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Common Name: muscovy duck
Other Names: royal duck, domestic duck
Scientific Name: Cairina moschata
Size: about the same size as a large chicken
Color: variable patterns of black and white
Distinguishing features: large patches of warty, red flesh encircle the eyes and base of the bill in some individuals
Muscovy Ducks are native to Central and South America. The population in Florida is thought to be the result of released and escaped domestic ducks that have hybridized with native ducks. They are the most common waterfowl found in suburban areas. They usually nest on the ground but may nest on balconies and ledges. In contrast, wild Muscovies are wary of humans and nest in tree cavities.
Muscovy Ducks are loved and hated by the public. While always eager for a hand-out, they often become persistent. They can transmit parasites and diseases, including duck plague, fowl cholera, paratyphoid, avian tuberculosis, and chlamydiosis, to native ducks and, in large numbers, foul small ponds.
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)
The most common domestic duck species in Florida is the Muscovy duck. It is native to Central and South America and was first domesticated as a source of food. Early explorers brought Muscovies back to Europe about 500 years ago. Now it is a common barnyard animal in many parts of the world.
Wild Muscovy ducks are glossy black with white wing patches. The bare skin around the base of the bill and eyes often is red. The domesticated Muscovy is much heavier and occurs in a variety of color patterns.
In their native South American habitats, wild Muscovies nest in tree cavities. The larger, domestic varieties have lost this natural trait and normally dig shallow nest depressions in landscaped shrub and flower areas.
Large numbers of domestic ducks can be found in Florida. Individuals, organizations, businesses, and local governments have introduced these birds into many canals and small lakes in urban areas. Some urban residents and visitors enjoy watching and feeding ducks; however, this form of recreation also has caused problems.
Effective control techniques in problem domestic duck situations include:
From site: The Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain
Country of Origin: Brazil, South America
Muscovies are the only domestic ducks that is not derived from mallard stock (probably a passing Pterodactyl!) Wild muscovies coloration is black and white, but domestication has produced many different colors. They come in most colors and have a variable eye color with the lighter shades having blue eyes and the predominantly black having brown ... a blue eyed black and white bird will throw a variety of colors from white to blues and lavenders. Their feet are equipt with strong sharp claws for grabbing tree branches and roosting. Muscovys are unique because of their bright red crest around their eyes and above the beak. They do not swim as much as others as their oil glands are under developed compared to most ducks. Their wings and tails thus 'fray' easier. The only real illnesses they get as a breed other than those suffered by all breeds is a tendency to anaemia if not allowed sufficient foraging or supplementary feeding with scraps. This is very obvious as they lose color around the eye and become listless and is easily overcome by supplements of and meat or tinned pet food..... the alternative being a large drake racing the dogs or cats for their breakfast and a pet with a complex. Perhaps their only drawback (other than their escaping/flying attributes) is their habit of finding and eating small vermin with mice or baby rats a menu supplement. MEMO: do not allow near guinea pig or breeding rabbit hutches.
Colors include black, white, lavender, blue and chocolate. Muscovys have a unique red lumpy crest around their eyes and above the beak (called carruncling) This feature seems to be more prominent in the drakes especially the American breeding line who have heavy 'caruncling'
Egg Production: Ranging from 8 to 21 eggs per clutch, a good general layer
Broodiness: Can sit 3 times per year, many will sit repeatedly and are the supreme mothers and broodies. They will protect the young from predators even if it means their own death in order for the young to escape.
Incubation: 35/36 days Maturity:
Needs:Muscovys are the only domestic duck not derived from Mallard stock. They don't like to swim as much as other breeds because their oil glands are not as active.When they do wash they are incredibly thorough as most of the water is dispersed over a wide area
**NOTE**Muscovies have the most character of any duck or goose and a very pronounced sense of humour: dog or cat baiting is a speciality. One bird discovered that if you walk or fly up to a supermarket automatic door people feed you to remove you from the area. This particular female was getting so stuffed by Tesco that she waddled very slowly... they learn quickly!
** When a Muscovy is crossed with other breeds, it produces a sterile off spring called 'mules' which are good meat ducks **As a breed the Muscovy has successfully colonised most of the world and are the basis of the Barbary meat hybrid. They were discovered in South America and originally called the musk duck and were sold in Britain in past centuries as a patent medicine cure for men (a phony aphrodisiac !)....... this coming from the fact that a horizontally built animal needs to be well endowed to breed and many drakes are extremely long with an aversion to nettles in their breeding pen!
**The ideal back yard meat breed lays / breeds well / tastes good/ lives well with dogs and other animals / will roost in trees if allowed (no locking away at night)
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