Muscovy Ducks can be found all over the world as domesticated waterfowl, and we’re ready to talk about what these birds are really good at. There are many great reasons for keeping Muscovy Ducks on the homestead, or as small backyard pets—although these reasons do not include maximizing on meat and egg production.
If you missed it check out my previous post on the shortcomings of Muscovy ducks where I talk about this more. But let’s now discuss the benefits of having these birds around and how to maximize on their potential.
Pros of Keeping Muscovy Ducks
1. They are Quack-less
Muscovy ducks have no voice. Compared to other ducks and geese, these birds are extremely quiet. In fact they don’t quack at all, they mostly hisssss. Yes, like a snake.
This can be highly advantageous if you have neighbours who aren’t fond of loud quacking, don’t like the quacking yourself, or are trying to find a bird that can exist undetected in your backyard…
2. Muscovy ducks are great mothers
Muscovies are expert mothers. You can almost guarantee that the female you have will be broody when the right time comes.
These ducks can clutch out upwards of 30 eggs at a time 2-3 times a year, with a high success rate. Their increased size helps them to be able to keep so many warm at a time. Muscovy mothers will also gladly parent other poultry birds if hatched out in the same clutch.
These birds are also tougher than the average domesticated bird, which gives them confidence to guard such large clutches. Muscovies have been known to scare off larger mammals such as raccoons, skunks, and, in rare occasions, a coyote. Muscovies don’t disappoint when it comes to motherhood. Maybe time to put that cumbersome incubator away?
3. These ducks are super hardy
Muscovies are like the ironmen of domestic ducks. They are kept successfully from high up in Alaska to Central America, which is where they are native to.
I will again contribute some of this to their larger size, but I also think their higher appetite contributes to being able to produce more heat when needed.
In general, most domestic ducks are pretty good with colder winter spells. However, they may slow down their laying rate at temperatures below -7C (20F). Being from a warmer tropical climates, these birds can handle upwards of high 30s for daytime temperatures as long as there is ample access to drinking water. This makes them extremely useful for cleaning up finished greenhouses and hoop gardens.
4. Muscovy ducks are great foragers
Sometimes it feels like Muscovy ducks will eat anything. They have an insatiable appetite for slugs, bugs and plants. I have even seen them hunt flying mosquitoes, sticking their heads down in the hunting position as they flick their neck back and forth at anything flying by. They are great for cleaning up creeks, keeping grass down, and even reducing the mice population…
5. Muscovies eat mice
Yes this deserves it own point. Muscovies eat mice. They have instincts to chase down small critters because their native diet consists of the usual duck food as well as small rodents, lizards, snakes and other small terrestrial critters. This makes them great hunters.
Don’t like cats on the farm? Get some of these birds to clean up your mice problem. You can see a Muscovy eating a mouse here.
6. They make excellent guard birds
A full grown male Muscovy can weigh up to 15kg and with a large back claw (used for perching), which can be an effective eyeball clawer. This bird is a force to be reckoned with.
A mother Muscovy might make some animals think twice about attacking, but a full grown angry male Muscovy coming in at twice the size is usually not worth the hassle when it comes to an easy meal for wildlife. Having at least one large male as a guard duck can help with flock safety.
7. Muscovies have lean meat
These birds have very little fat when it comes to meat… which makes me wonder how they do so well in the winter… maybe this is why they eat so much. This bird generally isn’t as practical for meat if you look at feed per weight, but if you are looking for a super lean meat these birds are the birds for you. The breast meat on these can be up to 99% lean meat. The skin also has half as much fat as other typical farmyard ducks. Check out here for more detailed information on Muscovy meat.
8. Muscovy ducks can utilize vertical space in a coop, instead of ground space
Muscovy ducks prefer to perch! They have a back claw that is used to grip onto branches, which can sometimes get in the way when trying to pick up one of these birds. But! This means you can use vertical space and that old chicken coop that’s been sitting out in the field can get re-purposed. Everyone seems to be looking at ways to utilize vertical space and Muscovies know how it’s done.
9. Can be crossed with domestic ducks to make sterile offspring
Muscovies can be crossed with most domestic ducks, which are usually mallard derived, to produce mostly sterile offspring. This is usually done to create meat birds with better growth rates and leaner meat than normal domesticated ducks.
There is also the advantage of not having to worry about cross breeding or inbreeding when kept with parent ducks.
10. So many different color varieties
If you’re a homesteader who likes to play with different breeds for aesthetics, keeping muscovy ducks is a lot of fun. They come in a number of different colors including solid white, black, chocolate, blue, and the pied variety, which means mixed with white. There’s lots to choose from and to play with. Take a look here at some of the varieties of muscovies at Ugly Duck Farm.
Ready to keep muscovies?
If any or many of these reasons resonate with you maybe Muscovies are the duck for you. Such unique birds deserve a unique place on a farm and can be quite practical. If you are looking at a bird for meat or eggs primarily, I would recommend you look into other breeds. Check out my other post, 5 Reasons Muscovy Ducks May Not be Right for You, to see the down sides of these birds. Regardless, it pays to do your research before buying livestock.
Interested in ducks, generally, or other small livestock on the homestead? Check out our other posts:
–10 Reasons to Keep Ducks on the Homestead
–10 Reasons Keeping Ducks May Not be Right for You
–10 Reasons to Keep Rabbits on the Homestead
–10 Reasons Keeping Rabbits May Not be Right for You
Thanks to GP Photography for letting me use photos of her Muscovy ducks as we no longer have our own.
39 thoughts on “10 Real Benefits of Keeping Muscovy Ducks”
Will Muscovy ducks eat kittens?
Iam enjoying my Muscovies I admire mostly their hardy character.its true they are heavy feeders but since I have started making them free range they somewhat look for their own meals I only give them a mixture of 1 part pig concentrate n 3 parts maize crash
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We can start with that.
This is great news, I need to coordinate so I can travel with them. It be great if we can talk.
My yard is about 10 acres with a 2.5 pond. I currently have 3 Peking Ducks but want to include some Muscovys. Unfortunately I know of no one that has them. I consider them pets. They are all free rooming.
If you’re up this way I’ll take all I can get. I’m certainly able to accomodate.
Brad, where are you located? We live in Alabama between Dothan and Ozark. I have hatchlings that would be ready in about 6 weeks.
I be happy to drive some of these guys there. Not sure how well they do with winter, that be my only concern. Also, May I ask if you want them as pets? If I was to drive there how many would you like to have?
Thank you for erring back, I am in Miami FL. We are reaching out to non kill farms as well.
Just bought a home and inherited Sammy the duck and here in last couple weeks he got a couple young ladies to join him from somewhere!
We want more!
I live in Summerville, s.c. Small naborhood and in March I didn’t know what kind of duck he was, now I know his a Muscovy duck he was hurt, l nursed him back and his flying again, l hoping he will find his way back to his flock l don’t know really what to feed him, tractor supply has been helping me but I would love more info to what he will eat his made his home in my front yard, I have a small pool out there and his food he curls up under the bushes, and at night he sets on the nabors driveway. Well that is my story, if you all could tell me what to feed him it would help me out? God bless everyone.
What a wonderful story. Sounds like he might not want to leave. You should be able to get any type of poultry feed from a local feed supplier or hardware store. That would be my first place to look. But if you have a large space or acreage he may be happy just foraging for himself. It will eat all sorts of bugs and different plants. I have even seen them eat mice. They are great eaters and great foragers. Hope this helps.
I have a problem with Foxes killing my Domestic Ducks. A friend recommended introducing Muscovy Ducks as a deterrent. Is this a formidle solution?
No as I have Muscovy ducks and a fox will still be able to kill them. I’ve lost 2 to foxes in the last year.
I love my muscovies
Hi. I have 2 Muscovy hens and 1 khaki Campbell drake. He has mated with the poor girls numerous times
Anyway one of the hens has a nest of about 14 and is very broody. If that is the terminology
My question should I let her keep incubating them or should I remove the eggs? I don’t mind if this results in ducklings for I have read that there can be progeny from this mating.
What is the best for her?
Karen we have Muscovys and I always let my Hens raise their own ducklings they are excellent mothers !!! All of ours are healthy and Happy good luck
I have a Muscovy duck who is laying eggs next to my front door. So far, she has laid 2 eggs 2 days apart, but she is not laying on them. She seems to just drop them off and walk away. Will she eventually come back and lay on them? Or is she abandoning them?
Antoinette RS: Well I have 2 girls that started laying there eggs on the 27th of May and apparently they have 2 different ways of not only laying them but also starting to take care of them, one laid 15 eggs I swear in a day one moment nothing but her making a nest getting ready for them and Bam 15 eggs of which she took straight to laying on them while the other one laid 1 to 2 a day unsure where she wanted to make her nest just kept covering them up with ground debri and bedding I finally moved them to a nesting box I put on the side with bedding and she started laying more eggs in it still just covering them then started adding her feathers to it till just 2 days ago June 16th she finally fully fixed it and started laying on them but still not nearly as much as the other one but I think she’s getting there both looks like there developing fine
This is one of the most complete and accurate posts on Muscovy Ducks. It is one of the best posts on what you need to know before you buy any ducks. The only real thing that they left out is how easy it is to train a Muscovy as a pet and how much fun they are as a pet.
I’m so glad to find this site. I have one male. Got him when he was tiny and yellow. He’s not tiny anymore at all but he’s still my baby. He’s got more personality than most of the humans I know and he’s becoming quite protective of me and the space we live in. He’s not inside but he’s right out my door in his pen. I want to let him out to roam free. Will he stick around do yo think.
Yes he will.
omg. I live on a lake. and took kindly to these feathery friends. they now come and join me on occasion in the house and on my porch.. so sweet so friendly …. so smart
I have a dozen muscovy’s. I was amazed to see them completely obliterate ant mounds within minutes. I’ve also witnessed them annihilate our barn mice population. There’s not much they won’t eat. Yet they’re also very friendly and attach themselves to familiar humans quickly.
Why does a Muscovy move its head like a snake- side to side like he is having a seizure?
Is the poop poisonous to dogs and cats also how do you get them to leave your yard without hurting them
I have never heard of the poop being poisonous to other pets… I do know the droppings are fairly safe to use as compost, so I imagine it would be fine to let animals around your duck area. In regards to leaving the yard… Did you mean dogs and cats, or ducks? If you have dogs and cats coming in your yard you should try identify their owners and approach them directly about containing their animals.
No it’s not poisonous to dogs or cats. My Maltese dog has been raised from a tiny pup with my Muscovys and my neighbor has cats that come over.
I just move from Connecticut to West Palm Beach temporarily. We have a corporate park near, I go at night and feed the ducks a grain mix that I soften with warm water. They love it and wait for me.
One of the females laid 13 eggs with the heat none have survived. She is still laying with no eggs in the bushes at the entrance to this Corporate Office Building. She seems depressed or sad.
The security guard Elvis and I want to help her. Do we leave her alone or do we gently move her off bring her near all the other by the pond?
We actually use Muscovy ducks to guard the chick coop at night! Our chick coop (smaller coop just for the chicks) is in the front yard where the Muscovy ducks prefer to bed down at night. We noticed the raccoons never mess with the Muscovies so we put the chicks in their turf. We have NEVER had a raccoon attack the chick coop!
Very interesting! This, in my opinion, is one of the truly major positives of having muscovies in your flock.
My border collie has chased coyotes off the property for 10 years, been good friends with Chinese geese to whom he taught manners. Alas, the Muscovies added to the flock are insistent on harassing the collie, to the point that he is unwilling to be in the yard with them.
I suspect the aggressiveness of the 3 Muscovy drakes also spooks the coyotes, who have stopped their funny business.
Great post and so loaded with information! I didn’t know anything about the Muscovy breed, but this information covers ground very well!
Thank you, Autumn! Mr. M. wrote this post, and ducks are definitely an area he has learned a lot about.
Thanks, Kris!!! Your explanations were great and too the point…I learned a lot!!! Dr. K.A. Adams
Hi Kris, a house near by with a lake, had a community of ducks living there for almost 20 years. The house was sold and the new owner didn’t want the ducks to live there anymore, after being shot, poison, and harassed they started walking around my neighborhood looking for food, we can see how they were starving. At my front yard we decided to give the water and food, since many of them were getting killed by cars or other neighbors. We thought by keeping food and water in my front yard would help them not venturing. But now my neighbors have called the city because they don’t want the ducks in my yard. I have paid fines from the city because of it, the pressure is building up from every one around me. We are desperate to find a solution. We have contacted several sanctuaries and none will take the birds. They said because they are non natives. Reading the law that protects them says if you have a private property you can keep them. I am reaching out to see if you have any ideas or know people or organizations that can help us. I have about 50 Muscovies, 7 of them were ran over by cars, took them to a vet and have recovered from their injuries. I am afraid the city is going to come and kill them.
Thank you for your time!
Hi Jofre. What a conundrum… I imagine you could keep them in your backyard, but 50 muscovies is a lot, and you would probably have to contain them with a run. Nonetheless, thank you for your kind heart. I’m sorry to hear sanctuaries won’t take them. That would be my first course of action. I don’t personally know of any specific organizations. Are there any bird rescues in your state? Whereabouts are you located? Alternatively, you could check with hobby farms, or post them on your FB bst. I’m not sure if these ones are domestic enough to transition to a farm, or how legal an option this would be in your area, but it might be worth a try.
Wish you were near Central North Carolina. I need to find some Muscovys.
Where are u located u could drop them off in Myrtle Beach if you wanted there’s a bunch of other Muscovy ducks here they’d fit in quite well that’s why I asked where you are located
Can these ducks be sent via a flight to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island Jofre? If they are Muscovy ducks can safely & be sent we would take 2 females off of your hands covering transport if it isn’t an arm & a leg.
Excellent website thanks for the information Kris.