Hey everyone! Q is for Quack, quack, quack! Anyone have ducks? How about Muscovy ducks? I LOVE Muscovies! I'll share some pictures and info on this awesome breed of duck. :D First of all, those red growths on their faces (as seen in the picture above) are called caruncles. The drakes (males) have more caruncles than the hens (females) and they also have a small crest of feathers on their heads (in the picture above he has his about half raised).
Domestic Muscovies come in all sorts of cool colors, as you'll see from all of the photos. In the wild they are blackish with large white wing patches. The wild Muscovies are native to Mexico and South America. Although they come from a warm climate, they adjust really well to colder weather. Even when it's below zero outside you'll find my Muscovies huddled around the pond. They even play in the water when it's that cold and don't even seen to notice the temperature!
This young Muscovy has not grown a full face of caruncles yet.
Muscovies are large ducks. The males can weigh up to eighteen pounds! Females are about half their size. They can have up to a 54-60 inch wingspan too. They also have very sharp claws and strong legs and wings so it's not a bird you want to mess with when they are scared or angry.
One thing that makes Muscovies popular is because they are quiet! They do not have the loud quack that most ducks do. The males make a low breathy call and the females a quiet trilling coo. Another benefit is that they like to eat flies. :D I have sat and watched ducklings catch and eat so many house flies that they could barely walk!!! Their diet in the wild consists of the roots, stems, leaves and seeds of aquatic and terrestrial plants, including agricultural crops, as well as small fish, reptiles, crustaceans, insects, millipedes and termites. I provide my ducks with free choice duck pellets, but most of their diet in the summer consists of things they forage for on their own. :)
A couple of interesting facts about Muscovies are that they have claws on their feet and sometimes roost in trees at night and they don't have to have a pond! Regarding roosting, mine prefer to sleep on the water or huddled up next to the water. Regarding the pond, most Muscovies love having a pond, but it's not necessary as long as they have a deep bucket for their drinking water source (as opposed to the shallower ones that chickens drink out of) to stay clean. If you want Muscovies and don't have a pond, but want to provide something for them to play and bathe in, just get a kiddie pool!! Mine love them and I even have a pond lol!
Well that's all I can think of from the top of my head, but I have a few more pictures. I hope you've enjoyed learning more about these fun ducks.
This beautiful girl is one of my hens that is setting on eggs right now!!
Speaking of eggs, I almost forgot to mention they make great mothers!!! My Muscovies hatch out their own babies and completely take care of them by themselves (other than the feed I provide)!! Some of mine have raised as many as 14 ducklings! Obviously not all of them survive because mine are free range and the predators will get them, but they still do a great job. :)
Also their eggs are yummy! They are bigger than chicken eggs, the yolks are thicker and they are richer, but they are very good to eat! :D