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  • Writer's picturefeatheredknechtions

Muscovy Ducks: Quiet, Quackless Ducks for City Limits???

Are you in the city and you technically can't legally keep ducks because they fall into the waterfowl category? I'm not 100% sure why this seems to be an ordinance in a lot of places, but it is. If you have a limited number of chickens, you can keep (if any at all) you likely cannot keep waterfowl. If I had to guess it's because of the noise of those cute quackers, although anyone with chickens knows the hens can be quite loud when they sing their egg songs every morning. Don't believe me? Check out the chicken egg song HERE.


muscovy ducks with baby ducklings sitting in the grass

Anyways, here's some facts you may not know about ducks and in particular MUSCOVY DUCKS.


Chicken egg allergy??? Did you know that if you have an allergy to chicken eggs you can likely have duck eggs as a replacement? You can also usually have quail eggs as well as a replacement and I have many customers who can tolerate quail eggs just fine but both quail and duck eggs are obviously less common and therefore more difficult to find. If you raise your own ducks or quail you can have access to these eggs without going on a scavenger hunt.


Muscovy ducks are actually quack less ducks so they don't make that loud quacking noise common to most duck breeds. I personally love ducky quacks however, if you're in the city and it says, "no waterfowl" (which are ducks) in the city ordinance/code, you can't really hide the ducks very well if the neighbors can hear them quacking, can you? Muscovy ducks make a quiet whisper like noise and not a honk or quack. Check it out HERE. And that particular duck in the video is actually louder than my males or females but not loud enough the sound travels. Anyways, my point with the noise is if you're somewhere you're trying to sneak in some ducks and don't want neighbors to complain about the noise they won't be hearing Muscovy ducks. Fyi, most ordinances are enforced on a complaint basis so if you're neighbors are happy then you probably won't have the ordinance enforcers come knocking. In my case, our ducks are in a shaded run so they are also not visible to the neighbors and the neighbors also cannot hear them so that should help. fingers crossed


Can't raise a beef cow or hog on your property? Well, if you're raising animals for dual purposes like we are, Muscovy ducks might be the answer! Now before you get all "ewww duck is greasy, gamey, nasty ...yada yada yada" hear me out. MUSCOVY ducks are actually a RED MEAT! I was unsure whether to believe the rumors myself and was skeptical so I processed my own Muscovy duck and marinated it just like we do our beef stakes and guess what? It tasted EXACTLY the same! Check out the video we made on it HERE (and there is no graphic content, I promise, so don't let the name freak you out on the video). And Muscovy male ducks (also called drakes) can get 15-20lbs in 5months! It's a good amount of meat considering in the city I can't have a huge beef cow or even a goat walking around. (I'm on 1/10th an acre and trying not to broadcast my farm life). I will say it's not as easy as processing a quail BUT hey it's going to be easier than processing a cow, I'll tell you that right now. Plus we all have to start somewhere and when it comes to birds I've noticed a lot is about just scaling up what you do on a smaller critter (quail) to a larger one (duck) and just figuring it out from there. Plus, with "YouTube university" you can really look up anything and if you have any friends who hunt birds, they can for sure help you learn as well, which is exactly how I learned. (it's very helpful to have befriended my bird dog customers :) ) .


Don't want to hatch your own ducks each season? Muscovy hens are great, broody mommas. Better than silkie chickens. Muscovy ducks are seasonal layers so spring through fall is when you'll get eggs, period. There's some debate to this but my friend who has raised ducks for 20 years says even if you give the Muscovy ducks extra light in winter, they are not going to lay eggs which is fine, they are not chickens or quail so they are different layers.


Muscovy ducks aren't generally a splishy splashy water duck. So, like most duck breeds that love their water and love to make a big muddy mess, Muscovy ducks are actually kind of indifferent on the matter. I didn't really believe it either but I've had other duck breeds that loved water and would spend all day in their pool, but these Muscovy ducks will go for a small swim or use the pool for a drink and then go about their day. I'm sure some Muscovy ducks vary from duck to duck on preference but in large part they just aren't the typical water ducks like the rest of the duck breeds. I'm personally fine either way, but if you don't want a mud puddle in your yard these ducks are going to be much cleaner on that front because they aren't splashing around in their pool and playing in the mud.


Note, Muscovy ducks DO fly and they do it well. Now when it comes to coturnix quail or most chicken breeds they can 'fly' but it's more of a hop up, go a small distance in a glide and come right back down. So really, they aren't going far and not for long either. The weight to wing strength thing is an issue for chickens and coturnix quail. However, despite the large size of Muscovy ducks they CAN and WILL fly. And I mean really fly. Like, they've been known to clear fences AND in the same flight land on top of your house to roost. Oh, by the way, they roost too. What we did with our Muscovy's was clip the wings (on one side only) and also, keep them in a covered run so even if they could clear the run, they are completely enclosed so they cannot get out. This keeps them safer from predators as well. This is one possible downside to Muscovy ducks but it is easily solved with a few modifications to how you raise them. But if you have a large property and don't mind them flying then the Muscovy's will likely just roost in a tree and come down for bug control during the day.


A few side notes. Warning you may learn something about duck reproduction you don't want to know but it is important to note to keep chickens and other birds safer. Also, note I'm not a vet or anything nor do I specialize in animal reproductive organs, I'm just relaying what I've heard and learned can be an issue with ducks and why. Ducks have a corkscrew penis, a lot of other breeds to birds have either a non-corkscrew penis or they just essentially have more inside parts that produce foam. I'm trying to consider how to word this the best way possible so here it goes....The reason why this is important to note is because non-duck species do not have compatible parts and the corkscrew design can essentially kill the other birds a duck chooses to mate with. Drakes (male ducks) will mate with chickens, and if they are successful, it can kill the chickens or at the very least be very painful and cause some damage. I have not seen this nor do I want to so I just keep the species separate. It is also my policy each species stays separate so that if there is sickness going around it is more confined to that flock vs spread throughout my ducks, chickens and quail. I realize that might not always work but it makes me feel better and is easier for me with nutrition, so everyone gets what they need.

Anyways, hope this helps you guys if you're considering another meat animal to try for your homestead or yard. If you're in Utah County, Utah we will be offering Muscovy duck processing classes as well as Coturnix Quail processing classes in collaboration with Utah Meat Collective (for 2024). To sign up for our email newsletter to be first to hear about all our classes and offerings go to featheredknechtions.com and enter your email into the popup box. Note, I maybe send one email a month so you will not be getting spammed at all. I'm a busy momma that homeschools two kiddos with special needs, so I don't have the time to spam your inbox, pinky swear. I just send out information when we are offering a class or deal or if I have the spare time to share information on what I'm doing to be more City Limit Self Sufficient. To follow along on my vlog check us out and subscribe to our YouTube.

-Kelli-

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