Muscovy Ducks

Did you know they are the only duck not derived from the Mallard Duck?

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 ! 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 bloodshed – 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 and 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.

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.

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 tenderize 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.

Interested in hatching some of your own?

Trying to cope

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia back in 2010 at the age of 30. I have had my ups and downs every since. It has been extremely difficult for me since I was so used to being active and doing most things on my own. Fibro has slowed me down and even stopped me at times. I fight it constantly and even been put on medicine for it. The problem with the medicine is that the side effects caused me more problems, so I got off of everything. I use a Doterra oil mix to help with some of the pain.

I hate that I can’t plan days of activities as I never know when I will be down because of a flare up. I feel like I am letting my husband down because when we got married I was healthy as a horse and no issues. We can’t do the things we used to do and it depresses me. He is amazing and support of it all but it doesn’t stop me from feeling so useless at times. He also has to be super careful with me at times because when I am in a flare up, my body aches so bad that I can’t handle a simple touch.

I hate that I can’t go play with my kids the way I should. I am always too tired and it kills me knowing they just want some of my time also. I am forcing myself to work a full time job and by the time I get home there is just nothing left of me. I absolutely hate it, but there seems to be nothing I can do at this time.

If I am active one day then I end up paying for it the next time and then of course this time of year the weather makes it worse. Yesterday, I spent the day on the couch in my pajamas because on Saturday I chose to take my youngest daughter to a rabbit show. So on Sunday, I couldn’t hardly stand because my legs hurt so bad and were weak. I also had chest pains and stomach cramped. Of course being a female I have to also deal with monthly cycles which fibro makes 100% worse. Fibro has a way of making normal aches and pains double and sometimes even triple at times.

Today my body is screaming at me and my legs are hot and painful. My joints are swelled up and aching. My stomach is bloated and cramping every time I so much as move, but I am at work. Why??? Trust me it’s not because I want to be. I have no choice but to force my body to continue to push through. We can’t afford for me to stay home where when I have days like this, then I can rest like my body needs. I can’t find a remote online job so I am forced to drive over an hour one way just to get to a job.

I ask myself all the time – WHAT CAN I DO??. I hate being stuck, I hate being forced, I hate to hurt so bad I want to bawl, I hate being so young and disabled. I just want to scream and shout how it is so unfair!! I look normal yet I am in so much pain I can barely paste a smile on my face. I have worked so hard to get where I am now but I am stuck! I can’t afford to quit but then again I don’t know how long my body will hold up to being forced to fight. It’s an emotional roller coaster that is very depressing. I don’t think I can get on disability and I don’t mind working but I am becoming limited.

I know others have it worse and I know I am blessed with what I do have but I have no clue how much more I can handle pushing myself. I have always considered myself to be a strong individual but sure not feeling it lately. I just wish I knew what it is I am supposed to be doing.

What do you do when you get to this point? I hate being a downer and do my best to be positive but I am wore out!


I blinked!

Wow! It’s hard to believe that we are already flying through February. We have all currently been fighting the flu but so thankful that maybe we can get all sickness over and done with before we start our lambing season. The ewes are getting bigger and bagging up. After last year’s rough lambing year we are hoping for a reprieve this year.

We did get a surprise batch of puppies out of our rescue LGD, not sure what she managed to get bred by but she had 4 big healthy pups. Two girls and two boys, of which we plan to keep both females to add to our LGD pack. We was shocked she had puppies because she is so old we didn’t think she was able too.

We have also cranked the incubators back up. Currently have test eggs which consist of Sebbie geese eggs, snowflake quail and butler quail. We have decided that if our Cornish chickens don’t start laying within the next month then they are all going to freezer camp. Sometimes you have to step back and decide which benefit you and the farm and not just a money pit and lost cause.

So as we prepare to head to our first rabbit show of the year 2018 this year we are also having to consider thinning the herd down. Hope everyone has a great rest of FEB.