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feather molting

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drakesweeper
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« on: November 10, 2010, 04:41:02 pm »

I have some questions regarding muscovy feather molting. I have my dear Donny, a very handsome chocolate and white marbled muscovy drake who has been getting his winter feathers in. He is the only duck I have every been around but I also own parrots so I know molting occurs. Donny though has lost his feathers in droves. They just fall out in chunks and although his lighter worn feathers are all but gone and his body is replaced with rich dark new feathers, all of his wing feathers are now systematically falling out leaving his wings bare. Is this normal? It doesn't seem like a particularly great way to loose feathers. He can't possibly fly and his wing tips are bald. I see new pin feathers coming in but I would have thought feathers would fall out in a more staggered fashion. This is my first winter with him, its his first birthday. I don't imagine he is incredibly waterproof either which make me worry for his safety. Do all muscovy end up with plucked chicken wings? Should I supplement his food with something?
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DUCK_GARDENER
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 11:19:32 am »

sounds extream, but within the realms of mussies. We give ours gamebirds flight conditioner, whole wheat, oat groats and some broiler finisher in cold weather. Ours are just finishing molting, which the y do very gradually here over about 3-4 months. Nutrition does seem to play a role in how fast they molt, but forced molts are even faster than you have described. Oats added to a 15-16% proetin diet should give healthy feathers. Some say to add high end cat kibbles, but we do not do this as the nutrients are for cats, not ducks. If you are not going to eat the bird, you might try giving some raw shrimp as a protein source. I wouldn't worry about not be able to fly as most drakes are too heavy to fly by 1 year, anyway. He should be just fine.
DG
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Linda454
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 11:59:43 am »

HI, I live in FL. & mine have been molting too. Some seem to lose their feathers faster than others. I had some lose their flight feathers two months ago & some are just starting now. I had a few drakes that were all but bald on their heads & neck & now look like brand new ducks! It's a good thing they were here while it was happening or I wouldn't have known them. I think your's will be OK. I was glad to hear the feed that Duck_Gardener uses, I'll try it for some of mine. My little girl lost yet another baby to the tall grass around our lake. I'm so anxious to hear if anyone has a feed that would help their legs. I was told my the Muscovy Rescue that she gives hers good dog food for their legs. Like the cat food thing,I'm just not sure about it. Good luck & nice to talk with you.
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Cathy
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2010, 02:20:11 am »

People feed and recommend feeding cat or dog kibble as a treat for the animal protein, not as the sole feed.  Muscovies require more animal protein than regular ducks.  It is their nature to eat rodents, tadpoles, fish, etc.  In a typical grain or commercial diet you do not get this - that is where the cat kibble comes in.  You can also feed hard boiled egg, fishmeal, etc.  I use a poultry premix that has animal protein in it.

BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) are a good item to include in a bird's diet especially during the molt.  I use a primarily grain ration, never a commercial feed as the sole food, so it's quite easy for me to include this in their diet. 

As far as the molt, as long as the bird has new feathers growing in and there are no bare patches, etc. and it is otherwise thrifty you shouldn't have any problems...
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The information I have provided in this message is based on my own personal experiences, the experiences of others who have shared their experiences and knowledge with me, and a dash of opinion thrown in for extra flavor.  Your mileage may vary! Shocked)
drakesweeper
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2010, 12:35:17 pm »

Thanks for those who responded. I thought I would update, Donny is doing great, feathers almost completely replaced with brand new feathers, only some stragglers left and a few completions of primary feathers. He is now a rich chocolate and white marble and some of his face has even filled in (which is good because even though I am in FL it freezes here). He gets his corn, he seems to prefer whole; he tends to eat around or spit out the black sunflower seeds; also he gets poultry maintenance (an odd powder stuff that gets his water dish really nasty), he also gets cornbread every now and then, and has taken a liking to pork chops and sliced roasted turkey I throw to our box turtles. He also has made a meal of my mothers hosta and it may not be my imagination that the anole population is a touch smaller. He spends most of his day mowing the lawn, sun bathing and/or sitting next to his large mirror. He still demands to be held on a daily basis and likes to have his neck scritched and under his wing tickled. He is an odd duck.
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Cathy
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2010, 03:33:07 pm »

How old is he?

You may already be aware and if so just disregard, but tame drake Muscovy can become incredibly nasty during breeding season pecking and flogging people that they see as their flock mates.  If he's young it might not have happened yet but could, if he's 2 or older he just may not ever get that way. Just be careful and aware of what it is should it ever occur.  Can make a lovable bird turn hate-able!
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drakesweeper
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2010, 08:13:32 pm »

I am unsure of his actual age since I have never been around muscovy before. Though it is likely someone who knows them would be able to say. I have had him a year now, when he came to us he was already grown and starting to get red on his face. I thought he was female based on pictures I looked at online at the time. He was on our lake (where there had never been muscovy and rarely other ducks either despite it being a good sized lake). So November last year he had the beginning ring of red which was bright red face in early spring. We suspected he was an easter chick or something and someone had abandoned him. He saw us and bee lined to us came up fast and never left. That first day we fed him like 3/4 loaf of bread he was starving! He hung around and we started feeding him corn and more appropriate foods, flew away each eve and returned each AM. Spent time on the lake but generally groomed our yard and hung around. We showed him a mirror for fun and he freaked out and climbed into my lap. Ever since then he has been held daily, tucking his head in and enjoying being tickled under the wing and neck and face (loves his face stroked). He is particularly attached to me this summer and was very nippy, with some basic training he has not been biting hard. I walk around with him on my forearm, he presses up against my face. So, how old would that make him?
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2010, 02:32:13 am »

It's really hard to say but if he's over a year he's sexually mature and any bad behavior will usually have presented itself by that point.  It sounds like he's not a pain in the rear, so that's good!!
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The information I have provided in this message is based on my own personal experiences, the experiences of others who have shared their experiences and knowledge with me, and a dash of opinion thrown in for extra flavor.  Your mileage may vary! Shocked)
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2011, 01:29:30 pm »

If he had some red, but not a lot, I would guess you should add 6 months or so to how long you have had him to guess his age. The caruncling gets bigger as they grow, but most seems to be the first year. From your description, he sounds like he was 6-9 months when he came to you. If he is just starting his first molt with you, it would strengthen my guess. But it is just a guess.
DG
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