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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Muscovy Duck breeding

I am putting in pictures of my Muscovy ducklings to show how they grow.  I want to note that most of what I have read about raising ducks is not really necessary and makes a lot of work for the owners.  Bleaching bowls, changing bedding if it's wet, etc all made no sense to me.  Ducks live in ponds and no one changes the bedding when it rains.  My Muscovies would roost in trees if I didn't clip their wings.  I wash out the bowls when they look nasty.  I add bedding when it looks nasty.  My ducklings (Pekins, Rouans) when I purchased them were put in enclosures at 60 to 70 degrees.  I did not have the facilities for warmer.  They all did just fine.  The ducklings my hen hatched this year have been cared for her.  I figure the duck knows more than I do about baby ducks.  In the winter, my ducks had a freezer for shelter during the day and heat only when the temperature dropped below zero.  

The one thing I did have to deal with is predators.  Since I clipped the wings on my birds, they depend on me to protect them.  In the past, the single most cause of duck loss for me was the neighbor's dog.  They now have covered pens that they go in at night and the losses have gone down dramatically.

We did butcher four this AM and will do four more tomorrow.  We don't have the facilities for keeping 16 ducks.  The babies that hatched were always destined for the freezer.  I wanted to know what the ducklings looked like as they got older. We started with adults, so I had no idea about the color changes as the Muscovies grew up.  We ended up keeping one of the new males and getting rid of the older one.  He was getting mean and beating up some of the females.  Perhaps a younger male will not be so inclined.  We hope not anyway.

Next year, if we let the hens brood, we will have to modify how they are caged and dealt with.  We need more free-ranging during the day, for one thing.  Otherwise, the growing ducks eat and eat.  We went through 40 lbs of duck food in no time feeding them.

Here are the photos I promised—a day late!

May 17, 2015  one day old

May 23, 2015

May 27, 2015

June 6, 2015

June 12, 2015

June 16, 2015

June 22, 2015

June 27, 2015
Mother duck and largest drake from the hatch July 2, 2015

July 10, 2015

July 23, 2105

July 23  Late hatch I took into the house originally