1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Winter Care of Muscovies

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LynneP, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Does anyone have Muscovies in a typical winter zone- Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, Vermont? 'm thinking of getting a few and I'm wondering if a former horse stall with a pop door and ramp would be adequate when they come in at night. I would like to have them both as pets and for fly control, they would have access to about 4 acres including two small ponds. In winter I definitely want them inside the barn except when weather permits. I guess my question is- how tolerant are they in winter climates?
     
  2. Birch Run Farm

    Birch Run Farm Biddy up!

    Sep 5, 2008
    VERMONT
    Mine do just fine. They stay with my chickens and are interactive with them. They have no problems with snow but like chickens, don't care too much for sub zero weather. Your set up sounds just fine. My drake really likes playing in a rubbber bucket of hot water. He likes making bubbles and teases the chickens. It was -5 today and all three of my muscovies ventured outside for awhile.
     
  3. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Our two girls do just fine. They sleep on the floor in the chicken coop and during the day, they go outside in the run and SLEEP on the ground in the snow and wind. I swear, if they're not indestructable, they're the only fowl that are close to it! Nothing seems to bother them!
     
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've very interested that they mingle so well with the chickens. I am in a position to give them their own space, though, the pop door would be about 10 ft from the chicken door and the run ajacent to the hens and they could have their own coop space about 9 x 10' with whatever nest style they need.

    I was thinking of allowing the ducks a certain amount of ranging in the mornings whereas the layers are a closed flock with a 8x18' roofed run. I figured that to utilize the Moscovies in summer for fly control it would be better to give them more space. Is it true that females can evade the occasional wandering dog by flying to the roof? If so, maybe three females. How do drakes handle dogs? We don't have any and the neighbors keep theirs confined but sometimes a lost hunting dog (usually a beagle) will come in. There are barn cats so I would have to raise the ducks to a good size before letting them range.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  5. dragonshiner

    dragonshiner Chillin' With My Peeps

    106
    3
    131
    Mar 20, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I'm in Northern Wisconsin and my Muscovies are doing just fine. We have them confined for now through the winter and have not had a single problem. We've lost a few Pheasants and chickens since winter set in but the ducks are all present and accounted for. Another reason why I love them:) During the spring and summer we had them trained to roam the yard and hay fields during the day and at night they herded themselves back in to chicken coop to sleep.
    Next year I want to build them a new winter coop so they can go outside if they want too.
     
  6. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

    9,568
    464
    316
    Oct 16, 2008
    wausau,wisconsin
    I have a pair of chocolate muscovy and another trio of cnocolates. the pair has been outside all winter with their choice of going into a lean-to .. I had to shase them in quite a few times before they took it upon themselves to do in on their own.. My 3 toulouse geese share the lean-to with them.. during the daytime they all come out and lay in the snow.. the tri I keep i the hen coop with the chickens only because they were from a late fall hatch and too young to put outdoors.. they are old enough now, but I figure they are not conditioned for the outdoors.. they delight in splashing the water out of the chickens waterers.

    warm weather will find them all freeranging the couple of acres around the house as long as they do not hide their eggs..

    My drake is a large fellow.. about the size of a goose when it first feathers out. and he and the hen both fly pretty well..

    night time predators are the worse for ducks and geese because they hit them while they are sleeping. mine get locked in at night.. just provide water for them at night, they can go without eating for a normal night..

    that's all I can think of right now..
     
  7. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    They sound like the perfect waterfowl for us. I like that they are hardy but will come in for safety reasons. In winter when the days are so short, I like to go to the coop after dawn and to get everyone in before dusk. Has worked well and I was hoping Muscovies might fit into that scenario. What is an appropriate ratio of drakes to ducks? If I had one drake and 2 or 3 ducks would that we a workable number?
     
  8. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    11,199
    42
    311
    Oct 2, 2008
    Colorado
    Not sure about Muscovies, but I made sure I had 3 girlfriends for my drake (breeds are in my sig). Seems to be working well.
     
  9. Cottage Rose

    Cottage Rose Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,103
    40
    231
    Jun 24, 2008
    Mid west Michigan
    I'm in Michigan and we can get down to -25ยบ
    and in 30 years I've never lost any birds to the cold.
    I do however provide secure shelter and plenty of the proper food and fresh water daily.
    This can mean the difference between life or death for any bird or animal.
    The knobs on the drakes curuncles can get frost bit so it is vital to provide shelter for them but it sounds like you're prepared to do that. Thats wonderful!
    Many people by-pass this important necessity.
    Drakes are typically too heavy to fly.
    Females can fly but that doesn't mean they will always be able to get away from a stealthy predator every time so its very important to lock them up every night.
    Also if you don't clip your girls wings they can fly and roost in places you don't like them to like on your patio, house, garage etc. and make a poopy mess.
    Also consider the fact that most likely they
    will tend to want to roost high up at night and not come in the barn at night. They'e not like chickens that want to come in at night. They will stay out if given the choice.
    So if you don't clip their wings and teach them to be herded you will have no control over them if you happen to get home after they decide to find a place for the night.
    Plus keep in mind they're not safe in trees or on buildings at night if you have coons or owls.

    Ducks are very messy and wet and can make a real mess of any chicken coop.
    I like to keep mine separate.

    You might want to check out my websites
    "Raising Waterfowl Tips" page for more info.
    http://www.freewebs.com/cottage_rose_birdsnblossoms/
    Best wishes!

    "In for the night"
    [​IMG]
    Your Muscovies will not only keep the flies under control but mosquitoes and slugs as well.
    I'm sure you will love them! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  10. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    We do have owls and raccoons, so I'd want them in. Those are good tips and I can modify barn space for them to get up high. I really appreciate the tips and the last pic made me smile- that's the contented expression I'm hoping for!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by