This is the first in a series of blogs featuring all the animals who live here at The Ranch Menagerie. Muscovy Ducks are first because at The Ranch they outnumber everybody.
Muscovy’s are a large breed of duck and they are much quieter than many other types of duck. They are easily distinguished from other breeds by their faces which are featherless, bright red, flashy and carnunculated (lumpy). The drakes, when alarmed, excited or angry, will erect the feathers on the top of their heads.
Although they are often raised for their meat and their eggs, Muscovy’s are very often feral. They often settle in parks or around private ponds. They’re fast breeders. When they find a place they like, they’ll stay and their population will quickly grow. Unfortunately some cities still round feral ducks up and exterminate them.
Our Muscovy’s are protected and free-range. They really help control flies and all sorts of other insects. They’re quiet enough to be raised and kept in backyard farms, but if you’ve never kept ducks before be sure and do some research first. Ducks — all ducks — can be very messy, especially when kept in a small area. Muscovy ducks are fine if they don’t have a pond. They are fond of puddles and are very happy with a small wading pool.
Although I try to collect as many eggs as I can, Muscovy’s are very good at hiding their nests. This spring alone our Muscovy’s have hatched more than 30 ducklings.
They start out small and yellow, but ducklings grow up quickly. For the first few weeks of their lives, Muscovy duckling feed on grains, corn, grass, insects, and almost anything that moves. Their mother instructs them at an early age how to feed.
Muscovy’s make very good parents. They’re friendly and seem to get along well with just about every species here at The Ranch. They’re protective of their nests, but never attack people (the way many geese will). These ducks can get a little loud when they’re mating, or fighting about mating. Otherwise, most of the time Muscovy’s are just one big happy family.
It’s very lucky for the Muscovy’s at The Ranch Menagerie Animal Sanctuary that they live on a no-kill facility. Muscovy meat is very popular.
Still, as a birth-control method we do collect Muscovy eggs. The eggs can be used exactly like chicken eggs. They have a good flavor and a slightly firmer texture when cooked. We do sell the eggs when we can, so send an email if you’d like to try Muscovy eggs.
Muscovy ducks are a sturdy, self-sufficient breed, but we supplement their insect-filled diet with duck feed, cracked corn, and leafy vegetables.
If you’d like to help us keep our Muscovy ducks happy, healthy and well fed, please donate today.