Since Muscovy are genetically dissimilar to other domestic waterfowl, many folks believe that they’re more of a goose than a duck. For instance, they eat grass, as do geese, have a similarly long egg incubation period of 35 days (compared with 28 days for ducks), and they don’t quack. This is a good trait since they are “quiet” ducks. The male has a low breathy (huffy) greeting, and the female a quiet trilling coo as well as a few other quiet vocalizations. They are neither truly duck or goose, in fact, they belong to a group of waterfowl that like to perch high in trees (Cairininae) similar to the knob-billed duck and the African Pygmy Goose .
|A clutch of Muscovy eggs||Muscovy egg & chicken egg|
Muscovy eggs are rich and delicious. They’re a cream color with a harder shell then most duck eggs and weigh about 2.7 ounces, which would grade as “jumbo”.
Typically, these birds have a calm temperament and are often described as “friendly as a puppy.” It almost seems that the Muscovy are trying to “talk” when they come up to you, wag their tails like a dog, and look up at you as if to say, “Got a treat?” Mine know their names and clearly understand a wide variety of words and gestures. Mine love to be fed directly from the scoop and I’ve had some broody girls come to demand it from me each morning with little chuffs and fluffed out tails.
Females love to co-set nests… I call them the ya-ya sisterhood of the hatching eggs. I’ll sometimes find 3 or 4 setting a nest together like bosom buddies and it’s not uncommon for them to pal up with chickens in this endeavor. I’ll sometimes find Muscovy ladies escaping the “local politics” of their own groups in favor of hanging out in the chicken yard and perching with those ladies overnight for a few weeks until whatever dust-up in the Muscovy ranks is finally settled.
Keep in mind that Muscovy males will sometimes be aggressive toward other males during breeding season, and females can also be pinchy little fireballs when it comes to protecting their eggs and babies, which is to be expected. Put your hand in that nest at your own peril!
Muscovy will lay up to 180 eggs a year and hatch about four sets of ducklings if they get lots of high protein feed. Muscovy ducks are great mothers and do a good job raising their young. Muscovy take longer to hatch than other poultry… an egg takes 33 to 35 days to hatch. A chicken, for example, hatches in 21 days.