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.
It was time to clean the brooder so we took advantage of the kiddie pool lid and let them splash about while we emptied the old bedding. They had a blast and my garden has a little more mulch. Afterwards, we slid the fence off the pool and set it in the grass. They romped around in the grass, then settled down and started preening while I refilled their bedding and got their heaters set up. Once back in the brooder and preening was done, everyone took a long 15 minute nap.
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:
As you can see, we’ve been busy making homes for our new additions. The adult rams have been moved to the lower pastures to work on those. Once these new sheep have passed quarantine, they’ll join our other ewe and the baby rams will be removed to their own pasture until breeding season.
The piggies are currently getting wire trained (they do not like the ouchie wire) and have a waterbarrel with a pig nipple to drink from.
The garden is coming along, though I am late getting my beans in. Tomorrow is another day!