We just ordered 8 Muscovy ducklings to arrive late May...wondering if there are any Muscovy keepers here with any tips for these poultry specifically?
We're going to give them about 12'x24' run with a very simple coop...planning to use pvc hoops to create a netting-covered run...with a small pond or kiddie swimming pool. We'll use straw as needed to mulch the ground.
Planning to cull most of the drakes once they get big. Hoping to end up with 4-5 ducks and 1 drake, to lay 3-4 eggs a day.
I'd love to be in touch with other Muscovy keepers to trade ducklings, tips, etc!
Congratulations! It is so nice to find other Muscovy owners around.
We actually found our Muscovies to be very different from our other ducks. They don't foul up their water NEARLY as much as our other ducks do, the ducks are sweet and have the softest calls and songs, and the drakes are very mellow and make a hissing sound rather than quacking (genetically they are different than all the descendants of Mallards). We also have Blue Swedes, Khakis, Runner ducks, and a Buff as well as our Muscovies.
We used a small kiddie pool to great success, and found that they will muddy the water over time, so we rinse it out about once a week or so to keep it fresh. We also now use a Cement/Mortar mixing bucket from Home Depot, as it is more stable than a kiddie pool, lasts longer, and is easier to dump and clean when needed.
The muscovies don't wash their food in the water as much as our other ducks do. Our Mallard descendants could foul 50 gallons of water in 3 hours flat. They (the Mallards) have the capacity to make a huge mess in very short order. In our experience the Muscovy ducks also don't dig holes in damp/wet ground like the Mallards do.
If you decide to build a pond, you will still need to build a really good filter system with it. I think a small pool in a run for the ducks you are planning on should be just fine. Do think about where you want the water to drain to when you clean out their pool. 4-5 ducks in an are the size you are looking at building should be fairly easy to keep clean. The NM sun will keep your feces fairly well baked in the summer, and frozen in the winter, so the biggest problem may be in spring and fall when the temperatures are milder. When you do dump your pool/pond, move it to a new location in the pen so you don't develop a swampy area. The damper ground will attract earthworms, etc. which the ducks will love to look for.
Muscovy ducks are also more seasonal in their egg-laying as they have not had generations of targeted breeding for egg laying that other ducks have. Make sure you give the girls a good hiding place when they get old enough to lay eggs. Ours have been enjoying a 55 gallon plastic drum split in half (and they have started to sit on nests).
What color ducks are you getting? We currently have white, and are getting some colored ducklings in the next month or two. We would love to adopt a drake (if you have an extra) to diversify our own flock genetics in the future.
Thanks to Whitney and Chicken Girl for your feedback! I really appreciate hearing local experience. We have such a unique climate here that makes advice from colder/wetter/greener places not quite as helpful.
Sounds like the kiddie pool will probably work for awhile, as we explore the idea of a functioning pool. The only thing is the run may be moved eventually. We're in the initial stages of turning our bare dirt yard into a permaculture urban garden, so the final position and relationship of the run to fruit trees, garden, etc, is still being explored. Ideally the duck water would drain into the mulch basins of the orchard trees, watering and fertilizing a bit at the same time. It would be so cool to have a pond that also served a decorative function for the backyard/hangout area as well!
Chicken Girl, we ordered a mixed batch of 6 "rare" Muscovys and 2 additional white from Country Hatchery in OK. The "rare" will be a mix of black/white, blue/white, and chocolate. I really like the different chocolate ones I've seen online so I'm hoping we get some of those. I would also like to exchange with others to expand genetic diversity so lets stay in touch. We get the ducklings in late May, so they probably won't be laying until fall. But if we have too many drakes this summer I will let you know. Where are you getting your ducklings from?
From a woman in Ohio, who has a number of colored Muscovies. So excited!
Howdy all. Glad I happened to see this thread. My wife and I have a smallish (1/4 acre) home/rehab project down in the south valley. It was bare when we moved in, but we are slowly but surely trying to build a nice sustainable/permaculture garden area. As part of that effort, we purchased 4 muscovy ducklings locally about a year ago in hopes of getting 2 males/2 females or possibly 1 male/3 females. Naturally, we ended up with 3 males and one female...lol. So, we are looking to trade 2 young adult males for 2 young adult females if anyone has any.
As to some of the other comments concerning muscovies, we have found them to be quite quiet and calm poultry. We are currently using a cement mixing "tray' for their water needs, and it is ok for now. We have been considering building a small pond of some sort for them, but that is still in the planning stages. Fortunately, they do not seem to need the same amount of water as other ducks. Also, since my wife and I are retired and living on a small fixed income, the pond project is likely to be awhile in the future. We laughingly call our place shoestring farm...lol.
Hi Michael -
We'll be getting our ducks in a few weeks, so nothing to trade right now. Good to hear about other permaculture / duck owners! We are coming to the south valley some Saturdays for a permaculture class and it would be fun to stop by and see your work in progress. If you are open to visitors let me know and we can set up a time!
JUNE 2014 UPDATE:
We got 8 ducklings by mail last May 2013, and 6 survived. I think the two died from coccidiosis. Make sure to keep their bedding and water clean to avoid this! I also think we kept them in a small brooder tub too long. They could have gone outside earlier.
We ended up with 2 males and 4 females. One female started laying around Thanksgiving, then sporadically in the winter. All the females started laying this spring, I forget exactly when but I think in March. We culled one male around then too, as the two males were harassing each other a lot.
2 of our females got broody in late May and made a shared nest, which they brooded on together very peaceably. They would take turns leaving the next and eating, bathing. We let them keep a total of 10 Muscovy eggs and added 6 Ancona eggs from another person we met here on dukecityfix.
The eggs are hatching right now, so far we have 6 plus one that we helped hatch out. I wouldn't recommend it as when we tried to put the just hatched duckling back in the nest the mothers rejected it. We've set up a brooder box for that one and hope to add it back in once it dries off and revives. Several other eggs are about to hatch it seems.
We will have extra Muscovy ducklings to sell as we don't need this many. Contact me if you are interested. We've really enjoyed the Muscovies personalities. They run around our backyard, don't need extensive care, just refilling food and water as needed. We use a kiddie pool which we change once a week for their baths. They enjoy extra greens and watermelon as supplements to their layer pellets.