Raising Muscovy ducks
Muscovy ducks have become popular animals to have on a small farm. People enjoy their lean, nutritious meat that is comparable in taste to sirloin steak. Muscovy ducks are prolific egg layers, producing up to 180-eggs-per-year. And the ducks are excellent for bug control.
Dennis Smith is the owner of a hatchery that raises and sells Muscovies. He says if they don't have their wings clipped, these ducks will even snatch an insect right out of the air in-flight. But no matter where a bug is hiding, if a duck finds it, it's considered dinner.
"We have a lot of fiddle back spiders, otherwise known as the brown recluse. Muscovies consider those to be one of their favorite treats. They also love to eat black widow spiders and bugs, grasshoppers," he says. "They love mosquitoes and mosquito larvae."
The ducks are native to South America. It isn't necessary to have water for them to swim in, but if you have standing water around your place the ducks will get in to eat the larvae and adult mosquitoes.
Muscovies are considered a "quiet duck" because they don't quack. The males make a hissing sound, and the females make a "pip". If the ducks become tame, Smith says they act like dogs.
"You'll get out walking on the homestead, and they'll walk with you, they'll follow you and they may look up you and turn their head, give their little hiss, begging for a piece of bread or whatever," says Smith. "They just tame down to the point to where you just love these ducks."
Smith keeps his newly-hatched ducks inside and feeds them a high-protein, non-medicated chick starter until they're 2-to-4-weeks old. Then, he lets them roam free to eat as many bugs as they can find.
Learn more about Ducks
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