I grew up with Muscovies and totally echo all the good things people have had to say about them. We had a pair of them that lasted for ages... only a drake and his duck, who brooded often but never hatched. I think he was sterile, maybe. Or maybe my parents just didn't allow me to find out about any ducklings they didn't want!! Anyway, we had plenty of predators, being in the deep deep woods and isolated from everything but major wildlife...weasels, badgers, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bears, occasional wolves, plenty of hawks, ospreys, eagles... Our Muscovies were just fine. They were always free range and were actually both pure white. So there you go. They rocked. They ate tons of mosquitos and flies and plenty of frogs, little mice and moles... I miss those Muscovies!!
We tried ducks this year as well and got 10 Welsh Harlequins a few months ago. I have to say, ducks rock!
We have them in a small pen with an enclosed coop that they get shut up in at night to help with flying predators. During the day they free range the property. We didn't plan for them to free range, they did have a nice huge area with electric poultry netting to protect them, but once they saw us come out the back door they'd slip through the fence and run up to us. They follow us around and we find ourselves quacking at them all day long. If we're not sure where they've got off to we quack and inevitably we hear several quacks and a they'll come running.
I'm not sure if it's the breed or what, but they're very social with us and excellent foragers! They won't let us just walk up and pick them up, but they'll eat from our hands, follow us around and if there's a large bird flying overhead and we're closer then their pen is they'll run to us for protection.
We have small 'pools' set at the base of our fruit trees for their water and swimming and a dedicated waterer in their coop. We sure need to get water lines run out there though, ducks will go through some water alright!
Yay Abarat! We have 3 Welsh Harlequins coming to us (plus 2 Buff Orphingtons and 2 Cayuga) in one week! We are very excited and love hearing about yours....We did get a Drake so possibly will breed them.....
We just got Musckovies this year. We also have many chickens. I love their personality. I keep telling DH that and think he thinks I lost it. They are so nice. I just put a kiddy pool out for them last week and they are enjoying it and are so much cleaner now.
It is true about the eating mice thing. I haven't seen my ducks do it yet but my cluck has killed many mice. It was crazy the first time I saw her do it. She was just smashing him on the ground!
"They wag their tails a lot too, they like to talk." - Yes to this too. They kind of waddle about and babble and shake their tails.
And yes about the ducks grooming each other. Our ducks live with our big flock of chickens and they will snuggle up to a chicken and start grooming it, too.
Sweet! I can hardly wait for ducks next year. I think my girls want the itty bitty ducklings (usually call ducks) at the feed store. Me, I just want my Buff Orp chickens back. We have a flock of banties and they are cute-and-all but they are no BOs. The accidental full-size cochin hen is so calm and sweet, I think she's kinda dim, but in a good way.
We are slamming out the chicken coop for the Big Move this weekend, and will expand from there. Dh says he's done with building and wants to get back to gardening, so a duck hutch is all mine to build next year. Guess I better learn how!
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."