About 4 years ago, I decided I wanted some muscovy ducks on the farm. Although we always had the pond, wild ducks never stayed around very long. So, I found a guy selling Muscovy Ducks and I bought ten. One male and 9 female ducks have been grazing the pastures of Ten Mile Farm ever since.
At first I thought I would gather eggs – duck eggs are super rich in vitamins A and D containing about twice the amount in a free-range chicken egg. They have more fat and cholesterol too, so if you are afraid of that you probably wouldn’t be too interested in raising ducks for eggs.
Anyway, the ducks will eat about ten times the feed that chickens eat if you contain them. When left on their own, however, they get 100% of their needs from grazing. Problem with grazing is that it is very difficult to manage egg production. For example, I found a duck egg on my front porch this morning. About once a year, usually in the Spring, they will settle down and make a nest. When they do that, finding eggs is a breeze. The problem then becomes only taking unfertilized eggs and getting them before the snakes find them.
This is a basket of Muscovy duck eggs and Barred Rock chicken eggs I gathered this morning. The lighter colored eggs are the duck eggs.
We stopped worrying about the eggs and just enjoy the ducks. They have a nice mild mannered temperament and make sweet sounds.
Last year we had three ducks hatch and survive. I call them the three Amigos, even though all three are girls.
I don’t know if people eat Muscovy ducks. We do enjoy the eggs that the garden snakes don’t eat. We only harvest the ones that the moms kick out of their nests. Yesterday I gathered 8 eggs that were all rolled out of the nest.
Not all of our ducks are Muscovy ducks. We call this one Paddles. We’ve had him for about seven years. He was donated by someone who had kept him in a cage and they wanted him to have a happier life. He came with three white ducks. None of the three white ones survived the first year. They fell prey to some predators.
Anyway, Paddles gets along just fine with the Muscovy family. He even partakes in the annual ritual of Spring, if you know what I mean.
I might have to read Storey’s book on raising ducks to see if I can get more out of this little flock. Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks, 2nd edition