Our main reason for Muscovy ducks was fly control. We are surrounded by cattle farms and soon
discovered that that means a lot of flies. I was looking for natural ways to deal with the flies
in the spring and came across this article "Muscovy Ducks are Easy to Raise and they Control Flies".
"Insect control - Muscovy ducks control flies and other insects the natural way. They are
particularly helpful controlling flies, grasshoppers and locusts. In areas where rice is grown,
Muscovies eat snails and slugs. If you put them in a pen with cows or calves they will eat most
of the flies. In one experiment where two year old Muscovy ducks were put in cow pens, the fly
population was reduced by 80 to 90 percent."
The article goes on to describe how as well as being great for controlling flies, they are healthy, hardy,
resist disease, forage for their own food, reproduce easily and to top it all are tasty and low in fat!
I am a huge duck fan, they always sound like they are laughing which always makes me smile. I love
to watch and photograph them, so the idea of eating them really didn’t sit very well. I had read that
Muscovies are ugly with their big red warty head, and they are called ‘quackless’ ducks, the males
just make soft hiss and the females a musical whimper. We thought with them not laughing and being
ugly that it would be easier when the time came. But I have to say that having lived with them for a
few months now, I don’t think they are ugly, and I love listening to their quiet, musical chattering,
and watching their funny head bobbing and tail wagging.
I am now a definite Muscovy fan and am really looking forward to the spring when we can start
raising some chicks and increase the population!
In July 2008 we bought 10 one month old ducklings from a local farm, by October we were extending
our flock with another 5 to give us more colour variety.
We are lucky enough to have a really nice insulated barn with power and water. At night the ducks
along with everyone else are herded into the barn and the doors locked. The barn has 3 horse stalls
and the chickens and ducks share 2 of them. The dog doesn’t have direct access to them, but is in the
barn so as should anything consider coming in they wont have easy access!
During the day the ducks are free range on our 8 acres. The often fly circuits around the barn and
sometimes the house, but so far (touch wood) no one has ever considered going further afield. They
have 2 kiddies paddling pools so they can keep clean and because they just love to play in the water.
And because otherwise they dig puddles in our driveway! In the spring we will be making some nest boxes
for them, and creating some perches so the girls can get some peace from the boys who don’t fly as
well because of their size.
On July 10th 2008 we added 10 little one month old Muscovy ducklings to our homestead. Who are now
months old. There was some chaos when they first arrived which I wrote about in my blog, post called
Chickens v Ducks, you can find all
posts tagged 'ducks' here.
They worked on finding their place in the ‘pecking order’, making, if not friends, perhaps allies with the chickens, and showing the sheep their place.
Sadly they all started picking on one, one day we found him dead. We are not sure what they problem was but everyone else seems healthy, although a couple do have a condition that seems to be called ‘angel wing’.
We had read that they could be kept without a pond, but really prefer to have access to water. Every time it rained they would all have great fun playing in the big muddy puddles in the yard.
We plan to build them a proper pond next year, but for this year we bought them a kiddies pool, which they love!
We had kept them in the barn until they developed their feathers. But now they love roaming around,
exploring the homestead. They are completely free range during the day, at night everyone is gathered
up and shut in the barn.
On the October 24th 2008 we collected another 5 ducks, of varying ages.
Here are just a few more photos that I happen to like -
I only recommend books that I own and have found useful.
Just click on the appropriate flag to take you to the Amazon store that you prefer. Sorry, but at the
moment I am only set up for the Canadian, American and English sites.
For more on sayings about ducks and their origins why not check out the Phrase Finder.
"maybe if more people had a duck in their life, maybe we wouldnt be all so mad at each other"
~ Joe the Trucker (Trucking Duck)