The Chocolate Muscovy Ducks will start sitting around April with May hatchings if you are interested in these birds please call or email us to register your interest. We also have Aylesbury Ducks, Sebastopol Geese, pure Suffolk ram lambs and Oxford Sandy and Black weaners for sale from time to time. Please call for details.
In my opinion, this duck appears to be rather unique. Unlike other ducks, which originated from the wild Mallard, the Muscovy comes from the Wild musk duck which is found in the warmer regions of South America such a Paraguay and French Guiana. Earlier writers such as Caius and Willoughby mention this duck by the name of Turkish and Brazilian duck respectively. But many other names have also been used. The “Musk Duck” may have been one of its names and gradually that became “Muscovy”. Possibly the name came from the odour of the skin of the birds. The fact that the Muscovy does not appear to interbreed freely with other species of duck would also confirm that this duck is from a separate race. Some writers have stated that the Muscovy should be really classified as a goose rather than a duck. However, the breed more resembles a duck than a goose and it is usual to classify them as ducks.
When crossed with other breeds of ducks its progeny is sterile. For instance, if you cross a Muscovy male with a Pekin female you will hatch mules; if you cross a Pekin male with a Muscovy female the progeny are called hinnies. Whereas a Pekin takes 28 days to hatch and a Muscovy takes 35 days, a mule or hinny takes 32 days to hatch.
Approximately 60% of mule ducks are males. Some of their characteristics are like the Muscovy as they are large, quiet, and slow moving and have long claws but are also like Pekin as they swim well, the males and females are much the same size and they do not fly. Hinnies are not grown commercially. Male hinnies are much larger than female hinnies, like the Muscovy, yet the females look Pekin but fly quite well.
Mules and hinnies cannot reproduce. Both males are sterile and only the hinny females lay eggs (though they cannot hatch). If you have Muscovy and Pekin together, the chances are poor that they will cross but if they do, a hinny will probably be the result as Pekin males can catch Muscovy females easier than Muscovy males can catch Pekin females.
By the age of about three months, the males are nearly twice as large as the females.
When raising Muscovy ducklings, keep in mind that they are very good climbers. Make sure that they will not burn themselves in the heat source should they climb the sides. Or, escape over the top if using an open brooder.
The skin of all domesticated breeds of ducks is more or less yellow, with the possible exception of the Aylesbury and Muscovy, the skins of which are pinkish white. Chocolate Muscovy Ducks were admitted to the Standard in 1982.
Old Drake - 12 lbs.
Old Duck - 7 lbs.
Young Drake - 10 lbs.
Young Duck - 6 lbs.
They are very hardy and require no special attention. Indeed, left to themselves they will hatch their own eggs and rear the ducklings. Which as I write this our Chocolate Muscovy has emerged with a following of 10 ducklings. They fatten quite well, although somewhat slowly compared with the Aylesbury or Pekin. If drakes are kept on they will grow to 12lb or even more, but if left too long the flesh becomes tough and, of course, the food intake for a number of drakes can be quite large. Preferably they should be killed before 6 months of age. As meat duck there is no doubt that the Muscovy has much to offer. The meat is succulent and quite tasty. On drakes especially there is a plentiful supply of breast meat, which is dark in colour. Muscovy Duck meat isn't greasy like other breeds of duck, as mentioned earlier due to them not being a true descendent of the Mallard. Drakes are often very pugnacious. They will not tolerate opposition so other fowl are best run separately unless they are in a field or paddock. Periodically they take to the wing and fly around, often landing on the top of a shed to survey their territory. They are strong fliers and slow deliberate walkers. However, the drake will often thrust his head forward and then back making him look quite ferocious. Whether this is a mating display or simply a method of the drake showing his superiority is not clear. The incubation period is longer than that taken by other ducks being 35 days and not the normal 28 days. The duck is a very keen broody and will prevent anyone trying to take the eggs from under her and at times risking her own life in doing so. The ducklings hatch fairly quickly: they emerge with a variety of markings; yellow and black being the main colours. When handling a Muscovy great care should be taken with the foot claws: these are extremely sharp and can inflict a rather unpleasant cut, which may quickly become inflamed.
The essential features of a Muscovy is a follows:
1. Horizontal carriage.
2. Large body, both long and broad with prominent breast.
3. Strong, short legs.
4. Strong wings.
5. Long tail carried low and no curled feather in the drake.
6. Colours – combinations of black, white (known as magpie) and sometimes blue; lavender, whites and more recently chocolates.
7. Face covered with red, bare patches of flesh known as caruncles – very pronounced in the male. In fact it is the large caruncle and greater size which distinguishes the drake from the duck.
8. On the male long feathers on the head in the form of a crest that he raises when agitated.
9. Legs should be appropriate to the colour of the bird varying from yellow for a pure white bird to black for the very dark ducks.
Muscovy’s are a very quite duck with the occasional hiss which is not threatening. The wagging of their tails together with their Egyptian head movement is all part and parcel of their wonderful character. They are, however, very personable, interesting birds. They are quite intelligent and entertaining. Wild muscovys coloration is black and white, but domestication has produced many different colours. These colours are; blue, blue and white, chocolate, chocolate and white, white, black, black and white and lavender. The males can grow to be quite large, weighing 10-15 lbs. Most of the females are 5-7 pounds but can reach up to 9 and sometimes 10 lbs. Their feet are equipped with strong sharp claws for grabbing tree branches and roosting. Muscovys are unique because of their bright red crest around their eyes and above the beak. They do not swim much because their oil glands are under developed compared to most ducks. Muscovy hens can sit three times a year, and the egg clutches can vary from 8 to 21 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 35 days My flock is healthy and well cared for. They have very large grassy pens and pastures and are allowed outside year-round. While the Muscovy are very hardy ducks the extra skin on their heads can get frost-bit if they are not provided with proper shelter. While their shelter need not be fancy it should be draft free, dry and predator proof. As with the Aylesbury Ducks I also take orders for these fine birds.
We now have Muscovy Ducks for sale. Please call for details.