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Setting up area for housing and breeding Muscovy Ducks

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Author Topic: Setting up area for housing and breeding Muscovy Ducks  (Read 7652 times)
dompalumbo
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« on: February 22, 2009, 09:16:06 am »

I have 11 Muscovy's. 4 drakes and 7 ducks. First question: How many drakes should I have for 7 ducks?

They are housed in a chain link dog run, 12x12 open on 1/2 of one side. As soon as the temps warm up a bit I will be covering my 25' x 48' hoop greenhouse with a custom cover I ordered from Farm Tek. This will make it into a barn for all my animals.

I want to have a setup that encourages them to lay eggs and brood them rather than incubating them. I am feeding them Blue Seal Game bird turkey grower. Is that the correct feed or should I be using layer pellets?

I read somewhere that splitting a plastic 55 gallon barrel in half length wise and then in half again make good shelters for laying eggs. Is this a good set up? I already have the barrels. Just need to cut them. Waiting for my Multimaster tool to arrive to begin cutting.

I believe egg laying time is approaching so I want to be ready.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Rusticular
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009, 01:04:35 am »

Hi Dompalumbo,
I will post my reply to Nutrition for feed.  It is a sub-tropical climate where I live.

I used half barrels and my 2 ducks took easily to them.  They scraped a hollow and lined it with feathers.

They were penned together with separate nests, but became very territorial, and I had to separate them in the pen. They are very good mothers and, are sometime used by breeders to raise other fowl.
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Cathy
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 05:04:31 am »

I have 11 Muscovy's. 4 drakes and 7 ducks. First question: How many drakes should I have for 7 ducks?

1 drake can successfully cover 4-6 ducks, sometimes more.  I'd use two were it me & I were dealing with a pied flock.

I read somewhere that splitting a plastic 55 gallon barrel in half length wise and then in half again make good shelters for laying eggs. Is this a good set up? I already have the barrels. Just need to cut them. Waiting for my Multimaster tool to arrive to begin cutting.

Yes, I use that method very successfully.  You can see my set up HERE
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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)
newchicken
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2009, 11:51:47 am »

Will the two drakes fight?  Do you need to separate them?  Is it ok to just let them roam with the females?  I can make a division in their night pen for the drakes, with solid dividers on the bottom two feet so they don't see each other.  But, what happens when I let everyone out to play in the garden?

We haven't finished building our larger perimeter fence yet.  Right now, I watch them play in our chemical free "lawn" for about an hour, a few times a day.  I lock them up then go back inside to work.  I accidentally trained them!  When I let them out in the morning, they run about looking for their favorite bugs and greens.  While they're out, I dump and refill the kiddie pool, tend the straw, and add giant handfuls of greens to a separate dishpan of fresh water.  An hour later, as if on some invisible clue, they all look up from chomping whatever goodies live in the grass roots, get a drink from more dishpans of water in the yard, and head home.  They like to stay out longer in the evenings, after 6pm, when it's cooler.  Even so, at 8pm every night, they go home to their pen.  By the time it's completely dark, they've snuggled down and gone to sleep.  They don't move much at night.  Their mornings start way earlier than mine does.  I leave extra food, water, and greens in their cage for breakfast the next day.

Sometimes, they're far hungrier than anticipated.  One time, I was really late getting home.  They chowed their food fast.  Soon everyone was throwing up all over the place.  It was awful.  I worried they might be choking.  Lesson learned:  Scatter pellets in the grass, so they have to look for it.  Don't scatter too far, or they won't find it right away, and food could be wasted.  I like scattering pellets in the grass.  It keeps them busy, instead of chewing up my shoes, and they don't throw up.  When they stop begging for more food "sprinkles" in the lawn, and start foraging, I can sit down to watch them play.
(This doesn't work as well for crumbles.  They just don't see it all.)

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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2009, 11:12:39 pm »

Drakes will fight during breeding season whether they were best of friends two months prior or complete strangers.  If you pen them away from each other at night then each day there will more than likely be a tussle where they fight over the alpha position daily.  If you leave them penned together then usually one will be the alpha and the other will usually learn to stay away from the other.  If they're too closely similar in size/strength there will probably be more squabbles as the one will continue to try to dethrone the other. 
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2010, 09:17:18 pm »

I am wondering if different populations need to be separated. When breeding season comes along and all the birds are tussling, perhaps it won't matter? I have an older population and a new population and there is much pecking and wing pulling when they are together, so I keep them separate. This is fine for now but when breeding season is happening, I am hoping they will all be together. Any suggestions?

Violet
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2010, 10:54:42 am »

The drakes will fight to determine a alpha drake, and the other drakes wil try to breed when his back is turned! The bickering will continue if they ratio of drakes is too high fro the duck population. 1drake to 3-5 ducks is what is usually recomended. Does this help?
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2010, 03:28:27 pm »

As long as birds are separated they will always fight for awhile when put back together.  This is just the nature of the beast.  The only time I stress over combining birds is when there is a vast size / age difference where one might be seriously injured.  If blood feathers are being 'picked' from the wings, I separate.  If they're just pulling to show they're the boss that is fine.  If you see them eat the feather and then go for another - that's picking and is an all-together different scenario.  (Usually this occurs with juveniles and that is when the 'picker' gets dumped into a pen with older more mature birds to be put on the bottom of the pecking order.  The 'pickee' does not get punished and removed from the flock unless it continues to get picked by numerous birds - it then gets separated with a few others so it's never singled out - it's already on the bottom of the pack and removing it by itself will make sure it's always that way.)  Otherwise, you really just need to let nature take it's course and let them establish the flock dynamic.

As D_G stated, during breeding season there are going to be squabbles between drakes and if you have two drakes in a pen at that time I bet you're going to end up with at least one drake without a tail by the end of the season! lol  I have never had a bird seriously injured due to fighting, on my farm, in my situation.  That is not to say that I don't believe it can't happen ... just that with proper management it can be prevented.

During warm weather I would say if you introduce two reasonably equal flocks (size and/or maturity) together grab a hose or a 'stick' and stand by to watch the action.  If they really get aggressive break them up.  If you're spraying icicles out your hose it might not be as effective! lol  A broom will do, too!

(I have duck herding sticks around usually and can use them to pry birds apart or at least put my presence above their personal conflict in their minds.)    
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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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