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What kind of duck do I have?!

 
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I have a rescued duck. I think she is a wild duck, but really have no idea. She was found at a school, near a canal. She was all alone on the lawn, and couldn't get to the canal.
After seeing her just sitting alone for three days in the same spot, I had my husband rescue her, and bring her home to me.
She is getting big, but still has down and pin feathers.
My husband says she is too big and her tail feathers are too long for her to be a Mallard.
I'm really curious about what she is. If anyone has any ideas, I'd be grateful to hear them!
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Sheri, first of all, welcome to Permies!

I'm not a duck expert, but it looks like you have a young Muscovy. That's the only kind of ducks I've had, and the size, head, face, and bill on yours strongly favor Muscovy. Hopefully, someone with more experience can either confirm or correct.
 
sheri perrins
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Thanks for the welcome and the input! 😊
I will study up on Muscovy ducks in case she is one
That's another question, how and when will I know what sex it is?
 
Leigh Tate
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sheri perrins wrote:how and when will I know what sex it is?


If it is a Muscovy, it's young - no caruncles (red mask). Males develop caruncles younger than females, as early as 4 months (I think!). Females develop them later. Females are smaller in size than males. Of course, you don't have anything to compare to. They start laying eggs around 5 months of age; that will clinch it!

We really like Muscovies. They don't quack unless stressed, so they're a quiet duck. They are fliers, and they love to take baths. We kept a kiddy pool for them and really enjoyed watching them.
 
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Leigh Tate wrote:Sheri, first of all, welcome to Permies!

I'm not a duck expert, but it looks like you have a young Muscovy. That's the only kind of ducks I've had, and the size, head, face, and bill on yours strongly favor Muscovy. Hopefully, someone with more experience can either confirm or correct.

Leigh I was contemplating the picture and thinking, "That looks a lot like a Muscovy", but they aren't wild here, so I thought there must be a wild duck whose young look similar.

Muscovy are very calm, unlike anything domesticated from Mallards. They're closer relatives of geese than other ducks and are genuine grass eaters. They're also total mooches!
 
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People, sadly, often release any and all ducks they don't want any more to wild. So, someone may very well have had a muscovy and decided they didn't want it anymore and "set it free" at a pond.

I actually got two of my ducks from a friend of ours who is a real estate agent. The house he was selling had ducks, and he went and asked a vet what shelter he could drop them off at. The vet just told him to drop them off at a lake! They were in no way, shape, or form wild duck breeds. They were a crested Swedish and a khaki Campbell duck! Needless to say, he knew we had ducks, so he drove them two hours to our place!

The coloration on that duck isn't one I've seen in mallard-type ducks (the ones descended/bred from our wild ducks). Knowing that people dump ducks off at lakes, someone probably had bought their kid a duckling and then decided that MAN THAT THING POOPS A LOT and it was getting big, so they dumped it off somewhere that other ducks were.
 
Leigh Tate
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Yes, people do, unfortunately, turn them into the wild, thinking they'll know how to fend for themselves. Another possibility, Sheri mentioned her duck wasn't moving around when they found it. I wonder if it wasn't possibly injured. We had that happen to a Muscovy female once, when she was out for a fly-around. She ended up in a neighbor's yard, and another neighbor said a dog had chased her. She wasn't actually injured, but the dog pulled out tail feathers, so she wasn't able to fly home.

Sheri, do keep us posted. I think we're all curious about your duck!
 
sheri perrins
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My duck, Pinky Boots, was found all alone while my husband was working doing a telecommunications job at a school in Fresno, CA.
She was probably 3-4 weeks old, and I've had her three weeks yesterday.
I have 14 chickens, 2 Nigerian Dwarf Goats, 4 dogs, 5 cats (plus ferals I feed), and 2 rabbits.
I'm happy to add a duck to the mix, but am not sure how?
The goats and chickens are penned together in my backyard.
I give the dogs a few hours in the morning to go outside as they wish through a doggie door.
Then, I lock the doggie door, and the chickens and goats get to go out in the yard for a few hours. I do this rotation two or three times a day. It works and everyone is happy.
However, now I have a duck!
She is getting too big to live on my bed, and in the dog carrier on my bed.
I do let her swim in the bathtub, and she enjoys kiddie pool, but seems to tire of them fairly quickly and want out.
Can I house her with the chickens and goats?
Should she have her own duck house in the pen? Or should she have her own duck coop?
And what about a friend?! She will need a duck friend.
But I know I don't want a boy duck, and I'm really hoping she is a girl!  How old are they before you definitely know the sex?
I know boy ducks will rape chickens, and I'm not having that!
Sorry, for all the questions!
Any and all help and advice is appreciated!

Also, it is approximately one million degreees here in Summer.
How do ducks do with heat?
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sheri perrins
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Also, thank you for the help already! It's much appreciated! ♥️😊🦆
 
Nicole Alderman
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The duck MIGHT be happy with the chickens? They don't need much water--just a small pan of water and a pail they can dip their bill into. I've had a lone chicken a few times, and it got along fine with the chickens. If it's a boy duck, you might not want it in with the chickens if it doesn't have a lady-duck friend.
 
Jay Angler
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Muscovy ducks are wood-ducks and don't stay in water as long, although they adore having splashy baths. This duck is clearly young by its feathers, so it definitely shouldn't stay wet for long periods. Ducks cope with heat by bathing more often.

It appears to be getting along fine with a dog companion! At the moment, due to extreme coon pressure. We've got a mixed over-night shelter with chickens, Khaki-Campbell X ducks and one male Muscovy (because our male Muscovy have been fighting.) I wouldn't say they're all "ecstatic" about the situation, but they're all coping. The ducks are happy to get out to a run during the day, but they're equally happy to go back into the shelter as soon as it starts getting dusky after having lost 5 of their fellows to attacks.

I think you've got an evolving situation. It also sounds as if Pinky Boots needs more exercise, so as a first step, since s/he's used to being with the dog, I'd let them out together (with supervision at first!) The picture with the dog says "male" to me and if you had hatch-mates with, by this age you could tell for sure, but I wouldn't bet money without that. That said, we've had male Muscovy with damage to the spine which we've thought was due to their larger size pinching the spine in the shell. They've not been in pain, and in our relatively safe environment we've let them grow up, but eventually had to cull them, as their inability to move quickly increased the risk of aerial predators visiting. I think getting Pinky Boots more exercise will help you plan the next step. Keep us posted, and we can offer suggestions as things evolve. There is generally no "one right answer" in permaculture - it's all about making choices and then evaluating the impact of those choices!
 
Leigh Tate
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Sheri, good advice from Nicole and Jay. I can add what I've experienced, which will hopefully also be of some help to you.

Initially, we let chickens, goats, and ducks mingle. I've already mentioned that Muscovies love their baths, but also, they love to clean their bills, which they use to shovel through the dirt in hunt of things to eat. In addition, they have a keen sense of where to find fresh water. My problem was that the Muscovies having access to the goat barn, was that they were forever cleaning their bills in the goat water buckets, even though we kept a pool of water for just them. That meant the goat water was always quite dirty. The goats shouldn't / wouldn't drink dirty water, so it became a nuisance trying to keep their water clean and out of reach from the ducks.

We also learned that chickens are quite territorial (they were there first) and very unwilling to share the coop, the yard, and the pecking order with the ducks. That meant endless squabbles, with chickens often ganging up for a peck-fest on one of the Muscovies. When we had both rooster and drake, they helped keep things under control by breaking up fights. OTOH, the ducks didn't take it lying down. Many a time, we ran to the chicken yard because a hen was screaming bloody murder, to discover a duck had grabbed her tail and wouldn't let go! So, Pinky Boots being a lone young duck, might get picked on quite a bit. That isn't to say it will happen for sure, it really depends on personalities.
 
sheri perrins
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Great, thanks so much! I am definitely learning a lot.
I really appreciate you taking the time to give me advice and suggestions. 😊
I've been Mama to lots of critters, but a duck is new for me.
Pinky Boots is rather a sassy duck, although she seems to enjoy being held. I love her already, and just want to do my best for her.
Thanks again!
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sheri perrins
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I do have one rooster, who is very easy going, and my hens ( mixed flock) are all very amiable girls. They all get along very nicely except for the usual peck here and there.
The most territorial animal I have is the female goat. The male goat is a whether. He is a cool dude.
So, I worry about Jingle, as she has horns, and ain't afraid to use them!
Maybe a separate duck coop is the way to go.
In the summer, I already change the goat and chicken water buckets and pails three times a day. Or add some ice when it's super hot.
Dealing with ducks dirtying it as well doesn't sound that fun. 😊
I definitely don't want Pinky Boots picked on. I want her to have a happy duck life.
But, at what point do I get another duck?
I need to know Pinky Boots sex, but until she lays eggs or doesn't, there is no way to tell, is that right?
You guys rock for helping me! 😀👍
And what sex? Boy ducks need a female, I take it, because they want sex a lot?
 
Nicole Alderman
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sheri perrins wrote:
And what sex? Boy ducks need a female, I take it, because they want sex a lot?



I'm not sure if this applies to muscovies, as their anatomy might be different. But mallard drakes have giant, telescoping, corkscrew penises that can seriously damage a chicken.

 
sheri perrins
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Nicole Alderman, yee gads!
That video was informative, hilarious and terrifying all at the same time!
So, if Pinky Boots is a boy, what do I do?!
I am very highly opposed to rape, and now I see that if Pinky Boots is a boy, and I get him a 'friend', he will be raping that friend regularly!
Wow, this is complicated.
I don't suppose you can neuter a duck? 😆
 
Nicole Alderman
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Some guys are a lot less hormonal than others. I'm not sure about muscovies, but I have some pretty gentlemanly mallard drakes that do a cute little courtship dance and they are nice and good at protecting their lady friends. They're also a lot more gentlemanly after spring. It helps to have at least 3 ladies if you have a drake (at least with mallards). That way they can spread their attentions across all their ladies.

This year I did have to separate the guys from the gals because one of the guys, Qua, was VERY insistent and was injuring the ladies (he was a rescue duck that is missing the front part of his bill, so he'd grab on to his lady by clamping the whole side of his bill on the side of her neck and ripping out all her feathers). So, I separated all the drakes. Just a week ago, they found a way to escape. All but Qua was nice to the girls, so I separated him out and keep him with the geese (who keep him in line) and the other two drakes are doing fine with the 11 ladies.
 
Jay Angler
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

I'm not sure if this applies to muscovies, as their anatomy might be different. But mallard drakes have giant, telescoping, corkscrew penises that can seriously damage a chicken.

Yes, Muscovy also have corkscrew penises, but not really long ones. If I were to put a male Muscovy in with chickens, I'd make sure the chicken perch was good and high, as male Muscovy are too heavy to seriously fly - they can glide, and they can occasionally get up about 2 1/2 feet, but if they can't "climb" up, the chickens can evade them by going vertically.

This is where that "observation" part is vital. My experience with non-human males, is that males raised by real moms are *much* better behaved towards the ladies. If I have to hatch eggs in an incubator, I try *really* hard to get them associating with their kind as early as possible. When I've been given roosters or ducks that weren't raised by a mom, they've often had to be culled due to aggressive behavior when mating. As Nicole mentioned, a male should do some sort of "mating ritual", and it's not that hard to tell if the female is reacting positively even if she makes the male work a little for it.

Yes, ducks love clean water and immediately get it dirty. I try to put the duckie buckets where the water can benefit nearby plants and I move the buckets regularly. But a Muscovy isn't going to easily get up on a tall bucket, or a bucket on a stand, so you can use height to solve that part of the problem also.
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