that's really interesting about the indoor/outdoor thing. Not sure how it fits with the heat theory though?

    perhaps they need sunlight (UV rays or Vitamin D) to make it colour up?

    It certainly makes them very unique from each other, like a sort of signature, or the stripes on a zebra - no 2 the same!
  7. lovesduckies

    lovesduckies Bedroom Farm Inc.

    Jan 11, 2010
    the ducky room
    Quote:i agree and think it's the sun [​IMG]
  8. chickboss

    chickboss Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    From the pics I've seen, and I could be wrong, it seems that wild Muscovies do not have the extreem caruncles that you see in the domestic type. This makes me think, that for whatever reason, it was desired at some point and was bred into them. I read somewhere that in show Muscovies, the more excessive caruncling was prefered here in the sates, while in Europe, lesser was considered more desirable (anyone feel free to correct me on that). I am wondering also about what the original function was for. I thought maybe for cooling if the blood vessels in that area are closer to the surface of the skin since the ancestors hail from warmer regions. Which also makes sense if heat, which opens blood vessles, causes more growth and brighter color. LOL, however, maybe the girl Muscovies just like their men on the fancy side...
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2010
  9. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Songster

    Jun 24, 2008
    Mid west Michigan
    This would be like asking why do turkeys and chickens have combs and wattles.
    Maybe it would be easier to find the reason why chickens sport comb and wattles to know if they have a physical purpose.
  10. LittleSquidgenHome

    LittleSquidgenHome Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    I think it is an attention getting display. "Look at how red and bumpy my face is, this means I am a big tough male, aren't I sexy and macho?! Don't you wanna have ten thousand of my babies?" I think that's what Drakes say.
    I think that's what carnuncles are for, but we will never know for sure.

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