Monday, April 13, 2015

Muscovy Ducks

When we moved to the country our goal was to become as self sufficient as possible.  We now raise grass fed sheep as a business along with grass fed beef for our own use.  We have chickens and guineas for eggs and hope to raise enough for all our poultry meat needs in the future.  I have been wanting to add some other animals that will be dual purpose here at WildWoods.  When I finish the poultry house we plan on raising broilers and heritage breed turkeys.
I have always wanted to raise ducks since I was a kid.  I can remember going out to an Aunt's house on the lake in the summer and she had all these ducks.  She also made wonderful cakes and such with the eggs and always sent some eggs home with my grandmother.  I don't have a good pond so I just figured no ducks until we build a pond.  Then I got to reading about the Muscovy Duck and how it does not have to have a pond.  They forage for their food and roost in trees since they are excellent fliers.  They have gripping feet with claws that allow them to hold on to tree limbs for roosting.  Muscovy Ducks are really a type of tree duck and their own species.  They will cross with other domestic ducks but the offspring are mules or sterile.  Of all the different ducks I decided Muscovy ducks would be the best for us to raise.  These ducks are quiet and seldom make any noise except a hiss when angry.  These ducks wag their tails like a dog when I take them out some feed or just if they are content.  They are excellent mothers and will raise several clutches of baby ducks each year.  The meat is less greasy than other domestic ducks and tastes more like pork or veal.  The eggs are great in our morning omelets and breakfast tacos. 
A local gentleman offered to sell us eight hens and two drakes.  He told me to clip their wings or they would just fly off.  We kept them in a coop for the first week to get used to us and the place and now we let them out every morning to forage, they march right back in just before dark to roost for the night.  When the wing feathers grow back out we will let them roost where they want.  If you are looking for poultry to supply meat and eggs without a lot of feed and fuss you might want to take a close look at these unusual birds.  Wild Ed

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