We are all very impressed with how much the Muscovies have grown over such a short period of time. Granted, they eat more than the chickens, but I imagine that will slow some as their growth needs also slow. We have picked the 2 drakes we intend to keep to maturity and cull the other 4 next month. In the end, we will cull to just one after we decide which one does the better job with the girls.
I cannot believe how fast these ducks have grown in 7 weeks. Their feathers are almost fully in and they stand up to the chickens without issue. Their feathering patterns are so beautiful. I can’t wait for them to come into season and have lots of little ducklings running around.
Ducks grow fast…
I ordered a dozen Muscovy duck eggs and hoped I would get at least a 50% hatch rate. Sadly, they were delayed in the mail as, all of my live orders have been since covid, and we had only 2 live hatches. One died a few days later. I had one lonely duckling and so we turned to Craigslist and found someone who had hatched some Muscovies a few days before us.
Suddenly, we had 10 ducklings and they filled their brooder quickly. It began to get difficult for them to move around without bumping in to one another. We took them outside on hot sunny days to give them a little more space until bedtime.
But this would not do for the long-term.
I gathered some leftover lumber, some cattle panels meant for the garden, bought a heavy-duty tarp from Tractor Supply, and repurposed some other odds and ends. Now my 10 little ducklings have a roughly 8×8′ duck pen to call home. I am sure it will evolve over time, but it is in a hard fenced area and will be adequate for the summer.
Our hatching did not go as planned. The days the eggs were due to hatch, I was away on vacation for my wedding anniversary. My husband had planned a trip for us for our 11th anniversary. We had originally intended to go on our 10th but Covid happened. I did not want to postpone again.
Instead, I trained my adult children to watch over the temperatures and the humidity. They had 2 eggs hatch and another that had pipped and was starting to unzip, but died in the egg. One of the ducklings died over night the night before I got home. We had one lonely duckling.
My husband jumped on Craigslist and found a post for baby Muscovies that had hatched a week prior. I called them up and they hadn’t sold any. They had nine ducklings that needed a home and I took them all. Our little duckling is much happier now. Have a look:
I placed the water catchment in the bottom of the pool and put the drying racks on top. The catchment is just a foil pan from the grocery store. I used two racks to make sure the holes were small enough. I could not find anything on the internet about how big a hatching’s feet would be.
I surrounded the catchment with rabbit bedding (bag claims better absorbency) and put the brooder plate in. I keep the legs uneven in height until I know how tall the babies are and adjust accordingly. Right now there’s about a 1 inch gap at the near end and a 3 inch gap at the far end. If the legs settle too much, I’ll drop some 2×4 blocks in to keep it from sinking.
I put the feeder and waterer in to check that everything fit. The red one will be for food, the blue for water. If you follow the cords up to the right, you can see my temperature monitor on the greenhouse rack. My daughter used it for her gecko. It’ll shut the power off at whatever temperature I set it to and I can see at a glance what temperature it currently is. Once I get that stabilized, I’ll add a blanket to put around the back side to reduce drafts. Then we just wait for the eggs to hatch. ^_^
Step 1: I decided to put the hardware cloth around the outside of the kiddie pool to give my ducklings the maximum floorspace. I wrapped the fence around the pool and gave myself a 4 inch overlap.
Step 2: I made sure the cut ends left me some wire to bend and fasten the ends tightly together. Where needed, I cut the vertical wires away from a horizontal to give me longer wire to work with.
Step 3: In order to make the top of the fence fit inside of the kiddie pool lid, I cut darts into the top of the fence to angle it in. I cut 8 squares down and overlapped 2 squares. You have to feel out the fit a few times with whatever lid you use.
I made 8 cuts so the top looks a little like an octagon. Now to finish up with the lid…
Step 4: I drilled 2 holes in opposite sides of the lip of the pool lid. I wired the top onto the fence. One wire acts as a hinge, and the other acts as a closure and holds the lid steady. I’ll post again when I have all the gear inside for the ducklings.