We welcomed two new residents to the homestead this week – a pair of 4-month-old white muscovy ducks.
I found them being offered “free to good home” on the Backyard Poultry notice board. By the way, that’s a great site if you’re looking to buy or sell poultry in Australia.
The family I got them from was really nice, and had obviously cared for them extremely well. They got them as little ducklings for their young daughter, but they grew too big for their backyard and were messing it up with poop everywhere. They’re named Sir Francis and Louie.
I think one of them is male – when alarmed it hisses and the hair on its head and neck stands up. The other one is slightly smaller, but I’m still not sure if it’s male or female. I’m really hoping at least one of them is female, but time will tell as they mature.
The plan is to use this pair as the start of a breeding flock. Once I know what I’ve got, I’ll get 1 or 2 more so I have 2 or 3 females and 1 male. Then we’ll breed muscovies – they’re supposed to be one of the best meat birds, with the lean and tender meat often compared to veal, and avoiding the greasiness that other duck breeds can have. They’re excellent mothers, too, and don’t need much help to raise their ducklings.
Have you ever raised muscovies? Have you eaten them? I’d be very interested to hear your experiences in the comments below!
They certainly are a great type of poultry to keep. You can breed brother and sisters without freaky offspring. Best to keep them tame otherwise they are quite skittish around people. A skittish duck will have skittish offspring as she teaches them this behaviour.
Their meat is not tender by any means, unless you keep them in a small cage which I refuse to do. We now cook them in a pressure cooker with some water on a bed of lemongrass.
Note that they are more work to process than chickens. So keep that in mind. But they do produce more meat than a chook will. A decent sized bird with yield 2kg dressed. That weight is with minimal purchased feed as they can eat grass to help sustain themselves. Once adults, ration them to a handful morning and night at most if you do not want to have large feed bills.
Felicity loves the meat and is fine talking about what drake or duck we are eating at the table. That’s my kind of girl. 😉
Oh yes, watch out for the claws. They are really nasty (e.g. when clipping the wings like I did this morning). Covering their eyes calms them down.
@Jason: Thanks, I was hoping you’d comment! I was planning to email you soon to find out what you were doing with your muscovies.
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