Duck, Duck, Goose!, Part II

To find more females to grow our flock, I scoured the local facebook homestead groups, and local classified ads. However, muscovy ducks are not commonly kept, and so the options were slim. I finally found a listing for a flock of 3 female and 1 male muscovies that a lady no longer wanted to keep. We rushed down to pick up the flock. However, two established flocks do not really enjoy being joined together. The males were constantly fighting to prove prowess, and the females weren’t much better. We separated our pen in two, and broke up fights when we let them out into the yard for our daily duck walks. 
The final straw was that the males attacked my younger children when they went out to tend to the flock. I am not sure why, because while they puffed and hissed for everyone, they never attacked the teens or adults. One day, my eight-year-old, animal whisperer, would-never-hurt-a-fly, daughter came in clawed up, shaking for 40 minutes after one of the males attacked her and chased her around the yard and cornered her near the shed. 
That was it! I was done with the puffing, hissing, aggressive males. I only wanted eggs. No need for them. Thankfully, this time I found an ad for a rescue farm nearby for small homestead animals. I met a volunteer from the organization that afternoon and turned the male muscovies, Goose and Hawk, out to pasture at the rescue farm. 
For the past few months, our four female muscovies, Mimi, Ducky Momo, Flash, and Jemima Puddle Duck, have been giving us about a dozen eggs a week. Being muscovies, though, they lay in spurts: many eggs for a few weeks, than a few weeks off. 
After the males left, the females calmed and get along with much less aggression now. 
About mid-April, I decided I would like to get some duck breeds with higher egg production. I really like the muscovy as an all around useful duck breed, but really want a good supply of duck eggs. I ordered 10 female ducklings from Metzer Farms (their typical minimum order): 4 runner ducks, 2 white crested ducks, and 4 golden 300 hybrid layers (Metzer’s own special breed that lays 300+ eggs per duck per year). 
The ducks arrived just over a week ago, and we enjoy every minute of tending and holding them (even if they are incredibly stinky little things!)
Please enjoy this video of our ducklings arrival: https://youtu.be/IbhnazWcZSY
To start, a blue kiddie pool served as the nursery, but by one week later the ducks have more than doubled their size and several would jump out each day. We are notified of each escape when they start peeping as loud and fast as possible as if to say “I’m lost and can’t get back home!”
Yesterday morning, my husband came down early to replenish food and water (they eat and drink every crumb and drop during the night). He found not one, but five ducklings out of the pool. As he described it, as he came in, the escape artists walked around the pool and just looked at him while he put them back in. He came back upstairs singing “Five little ducks went out to play, out of the pool and far away, when the daddy came and said ‘GET BACK IN THE POOL!‘” The kids and I rigged up a taller nursery edge with a couple of camping pads and a few stools. And this morning, we moved the whole duckling party out to the garage because the smell has become overwhelming in the laundry room.
The ten ducklings are now named: the four runner ducks are named after the Penguins of Madagascar (because we think adult runner ducks run uncannily like swift penguins) Private, Rico, Kowalski, and Skipper; the white crested ladies are Oli and Bonnie; and the four Golden 300 Hybrid Layers are Quacker Jack, Wheezy, Fluffer Nutter and Mrs. Waddlesworth. As they grow larger (and move slower), I’ll get individual “portraits”. These ladies should begin laying eggs for us around October.

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This entry was posted in Ducks.

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