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?

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.




Pickled Quail Eggs

Well I made my first attempt at pickling quail eggs a couple of months ago and we finally decided to open a jar and check them out.

The overall vote at 100% was they were delicious! They were on the sweet side so next time I will add in a jalapeno. I had never even tried any pickled eggs in the past and for sure never canned them, so I was very happy with outcome. We had to do something with all the extra quail eggs that we have around here.

What is your experience with pickled quail eggs?

Deviled Quail Eggs

We had a family reunion today and so I decided to do something a little different. I had lots of extra quail eggs since I have shut the incubator down for a while so I decided on Deviled Quail Eggs. The hardest part of making them is getting the shell of the eggs and after that its super easy. You get an awesome reaction out of adults and children.