The Muscovy duck is one of the only duck breeds that did not originate from the Mallard duck breed.
There are also four-color variations that are recognized by the American Poultry Association.
The domestic variety of the Muscovy duck is very large with the males reaching up to 15 pounds and the females anywhere in the region of up to 7.9 pounds.
They have a quite the wingspan and are excellent flyers that will fly if they need to.
These ducks are very distinctive with the having a bump on top of their heads and red rest around their eyes.
Muscovy ducks are very quiet ducks and hardy make a noise although the male will hiss if threatened. They do make good pets if tamed correctly but they never really overcome their wild side as they do not like to be handled. They are also very independent, like to fend for themselves and are very good guard ducks!
|Country of Origin:
|American Poultry Association:
|yes Recognized by the American Poultry Association
|Black, Date of acceptance: 1904
Blue, Date of acceptance: 1950
Chocolate, Date of acceptance: 1982
White, Date of acceptance: 1874
|Other known colors
|Pied, Green, Lavender, Bronze, Barred and Ripple
|Other names known by
|Creole Duck or Wood Duck
|Good starter duck?
|They are very independent and a bit wild. Only for those newbies up for a challenge as they do need a small pond with pond side nesting boxes.
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|Bantam Variety Available?
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APPEARANCE / IDENTIFICATION
|Straight out from its head. * Black bean tipped and black bump under the bill
|Depends on Feathers Color
|The male has a large crest of feathers on his head.
The female’s crest is hardly visible
|Same as Feathers
|Small, feather-covered holes behind the eyes
|Positioned backwards on the body
|Thin membrane webbed feet with claws on their toes
|Same as feathers
|Fly extremely well. Wings need to be clipped/pinned
|See the list of colors
|Were used as for down
|Same for M & F
|Varies with color
|The lighter colors/white have the white skin
|*Bean: This is also called the nail. It is a small round bump found at the end of the duck’s bill. It is used for defence and to catch insects. It is almost like a fingernail and is damaged can grow back. It can also get overgrown much like fingernails if they do not have something to grind it down on.
|** Note: This is an average weight for the male duck and not a guaranteed weight
Dual Purpose, exhibition + Breeding. This is a very unique looking breed of duck with a small crest on top of her head. Their feet have quite long claws at the end as they like to perch.
Meat, exhibition + Breeding. They have more of a crest on their faces like they are wearing a mask. Their crest of feathers on their head is also a lot bigger.
|“They are independent, can be a bit wild and do not like being handled. If you do handle them be careful of their long claws on their feet. Even though they can be wild they are also quite gently birds.”
|Good with Kids?
|I would be wary with them around kids.
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|They are expert flyers with an impressive wingspan and flight distance
|Not at all noisy in fact, they very seldom make a noise at all. The quietest of the duck breeds
|Interact with other ducks?
|They tend to stick to their own kind. If they do breed with a mallard the offspring will be sterile but produce delicious meat.
|Best duck breeds to mix them with:
|I would stick to a flock of Muscovy ducks rather. .
|Most ducks are not too fussed with other animals. I would watch dogs and cats around them though.
|“They need a small pond with raised nesting areas or hollow tree trunks to nest in around the pond. They do not spend as much time in the water as other ducks and like places to perch.”
|Ideal Garden Size?
|They require a bit more space than the average small garden
|Can be Confined?
|This breed has a wild side and likes its independence
|They do best in a free-range type environment
|I would not open them.
|Good strong foragers in fact probably the best out of all the domestic breeds
|Endures heat well
|Most ducks will take the heat as long as they have a cool clean dipping pond
|Endures cold well
|They can withstand temperatures up to 12 degrees Celsius
|They need some open nesting boxes if not hollow trees and perches
|Ideal Duck House:
|Depending on the size of the flock a normal duck house with bedding and security from predators.
|Ideal Duck Pond:
|A small to medium sized pond with some water plants and foliage around it
|Their needs to be at least two of them.
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GOOD TO KNOW
|“This breed has a very unique look and has the most amazing characters. Even though they are a bit on the wild side once they have taken to you they are gentle and fiercely protective. They will protect their young to the death and have been known to attack intruders in the yard as well. They have cute flat duck tails that they wag just like a dog too.”
|Special Care/Attention Requirements?
|These are the hardiest of all the domestic breeds of ducks and do not have many illnesses
|Check with animal control in your area for known predators. Although they will take on quite a few animals that dare to threaten or challenge them.
|Critical – For more information on poultry, conservation status, check the American Livestock Conservancy Website
|It is best to check with the American Poultry Association for various clubs and or organizations.
|Where to buy them:
|Check with Omlet US, Purely Poultry and or or check with your local poultry dealers and or farmers, the APA
or check with the American Livestock Conservancy
|If you do not want to risk having your ducks shipped check with your local poultry farms for advice on your nearest supplier.
Although Muscovy’s can be a bit wild they are generally very gentle and are known to be the quietest of all the duck breeds. The hens will gently quack at her eggs whilst incubating them and the males have more of a hiss than a quack.
These beautiful birds originated from South or Central America and are the only species of domesticated ducks that do not come from the Mallard breed.
Muscovy’s were domesticated mainly in South America and were only introduced into North America in the 20th Century.
These birds got their name from the company that used to trade the ducks in the 1500’s. This company was the Muscovite Company.
The wild variety of this breed a quite a bit thinner and smaller than the domesticated breed. They are also one of the only wild breeds of ducks that are polygamous.
These ducks are very independent and prefer to nest in the hollows of trees or a raised roost. They also prefer to find their own food such as nuts, grains, small fish, crabs, various insects (ducks LOVE snails and slugs) and fruit.
Muscovy ducks are sometimes referred to as wood ducks as the wood duck is the closest relative to the breed.
When breed Muscovy ducks if they are bred with a Mallard its offspring is known as a Mule Duck or Mulard. The Mule Duck or Mulard is infertile and cannot be bred but they make incredible meat ducks with a taste that is said to be superb.
The Muscovy ducks’ heart and liver are also used in homoeopathic medicine specifically for a remedy to treat and or prevent the flu.
You will not find these ducks in the water as much as other ducks either as their feathers are not that waterproof due to an underdeveloped oil gland.
Muscovy ducks are less prone to disease than any other breed of duck.
- Ducks need water to ensure they do not get “wet feather” disease. This is where the preening gland dries out. Water also stops them from getting pests such as mites, fleas, ticks, lice, etc.
- Well, fed ducks should hardly have any health issues.
- Any birds kept in a flock need to be dewormed. Although ducks are not as prone as other poultry they should still have a de-worming regime. Speak to a local vet or poultry experts for advice. Our article on Healthy Ducks has some great tips and advice on de-worming ducks.