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Muscovy free range?

 
Nick Wanner
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I was thinking of taking them out of the pen, but not sure how far they will go. I have1.2 acres and my neighbors with another 1 acre or so said they wouldn't mind them. Will they go further than this and eat the plants and flowers? Thanks!
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Been living with muscovies for several years now, and here are my observations -

They hang out where the food and water is - we feed, as we haven't done any forage plantings for them. They would probably act differently if we didn't feed them. The females will go somewhat farther to find good nesting spots - they like brush piles, or similar hidden nooks and crannies. Ours nibble on green stuff, and will eat certain plants to the ground, but they seem most interested in leaf piles, I suppose that is where the good creepy-crawlies are. Next year, I am going to experiment with moving the water around - currently, we supply water in those rubber pig feeders, but I want to use a larger trough and move it around, to spread their use out. The adult birds are hefty, and those flat feet can really trample an area. They are really attracted to mud puddles, and will dabble until the water is all gone.

In the condition we provide, the issue is getting them to range further and not stick so close to one spot!

They don't fly far - a full-grown drake hardly ever flies.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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I agree with the observation is they pretty much stick to where they are fed. Our old apartment in Florida had a pond outside and a couple of muscovies. The neighboring development had a pond as well, maybe a little over 100 meters away. They would waddle their way back and forth between the ponds and forage in the swales along the road. (residents at both developments would feed them bread crumbs & such) But they wouldn't leave those two apartment clusters, even though there were other wilder ponds equally distant. They seemed to stick close to human habitation.

EDIT: I am sure you could train them to range wherever you wanted in a few weeks time.
 
brett watson
Posts: 100
Location: Northern California Zone 8b
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our muscovies, geese and chickens are free range and we live on 10.5 acres. The muscovies and geese wander about 2 acres of it but never really farther. We have one barking livestock guardian and 1 we are raising to actually go after predators rather than just barking at them. also the geese are wonderful "watchdogs" because they only honk when something is up that they don't like.
That is my biggest concern, predators, when it comes to these guys free ranging. What do you do to protect your birds?
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Dale Hodgins,
Your post was moved to a Muscovy ducks, are they ducks?.

It's important to start new topics in their own threads.

Thanks ~
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Further research concluded that they are in fact ducks, was so I'm not sure that we need a threat to carry that conversation any further. I'll remove my comments over there and hopefully it will go away. I'll come back later and remove this as well.----------- 10 min. later ---------------------------------OK with the change in our system I can't figure out how to remove my post. HELP----the report to moderator option has also disappeared.
 
Dave Bennett
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My experience with Muscovy Ducks is that they will sometimes fly around the area but return to where they were first fed regularly and have a sheltered roost. Mine were hatched on the premises so it is what they saw first. If you notice some missing then search for a nest that could be anywhere on your property. That is the one problem I had with them. Not really a problem for most of them but the were a couple that seemed to prefer a wild built nest to a nesting box.
 
Jeffrey Hodgins
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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If you have a river nearby they are likely to follow it far. I have lost them this way in the past even when feeding well.
 
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