Muscovy Ducks – 17 March 2016

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March 28, 2016 by janem213

I decided to try to hatch more Muscovy ducks. I tried last summer but it was when I was moving house, and of all 12 eggs that were good before the transfer that took just 30 minutes or so, none of the eggs hatched…

Muscovy ducks are very special ducks. They are the only domesticated duck breed not derived from the Mallard. They originate from Latin America and are much larger. Thei toes of their webbed feet, unlike Mallard types, are clawed but their most obvious distinguishing feature are the red growths of skin on their faces which some people find very ugly. Annoyingly Mallard types will hybridise with Muscovies… and with guinea fowl… and no doubt other species, which rather scuppered my plan of having a mixed flock in a massive enclosure on the field but I was keen to hatch them again. All did not go to plan……

Of 12 eggs in the incy 10 looked good at lockdown. Only 2 hatched and they pipped upside down. (I expect there was some contamination in the incy, that I hadn’t cleaned it out well enough – and Muscovies have an extraordinarily long incubation period of 35 days). The 2 were lovely, a white one and a chocolate and white one. All other 8 eggs were dead in shell.  Although disappointed at only having only 2 hatch at least it wasn’t a lone hatch like Serena Serama. I was really looking forward to them growing up and keeping them…

The next day at 6am I checked on them did a few jobs and went back to bed for an hour.  When I checked on them again the chocolate and white one had died : (((

The day was spent trying to find someone who had a couple of day old Muscovies that I could buy. I tried everywhere but without success. Eventually that evening I ventured across the border to the wilds of Cheshire and met a chap called Joe who had hundreds of day old ducks of different breeds… but no Muscovies. Like everyone (it seemed) his first Muscovy hatch wasn’t for a week or so. What to choose?! I chose 2 lovely chickens of the 2 largest breeds he had. Unsexed were £3.50, sexed females were £7.50; I had 2 males at £2.50 each. Little Blackie is a Cayuga, the all black with a green sheen to its adult feathers duck that the Black East Indie is a bantam version of (e.g., Indy from my very first hatch) … and Buffy is a Buff Orpington. Both are much larger breeds than Welsh Harlequins, 2-3 lbs heavier……..

It was late when I got back and popped them in with Joey (work so often gets in the way!!) I gave them space, needing them to bond with each other. The next morning all was well, Joey and his two new friends doing well.

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Joey and the chocolate and white one. RIP  : (

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Which 2 to choose?!!

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In the small brooder… Buffy at the back, Joey to the right, Little Blackie to the left.

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8 days old and in the big brooder, just before I cleaned them out. Usually I would use photos of after they’d been cleaned out but this shows the different colours really well. Not so easy to take a good photo of Little Blackie!…

12 eggs in the incy 11 February

10 eggs good at lockdown… but of these only 2 hatched 17 March and then 1 of these died the next day…

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