Raising Muscovy Ducks

OK, get your sniggering out of the way. This is what a handsome, red blooded Muscovy Drake should look like.

What Makes a Muscovy Duck Special?

Muscovies are not related to any other duck, in fact some believe they are descended from geese rather than ducks. They originate from South America where their name is believed to come from their insatiable appetite for mosquito’s and their larvae. How great is that – a critter that turns mosquitos into tasty protein! They also have a penchant for flies, small slugs, snails and even frogs & newts.

The most obvious difference between them and ‘other’ ducks are the carruncles (the red stuff) on their faces which is more predominant in the males. Interestingly, in females the bright red dulls to a deep orange when they’re broody, right through to raising their ducklings. A blatant visual warning to the males to stay away!

Another difference is they have long, sharp claws which are used to attach to tree branches at night when they roost. Due to these claws there’s a right and wrong way to pick up a muscovy and the wrong way will end in blodshed – yours that is. Put your carrying arm over and around its body, pinning both wings in place and taking hold of one or both legs (depending on the size of the bird and the size of you) gently but firmly. This needs to be done pretty quickly. as if they start to struggle with you they’ll lash out trying to find their feet, and you’ll have first hand experience of those claws.

Always an idea to do this manoeuvre with the duck facing backwards, as if they decide to relieve themselves whilst being carried you’ll end up wearing it down your back.

Yep, sadly I speak from experience.

Muscovy Duck Eggs

Ducks eggs are the richest, creamiest, smoothest eggs going. Actually, I feel so passionate about them that I’ve written an entire post on why duck eggs rock. However, as wonderful as the Muscovy duck is, this isn’t the breed to get if you after an egg laying machine. You may want to consider a Khaki Campbell or an Indian Runner as they lay far more per year.

Muscovies as Meat Birds

This is where the Muscovy excels, the meat is dark and very lean. If you’ve ever bought a supermarket duck (in the UK Aylesbury’s are the most common meat bird sold) to roast at home you can almost watch the bird shrink in the oven, as the inch or more of fat under the skin melts. This is all very well if you want to roast a gazillion potatoes to accompany the meal, but if you are striving for a healthier diet then the lean meat of the muscovy is definitely the duck of choice. If you do grow your own to eat, I can highly recommend this recipe for Happy Duck Pie.

It’s worth knowing that the boys weigh in much heavier than the girls, and if you’re not sure of the age of the bird I would recommend a very slow roast to tenderise the meat as it can be tough on an older bird, and baste frequently as it is so lean.

Feeding a Muscovy Duck

In the summer months our birds will require very little extra food as they forage plenty, but in the colder months they’ll need feeding a duck or unmedicated chicken feed twice a day. If you are growing them to eat, put them on a growers ration, but if they are just for laying or for looking pretty a layers ration will be fine. Make sure they have plenty of clean water close at hand as the dry food alone will make them poorly.

Muscovy Ducklings

Muscovies make fantastic mothers and the most eggs we’ve had hatch is 15, which is pretty amazing as the girls aren’t all that big. We have had them hatch chicken eggs too, although that can lead to problems when the mamma duck wants to teach her chicks to swim!

The Quiet Breed

One of the many reasons I am so smitten with my flock, is that they are very quiet. They don’t ‘quack’ which if you’ve had the misfortune to meet a Call duck or an Aylesbury duck you’ll appreciate (I’m sorry for offending all you Call & Aylsebury fans but seriously – HOW do you live that noise???!)  Instead these guys nod their heads and have a gentle kind of hiss as a greeting. Oh, and they wag their tails. Seriously they are really cute to watch.

Left to their own devices, they would be far happier sleeping on a tree branch safely out of harms way than on a pond or in a hut, and they are the one duck breed not so in need of a large area of water. We’ve raised birds here with just a 4 inch deep tray of water, a cat litter tray is good and pretty hard wearing. So long as the water is deep enough to get their nostrils and eyes under then it’s fine. It will need changing twice daily as they will drink, clean, and probably poop in it, and everything around this area will get very, very muddy.

If you do venture into the world of duck keeping, I’m sure you won’t regret it for a moment. Please, do let me know how you get on!

This post featured in the following places; Homestead Prairie Barn Hop

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Comments

      • Shelly says

        Iv got two lovely girls Muscovy Caroloe & Linda they are so sweet they even come in to watch Corry on a night they go into the garden when its finished .My 3 dogs love to be with them Iv got a boy Muscovy in so we can have some babies chicks sadly hes going home today hes been so much fun .On a morning they come to the patio door & knock on the window for there breakfast i don’t mind them coming in my home as iv had all carpets taken away & tailed my bungalow so no bother hahah they do love slugs & snails also i give them not to often live mealworms

      • says

        I have loved muscovy’s since 1991 when we bought our 1st 3 babies. I tell people (when they tell me that they are ugly) that unlike the quacky ducks they have real faces!!! Originally we were thinking meat…but after we raised them from day olds – well we took pictures of their 1st eggs etc and that was the end of that. Come on, we couldn’t eat our grandchildren could we? (Yes we don’t have children) I’ve had them as pets since then and 2 do come in the house. Sweet Pea (chocolate) and CC (blue). They like all of the reality shows so we’re forced to watch them with the girls. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I actually have 2 Saxony ducks and they are sweet too but the Muscovies have it all over the others with the personalities.

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Hehe, you sound as bonkers about them as me Linda! They really are the best aren’t they? Such lovely natures.
        Thank you so much for getting in touch :)
        Janie x

      • Judy says

        Hi Janie,
        Hope you are doing well! I just love your new bunnies they are super cute! I have written to you many times and have a question. I had the Muscovy’s previously and have lost them, but one of them is hanging around again, she even had a egg in the nesting house. :) I took it out and put a fake one in there cause I am worried about preditors getting it. I will just keep an eye on things and see if she sits.

        I have ordered some little ones from a hatchery and will have them in a few weeks- my wonder is if I need to worry about having a heat lamp on them – we are in Texas and its usually at least 80 at night. If I keep them in a smaller area so they can snuggle will that be enough? I don’t want to lose them.

      • donna bivighouse says

        I had two muscovy female ducks up until two weeks ago when one was hit by a car. I am considering adopting another adult duck so my female has a “friend”. Would you recommend a male or a female and should they be kept seperated at first? Thanks for your response!

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Aww that’s so sad to hear Donna.
        Introducing one male or female will be fine, but be prepare for babies every year if you bring in a boy :)
        If you bring in a girl there will probably be a bit of ‘hen-pecking’ to start with whilst they work out who’s in charge. Just leave them to it and they should soon settle down.
        Good Luck!
        Janie x

      • Nicky says

        Hi, I have recently adopted a female muscovy and a blind female indian runner (they came as a pair and the muscovy helps our indian runner get around…it’s too adorable). The last 5 days our muscovy has gone broody and as we have no males to fertilise her eggs I am a little concerned for her well being. Is there anything we can do to discourage her broodiness? We live in Wollongong, Australia and are half way through spring. We collect her eggs daily so she is not laying on any eggs but continues to sit in her feather laden nest she’s built in the corner of our chicken shed. Any information would be greatly appreciated as we’re new to all of this but have quickly become very attached to our new feathered little friends and want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to take good care of the girls.
        Cheers,
        Nicky

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Aww, how sweet! Birds lose condition when sitting on eggs so you could either give her some fertile ones to sit on or I would recommend breaking up the nest.
        She’ll probably look distressed for a few days but keep breaking up anything she remakes and she’ll soon get the message.
        Good luck!
        Janie x

    • Den says

      Hi Just to say , One little Duckling hatched out yesterday, mum is still sitting on three more eggs, Just been out to get some chick crumbs.

      Back down to the pond to see how mum and duckling is getting on. .I have them in a pen for safety, so many predator’s out there

      • Jane Sarchet says

        YAY!!! Whoop whoop! So excited for you Den, aren’t they just the cutest?
        Janie x

    • donna says

      hi i live in new zealand and 4 mths ago a muscovy duck turned up in a storm she has bonded with me and my dog we have such fun times, i to let her inside, she a real blessing, she plays with my blind dogs toys, and she now puts her self to bed at night calling me to close her door, i have been trying to find out how to age her ,she is adult but would be nice to no her real age could anyone help plse

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Hi Donna, what a great story! I have no idea how to age adult females, with the drakes their caruncles get more bumpy & pronounce with age, not sure that applies with the females though. I guess you could take her to the vet, maybe they’d be able to give you an idea?
        Good luck, and if you find out an answer please do let me know!
        Janie x

  1. Jo says

    We’ve just got a garden, live in the suburbs and keep hens – currently 16 including the younger ones, the middleaged ones and the OAPs. Do you think that the muscovies would be ok in a garden? How much space do they need?

    We’ve been saving to move out of the city but can’t seem to get enough money together to buy a place with a field withing visiting distance of the family and grandchildren. Now all these cutbacks look like my husband will be taking a big cutback on his pay and therefore pension and the field looks like it will just remain a dream. I’ve always wanted ducks so if they can’t live in a suburban garden, then I can’t have them. I envy you your fields!

    Don’t misunderstand me please – I’m being positive about the situation and just trying to work out if we can realise some of the dream here in the city. Your advice – from someone who keeps muscovies – would be helpful.

    thank you!

    • says

      Hi Jo, how big is your garden? Muscovies don’t need huge amount of space to be honest, some grass and dirt to scrabble round in – they love freshly turned soil – and an area where they can get as wet and muddy as they like and they’ll be really happy. If you are really short on space then maybe just a couple of girls as they are almost half the size of the boys.

      Of all the ducks out there they will probably be the most suited to being in the ‘burbs as they are fine with just a tub of water to splash in rather than a pond. They’ll all live together perfectly well, the ducks may get a little hen pecked initially and that’s why I’d recommend getting at least 2. Good luck and please let me know if/when you get them! xx

      • says

        Another couple of thoughts, they are really good flyers so you may want to clip their wings if you want them to stay put. Also, the biggest downside is they will turn a confined area to mud, especially over winter. It’ll be very well fertilised mud, but mud all the same!

  2. Jo says

    The hens have 3 moveable runs in an area about 40 foot by 12. I would hope the ducks could have a large run within that. My husband has ideas about fencing in that whole area including roof at our head height – bit like a giant fruit cage. The sides would have to be buried deep because we get foxes through quite regularly. There is not a single blade of grass in this area – the hens have seen to that. I have to admit that the cost of this leaves me in need of a restorative :) but it would restrain the ducks. We tend to fill their runs with leaves or bark chippings to keep their feet off the wet and it also keeps the ground sweeter – and fills our compost bins. Ducks would not happen until we leave work either next summer or the summer after although that depends on just what changes to our income the government makes (education changes/cutbacks). We have “grown” young cockerels to go in the freezer (just once ) but they probably didn’t get to grow quite as much as they could have because as soon as they tried to crow, they had to go. It took a lot of persuasion for the neighbours to accept that hens would not wake them up at dawn by crowing so one squawk and it was curtains for the cockerels. The ducks, being of a quieter variety, might help as we’d really like to be as self sufficient as we can in as many areas as we can. If we stay where we are, I can’t see meat being on the menu much and I can also see eggs being a main source of protein… Besides, I’ve always had a fondness for muscovies ever since I first saw them, years ago. Reading your replies has made me quite hopeful so many thanks!

    • says

      The longed for fenced run sounds just perfect for the chooks and ducks to live in together. Muscovies will certainly provide you with good quality meat through out the year and although you don’t get masses of eggs from the girls they are such a treat when you do!
      Please let me know how you get on and if you need any ducks let me know :D

  3. Marvin Estrella says

    I’ve always loved raising Muscovy ducks! I have a pair in my backyard here in the Philippines. Thank you so much for those wonderful pictures of this kind of fowl. For me, these ducks are wonderful to take care of, not for their meat, rather as a pet.

  4. Pamela Gideon-Hawke says

    We live in Las Vegas and its Summer now. Very hot at 107. We’re surrounded by two man-made lakes and 6 Muscoveys have adopted me. There’s Darth, as in Vador, and he’s huge with black body and red face. He likes to strut his stuff and tries to intimidate the other males. Then came Princess, a small white one. She’s very timid and very sweet and just wants to stand on my feet while being fed. Molly is very white with a little curl on top of her head. She too is a bit timid and she likes to ‘talk’ to me. Lucy is a miniature of Darth. Gee, I hope Lucy is a she! Lucy squeeks ‘me too! me too!’ if she doesn’t think she’s getting her fair share. Jake is basically brown and white and is loving and follows me like a puppy. He lets me stroke his white feathered chest. He tries to nibble my hand like little kisses, and lastly comes Renny, as in renegade. He’s still a bit new and is easily scared off by Darth. Renny is gray and white.

    I feed them lettuce in the mornings along with corn flakes, popcorn in the afternoon and bread at night. Now when I feed them I sit on a tiny stool so I am at their height. It’s the most amazing and loving relationship I have ever had with animals or birds.

    • says

      Pamela, I felt like I was sitting at your lake with you as you introduced them all! I love that little nibble on my hand too, so adorable!

      I’ve read that in the US they are so prolific they are treated as vermin. It’s lovely to hear how you have bonded with them and get so much pleasure from them. Did they have any young this year?

      Thank you so much for popping in, your message made my day! xx

  5. Leisa says

    We have been in our house 3 years and because we have 2 ponds, I was pining for ducks. After much research I decided on Muscovy ducks for their hardiness and ability to fly to roost. We have coyotes, foxes, racoons, hawks, possum, etc. We got a drake and 2 hens a month ago and love them! I was attempting to gather the eggs to keep them from starting to sit on a nest for fear they would become “sitting ducks” for the predators but they got very good at hiding them in the woods and other places. They are now sitting on a nest under a bush right against our foundation and so far, so good. Do I need to provide the hen with food and water or is she leaving the nest for that? I haven’t seen her leave in several days. I am concerned about having any food smell around her for fear of attracting predators. Also, if she successfully hatches them, should I get a new drake, or is “inbreeding” not an issue of concern for ducks. Thanks for any guidance!

    • says

      Hi Leisa, thank you for stopping by!
      I do understand your worry re predators – the only predators our clan have are foxes and badgers and we have sadly lost several over the years. I wouldn’t be able to leave a duck out with her nest at night here, she’d have to be shut up in a house so I wish you good luck! She will come off the nest generally once a day, will have an almighty poop (the smell is like nothing you’ve ever smelt!) and will eat, drink and wash.
      If your ducks are used to being fed by you then you will need to put food down for her, and she does need a bucket of water close by to drink and splash her face in.
      Don’t forget they take much longer than hens to hatch their eggs, off the top of my head I think it’s 35 days for a muscovy egg. As for inbreeding, I guess in an ideal world you’d have a fresh drake every season but I figure in nature inbreeding happens continuously so I have kept the drake for 2 – 3 years. Trouble is, he has become one of the family now and I’d hate to lose him!
      I wish you the best of luck with your brood, Jane x

  6. Leisa says

    Thanks so much for your thorough response and words of encouragement! By my calculations we have a little less than a week before the eggs hatch and we are all holding our breath hoping no predators discover her clever hiding place. Then we will have to worry about the safety of the ducklings. If necessary I will complete the enclosure I started for them to keep the 3 adults and ducklings in at night until the ducklings can fly.

    Our pond and her food bowl are just a couple of hundred feet away from her so I have not taken food or water closer to her for fear of attracting attention.

    We are fond of our “Elvis” too so I think we will just let nature take it’s course as far as the inbreeding goes.

  7. Steve Gillmore says

    hello, we have just go our 3 female muscovy ducks,there at the fledging stage at the moment.would you advice to have there wings clipped as we have been told there good flyers and we don,t want to loose them,i don,t want to keep them in a pen,just roam around the garden.

    thankyou

    • says

      Hey Steve, that’s a tough one.
      If your only reason for wanting to clip their wings is to stop them flying away I don’t think you should worry. I feed mine twice a day and they are always waiting (not so patiently!) for me even though they are free to fly wherever they want. I think they know when they’re onto a good thing!

      We leave ours unclipped as we have a real risk of foxes round here and I like to think that my girls have a fighting chance of getting away from one if cornered.

  8. julie says

    I have seven bantam chickens. Two silkies, two araucanas, one polish, one barred rock and a wyandotte. Do you think that I would be able to keep a couple of muscovies in the same yard? I have about a quart of an acre.

    • says

      I’ve kept them in the same barn as chickens before and there was no problem. They will find their own place in the pecking order, but just let them all get on with it. So long as you have more than one they’ll keep themselves to themselves mostly.
      The only downside to housing them together is the mess that the ducks make. Our barn is dirt floored, so the water from their unavoidable splashing turned the floor to mud. However, it’s even worse in a floored house as their big feet, messy poop and need for water 24/7 turns any dry, pristine chicken coop to yuk pretty quick.
      Hope I haven’t put you off! x

  9. julie says

    I am not put off quite yet, but am concerned. I was more worried about having 1.6 to 2lb chickens with 8plus lb ducks. I have heard they can be aggressive. I have also heard that they can be kept outside of the coop? I live in the Willamette Valley and it is mostly rainy with not so much snow or super cold temps. What is the minimum amount of Muscovies I can keep. Would one girl be ok with my bantams to start or would I need more? Do I need a drake or can I just keep a girl? Will .25 acres be enough for them?
    Thanks,
    Julie

    • says

      Hmm, we’ve never had an aggressive Muscovy. They will nip the feathers of a hen that’s in the way of a food treat, just as a hen will do the same back. No blood is drawn or harm done. I wouldn’t say they were best friends with the chickens but they all seem to cohabit quite painlessly.

      Do you have much in the way of predators where you live? Our only real problem is with foxes and we have lost many ducks to them. Nowadays however, they keep themselves safe by roosting at night on an island on our pond. Great for us as it’s one less job to do, and since we’ve given them that freedom we haven’t lost any to foxes.

      The reason I suggest no less than 2 ducks is for the same reason that you wouldn’t put one goat in a field or one ferret in a cage. It just feels nicer if they have a friend! 2 girls will be very happy together, you only need the drake if you want little ‘uns. 1/4 of an acre sounds ideal, they are pretty hardy birds and not in the slightest fussy.

      Why do you like the idea of Muscovies in particular?

  10. julie says

    I actually see that you said I need more than one. Is two enough? Am
    I better raising them until they are larger myself or letting the chickens act as nannys?

  11. julie says

    . I was thinking about some call ducks, because they are so darn cute and they would go with my banties… ;-) But I hear that Muscovies are a bit quieter I also read that they are very, very good at controlling fly populations. I haven’t been able to find mention of any other ducks controlling flies. The people behind us graze cattle and we had a terrible fly problem last summer. I am not sure if two Muscovies would make that much of a difference…but I am willing to give it a shot…I have seen videos where they looked like fun pets. I also saw a whole flock of them yesterday and they weren’t quite as scarey looking as I thought they would be. ;-) The only things that really concern me about them are that I don’t want them to completely decimate my garden next spring and I don’t want them to hurt my little hens… ;-)

  12. Glen says

    The musovies are awesome for catching flies. We have a huge fly problem where we are and I can sit and watch our muscovies catch about 30 flies an hour. They are the best duck for around the yard. At times we tie up our dogs and let a couple of the young drakes out for the day, when no foxes are around. They just go crazy cleaning up all the bugs, lizards, frogs etc they can find. (sometimes they snack on the veggies garden too the little buggers.)

    • says

      Hi Louise! Yes, you can! There will be a hierarchy in any bird grouping, so there will be quarrels but yo’ll get that when keeping just one breed. So long as they have plenty of space to escape from each other they’ll be fine!

  13. Julie Sanders says

    I have a hen sitting on several eggs. We are very new to raising Muscovy’s, but have had chickens a while. I’m concerned when the eggs hatch the hens will kill them. Do I need to separate them once they are born or maybe even before?? Thanks, Julie

    • says

      Hi Julie, don’t worry – a hen will hatch any egg as her own. Leave the babies with her as the hen then does all the work for you (keeping them warm, safe & teaching them to feed etc) The ducklings must have enough water to be able to duck their head under.
      Also, if you have mixed duck & hen eggs under your hen, the hen eggs will hatch several days before the duck eggs, and the mother will abandon the duck eggs and they won’t hatch.
      Good luck Julie! x

      • Julie Sanders says

        I realized I was plain as mud. I have the ducks mixed with chickens in a electric netting large area enclosure within my yard. The coop(within the enclosure) is where the duck is sitting on her eggs. My concern is the other hens (chickens) or rooster will kill the ducklings when the are born. I’ve never hatched anything before. What do you think? Thanks for replying I found your site last night as I was searching Muscovy info. We live in Southeast Texas in the US. Yes, Texan. Thanks, Julie

      • says

        Ah, OK! If the Muscovy is lowest of the entire chook/duck pecking order the hens may attack the babies, but she will generally see them off.

        However, the ducks energy reserves will be pretty low after sitting on eggs for so long, and she ideally needs to be in a pretty stress free environment for the first few weeks to regain her strength. By then of course the babies will be bigger and more independant.

        As the ducklings will need constant access to clean water in a shallow bowl (the hens will drink & poop in it!) and they need constant access to chick crumbs (the hens will eat it!), can you create a small run & coop inside the bigger run designed to keep the duck & babies in? They won’t like being confined so much but it’ll keep them safer and in better condition.

        One thing I also found useful was 2 water bowls in with the babies. One tall, narrow tub that the babies can’t reach but the mummy can duck her head in and drink & wash with, and the shallow bowl as above. Trying to keep that shallow bowl clean is a nightmare and it won’t be deep enough for the mum.

        I hope that helps Julie, please let me know how you get on! Janie x

  14. {laureen Kehaulani Zdvoracek says

    ive been raising moscovies for about 5 years now but i still cant find information on how long a drake is able to produce progeny. i need to thin my stock by 3 more drakes and would like to keep the original 2 who are 5 years old now but will put them in the pot if they are to old to procreate can you give me any idea how long as in years that i can use them as breeders

  15. Ellen says

    Dear HedgeCombers,
    Your photos are truly beautiful! I’d be swept away with duck envy if I weren’t torn between having chickens instead and wondering if I could handle both. We visited Cornwall a few years back while homeschooling our son. It’s absolutely breath-taking and we dream of retiring in the UK. Thank you for sharing your lovely home and delightful critters. If we go for the ducks, I’ll try to document the adventure. Continued happiness to you and yours — Warm Wishes, Ellen — San Andreas, CA, USA

    • says

      Ellen, what a lovely message to wake up to! Thank you for taking the time to write.
      Cornwall is indeed a little piece of heaven, I truly feel blessed to live here.
      As for the chicken/duck dilemma – good luck with whichever you choose (and don’t worry, as soon as you start, you’ll end up getting more, and more… and more!!!
      :)
      Have a great day Ellen x

    • says

      Hi Kerrie, the only way you’ll know for sure is candle an egg when she next leaves the nest to eat.

      If this isn’t her first brood, I would imagine she would know by halfway through if the eggs weren’t viable and abandon them.

      Muscovies do take a real long time (I think it’s 35 days off the top of my head) but sooo worth it!

      Good luck, hope they make an appearance soon!

      Janie x

  16. crystal says

    hey those ducks are just fabulous………….one question though, do you think they are better to raise for meat or eggs???????????

    • HedgeComber says

      Meat and/pets, they don’t lay enough eggs in a year to cover their feed costs! Enjoy Crystal, Janie x

  17. patti says

    I have 14 Ducks, 3 females and 2 males Muscovy, a few runners, 2 male pekins that I raised from babies, (they are just 4 mos old…and 3 male mallards, I bought them all full grown from an auction accept for the 2 male pekins… and their wings were all clipped… My husband built an awesome inclosure huge pen for them and we put two kiddie size swimming pools in the inclosure for them… we also put a big dog house inside this pen.. I just noticed 3 weeks ago that the two Muscovy females were in the dog house sharing a huge nest with atleast 30 eggs and both of the female Muscovy ducks are sharing this same nest… Everyday I look in the house to see if they have begun to hatch but nothing yet.. Im not sure how long ago they had laid them.. but the 30 or more eggs have been in this nest for atleast weeks now… I open the pen door every morning and let them all out and they head to our horse pasture and small running creek to play…I have one tan huge duck (looks like a pekin) that always picks on a very small runner or mallard (Im not sure what the one small duck is) Other than that they all get along and hang with their own groups of kind.. Is it ok that the two Muscovy are sharing this huge nest of eggs? And ONE of the eggs in their nest is HUGE… Should I separate the mother Muscovy’s and their nest of eggs from the inclosure pen of the other 12 Ducks? The other ducks never go into the dog house where the 2 mother Muscovy’s stay all day/night.. with their nestings.. and when I open the door in the morning to allow them to roam freely until dusk.. The mother Muscovy’s do not leave their nest and follow the others to the creek… I allow them to stay in the dog house where they rather be.. What will happen when the babies all hatch and come out of the house into the huge inclosed pen with all of the other big ducks? Will they be ok? I want my Muscovys to be friendly like I have been hearing on here that they are.. But I just bought mine from an auction about 2 months ago and even though I go out and feed them treats.. They run from me like the other ducks do… Will the hatching babies grow to be more friendlier then the others once they are hatched?

    • HedgeComber says

      Hey Patti, good to meet you!
      The only problem I foresee, is that the eggs are likely to be at different stages of incubation. The ducks turn the eggs and the 2 batches will, in time get mixed together. Also if any other ducks get into the nest to lay, there could completely different staged eggs.
      However, I’m sure that some (I’ll be interested to know how many!) do hatch. If they’ve been sitting for more than a few days I’d leave them as they are for now.
      When the babies hatch, you may need to separate them from teh other to keep them safe and as they need access 24/7 to clean water and chick crumbs (the big ducks will poop in and eat it!). Depending how many hatch I would probably take one mother away from the babies after they’ve arrived. She’ll then start laying again and you may get another clutch from her this year.
      The ducklings seem to learn their response to human from their mothers, so if they are tame so will the youngsters, if they run from you, the same.
      The only way to ensure they are tame as adult is to raise them yourself :)
      Hope that helps!
      Janie x

  18. Jean Knowles says

    Hi Janie, je suis une Anglaise living in France. I’ve had an abundance of Muscovy chicks which I have advertised for sale (at a budget price) in my local paper. They are only 9 weeks old and already half as big as their Mum. Anyway, just wanted to tell you that I REALLY enjoyed your “write-up” on the ducks. You’re completely right about all the attributes that the Moscovies have, that I have never really “remarked” on (French word for “noticed”). I’ll appreciate the ones that I am keeping even more now. Thanks

    • HedgeComber says

      Jean, I’m so glad you commented! Thank you for your kind words, and I’m glad you can see a little more of their character now :)
      I sadly think my drake is past his prime if you catch my drift, I’ve had no eggs hatch so far this year. Very sad as he is my only original bird and I do adore him. I’m torn as to whether to keep him as a pet or not. Not sure bringing in another male is fair so I’m really torn.
      Shame you’re in France, I might have had a few babies from you! Janie x

  19. Patti says

    Thank you for replying Janie,
    The eggs started to hatch 2 weeks ago.. I had 4 babies hatch and the one mother Muscovy started attending to just the 4 and she no longer sits on the other 15-20 eggs that are still in the nest with the other Mother Muscovy. Just today 3 babies have hatched and I noticed one more peeping thru the eggs, (should be born very soon) BUT…. The 1st mother that followed her 4 babies two weeks ago from the nest to take care of has been starting to attack the new babies being born today… She is chasing them and attacking them as the waddle close to her 4 babies that are weeks older… I thought she may kill these new babies that are just starting to hatch so I removed her from the pen enclosure that has the nest with babies hatching, I left her 4 babies in this pen with the Mother Muscovy that remains on the nest hatching the new babies.. But it looks like the ducklings that were born a few weeks ago seems to be pecking and attacking these new babies being born…. Should I have released these few week old babies into the huge pen where I put their mother Muscovy duck? Its just that this huge enclosed pen has 13 grown adult ducks of many kinds.. as I listed above and I didnt want the babies to be attacked by the older ducks or drown in their kiddie pool.. But for now I just removed the one mother who I did see attacking the babies that were only just 1-2 days old when they would come near her older (few weeks) babies. hope this all makes sense

    • HedgeComber says

      Sorry it took me so long to respond Patti, I guess you’ve got them sorted by now. I will add though, that there is no perfect answer for any breeder. Each situation is different and you’ll learn from any mistakes that happen this time round. In nature it’s rare that a full clutch of eggs survive to adulthood, so we find ourselves trying to control something that is pretty much uncontrollable! xx

  20. Patti says

    I just wandered outside to check on all of them and another baby was just born a few hours ago… 3 new babies in 2 days….. and I see peep holes in 3-4 eggs more moving around.. should be born very soon… The older ones that are 10-12 days old are fine…even though i moved their mother back into the big pen with the other big ducks… I found one of the 4 bigger babies under the mother in the nest and the other 3 older ones laying very close by…

  21. Danielle says

    I have/had two muscovy ducks but just this morning they got out of there pen and one flew into my backyard and the other is gone…. missing and I wonder if she will come back, if not where should i look for her? I’m not near any parks and I live in Phoenix AZ so body’s of water do not exist except peoples backyard pools….. will she stay in the same area or fly far away? :'(

    • HedgeComber says

      Hey danielle, how sad for you. I’m not sure how far a duck would travel to be honest, ours are free to fly away and we’re in an area with loads of ponds/lakes etc but they never stray far from home. I may not see one for a day or two but, in my experience they always come back when they’re hungry!
      Do let me know if/when it returns.
      Janie x

    • Bobba Fett says

      im doing a project for school on the benefits of muscovies vs. beef. i have a lot about health, bugs and eating, but not enough on cost, time and sustainability. Help please?
      -BF

  22. Shannen says

    What a wonderful site! A friend who raises muscovies gave me a two year old pair two weeks ago. I so love watching them float, splash/make waves, and rise up and flap to dry their wings. I have 11 acres and a pond. I kept them in a pen for 5 days at first in hopes they would get to know me. Now that I have them out, they are seeming to get used to me but there is no way I can get them back in the pen at night. I am afraid my chances of them surviving are not good as we do have foxes, etc. around. I do have a perch for them too but have not seen them use it. We also can have cold winters in Pennsylvania and I read that they can get frostbite if they will not go in shelter. Do you have any words for me? I was hoping for a nest in the spring that would make it as I also read that if you bring the chicks in to the pen you can get them to imprint on you and be able to get them to go in at nite. Also, If they make it over the winter and start to brood should I move the nest into the pen? Any help you can offer would be so appreciated!

    • HedgeComber says

      The best way to make Muscovies like (no, LOVE!) you is to train them to come to ‘sweeties’. This’ll take patience, depending how wild yours are, but the fact that your friend raises them I am guessing they are pretty used to human contact.
      Find yourself a metal tin with a lid, one that when you shake the contents, it’ll make a lot of noise. Half fill it with corn and spend time with the birds feeding them and gently shaking the tin. The will quickly realise that you mean food, and mine come now even if I’m empty handed.
      Once they trust you, it should be relatively simple to get them to go into a run or pen at night. You can clip their wings to prevent them flying away if that seems appropriate too (just remember they will not be able to escape predators if you do this though).
      Hope that helps Shannen, please let me know how you get on!
      Janie x

  23. Daria C. Nortoni says

    I have never written in about anything before but I have such affection for these birds that I had to share some of my experiences. I live in South Florida where the government officials want the Muscovies to disappear.The local code enforcement woman isisted that I remove all groundlevel water containers and put catch pans under my birdfeeders so that nothing would reach the ground and “feed” the ducks. When I told her I had a mother on eggs her reply was that I should put the eggs in my freezer to destroy them. Long story short- that night I caught a mom with new hatchlings and later the brooding mom, when her eggs hatched, fostered them in my bathtub for the first two weeks and then hid about 27 ducks in my backyard where I could take care of them until they could fly.
    Frozen eggs my @#%&!!! P.S. you did know that there are duck diapers (nappies?) available if a special friend needs to go out in public?! Love to all

    • HedgeComber says

      Hello Daria, lovely to hear from you! You deserve a medal for putting up with a family of ducks in your bath tub for a fortnight! They are adorable creatues aren’t they. and your were pretty lucky to have you fighting their corner!
      Does the local government class them as vermin in Florida? Are they a big problem over there?
      Janie x

  24. shannen says

    Thank you for the great idea! I am going to start it right away and will let you know how it goes. So if I get a nest in the spring do you think it will be wise to move it or if I am able to get them inside eventually do you think she will make the nest inside?

    • HedgeComber says

      I have given myself so much stress over the years, moving broody’s and eggs, trying to get them to lay where I want them to (and where is safe) and generally I tend to just let them get on with it these days. Mind you, that’s why I didn’t get my first brood until August this year!
      You could try making a dark, quiet, secret nest area inside & perhaps try popping a ceramic egg in it to tempt the girls to lay there, but don’t get too stressed if she invents her own highly inappropriate nesting area! Try and make that bit as safe as possible and let her get on with it (far easier said than done at first, I know!)
      Janie x

  25. paigen says

    hi there. was brilliant reading your page. we live in the uk and i have just got 2 two week old muscovies. iam tottaly besotted with them. we have called them nibbler and strawberry. one of them always nibbles my fingers and the other is so laid back. im handling them every day and i bring them in the livingroom so they can get used to our other animals ( i also run a rabbit rescue) when i found out they eat mosquitos after id already brought them home i was delighted, they would help keep the bug population down around our rabbits. luckily enough we dont have to worry about predators as we already have 3 chickens and the neighboorhood cats are the only threat and they dont bother, neither do my own. i cant wait untill these cutie pies are bigger and able to go out in the garden. but one thing i would love to know is do i have boys or girls. one seems slightly heavier and is the one that will happily nibble at you hence his name. the other looks the same size but doesnt feel as heavy. the feet seem pretty similar in size. do you know when i will be able to tell what gender they are? there isnt really much information online about these gorgeos birds and in the first few days of having them i got really frustrated but since watching their behaviour and handling them as much as possible they are now coming upto me and falling asleep on my leg and if i place them on my chest they will sit there for hours, ive even fallen asleep a few times with them on me lol luckily they didnt go poopy on me. there need for water amazes me, its hilarious how they waddle their heads through the water then dart around. luckily enough we have a few old blankets that can be thrown away so they can come and join us when its time to chill out for a bit. what does it mean if they nibble at your finger? even if i dont give him my finger he tries to find it and nibble it anyway

    paigen
    a first time muscovy momma :)

    • HedgeComber says

      Paigen, I love your message! Nibbling just seems to be their way of interacting, they grow out of it to a point, but when they are little (and if you are their mummy) they will nibble for hours! Older birds will stand together and ‘nibble the air’ so I wonder if they have some way of tasting the air maybe? Not sure, but it is very cute whatever!
      As for male or female, they can be sexed at day old but I have never even tried as it is easy to permanently hurt them, so I just wait till it becomes obvious (around 1 – 2 months I guess). The 2 I am currently raising are only 2 and a bit weeks old, and one appears longer, lower to the ground and heavier than the other so I can convinced it is a boy. We’ll see!
      Enjoy your little ones Paigen, and do let me know how you get on with them. (Are you on FB? If so, please pop some pics on the Hedgecombers wall!)
      Janie x

  26. Gabrielle Rota says

    I have muscovy ducks 3 girls and 1 boy.The three girls are sitting on their eggs and some of the ducks eggs have hatched but she is still sitting on the ducklings.Is this supposed to happen???

    • HedgeComber says

      If the eggs are still viable (ie if she can feel/hear movement from them) she will sit for maybe a day or two after the first babies hatch. However, at some point she will leave the nest to focus on the hatched ones, even if the eggs are still viable (see this post http://hedgecombers.com/2012/09/01/finally-we-have-some-muscovy-ducklings/ )
      Also the mother will sit in the nest for several days, keeping her babies warm under her wings & belly and just coming off to eat & poop. Each day she’ll come off for a bit longer as they get bigger and stronger.
      Good luck Gabrielle!
      Janie x

    • HedgeComber says

      Quick, get round here you poor malnourished thing! Seriously, ‘Duck Egg Eating’ needs to be on your bucket list!
      Janie x

  27. says

    This is fascinating! I’ve always thought these were the ugliest things going, but never knew the first thing about them. Thanks for the efucation! And thanks for linking up with the TALU.

  28. says

    Everything you posted above is new to me! Love learning new things. It’s fascinating to me how the chicks look so different from their mommas. TALU

  29. says

    Wow! I wish I knew about these guys when I was a kid … I would have had a whole flock of them! I was EXTREMELY allergic to mosquitoes, and my back yard was basically a forest, so you can imagine how miserable my summers were – between all the scratching and being chased around with Benadryl! Very interesting and informative post. :) [#TALU]

  30. Don says

    My Son recently rescued a baby Muscovy that was the runt of the family. Mother Muscovies seem to have a trait of killing babies from other families by breaking their necks or pecking them badly. The one we rescued had all his tail feathers plucked out and he was slightly bleeding. We have been nursing him back to health with peroxide and ointment and there is much improvement in the few days we have had him.

    I have two questions:

    1) How much do we feed him? He is on a diet right now of canned peas and fruit baby food, but I am going to try to find the chick crumbs or chick starters you have mentioned.

    2) We want to eventually release him back into one of the many lake areas near our home (SW Florida) at what stage will he be able to defend himself enough to do that ? Will there be any problems reintroducing him to the outdoors because of him being handled by humans ?

    (I guess that is 3 questions. lol.

    Thank you for all the information this site provides, you do a very good job with it.

    Don

    • HedgeComber says

      Hey Don, thanks for stopping by!
      Firstly, a duck won’t eat more than it needs so it is important, esp when they are little, that they can eat whenever they want. Leave a bowl of crumbs out and another of water at all times, and they’ll sort themselves.
      When he is released he will become part of the pecking order/hierarchy of the flock he joins, and as he comes with no social status or experience, if he joins a flock with one or more males, he’ll likely be at the bottom. You may find this hard to watch, but it’s all part of nature.
      The fact that he’s been raised by humans shouldn’t make much difference to his future, with females it can lessen their maternal instinct and ability but I haven’t seen it affect drakes.
      Aren’t Muscovies seen as vermin in parts of Florida? Be aware of releasing him back into the wild if this is correct, as you may be breaking the law.
      I’d love to know how you get on with him, we have a Facebook page if you’d like to share photo’s! http://www.facebook.com/Hedgecombers
      Janie x

      • Don says

        Thank you for the information. I don’t do facebook but I have a couple of pictures………he is a cute little guy.

        I think in Florida the breed is not encouraged but not illegal. There are tons of them on every lake down here and we have a lot of small ponda and lakes. This duckling was right here at the apartment complex where we live and we are keeping him in a big plastic tub in my shop office.

        I have been looking everywhere for chick crumbs and can’t find them. I did find corn meal, is that ok ? I plan to suppliment it with the peas and baby food for more nutricion.

        I also plan to move him to a very large dog cage I have, as soon as I see he is big enough to not hurt himself. He isn’t a real young duck, not sure how old but not like some very little ones I have seen in pictures.

        Thanks again for the help. We are more familiar with cats so ducks are new to us.

        Don

      • HedgeComber says

        Ah, OK. Here in the UK, it is illegal to release some ‘vermin’ back into the wild if caught (Black rat & grey squirrel for example).

        Not sure about the corn meal. In the wild they eat grass, grubs, worms snails etc if that helps! Otherwise find an agricultural dealer online to order some chick crumbs (of course it may be called something else on your side of the pond!)

        He’s a very lucky duck to have found you Don! Good luck

        Janie x

  31. Don says

    Thanks Janie. We just have a soft spot for all animals and feel so sorry for the ones who are at the mercy of the outside world.

    I bought some cracked corn tonight and filled a dish wih it and he ignored it, but then I started giving him canned peas and he came to life and gobbled them right down. Then I filled our laundry tub (after scrubbing it clean) and put about 6 inches of water in it for him. He loved splashing around and dunking his head under it.
    His wounds are healing pretty well and he seems healthy and alert, so it is just a matter of getting him bigger and more able to take care of himself before we find a new pond for him.

    Thanks again for all the great info.

    Don

    • Don says

      Janie, need some more information on something. We have been hearing from people that we may be harming this duck by keeping it from it’s natural habitat. He is living in a big plastic tub and we let him swim a couple of times a day in our laundry tub. But we are afraid he isn’t getting the exercise he needs and also not getting the education on how to be a duck in the wild.

      Our fear is that if we release him back to our community the other ducks will want to harm him now that he has been handled by humans. We thought we would take him to a totally new pond and release him there, but would that be any different?

      What would you do ?

      Don

      • HedgeComber says

        I think the important thing to remember Don, is that he would be dead if you hadn’t intervened. Whatever happens to him, his future is brighter than it was if it’d been left to nature.
        You say he wasn’t tiny when you found him, so he’d have spent some days or weeks learning ‘duck stuff’ with his mum, and he will certainly survive when back out in the wild (depending how harsh your winters are?).
        I’ve got 2 ducklings that I hand reared that have never seen a pond, they have only ever swum in a sink or a plastic tub in their greenhouse. So long as he can wash & drink, he’ll be fine.
        The main problem will be integrating him into a flock, but please remember, if he’d have gone back to them injured he wouldn’t have stood a chance.
        Just reading back over your first message, you referred to him as the runt, so the behaviour he has learnt so far is as a low down member of the flock. This is what he’ll go back to being. He may well get attacked by the others, but there’s no way of knowing until you put him back. If his siblings are still with their mum, she may recognise his call if he’s returned to the same pond, but at a certain age, the mothers turn against the offspring to push them out into the world.
        It is sad, but unless you choose to keep him in your backyard, or give him his own little pond and a female or two, there’s not much else you can do.
        Is there a sanctuary anywhere near you that could take him, or a batty animal lover (just like me!) that has land and could home him?
        I hope I have taken the pressure off you a little, good luck
        Janie x

  32. says

    i have muscovy ducks and now they are grown they fight alot,is this normal i dont know anything about them. there is 3 females 4 males.2 of the males fought so much that one was bleeding from the wings,please help if there is anything i can do.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      I would say you have 3 males too many Julia. 1 male and 3 females is the perfect family, any more males than that and they’ll continuously fight for the ‘top dog’ status. Your life, and theirs will be far more pleasant if you remove the extra boys x

  33. Jamie says

    Hello,
    I live in South Florida and this morning after dropping my son off at school I came home to find a muscovy duck had layed her eggs in my front yard in the corner of my house. The mother was sitting on them when I came home and dad seemed to be standing guard. I went in the house and called the FWC and they told me to just let them be, so after a few hours I looked out my window and noticed dad and mom were both gone, the eggs are still there and I’m just worried because I have not seen mom or dad in a few hours and I don’t know much about the ducks. I really dont want anything to happen to the babies but I’m not sure what to do. Any advice would be very helpful, thank you.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Jamie, how many eggs are in the nest? I’m guessing that she’s still in laying mode rather than sitting.
      A duck will lay an egg a day until she has enough (around 15 or so) and then she’ll sit to incubate them. So you might have just seen her visiting your house to lay another egg. The day you notice her sitting and not leaving the nest, is day 1, on day 35 they will start hatching.
      Good luck, enjoy the show!
      Janie x

  34. Emma-Leigh says

    Hi,
    Love your site. I was wondering if you’ve had any experience with Muscovies attacking humans. We’ve raised our two since they were little. They’ve been handled all their lives and suddenly they’ve started attacking all of us. I’ve tried holding their beaks closed gently and telling them no in a firm voice. I’ve tried shooing them away. I’ve tried picking them up and holding them for a short time. Nothing is working and they are starting to terrorise our 3 year old. I would be grateful for any tips and hints. They have the run of the yard and two ponds. Many thanks for any advice.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Emma-Leigh, I’ve never had this happen with Muscovies, but I have with a rooster I hand raisied. He decided that he needed to dominate me and started attacking me. Like you, I was worried if he went for a child, so he ended up in the pot.
      One possible thought, are they both boys? If so, I’d recommend getting rid of one and getting the other one a couple of lady friends (that may direct their testosterone in a more beneficial direction!)
      Hope that helps, do let me know what ends up working x
      Janie x

  35. Julian says

    I have a batch if ducklings now that I am trying to move to a safer area away from crows and the mother duck will not sit on them to keep them warm unless they are at the spot they hatched. What should I do?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Julian, I’ve always found it easier & less stressful (for you and the ducks) if you make the area the ducks wants to nest in safe, rather than trying to move her and her brood. The only other thing you could do is take the babies away from her and raise them yourself.
      Good luck
      Janie x

  36. says

    this is my story :

    I used to have muscovy ducks, the first one i got was when i was seven years old i am 14 now.

    her name was pepper, the most gorgeous duck ill ever know, i got her at 2 days old, she only cost $5, ill never forget the day i got her, she was the runt of the batch and as white as snow by the time she reached 6 months. and with her i got coco, coco was very shy. she was black and white. and she was beautiful.

    by the time they were 5 months.

    one day i woke up to give them fresh food and water, but i came to a horrible sight, saw Coco’s wing on the front lawn, she had been taken by a fox, i was crying my eyes out, pepper was ok

    all about pepper.

    after a while without coco, pepper got lonely, so we got a big white male, we named him salt. but he was rough with pepper so then we got two more girls both white,they were 6 months. we only had them for 3 months before my stupid, stupid, stupid brothers dog kaylah killed one duck, and seriously hurt the other, she had to get put down, there was nothing the vet could do to save her.and salt was fine she didnt touch him and as for pepper she was no where to be found. we looked every where, my mum told me to look behind the house, but it was dark and i was to scared to look.
    the next morning she was behind the house, still alive but the flys got to her wound, so we took her to the vet to get the maggots out. but she passed away on the operating table.

    i blame my self for her death, if i had just looked behind the house she would still be alive.

    she would come when she was called, she would tap on the front door with her beak if she wanted to come in to the house. and the same to the fridge if she wanted lettuce and would sleep on your lap when you watched TV

    i miss her so much.

    i blame my self

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Chelsea, how lovely of you to write.

      My Dad was a wise old fella, he’d been involved in farming since getting evacuated to a farm in the second world war when he was only 4.

      One of his favourite sayings about farming (and if you keep ducks, that makes you a farmer too) is ‘if you’ve got livestock, you’ve got deadstock’. In other words, there are too many variables, too many things that can go wrong. You can only fix what you know, and learn from mistakes so they don’t happen again.

      Some of the mistakes I’ve made whilst keeping animals make me blush. Some of my mistakes have led to an animal dying too, but I learn from them and make sure I do better next time. The key is whether you stay angry and quit, or whether you learn from it.

      It’s not your fault Pepper died, it’s not even your brothers fault. Thinking about it, it’s not even your brothers dog’s fault. Animals are animals, and will do what nature breeds them to do.

      Try not to be angry or mad with yourself, your brother or his dog. If you get another duck (which I really hope you do!) she won’t be Pepper, but she’ll be a great little duck who you can have a new friendship with.

      Janie x

      PS how did you stop Pepper pooping on your floor or lap when she came in the house?

      • Roxane says

        Dear Jane, I found your site today and your words have been a blessing to me. I have lived in Kauai, Hawaii for the last 3 years. Before that in Pennsylvania. My husband took a job in Kauai and we moved our (4 beloved dogs) family with us. All our dogs are rescues although I feel they have rescued us more than we rescued them. They add so much joy to our lives. This past December we moved to a home surrounded by six acres with a wide stream running through. Day one while setting up house I looked out the glass doors and saw a Muscovy Drake pacing expectantly in front of the doors. I had no experience with ducks but fell in love instantly. He would patiently eat torn pieces of bread and cereal from our hands. We found he has a family of three black smaller females with red beaks who stay close to the water and are shy. The drake would visit us a few times daily and would softly hiss and wiggle his tail after each bite of treats. He would get so excited he would climb onto my feet and legs when I sat on the ground to feed him. I never attempted to stroke him because I thought he would be safer if he didn’t depend and trust humans too much. After all we are only renting this property and will have to leave at some point. Last week my husband and I returned to find that our very sweet lab/German Shepard mix had escaped from the house. (The sliding glass doors were mistakenly left unlocked and my doggies know how to open them) We found our poor Drake dead, and were devastated. My husband said the Drake gave him pure joy and he is feeling a heavy guilt for not ensuring the Moscovy’s safety. I’m not sure why he didn’t fly out of harms way. It has been 4 days since and although I know it is only my sweet dog’s hunting nature that caused this horrible happening, I was having a hard time forgiving her. I can hardly look out the windows without a heavy heart missing the Muscovy. Today I was researching to see if the females need a Drake to complete their family and came upon your words that have given me some peace. A friend found a farmer that has some Muscovy’s which are difficult to find in Kauai. He offered a Drake to us but I felt we didn’t deserve another chance to know these beautiful wild creatures. Your kind words have changed my mind. We can’t ever replace the Drake we lost but we can share our home with another Muscovy Drake and the hens. Thank you so much– Roxane

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Hi Roxane, such a sad tale but really glad you feel differently about the future. Animals come into our lives and bless us with their friendships, and then move on. It’s always horrible when they go, especially if the situation is traumatic. Really glad you have found peace in your situation.
        If you happen to find a very young drake, be aware that by being too friendly with him he may turn aggressive when he is fully grown. Give him the space to respect you, not to try and dominate you as an adult. Good luck!
        Janie x

  37. says

    Hello,
    We (Sandra & Graham) are retirees in Australia and in January we inherited a baby muscovy because the other ducks were going to kill the new born which they had already done to 2 others.
    We travel Australia in our caravan (see our website http://www.gypsyrovers.com.au) and are currently stationed on our sons farm South Australia (Barossa Valley wine region) until end of February when we will travel to the east coast for a year or so.
    Now, this duckling named “sooky” has taken over our caravan and our lives. Sandra is the mum and sooky get cuddles every few hours and surprisingly does not poop until put down on the floor. Sandra can cuddle for ages without sookys pooping.
    Incidently your site is great, loved reading the posts.
    Sookys sleeps in the kitchen area of our van and every morning is put out for a run.
    If sookys is left alone she (we think) gets upset and chirps quite loudly until one of us goes outside and sits with her.
    Sookys gets anything and everything to eat and a bath twice a day. She is getting bigger and the feathers are just starting to develop so baby fluff is slowly going.
    When we head off on our travels sookys will go with us.
    She has a character all of her own and keeps us entertained for hours. At the moment she is asleep on Sandras feet.
    If any retiree wants an entertaining and lovable pet we can fully recommend a duck. First one for us and love it.
    Sandra and Graham
    Downunder.

  38. Mike Burrill says

    I live in the British Virgin Islands, and decided to raise a few ducks at my home, which is beside the sea.
    I bought one Drake and six females in December last (three months ago) and now I have 29 ducklings, and another 9 on the way. Two of the original ducks laid 29 eggs together in one nest, and took turns sitting on the eggs, with both sitting together at night.
    They are all free to roam but come back to their roost at night. The chicks were able to float and swim from day 1. They make me laugh out loud every day and I do not regret for one minute having them but no more chicks for now – just eggs. Michael

    • Jane Sarchet says

      How adorable! I’ve seen girls sharing a nest, but never with that many eggs – that is remarkable!
      Thanks for getting in touch Mike, keep enjoying them!
      Janie x

  39. Shelly says

    Hi iv just got two Muscovy duck’s they are wonderful iv got a small garden & they come from a plot of land with only mud & yes i bet they love that but they are doing so much better with me i love to watch them as there so funny ,I had a lovely hut made for them with lots of room & when they think its bed time they waddel of to bed & as its cold in Engand at the moment i close the door & put a tarpoling over it to keep it warmer for them .
    On the morning i cut up all there veg spinich. colly, cabbage ,carrots, green beans, witch they love sweetcorn & they love it i also have 4 big bowles for fresh water which i refill all day ,Iv had a pond put in & a big pool for them they love to splash all the time as you can tell im over the moon with them & my 3 dogs love to be in the garden with them all getting on very well .
    Iv left a place in the garden that they can dig in with there beaks as iv got artafishal grass put down so i can get the hose pipe out & clean it . Summer is hear so this is where all the fun starts .

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Awesome Shelley! They are such lovely gentle birds, I’m so glad you are enjoying them so much :)
      Janie x

  40. Terrie says

    what a brilliant site!! so glad I found you. very informative and such lovely pics too!!

    I have 3 muscovys girlies,2 pekin, 2 big black orpingtons and 12 mixed bantams all living together very happily in our now mud pit of a used to be a garden!! lol

    its been quite a while since we had any eggs from hens or ducks alike but as the hens have now started laying Im eagerly awaiting our first duck eggs of the year!! seems odd though as last year we had three sessions of eggs every day but don’t know what could have stopped them from laying??!! the chooks had to be treated for mites but I don’t see why that should affect the ducks?? ((by the way how much do you sell your youngsters for usually please??))
    thanks again for a great read !! x

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Terrie, thanks for stopping by!
      Your garden sounds familiar, my poor hens have scratched up every blade of grass around their barn. Here’s hoping it comes back soon :)
      Janie x
      PS I don’t normally sell my Muscovies, but with the trouble I’ve had finding new birds the past 2 years I think I will be this year. No idea on price as yet, but they certainly won’t be expensive x

  41. says

    Okay what is it about muscovey boys! My girls, pristeen :) Beautiful white feathers, always keeping themselves clean and groomed……………..the boys! filthy! They dip into the water a quick clean behind the ears and that’s it, they are supposed to be looking good to woo my girls but no, dirty dirty typical boys! They have a small pond, they have a clean shallow bath, they have a clean very shallow bath, where do they dip their beaks? In the goats water bucket, beautiful clean water suddenly a muddy murky yuk of water! Boys!!

  42. Mary says

    I live next to a small stream and wondered if muscovies would enjoy that as a ‘pond’ . There are some areas with less flow where they can splash. It’s in the woods of the northwest and I’d hoped to have the muscovies for mosquito control in the puddles of water from the stream, besides the fun of having pets, eggs and meat. How independant are they if left to the woods near the barn? I am sometimes gone overnight and work eves. I am choosing them cause they can roost away from predators, which are mostly cougar and bear and raccoon. Not many foxes around here. Any thoughts?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Sounds perfect Mary! If you don’t want them flying away, you’ll need to feed them at least once a day (I feed mine twice a day). Just don’t clip their wings so they have a chance at getting away from predators.
      Janie x

  43. James says

    I’ve loved reading all this! I one day hope to get muscovys! I first heard of them about 2 years ago when my Canadian friend told me that she had a pair, and that her neighbor had moved away and left another 2 females in her care, suddenly she was overwhelmed with ducklings! Most of them survived into adulthood, one got washed away and lost during a storm and I think 1 or 2 got taken by raccoons, she still has most of the ducks on her farm today. Infact typing this I remember she told me a story once about a pack of raccoons attacked her coop. She said she was awoken in the night and ran out to the coop to find a lot of chickens dead and her male muscovy protecting his hen against one of the raccoons, luckily they both survived but it was just a shame about the chickens. I go to an agricultural college in Cheshire UK and they have tons of ducks but sadly no muscovy :(, but when I’m older I plan to get some! And maybe a few chickens. But thanks for this post! :)

    • Jane Sarchet says

      James, thank you so much for getting in touch! Your college so needs some Muscovies, they are the farmers bird of choice for meat & bug control :)
      Janie x

      • James says

        Thanks for the reply! Where do you stand on keeping ducks with chickens? In college we do, and my Canadian friend did, and even a peacock. But online it always says you shouldn’t mix species…? James. x

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Hey James, I think if everyone has enough space then it’s fine.
        I’ve had chooks and ducks live together with no problems, but they were in a large barn and free ranged during the day. The only downside, is that ducks are really messy with water, so they are better off on their own!
        Janie x

  44. Judy says

    We have Muscovy ducks and just love them. we had a male stop in one day and he never left. He was here when my husband left for work in the morning and was still here when I got home after work. I had never seen anything like him before. I put some corn we had for the deer feeder in a pie pan and shook it so he would follow me to our pond. He stayed and seemed like he thought he was in heaven. It was so neat to watch him. I researched the breed on line and thought what a perfect match for us. We have no other pets, and I wanted something. I decided that I wanted to raise them for meat, and we would set something up here to do that, we have almost eleven acres. I told my husband we needed to get him a girlfriend, so I started searching the area ads to find one, and turned out someone not too far from us had a momma and 12 babies. So we bought them from him. We put mama and her babies together and left the male on the outside looking in. Seems like they went through a courting stage and when we finally let her out, he attacked her. My husband said he was showing his dominance. I scolded him to leave her alone and he did for a bit. They finally became friends and mated, she is sitting on eggs now, I don’t know where she is but she must have them hidden quite well, I worry about predators getting her eggs. I really don’t know how many she is sitting on, she comes home to eat and bathe once a day. I had heard they sit for like 45 days, and then some say less time. So, I am thinking a couple more weeks we should see some babies. I would think she will bring them closer to the food and water source. Right.
    I just wanted to share my story, I really have gotten attached to them, we named the male big daddy, and mama I call her miss elly.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Judy, that’s such a great story! It’s amazing how many people really fall for the Muscovy, they are a very special bird :)
      I hope your momma and babies make it home safe and sound. You’ll love the meat, it is wonderful. Do try the Happy duck pie recipe on here one day, it’s awesome!
      Janie x

      • Judy says

        I know, I never thought I would had fallen for a duck.. lol
        they are really fun to watch, they act so silly sometimes.
        I will try that recipe you spoke about and let you know how we like it.
        thanks for your response. :)

  45. Judy says

    Hi Jane,
    I am really enjoying your website, I have printed off the Happy Duck Pie, it sounds yummy.
    I am wondering about butchering the ducks, because we will soon be doing that. The males are getting quite large already, and we are trying to prepare for Miss Elly to come home with her chicks.
    Do you butcher them much like chickens? And what about the feathers, there seems to be a million (just a little exaggerated) Do we dip them in scalding hot water? Or what is the easiest way to remove all of the feathers?
    I went looking for Miss Ellie again today, no sign of her for a couple days, unless she is showing up to take her bath when we are at work. I am hoping she shows up soon.
    Thanks for a wonderful website. :)
    Judy

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Judy. Firstly it depends what you want to do with the meat & how much tine you have! If in a hurry/making the happy duck pie, just peel them, feathers/skin & all. So easy!

      If you want to roast the bird & want them plucked, I prefer doing it by hand, my partner by plucking machine. You can scald them but I don’t find it necessary unless the bird is older (and then you really don’t want to be roasting them anyway!)

      With other ducks (aylesbury’s esp) the hot water draws out the grease from under their skin making plucking a nightmare. The feathers just skip through your fingers! You can do it with Muscovies as they are so lean, but I always prefer plucking any bird dry.

      Do try this pate with the offal too, it’s heavenly!

      Please let me know how you get on, and what you think of the meat!

      Janie x

  46. Judy says

    Thanks for getting back to me, Sounds like it would just be easy to just peel them. The ducks are young, we plan to do them when they are 6 months old, I heard they are the best when young. Our boys are really getting big. Broad chested.
    We let the girls out of the pen now, one yesterday and one today. Was neat, cause Miss Ellie shows up today, she is their mama, seemed like she was communicating with them, and showing them around. When we let the first girl out yesterday, she seemed scared, but seems she is adapting, of course the boys are pushing on the fence trying to get out also. We are going to keep them in the pen, easier to catch when we are going to butcher them. Which won’t be much longer. We are anxious to try the meat. we plan to make hamburger meat and also would like to try roasting one.
    Thanks again for your advice, much appreciated. :)
    Have a Blessed Day,
    Judy

  47. Judy says

    Hi Jane,
    I have some sad news, looks like Miss Ellie is done sitting, I am sure something got all her eggs, so she is hanging around the pond with the other girls. I hope next time she decides to put her eggs in a little house we made for her, and we can at least help her protect them. We can always move the little house in the pen, when she is done laying her eggs, and protect them.
    Have a ducky day,
    Judy

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Oh, shame. Have you tried using fake ceramic eggs? Pop a couple in a nest you want the girls to go broody in, and voila! My girls only have to see those eggs & they end up sitting!
      Better luck next time xx

      • Judy says

        Oh my goodness Jane, so much has happened since I was last on here chatting with you. lol
        First off we tried the ceramic eggs, and she did start to going into the brooder house we built her, and started laying a couple eggs, and the darn crows found out and have been hanging around ever since. (we put our game camera out there to see what was happening) well she is not laying any as far as we can tell, could it be too hot for her to lay at this time of year, it is over 100 some days (we are in texas)

        The other thing I wanted to tell you is we did butcher all the males we had in the pen, and skinned them as you mentioned, which we will do again that way.
        we have tried the meat, and it is quite delicious I must say, we cooked up one breast, with some bacon wrapped around it and salt and pepper and it was good. We liked the texture it really is quite like steak. We ground up most of it for hamburger and I made the duck pie you suggested and we had that last evening, it was very delicious just like you said.( I even brought in a piece for a friend of mine at work today, who is a hunter and fisherman and duck hunts too, and he thought it was great and wants the recipe for it

        I have to say that I think we are going to continue with this journey of raising the Muscovy ducks, they are great.
        we now just have the one adult male (big daddy) and Miss Ellie, Margaret, Mary and Samantha (Sam) Sam is mixed with Mallard. we will grow the males a little longer than we did the next time we get babies, but it was all a trial and error this time around. We think the males were about 6lbs. when we butchered. We are leaving for vacation this weekend and wanted to do it before we left, as to not worry about their care. We have a friend coming to check on the others while we are gone, and have set up the automatic deer feeder for them. :) So they will be fine. (I will miss them)
        Thanks again for all of your suggestions thus far! I really do appreciate you being here to help us newbies out.
        See you on facebook :)
        Judy

      • Jane Sarchet says

        I so want a game camera! Need to go and research that. How did the crows take the eggs Judy, did they smash them in the nest & eat them there, or make a hole & fly off with them? They don’t lay consistently so the weather may have something to do with it, we never have to worry about those temps here in Blighty :)

        So glad you enjoyed the boys & the pie recipe, isn’t it a winner! And so glad you’re smitten with the breed too :)

        Enjoy your holiday

        Janie x

      • Judy says

        Hi Jane,
        We love having the game camera so we can keep an eye on things..
        The crows I think just rolled them out of the brooder and ate it right there, not sure of how they ate them but even the shell was gone.

        You have a great holiday as well :)
        Judy

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Little buggers! I was never 100% what was taking my eggs, but put it down to crows. I’ve found empty egg shells about 50 foot from the barn, so that must be crows (don’t think rats would bother taking them overland, imagine they’d just roll them down their nearest hole!)
        Grrr! :)

      • Judy says

        Hi Jane,
        We are back from vacation in Wisconsin, oh what a wonderful time we had.
        The ducks were all waiting for us, when we pulled in the driveway they came a running to greet us,(just like a dog or cat would) they had lots to say, all of their mouths were just a moving. We were glad to see they survived us being gone, a friend checked on them each day. I actually missed them, and wondered how they were while we were gone. :)
        Those darn crows just keep hanging out, we are going to have to do something about that, Miss Ellie might start laying eggs again soon, maybe even the other girls too. I want to protect the eggs so we can have little ones again.
        Hope all is well on your end of the world.
        Judy

  48. Leslie at Dairy Lane Farm says

    Have purchased 11 white Muscovy Duck chicks, we received them 1 1/2 weeks ago and they have more than tripled in size. So they are very young and I wondered how long I needed to feed them baby ration. They are so much fun to watch, we are going to have them for dual purpose, roasting and eggs and want to feed them correctly for this purpose. We live in Ontario Canada, the summers are not as hot as some places in the world but we have very cold winters. Our hope is to house them in the barn with the other livestock when they are older and perhaps with the chickens if they will get along. Any and all comments are appreciated.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Leslie, how exciting! Enjoy every moment of them, they are SO much fun to have around :)
      RE the baby ration, I can’t remember off the top of my head and I’d hate to give you incorrect advice, best to get advice from your feed store.
      Janie x

  49. T. Mills says

    We have several of the muscovy ducks.

    I have a couple of concerns and would really appreciate some advice.
    Just this week we had 3 females have babies. Angel duck had 4. Days later Speedracer had 7, and a week later Secret had 4.

    We have had babies last year but have never experienced this.
    Speedracer has left her babies with Angel. Should I be surprised? Angel only pecked one of Spreedracers to the point of making it bleed, so we removed it from her.
    We have had Secret for over 3 years and bought her from someone else, not sure how old she was . However after her babies were a week old, we went into the coop to let them out and the mother died in the night.
    Could the other 2 mothers have pecked her? No signs of blood or marks on her.
    What should I do with these babies, and the one I took that was pecked to the point of bleeding? I have tried to put them with the other mothers but they peck them alot. Then the babies run away from them and stay away.
    I really would like them to live outside with the other ducks we have. When there is strange noises they run around the yard peeping. They do not have a mom to go to that will protect them and tell them what to do. I am afraid they are not learning how to to do duck things because they have no mom to show them. Any suggestions would be great.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hello! Boy, you are overrun with babies!
      If I were you, I would take all of the babies that aren’t getting looked after by a momma duck and keep them under a heat lamp in your home or garage. Once they are around 5 weeks you can take the heat lamp away and when they seem big enough, reintroduce them to the other group. They will always be lowest in the pecking order so they will get picked on, but they will be big enough to get away.
      If you find this upsetting (or if you end up with too many males that may end up fighting) you will need to try and rehome them or dispatch them (we eat our excess males).
      Hope that answers your questions, do shout if you have any more :)
      Janie x

  50. Terrah says

    Hi. My two boys each got a Muscovy duck from their grandma. They are about 2 weeks old and I am keeping them in a container in my house with a heat lamp over them. I let them go for a little swim in my bathtub a couple times a day. I am wondering how long they need the heat lamp (and should I only have it on at night) and also I am worried about letting them outside. We are in Alberta Canada on an acreage. I have one very big outside dog and four outdoor cats. My little dog inside is quite interested in them and they will try and follow her around when I have them out. They also are constantly nibbling my hand or pants or glasses or whatever they can get a hold of when I am holding them! Is this normal? Also should I be feeding them anything other then their duck food? I have so many questions but I will start there:)

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Terrah, great to ‘meet’ you! What lucky boys :)
      Off the top of my head I think they come off heat around 5 weeks, but this’ll depend on what the temps are like around, if it’s very warm where you are they may not need heat during the day.
      Predators are going to be a problem, both domestic & wild. I would let all your animals smell the ducks close up now whilst you hold them, and let them understand that these guys are part of the family. My cat went in our quail cage yesterday and just sat there preening as she has known them since the day they hatched (I wouldn’t trust her to do that if I wasn’t sat right there mind you!)
      The nibbling thing is normal, however be aware that if either of them are male, that can turn into aggression when they are older. My last hand reared duck that I ‘coochy cooed’ ended up attacking us when he was fully grown and we had to eat him! I’ve never seen this happen with a female and only once with a Muscovy drake, and once with a cockerel.
      Hope that helps Terrah, enjoy them!
      Janie x

  51. Brian Turnbull says

    We have found a Muscovy drake which seems quite tame so would assume it escaped into the wild at some time. It’s living at the end of a local burn running into the Moray Firth. Have been feeding it bird seed and porridge oats and it follows as if its a pet. Would rather see it in the wild so have no intention of capture. Will keep you informed if it decides to stay.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      That’s sweet Brian, they are such lovely birds. It does sound like he’s domesticated, so you might be feeding him for a good long while yet :)
      Janie x

  52. Pam Hale says

    I had a male and a female Muscovy duck come to my house about 3 months ago.. The female is very friendly but the male a little skittish..I have a trout stream and a pond in my back yard..They love it..My husband built them an A-Frame house and it floats on the pond..Last week there were 10 eggs in the house..She stays in the house all night and stays gone for hours during the day..Shouldn’t she be sitting on the eggs more? I am also concerned for the babies about being on the water..We are going to fix an enclosed run to put them in..Do you think if we move the house off the water and put it in the enclosure she will still go to her eggs? After the eggs hatch, should we let her out and shut the babies up in the pen?? I have never had ducks before and not sure about taking care of them..Thanks for the help..

    • Jane Sarchet says

      It doesn’t like she’s ready to sit properly yet. Often times there will be more than 10 eggs in a nest before she fully sits. In the mean time she’ll do a lot of preening in there, pulling out her downy feathers from her belly to line her nest with.
      As for moving the house or not, there is never a simple answer to these questions. We’ve tried everything, moving eggs, moving houses, penning up the mother ducks, penning up the babies when they hatch, taking babies off the mother and putting them under heat lamps.
      We have now come to the decision to let the mother do what she wants.
      Also you make freak her out of you try to pen in and she’s not used to it. Then she’ll leave her eggs as she’ll be frightened.
      It’s unlikely that all the eggs will hatch, unlikely all those that do reach will maturity. Try not to get upset but it, it’s just nature doing its thing x
      Janie x
      PS most importantly, enjoy the little things whilst they’re there :)

      • Pam Hale says

        Thanks for getting back to me so fast..I guess my biggest concern is when they hatch and come out of the house, they will be in that pond and drown..What do you think?

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Predators are probably a greater risk than drowning. I had 13 babies hatch about 2 weeks ago, and I only have 6 left now.
        Between the badgers, rats, foxes, buzzards, crows, seagulls, cats, herons and stoats/weasels there is an awful lot after them!
        When I first kept birds I tried to control it, and would get terribly stressed and upset when something bad happened. For my own sanity I now leave it all in the hands of nature.
        If I were raising them as a business (ie for meat) then I would keep the young in a broody ring where I could control their heat, light & food, and no predators would be able to get to them. But that’s not teh way I choose to farm them. I’d rather they were out getting muddy and having fun :)
        I hope that helps Pam, and good luck!
        Janie x

  53. Sarah Lear says

    Hello,
    Basically, i have always has muscovy ducks and i have four fully grown adults, 1 male and 3 male and they have been breeding all spring and summer and we have not got two small hatches. One lot are basically fully grown and the other lot consists of two small ducklings and one slightly large duckling as they came at different times, sadly one did pass. However one from the first hatch has funny wings that seem a bit lame, one more than the other, he seems completely fine and in fact seems quite popular with the neighbours (we’ve been blessed with really quite good looking muscovy ducks). Have you heard of anything like this before? He seems so have had it from a few weeks onwards, more on one side and he yet seems one of the most happiest of our free range bunch. He has always been on waterfowl crumb and chick crumb in other could not be sourced and now he’s on pellets.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Sarah, no I haven’t come across this before. Glad to hear he’s doing well though and is popular, so often they become the bottom of the pecking order when there is something wrong with them.

      Do you plan to keep him as a pet, or is he for the table?

      Janie x

  54. Sarah Lear says

    So sorry for the the bad grammer and it not making too much sense as i am in a rush but i am sure you can read through it and get my drift : )

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Terry, I have no idea. How old is he? Does he have siblings of the same age that are OK?
      I imagine it will pass as the feather eventually do push through, but I’m afraid it isn’t anything I’ve come across before. I will ask on our Facebook page and see if anyone else has come across this before.
      https://www.facebook.com/Hedgecombers
      Janie x

  55. says

    Thankyou jane for your response,i have a male and female ,which is about 3 months old,the female has feathered in nicely but the male looks alittle rough,feather wise he seem”s to be a happy fella and is growing very well.I admit i know nothing about them ,can i cut the ends off so it’s not stabbing him. thankyou

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Terry, one of the ladies on Facebook says “I have never heard of that but I would try wrapping his body in some vetwrap maybe to at least avoid the feathers cutting into him.” Is that possible? Another option may be covering the tip in a fabric plaster (bandaid).
      By cutting the tip of the feathers off, you may well make it sharper. I’m so sorry not to be more help, please let me know how you, and he, get on.
      Janie x

  56. Lisa says

    We live in Maine on a lake, a male Muscovy duck showed up here about a week ago. I have asked around, but noone is claiming him. He seems to like bread and Cheerios. We loves to sleep down by the water, and comes to the deck to beg for food. I am quite fond of him, but am concerned for his safety, and what to do with him as the weather will start to turn colder very soon? What kind of shelter would he need for winter if he is still here? Any advice would be appreciated. :)

    • Jane Sarchet says

      I guess you must get very cold winters in Maine? (sorry for my ignorance, I live in the UK)
      You can certainly house Muscovies, in something similar to a chicken coop, but if he is wild he may not take kindly to it. It is also kinder to keep any animal in pairs rather than on their own, so if you do decide to take him on, have a hunt round for a girlfriend or two to keep him company. I’m sure he’ll be grateful for it ;)
      If you do keep feeding him, a balanced (unmedicated) chicken feed will be more nutritious for him. You can get it at feed store or large pet shops, or maybe order it online.
      Good luck, and welcome to the world of Muscovies!
      Janie x

      • says

        Our boys love to stay out in the rain, while the goats and chickens are all running for cover they nestle down or start foraging. Last winter though when it did get very cold…….very cold for Italy ;) they took refuge in the goat pen and the old chicken house.
        Just a thought, when we had a stray dog that we could not take in with the others (we have 20!)a friend gave us a large kennel for him to use, unfortunately the little man went on a wander one day and the dog catches caught him and took him off to the pound :'( but we were allowed to keep the kennel and our muscovies use that aswell when they want/need shelter.
        Patti
        Patti recently posted..L’Angolo Nascosto TrattoriaMy Profile

      • Jane Sarchet says

        OMG, 20 dogs? Do they live in the house with you or are they outside? Yikes, their feed bill must be frightening :/
        Great idea to use a kennel for the ducks though, they are pretty hardy but still love being able to snuggle down when they fancy it.
        Janie x

  57. says

    Janie, I have found my girls love to swim! We have a small pond for the other ducks, the ones that quack :) Daisy and the 2 babies love to swim in there to the point they fall asleep bobbing around! The boys on the other hand dip their beaks in wash behind their ears and are gone…typical boys then :)
    Patti recently posted..L’Angolo Nascosto TrattoriaMy Profile

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Ha! Yes the boys are renowned for not being the cleanest. Although my Mr Duck sleeps on the island and he has to swim there, so he gets cleaner than he probably wants to!
      Janie x

  58. Pam Hale says

    Hi, I wrote to you in August about my ducks.. She is sitting on eggs for about 30 days..Today I saw her come out of her house and carry an egg in her mouth swimming across the pond to a creek and eat it.. What is going on?? Will she eat all of them.. It’s time for them to hatch and I don’t want to lose them..I can/t find anything on the internet about this behavior..What should I do?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Oh my goodness, really? I have never seen or heard anything like it Pam. I even surprised to hear a Muscovy can carry an egg in their mouth.
      Do you have an incubator, if so you could take the eggs off her & take over yourself.
      I do believe a mother duck knows when a embryo has died, I think they must feel the movements (or lack thereof) and they certainly communicate with almost ready to hatch ducklings through the shell. They will kick a ‘dead’ egg out of the nest. It may be that the egg was dead, and she needed protein? They eat so little when broody. What feed do you have her on?
      Janie x

      • Pam Hale says

        I have her on Purina Flock Raiser Crumbles..She is not contained in a pen and eats around our pond and in the stream..She loves when it rains and makes muddy little streams to eat out of..My husband made a feeder that we keep full and it feeds out as she eats..Is there anything else I can give her for protein..Her house is floating on the pond and I am still afraid the babies will drown but we are afraid to move it to land..Pam

      • Jane Sarchet says

        That’s a mystery then Pam. If you really need/want the babies for meat, to sell or just to increase your stock, then I guess putting the eggs in an incubator is the only sure fire way to have complete control.
        If you are just rearing them for ‘fun’, then welcome to the sad & wonderful world of Muscovies.
        Out of my 13 babies that hatched last month, I only have 1 left. I had another 10 hatch last week, and I’ve taken 8 off the mother and put them in a broody ring so that I can control their environment and hopefully raise them for the freezer.
        If you watch a wild mallard raise her young in a park, it is very rare that more than half of the babies reach maturity. Maybe that’s why they sit on so many eggs, to boost the chance of one or two making it.
        Sorry I couldn’t give you happier news
        Janie x

  59. says

    I wonder if you can help me I have 2 muscovy ducks male and female . The male is pulling his feathers out by the root is this normal .

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Jo, pulling the occasional feather out is a normal part of grooming (kind of like a few of our hairs falling out every day).
      How many feathers is he pulling? Is getting bald patches or does his skin look red or sore?
      Janie x

  60. Carolyn Zach says

    Hello, this is our first time with Muscovys, we have a flock of 32, not sure how many male/female. I believe by now they are somewhere from 6 to 8months old. First of all, I’m wondering what age is the best for butchering; also, when do they start laying? Ours are free range, we have a small duck house that they really only use for eating in. They are mainly on our pond or around it, they also come up to the house a couple of times a day looking for handouts (we sometimes feed them bread from off the porch). We do have racoons, coyotes, skunks, and bobcats, as well as birds of prey, but we have not lost any ducks to any of these predators so far. I’m wondering, do we have to do anything to help them start to lay? Give them a place to do it? Or will they pretty much just make nests where they want and start laying when they’re ready? Also, I was wondering if the size difference was because of their different ages, but I believe they are all full grown by now; is the difference in size just because the bigger ones are male and the smaller female? Also, are males or females better for meat? Or does it matter? Also, the majority are white and green, but there is one brown one and few of other colors, are these probably from mixing breeds somewhere back down the line? Thank you for any input!
    Carolyn

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Carolyn, you sure have your hands full there!
      The boys are bigger than the girls, and by 8 months they’ll be fully grown (and ready for eating).
      Being bigger the boys will have more meat on them, but there is no difference in the meat of male or female. The girls will lay when they’re ready, they’d appreciate a nest box and it’ll make collecting their eggs easier!
      As for the colours, I guess it’s the same as our hair & eye colour – anything goes!
      Do let me know how you get on, and what you think of the meat. And if you get the chance, try this happy duck pie recipe – it is out of this world :)
      http://hedgecombers.com/2009/08/10/happy-duck-pie/
      Janie x

  61. Carolyn Zach says

    Hi, I just remembered another question I had. Our winters nights can get into the teens, we almost never get into the single digits; and we usually get snow for about a week or two – maybe two feet, not usually more. How do they do in this kind of cold? It’s fairly mild as far as some winters go, but it still seems pretty cold too. Thanks

    • Jane Sarchet says

      In really bad weather they’d appreciate somewhere to hole up but they are pretty tough birds. We don’t get serious winters here to be fair, and if it snowed for more than a few days I’d give them access to a barn to get out of the worst of it.
      janie x

  62. Sonia Murray says

    For the last year and more, we’ve been watching a Moscovy drake – at least, I think he’s a drake because he has a big pale bluish shovel tail – swimming in the Back Bay of Biloxi, MS, near Forrest Avenue. Does anyone on the Mississippi Gulf Coast have a wife (a hen) to give him? He looks so lonely, paddling around day after day and week after week on his own!

  63. Sandra D says

    We have a muscovy sitting on her 3rd clutch. None of the 1st ones hatched. The 2nd, we hatched 10 and lost them all withing 4 days. A few died overnight and then one night a predator got the rest. We’ve now made a better enclosure, so hopefully have solved the predator problem.
    Question: It gets down to about 55F at night here (Kenya). I’m worried the ones that died overnight froze and that these next group will also if they escape mama during the night or if she goes “out”. Should I make a separate enclosure with a heat source during their first week (or 2) after hatching? I really want to make a success of it this time!

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Sandra, so sad to hear of your losses.
      The only way (in my experience) to ensure that the maximum number of babies make it through to adulthood is to pen the babies and mother up, or take the babies off the mother and put them under a heat lamp. This pen would have to be vermin proof and have constant food & water available to them.
      If the mother was sitting on her babies, those night time temps would be no problem. Some ducks (just like some humans) don’t make good mothers, so you may find that she leaves them overnight again. If this happens then I would either replace her with a new female, or take her eggs & incubate them yourself, or take her babies when they are freshly hatched. (I did the latter with my last brood of the year, the mother wasn’t being at all maternal so I took 8 of her 10 and put under a lamp. Incidentally, she became far more motherly to her 2 remaining babies straight away and is rearing them well. She’s a first time mummy)
      Hope that helps Sandra, and good luck!
      Janie x

  64. Sandra D says

    Would it work to bring them inside the house at night for the first week? (or would 2 weeks be better?) Temp is around 65F indoors. Would they need to be warmer than that? We could put them in a box with straw. Would they need food/water for during the night? Just how warm should their area be?
    This is the most helpful forum I’ve found. Thanks for responding.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      They either need to be under a heatlamp (these are really cheap from agricultural feed stores, or look on ebay) or under their mum. They need heat for the first 5 weeks, although the temp gets lower week by week.

      I’m not sure offhand on the exact temps needed, I regulate it by eye with our babies. If they are all huddled directly under the lamp, they are too cold. If they are spread out around the edges of their container, they are too hot.

      There’s some interesting ideas on this page, about making a broody box out of a regular 100w light bulb. I prefer our heat lamp as it’s infra red so a little kinder on their eyes than being under a very bright white bulb for weeks! http://www.carolinecrockeroriginals.co.uk/sheldon_pages/handy_hints_for_raising_duckling.htm

      Hope that helps!

      janie x

  65. Anne Lovejoy says

    Hi,
    It’s strange this love affair we have with Muscovies. I have 21 ducklings, 2 drakes, 3 hens, 1 mallard, 2 Pekin Jumbos and 14 Khaki Campbells. When I put the Khakis (4 wks old) with the Muscovies((6 wks old), the Muscovies nibble on the Khakis. I want to let all the ducklings out. The khakis wet the floor so much. Their feathers are so wet. I have a pen with boxes and yard . I have not let the older ducks inside yet. It is getting colder.I put the boxes outside. The ducks are 6 months old, no eggs yet.I want to let the ducklings and ducks mingle. I do not want to watch the ducklings the whole day. It is 7 degrees Celsius at night. 20 in the day. There are tubs and kiddie pool in the enclosure. Outside there is a pond. I cannot let the ducklings out to the pond. I bought the ducks at 5 months. So how long can I keep the ducks outside? Soon it will be 0 to 5 degrees at night. I am in Northern California, 2 hours from San Francisco.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Anne, lovely to ‘meet’ you!
      You sound like you have your hands full there!
      Our Muscovies live outside all year round, they sleep on an island with no house or real protection. We’re in Cornwall, UK and our nightly temps can get down to around -5c overnight during the winter, and the birds are fine.
      I hope that helps, Janie x

      • Anne Lovejoy says

        Hi Janie,
        Thank you for your quick response. I do have my hands full. I have 300 chickens. The adult Muscovies are fine outside. But when can I leave the ducklings out all the time? When should I stop feeding them non medicated chick feed? The Muscovy ducklings nibble the Khakis. I just have to let the Khakis fend for themselves. I did not switch on the lamps tonight. I want to see how they fare. When there are no lights they will stop eating and not wet the floor. I intend to butcher them when they are three months old. The adult Muscovies do not eat much. Unlike my chickens eating all the time.
        Anne

      • Jane Sarchet says

        I’ve just moved my youngest duckling outside full time and they’re around 2 months old. They came off heat at 5 weeks so I probably could’ve moved them before, but didn’t need their shed until now.
        Hope that helps Anne
        Janie x

      • Anne Lovejoy says

        Hi,
        I will let them out today. so the floor will not be wet all the time. I can leave the waterer outside. Do you have photographs of your ducks? Can I send you some photographs? How many do you have now? I wonder if Muscovies all over the world look the same. I love the Muscovies. They are so cute and quiet. I am rearing them for meat and eggs and to keep the bug population down. They will eat weeds. I have clover growing for the bees, chickens and to improve the soil. The ducklings are so alert ,looking for flies in the pen. I cannot stand the noise the Khakis make but I want to sell the eggs. I will sell some Khakis for Thanksgiving and some Muscovies for Christmas. It seems it will be easier to remove the feathers when they are young. I do not know if I will ever go to Cornwall. I do miss London. If you ever come to San Francisco, let me know. All the sites I read praise the Muscovies. It’s strange how it connects people. It is difficult to travel now with livestock. Thank you.
        Anne

      • Jane Sarchet says

        All the images above are from my flock over the years. I currently have a trio that I’ll take through winter and 10 babies which are destined for xmas pressies in the form of Happy Duck Pie (link below – do try it if you get the chance, it is incredible).

        Having livestock does make it difficult to travel, although I’m lucky enough to have people around me that will happily pick up the slack if we’re going away.

        Are you on Facebook? If so, come and say Hi on our page and share photo’s of your birds there – there are lots of other crazy Muscovy lovers on there too! https://www.facebook.com/Hedgecombers?ref=hl

        http://hedgecombers.com/2009/08/10/happy-duck-pie/

      • Anne Lovejoy says

        Thank you so much. It’s amazing the ducks took to the ducklings instantly. The females mother them. They are really good mothers. I am going to raise my new 25 chicks with the ducks. Muscovy ducklings took to water puddles around tubs and pool just like they had done it all their lives. Of course the Khakis ran all over and squeaked before they settled down. It’s reaching freezing point every night. A little ice on the roof. So I left the light on for the ducklings, especially Khakis.(they had to be caught). Muscovies were easier. After I took leaders in , I shooed the rest and they went in as a group. Only adults are more difficult. So I didn’t close the door. I want to see if they would join the rest.

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Brilliant, so glad it went well! How lovely that the females felt maternal towards them :)
        Janie x

      • anne lovejoy says

        The muscovy ducklings are so wise. They go into the pen every night, The Khakis just want to freeze outside. I know the ducks are fine. When do the ducks lay eggs? I have been looking at the boxes everyday.

        Anne

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Marty, a related male & female will live quite happily together, but they will mate. So I guess it depends on what your future plans are for them.
      If you want breed them to have a continuous line, then it’s not ideal. However, if you just want to keep a pair for fun and the occasional eggs then I see no harm in keeping siblings together.
      I’m pretty sure that in nature sibling ducks mate, so it’s not the end of the of they mate & even hatch young out but in an ideal world if you wanted to rear young, you’d swap one of the birds with another breeder to clean up the bloodlines.
      I hope that helps
      Janie x

  66. Angelique Visser says

    Hi, I have a male mascovy duck. He somehow landed in our pool when he was about 2 weeks old. We have no clue where he came from as we only have egyptian geese near by and nothing can get in or out of our yard except flying birds.. I raised him indoors and he was the cutest thing ever. He is now 6 months old but very aggresive. He loves our one dog but hates the jack russell, he constantly attacks her. He is so bad he even attacks ur daily now. I dont want to get rid of him as he is my baby boy and we love him to bits. Ive considered getting him a mate to try and calm him. Will that help? Any other advise on what to do?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Sadly Angelique, I know only one way of sorting your problem and it doesn’t end well for your drake.
      When you raise a male in this way, they get too used to humans and as they age they try to control you in the same way they control the females, by dominance.
      If you have a lot of land you may want to try getting him 2 or 3 females, but if he is living in your back garden this won’t stop him. As far as I’m aware your only option is to put him down. If you find this hard to deal with, imagine if he attacked a small child.
      Wish I had better news for you :(
      Janie x
      PS I learnt not to spoil drakes the hard way, I’ve been in the same place as you xx

      • angelique says

        Thanks for your advice,unfortunately he is in our back yard. I cannot have him put down. He is healthy and still a baby.. wont it help if i rather give him to someone who has the land and has other ducks?

      • Jane Sarchet says

        If he was put in an area where he doesn’t get much contact with other humans and he had 2 or 3 females to ‘own’ then he should be less aggressive towards people.
        Good luck finding someone who is happy to take him on xx
        Janie x

  67. Susan says

    I have a Muscovy claw retraction question. Our female is very stressed and “stiff” from laying on the wood floor of her shed instead of her straw / feather nest she made. I stupidly moved it and replaced it with fresh straw and some of her old nest. I’m hoping she will slowly accept the new nest material and remake her nest. In the meantime she seems to need to leave her claws out all the time. Is it to steady herself from being so stiff it’s hard for her to stand? I now know how disturbing it was for her to lose her nest. I so hope that as she regains her strength and trust in her area that her claws will retract! It looks like it makes it harder for her to walk with them out and curling under. Maybe it’s a defensive posture too? Help!!

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Susan, I wish I could help but I’ve never had to deal with a situation like this before, even ducks laying on cold stone or concrete floors don’t have this problem, if you use a vet for your ducks, you may want to get her checked out if she doesn’t look better soon. Good luck x
      Janie x

  68. lola&albert says

    Help. Need advice. Live in South Florida. Urban family neighborhood. There are wild Muscovy ducks living in and around the neighborhood canals about a block away. Have a couple (male & female) who stop by for breakfast each morning… sometimes they come back for a second meal in the later afternoon. Have been feeding them chicken feed. She has laid two eggs in a flower bed just under the living room window. They eat and leave. Should she be sitting on the eggs?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      When she’s ready, she will. Usually there’ll be be 8+ eggs in the nest when she’ll start pulling out her downy belly feathers and padding out the nest with them, then when she feels she has enough eggs in the nest, she’ll sit.
      Good luck!
      Janie x

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Hehe, I’ve so been there! Just remember that in nature a duck is highly unlikely to have every egg in a nest hatch and grow into an adult duck. Keeping that in mind will take the pressure off you guys :)
        Janie x

      • lola&albert says

        Hi, It’s now April 6th and the wild female (Lola) who nested in the flower bed underneath our living room window is STILL sitting on 13 eggs. Since she began to sit around the beginning of March she has pushed 3 eggs out (there was a total of 16). We are growing very concerned. Has this incubation period (longer than 1 month) been too long… or…. not long enough? We have been providing chicken feed and fresh water daily. What do we do if it has been too long and she is still sitting?

  69. michelle says

    Love your website. I am intersted in getting some Muscovies for my ranch….any ideas where in Colorado I can get some?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Michelle, I’m in the UK so no idea I’m afraid. Are you on facebook as there are lots of groups on there with people that keep and sell them.
      Good luck & I hope you find some soon!
      Janie x

  70. janet says

    Hi We have a tame muscovy duck that has nested in our compost loo, in our wood. She is sitting on aboout ten eggs and has been doing so for about 3 weeks. the probably is, she is in the bucket which is very deep i cannot see how the duckings will get out? we do have a secure pen but that has another female and male muscovy in it and a cockeral.

    what should i do will she reject the chicks if i move them, should i move them before they hatch, would the cockeral and male muscovy attack them. i think the cockeral would.

    thanks

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Janet! Not an ideal place to nest, but a Muscovy will only do it her way!
      I think I would wait for the babies to hatch before moving them. The first 2 days they won’t need to eat so on day 2-3 you’ll be able to pick them up, and that’ll give any stragglers a chance to hatch. You will need a secure pen for them, and yes sadly I think your cockerel will attack the babies, although mother duck will try her hardest to guard them.
      Your other option is to set up an incubator, take the eggs off her now and hatch them out yourself.
      Good luck
      Janie x

  71. Brianna says

    We bought three baby ducks at the flea market not knowing their type. It turned out to be two females an one male Muscovy. They are wonderful pets. We named the male duke an he loved to be pet an loved on. Three gradually turned into 20 or so but they just wonder around our yard back an forth from our pond an yard to the neighbors. it is really fun to watch them together. AMAZING pets

  72. Bill says

    Nine days to go for our first time mama to hatch out 17 ducklings. I really don’t expect more than 8 or so to survive. She was sitting on 13 but only at night and she was still laying for four more days until she got into the nest for good. Is that normal? And what about the last four? Will they be able to speed up their development? I envision some eggs that are dead from the spotty sitting and some that won’t hatch out because she will abandon the nest before they are ready.

    I know these are all first time grandparent questions, lol.
    Bill

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Bill, first timers don’t always get it right but I’m sure she’ll give it her best shot!
      A little unsure as to the night time only sitting. If your days are very warm she may be monitoring the temp throughout the day and only sitting at night, but if the days are cold I would take day 1 as the day she sat for 22-23 hours.
      The last 4 won’t be able to ‘speed up’, but don’t be surprised if she hatches 4 days later than you expect :)
      Do enjoy your first babies, however many you get, they are such a joy :)
      Janie x

  73. says

    I have a Muscovy girl “Crackers” who was raised by one of my chickens. She was brought to me as a duckling because her mum had up and left her and my dad thought my daughter would like her. (So thoughtful). When I put her in the chicken coop she made herself a bed in the nesting box. I went out to check her each night and after about a week couldn’t find her anywhere. I noticed a chicken on the ground not on the roost so investigated to find a little head popping out from under the wing. The chook “Lady Cluck” adopted her and fussed over her and kept her under her wing, even when Crackers was bigger than her. We now call her a chuck because she’s not sure if she’s a chicken or a duck. She loves company and Crackers and the chooks all come running to the fence whenever they hear my door open. The assumption is I’ll either feed them or go over and talk to them. Crackers meets me at the gate and waits for a pat with a wag of the tail and “kissing” me gently on the hand. I bought a pekin duck “Dip” hoping they would keep each other company, but they don’t associate much. She went broody about 4 weeks ago and as I have no drake, I was getting worried she might never leave the nest. Today I bought 2 ducklings, a week old and tonight as if by some miracle, her unfertilized chicken egg will turn into 2 baby ducks. Here’s hoping she is as good a mum as her chooky mum.

    By the way, if they go broody, will they stay on the nest or will they eventually give up?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Aww, that’s so cute! Please let me know if she takes her 2 new babies under her wing :)
      Not sure I can categorically answer your question to be honest, as each situation is different. first time Mums obviously don’t really know what hey’re doing so they may sit longer than is good for them. However an experienced Mum will know if her egg isn’t developing and will usually give up sooner than the due date. The concern will always be them losing condition if they sitt for too long.
      Good luck!
      Janie x

  74. says

    Hi. I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I just want to say thank you so much for all the information on Muscovy ducks. I bought two eight week old Muscovies yesterday to go with our currently 11 chickens and 5 chicks (Plymouth Barred Rocks and Orpingtons), 3 sheep and a mischievous Shih Tzu. I am so looking forward to the ducks growing bigger. They are very friendly and I am keeping them separate to our free range chickens for the time being. I am not sure if they are girls or boys as yet but I don’t mind what they are. They are so cute. Thank you once again.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Thank you so much Trish :) Enjoy your ducks while they’re young, they are the absolute cutest aren’t they!
      Janie x

  75. Kim West says

    Hi. I found your website while I was trying to look up info about Muscovies. We have a female mallard (typical brown that the feed store had sexed as a female) that is one year old and our neighbors brought over a wild Muscovy duckling they found in their driveway back in Aug. (so he is 7 months old now). We had been convinced that the Muscovy was a male as he seems very large and brightly colored. We keep them together in a small chicken coop at night and they roam around our suburban yard during the day. About three weeks ago, we started finding an egg each morning in the coop, assuming the mallard was finally laying (we’ve been gathering the eggs daily). We noticed that the Muscovy was occasionally sitting on the nest of swirled straw. But the last couple days he will not leave the nest except just once or twice, like he is brooding! I also think the little white fluffy feathers in the nest might be his. Do you suppose “he” is actually a female and is the one laying eggs? They act like they are mating sometimes when they are in the kiddy pool (actually the mallard sits on top of the Muscovy) and the Muscovy will sometimes chase the mallard around the with his feathers all fluffed up. The Muscovy has become more vocal lately with more funny babyish peeping sounds; I’ve never heard him hiss. What do you think??

    • Jane Sarchet says

      If ‘his’ face is dulling to an orangey colour and ”he’ has started squeaking, it sounds to me like you have a lady Muscovy :)
      They are much bigger than Mallards, so can understand the confusion!
      Janie x

      • Kim West says

        Thanks. Well I think so. “He” has insisted on sitting on the nest for 3 or 4 days now (with no eggs), leaving only once to eat and such; there’s more little white feathers in the nest; and peeps when anyone comes near. However, there are no eggs as we had gathered them as she laid them. Will she ever figure out that there is nothing there to sit on? Will she start laying again? We are very puzzled, and added to that I am wondering why our mallard has never laid any eggs (being a year old). By the way, we also have a Bobwhite quail.

        It all started as a science experiment with my kids–we tried hatching some quail eggs; only one hatched. We were at the feed store when the quail (Pebble) was a month old and saw very cute ducklings and got one (Sandy) to be “his” friend (the quail has laid a few eggs since, so I guess she is a girl too!). They are best buddies. And then our neighbors, knowing we had a duck, brought us the lost Muscovy duckling (Rocky). We also have a large Australian Shepherd (Patches) who is very tame toward them all. They are all very friendly and extremely fun and entertaining pets.

  76. RaeLee says

    I just bought a pair of Muscovy ducks but neither of them have the red on their face. Does this mean I bought two females?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi RaeLee.
      The females have red on their faces too, so if they are Muscovies they are just young. It’ll ‘grow’ as they get older.
      Janie x

      • says

        We just bought 5 Muscovy ducks, they are just starting to get their pin feathers, what temperature should they be at. Right now it is raining and it’s 60 degrees out. I was wondering how long they should be with a heat light?

        Karen

  77. Sarah Cooper says

    I have a pair of Muscovy, raised them from birth. They are really a beautiful couple and I adore them. They started mating quite early on. The environement we have them is beautiful. They have there own dam and come in at night to soft beds and a nice meal. The female has not laid one egg yet. I have followed her to see if she is laying eggs in the bush but can’t find any. Is there any reason for her not laying eggs? I am wondering if this could be the result of inner breeding as I believe they may be from the same mother and father.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      If they hatched together, chances are they are siblings. Could just be that she isn’t old enough yet, how old are they Sarah and are you in the north or south hemisphere?
      Janie x

  78. Pam Hale says

    Hi, I have a Muscovy duck sitting on 19 eggs. The male got hit by a car and died this morning. Should I replace with another male or will she be okay. She has been sitting for 2 weeks.. Thanks

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Aww, I’m so sorry to hear that Pam.
      As far as the babies are concerned, he has done his bit so to speak, and mamma can take it from here. You may want to be a little more vigilant with predators if they are free range as he would have been their first line of defence (but don’t try moving mamma & eggs as she’ll probably abandon them.)
      Good luck.
      Janie x

  79. Jacinta says

    Hi, I found your blog when researching Muscovy ducks. We are getting three muscovy ducklings today and I was wondering if it would be safe to put them in with our chickens. Will the chickens hurt the ducklings?

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Jacinta, if thehens are fully grown I would avoid mixing them until the ducklings are fully grown. If you can house them near each other they’ll soon get used to each other, but the littlies are likely to get hurt by the hens.
      Good luck!
      Janie x

  80. says

    We had one of our small white females sitting on her nest on the deck and hatched 3 the other day…well she took them off the deck and the little ones could not get back up the stairs so we moved the nest and now the MOM will not sit on the remaining eggs… We then moved the nest to the other duck pen with the males and they simply attacked her. The next morning all 3 babies were gone without a trace and the mom was just standing there….Will the males get aggressive and harm the young babies? There is the possible chance a predator got them cat , possum etc but there is simply no sign of any of the 3 only crushed egg shells

  81. Lisa says

    I got my first Muscovies last summer as day olds. Ended up with one drake, three hens. Perfect. This spring all 3 hens laid nice clutches of eggs. Miss Maggie hatched 12 out of 13 about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Miss May hatched 20 out of 20 ( I thought she had 17 & didn’t expect them all to go; boy was I surprised) 4 days ago and Miss Marcy hatched 8 out of 13 yesterday. Needless to say I have to be careful where I walk! It is amazing to see them out on their excursions as I have only ever brooder raised all my other poultry

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Oh my! You’ve got your hands full Lisa!

      Aren’t they just the prettiest little babies? I’ve just had my first clutch of the year hatch – and I have at least 2 more girls sitting. Suck time wasters!

      Good luck & enjoy them :)

      Janie x

  82. Chicken Kev says

    Hi
    One of our muscovy hens is currently sitting on a number of plastic eggs and I have now bought some fertile (hopefully) eggs to go under her, but she hasnt been off the nest for two days and I wondered whether best to wait til she gets up to feed to remove the dud ones or can I move her or try to pick them from under her – albeit that they are visciously protective and I’d need a shield as well….
    Any thoughts?
    Kevin

  83. Ian says

    My young girl has laid 8 eggs and has been sitting for the last month or so. we have one healthy chick hatched but she has removed the rest of the egg from the nest leaving 2 eggs unhatched. the eggs that were removed had dead chicks in them. what are we doing wrong? any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Ian, you are probably doing nothing wrong. If it is her first time she may be making it up as she goes along. Give her another chance and if she can’t manage to hatch out a better number you may want to think about replacing her (I’ve never had a girl not get it right second time around)
      Good luck!
      Janie x

  84. Amax says

    Hi there

    I recently acquired a breeding pair of muscovies and 6 ducklings. Male breeder is the father of the ducklings but the female is not the mother, although she took them under her wing immediately and looked after them from little. Male breeder is a big boy but the female breeder is tiny, much smaller than even the smallest duckling now. Actually the ducklings are adults now (14-16 weeks?)

    I have given the Ducklings extra time and am now preparing to dispatch them. I have several questions that I need answering.

    I do not know how old the breeding pair are. I was told that they could be about 2 years old, but the person I got them from was unsure and got them from someone else and consequently it is like chinese wispers I am afraid. Is there anyway of guesstimating their age?

    Second question. I think that I have 3 males and 3 females. two of the females are bigger than the other though but smaller than the 3 definite males. Could the 2 big females be males?
    I am planning to slaughter the males and keep the 3 females as layers but obviously I don’t want to slaughter the males if I should be keeping one of the males to either replace the male breeder that I already have or keep him along side the male breeder. I know that this is probably not a good idea and really should only have one male. If it is not a good idea to keep two males, should I keep the original male or one of his male offspring?

    I can send photos of the ducks if this helps?

    Thanks so much for your help

    Amax

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Amax, if you are keeping them altogether, definitely only keep one male. In an ideal world you’d change your male every 2 or 3 years to keep the bloodlines clear and to avoid too much inbreeding. As for whihc boy you keep, that’s entirely up to you. They are both related to your females so neither are 100% ideal but you will be able to breed successfully from either.
      Good luck!
      Janie x

  85. J.R. says

    Hello,

    This is a wonderfully informative site. A quick question – hoping you can offer some advice. We have a pair of Muscovy ducklings, about 3 weeks old, doing well, living indoors in a large dog pen under a heat lamp. Brought home another newly-hatched pair and unfortunately one died on the way home. We’re wondering if we can place the single newly-hatched duckling with the older two, or will they attack him? Thinking I can introduce them and see what happens, but would be very grateful for any advice.

    With thanks.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi JR, so sorry for the delay in responding, your email got siphoned off into a spam folder.
      I’m sure you’ve already sussed it, but yes, the sooner they are in together the better, you might get some bullying but the younger they are the less bullying there seems to be.
      Good luck
      Janie x

      • J.R. says

        Thank-you, Janie. Yes, I did decide to try the new little one with the bigger pair, and it was just as you say – there was a little bullying from one of the bigger ones, but within the day they were all curled-up together and are now doing fine. Thank-you so much for your reply. It’s very reassuring knowing there’s folks out there that have been through duck-stuff before! Cheers. :)

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Aww, that’s great to hear JR. So pleased it went well :)
        Good luck with them, and enjoy they whilst they’re little!
        Janie x

  86. Pamela Hale says

    Hi, I have a problem. I have a female muscovy and she sat on 19 eggs. They never hatched but I think it was because the male was not a muscovy..He died so when the nest was broken up,a week later I bought a male and a female muscovy {hatched at the same time}.. they are about 4 months old. My duck is chasing the female i bought all over the place and nipping at her.. sometimes she does the male ,too. I have had them for 5 days hoping they wood take up together but now I am worried. They are not penned up and can move freely.. I always thought females would get along but not males.. Any ideas why she is acting like this, and should I get rid of the 2 I bought or wait for a few more days..

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Pamela, when did she come off the eggs? If she is still broody she’l be grumpy with everyone around her (especially if she can’t find her ‘babies’).
      However, if that was a while ago then she’s quite probably just trying to assert her dominance as ‘top dog’ and ensure she’s top of the pecking order.
      They’re not guaranteed to get on, but chances are they’ll settle down soon(ish!)
      Good luck!
      Janie x

      • Pamela Hale says

        Hi, I broke up the nest about 2 weeks ago and turned the new ducks loose 5 days ago.. I do keep those 2 up at night and turn them loose during the day hoping they will get used to each other..

      • Jane Sarchet says

        She might still have some hormones left, or she might just be grumpy! Is there any way you can separate them completely for a couple of weeks, but so they can still see each other? She needs friends & a partner if you want to breed them so it’s i her interest if you can manage it.
        Janie x

  87. Adam says

    Hi,

    Quick question. When your female is sitting on her eggs, do you seperate her and the eggs from the Drake? And when is it safe to reintroduce them?

    Love the site,
    Thanks.
    Adam

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Adam, thanks for popping by!
      My ducks are all free range, they live on an island and can suit themselves so my drake does have access to the eggs but leaves well alone :)
      If they were in a run, I would probably separate the first clutch from him & slowly let him near them & watch how he reacts to them. If he shows aggression, remove them completely.
      Hope that helps!
      Janie x

  88. Colleen from Victoria says

    hello
    I have two year old Muscovy Ducks. One male and one female. She has been laying and we decided to let her sit on a clutch that she has made (about 6 eggs), to see if any will hatch. Unfortunately, for the last three nights, when I let them out of their house, one of the eggs has been smashed and possibly eaten. She is somewhat Broody but does not stay on all day. She had laid another one each night to replace, so we still end up with 6.

    The question, is the male breaking the eggs? Or is she? He has taken to sitting at our front door on the porch (like a dog) in the evenings and I have had a devil of a time trying to coax him to get him into the duck house. Is he avoiding roosting with the female? Unfortunately I cannot let him stay out at night as we have racoons in our area.

    Also, she is looking somewhat ragged on the top and I wonder if he is hurting her? We have taken to calling him Heff after Hugh Heffner if you get my drift and I wonder if the feathers on her back are suffering?
    thanks

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Colleen, if she is still laying an egg every day then she’s not fully broody yet. When she stops laying and only comes off the nest once or twice a day then she has started to incubate them.
      No clue who is breaking the eggs, someone else in these comments saw her lady eating eggs, but I’ve never seen it. If she is older & if there isn’t enough calcium in her diet then the shells will be thin and are more likely to break when she stands on them to lay. We have had rats, crows and badgers take eggs from the nest before so could some predator be getting in to her nest box?
      And yes, the ragged feathers on her back suggest that Heff isn’t having his wicked way with her :) Although, if you want ducklings, this is a good thing ;)
      Good luck with them

  89. morgan says

    hi we have just been given 4 Muscovy ducks .never had a clue on how to care for them thanks to you i now have a better idea .we live in an awesome country called New Zealand .we are blessed as the ducks have no predators so they have 45 acres to roam in. just dug a 2 meter square hole put a swimming pool in it now they are happy thanks to you.my mokopuna(grandchildren) called one of them elvis you can imagine why .so thank you once again

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Morgan, thanks so much for the lovely message – you’ve made my day :)
      Not only am I jealous your birds have no predators, I’m jealous you’re in NZ! I spent several months there in my backpacking days and its the one country I would move to in a heartbeat.
      Enjoy Elvis and his concubines :)
      Janie x

  90. Anthony Nicholls says

    Gidday,
    We inherited a group of 10 muscovies when we bought our property in New Zealand. We were told that the whole lot of them originated from a brother and sister (yucky i know) breeding pair. We estimate they are about 2nd or 3rd generation and the original Drake has been doing most of the breeding with the younger females. We have lost quite a few ducklings to rats and stoats and were wondering if the ducks are getting weaker as they continue to cross breed ?
    They are free ranging but we also feed them daily wheat.
    Appreciate your advice

    Anthony x

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hey Anthony, in a perfect world you’d only breed from unrelated birds, but if you think about birds in their natural environment there will be plenty of inbreeding. It is a possibility that they will be getting weaker as time goes on & it would be good practice to get a new drake some time soon. However, rats and stoats are both deadly predators and once they get a taste for your youngsters, they will keep going back for more until they are all gone or to big to attack. No amount of pure breeding will help I’m afraid. The only way to protect the young is to either rid yourself of the predators or to raise them indoors.
      Hope that helps!
      Janie x

      • Anthony Nicholls says

        Gidday Janie.
        Thank you for your reply. We have begun a trapping regime and have managed to catch one ugly rat so far and are continuing the offensive ! We’ll be a bit more on to it with the next lot. We will definitely look at conscripting a couple more drakes. It’ll do the dirty old bugger good to have some competition ! haha,
        Thanks again mate,

        Anthony x

      • Jane Sarchet says

        Excellent, good luck ridding yourself of the rats Anthony. They are nasty little things and will take eggs and youngsters :(
        Janie x

  91. Pam says

    Hello, We accepted two muscovy ducklings from someone my husband works with a few months ago. We already have 10 other ducks (Pekins, Swedes, Runners, and Rouens) and the muscovy babies picked the Pekins to hang out with as they grew older. There was one female and one male, Moe & Jo. We let them free range over about 2.5 acres that has a large pond and the area is entirely fenced; however, yesterday morning I notice the female Muscovy, Jo, was gone. I’m hoping she flew off somewhere and will return. I have searched the entire area and find no evidence of misdeeds (no pile of feathers, no pieces of duck), she just vanished. Moe is distraught and has been looking for his girl all over. I guess they’d be about 3-4 months old now. Is that about the right age that they would begin to fly? We have neighbors in the area with ponds and I’ve even checked those for Jo but so far nothing.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Oh bless you Pam. 3-4 months sounds a little young to be flying already, but it is possible. It also sounds too young for her to have laid a nest and gone broody. Fingers crossed she turns up healthy and well soon.
      Janie x

  92. says

    My wife didn’t want ducks but after getting two, male and female building the house for them and pond she has changed her mind. They do like to come into the house if your not looking lol and sometimes leave a calling card, thank goodness for wooden floors. Mine are only around 3 months old but enjoy the garden and even put themselves to bed so around 7pm I lock their door and they are so chilled that by 6am when I open the door they typically stay In for 30 mins before running around the garden and off for a dip. 2 questions roughly when do they start laying? And will they lay in the autumn? Thanks

    • Jane Sarchet says

      Hi Steve, laying starts around the 6 month mark but it can depend on what time of year they hatched (as they don’t tend to lay during the winter)
      Autumn, probably but not if they are still young, you’ll be more likely to see your first eggs early next spring.
      Good luck!
      Janie x

      • says

        Thanks for the info. I was kinda expecting that but can’t wait to have a few little ones around to take advantage of the duckopolise I have built (needs some finishing touches to look tidy). I have been offered a young female yesterday from a friend of a friend so that could be fun and help the bloodline out. Have you experienced sulking ducks? Mine wouldn’t come to eat from me (the kids and wife were fine to hand feed them) after cutting their feathers. This lasted a full day lol bless em. I’m hoping that when they grow back they can fly around but will want to return to the garden. Is this right or wishful thinking?

  93. Rodney Hueb says

    I’ve found in our neighborhood park a very young duckling ( 1-2 days old my guess) and no parents in site. Normally even young ducklings are impossible to catch but this one would run a bit and fall, run more and fall,.. I couldn’t just leave him(her) in the park , on the ground, to be eaten by ants. I’ve taken it home and placed in a box with bedding, I have never raised a duck before. I do not want to keep as a pet, I would like for it to be old enough at least have a chance for survival when released. I know better than to interfere with nature, but I couldn’t just walk away from this one. Your experienced advise would be greatly appreciated on what I should do to help this poor little fellow.

    • Jane Sarchet says

      OK, depending where you are in the world the first thing to do is give the little one heat. Mamma duck would sit on her brood to give that heat, your options include finding a broody chicken/duck and sneaking the duckling in underneath her & hoping she accepts it, or you can use a heat lamp to do the same.
      As for feed, an unmedicated chicken feed will probably be the easiest to find, or if you are in the city, ask for advice in a local pet shop.
      And it’ll also need constant access to clean water deep enough for it to get its eyes & nostrils under.
      Hope that helps & shout if you have any other questions
      Janie x

      • Rodney Hueb says

        Thanks so much so your response. I guess my main concern now if all goes well with raising the bird, how do I determine the time to release him back to the park pond? I have read many discussions on this board about the careful balance between raising and releasing back to the wild and the human bonding issue. This many times does not work out so well from what I’ve read . I have to handle the bird to clean the box, and will need to continue this for quite a while. The bird is s-o-o-o tiny. , and when he grows up, I want him to think he is a duck , not a person. He is being raised alone as the hand nature dealt him decided. . Thanks again..

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