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Broody Muscovy help!!

 
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I have a broody Muscovy.... she started sitting on 1 egg that she laid... unfortunately with only 2 weeks of sitting to go the egg died and broke... the next day one of my other female Muscovys laid an egg in the “nesting” house and broody Muscovy started to sit that.... my question is can I replace said “borrowed” egg and replace it with a duckling for broody Muscovy to raise as her own?.... I’m a 1st time duck owner.
 
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Often, this works - with chickens and ducks. My understanding is that Muskovy are one of the best ducks for this, happily sitting on any eggs it can. In our case, it was chickens, lol. We have Buff Orpingtons, who are much the same way, and it worked out beautifully, with our first broody, not as well for the second - but there were extenuating circumstances, and I think had things outside the nest not gone sideways, she'd have made as a great little mama to our ducklings as the first one did, to our Black Austrolorps. So, no guarantees - but, there's a good chance it will work out well.
 
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If you know how to care for ducklings giving the chance she doesn’t want them, I would try it when it’s getting close to time and sneak the duckling(s) in at night. Good luck!

And if you do we’d love to hear how it goes.
 
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Having lived with Muscovy for over 5 years, here are my thoughts:
1. Is your second Muscovy still laying daily? If so, try to swap the egg for golf balls, until you've got at least 5 and then tuck them all under Miss Broody and she'll likely figure it out and sit until they hatch. I've had birds go a full 9 weeks to get a hatch when the first lot were duds. Golf balls make an adequate substitute for real eggs until you've got 5. (she'd prefer 10, but that would require multiple mom's to harvest eggs from.)
2. Either now or when you're ready to give Miss Broody the real eggs, try to put her into "protective custody" - feed, a water pan to wash in, and a nest no one else can get to to add more eggs. This make a huge difference in ultimate success. I have what I call "brooding cubes" that are ~4' x 4' and with nest boxes inside, but no feed and water. If a Mom (Salty is currently inhabiting one!) lays reliably in the same box, she will start to pay attention to "nest building", start plucking "down" to "feather the nest" and spend more and more time on the nest, which tells you she's ready. Then I add the feed and water, close the door, and check on her daily. If they don't choose a cube to nest in (and there are other options), I have to time it as best possible and move them when I see down. That's always riskier as they may "break brood", but I'll leave them locked up for 24-48 hours to see if they're willing to settle.

In your situation, she's already deep into brood, so ideally you can build something around her that will keep other ducks from sneaking extra eggs in. Eggs that have been incubated different lengths of time increases the risk of a bad outcome.

If you have to go the live duckling route, as Huxley said, try to time it close to the expected hatch date. Muscovy eggs take 35 days, so I'd try on day 31 or 32 when she's expecting noise to start coming from the eggs, and also as Huxley said, try doing so at night.

3. One reason I suggest a minimum of 5 is that from my experience, Muscovy think any duckling group smaller than 5 isn't a family, and they'll tend to go broody again sooner than you want.

4. Muscovy live to breed - if you aren't prepared for ducklings, they aren't necessarily a good choice for your farm. We've use our Muscovy to hatch goose eggs and Khaki Campbell eggs successfully, so that we can keep the moms happy, but our Muscovy population down to a reasonable number! It only took us about a year to figure that out!
 
Candice Spicer
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Thanks guys... one more thing does the day count start again since she “lost” her egg and took on another the next day? Or would it be considered as a “brake from the nest” just so I can get the timing right to do the switch.
 
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A suspect anytime between Miss Broody's original due date and the new egg's due date should be fine. Is the new egg fertile? If you're getting extra ducklings, having them match that duckling's due date would make sense to me.
 
Carla Burke
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Jay Angler wrote:A suspect anytime between Miss Broody's original due date and the new egg's due date should be fine. Is the new egg fertile? If you're getting extra ducklings, having them match that duckling's due date would make sense to me.



That's what we tried to do, too. It can take some careful planning, if you're ordering online, lol.
 
Jay Angler
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Carla Burke wrote:

Jay Angler wrote:A suspect anytime between Miss Broody's original due date and the new egg's due date should be fine. Is the new egg fertile? If you're getting extra ducklings, having them match that duckling's due date would make sense to me.



That's what we tried to do, too. It can take some careful planning, if you're ordering online, lol.

Yes, and then she'll break brood and you end up with bathtub or kitchen floor ducklings - been there, done that - it's *essential* to plan for the possibility!

You have to try *really* hard not to have the ducklings imprint on the "human" which is why I suggested a minimum of 5. With 5 they think they're like each other, but only 1 or 2 and your risk is greater of ending up with "pets", not farm animals. Human imprinted animals can seem like "fun" until they try humping your leg because they think you're a desirable mate.
 
Candice Spicer
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Not sure if new egg is fertile have to candle within the week.... if it’s not then I will do a good old switch a roo within 2 weeks. Should I get a very young duckling or one that’s a few weeks old... either way if she doesn’t accept it has “hers” I’m organising my brood box with a heat pad just in case. Thanks so much for everyone’s help.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:

Carla Burke wrote:

Jay Angler wrote:A suspect anytime between Miss Broody's original due date and the new egg's due date should be fine. Is the new egg fertile? If you're getting extra ducklings, having them match that duckling's due date would make sense to me.



That's what we tried to do, too. It can take some careful planning, if you're ordering online, lol.

Yes, and then she'll break brood and you end up with bathtub or kitchen floor ducklings - been there, done that - it's *essential* to plan for the possibility!

You have to try *really* hard not to have the ducklings imprint on the "human" which is why I suggested a minimum of 5. With 5 they think they're like each other, but only 1 or 2 and your risk is greater of ending up with "pets", not farm animals. Human imprinted animals can seem like "fun" until they try humping your leg because they think you're a desirable mate.




If they Inprint then I’ll deal with that if and when it happens.... for now I’m more concerned about my broody Muscovy as she hardly moves and refuses to get up in fear of loosing another egg... I literally have to take her food and water to her in her box and sit it right in front of her.... try as I may I can not make her get up. So a duckling imprinting on me is the least of worries...
 
Jay Angler
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for now I’m more concerned about my broody Muscovy as she hardly moves and refuses to get up in fear of loosing another egg.

I hear you!

Not sure if new egg is fertile have to candle within the week

I've had a little practice with that this year, and I suggest you not even try to candle it for 7 days. The more you disturb the egg the greater the chance of a bad outcome, but I often find that Muscovy eggs, being so long to hatch, just don't show anything until 7 days.
 
Carla Burke
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Jay Angler wrote:Yes, and then she'll break brood and you end up with bathtub or kitchen floor ducklings - been there, done that - it's *essential* to plan for the possibility!

You have to try *really* hard not to have the ducklings imprint on the "human" which is why I suggested a minimum of 5. With 5 they think they're like each other, but only 1 or 2 and your risk is greater of ending up with "pets", not farm animals. Human imprinted animals can seem like "fun" until they try humping your leg because they think you're a desirable mate.



Our first batch (chicks) went off, without a hitch - Miss Broody did a fantastic job. Second batch (pekin ducklings) not so much - Broody Toozday broke broody, three days before the ducklings were delivered. So, we dragged the biggest (unused, scrubbed-clean) dog crate we had into the garage, and raised them there, getting them outside to the run as soon as possible. It was not a pleasant experience, but they didn't imprint with us, probably because I didn't spend much time with them, after the first couple days (spring on the farm is a very busy time, and I'd counted on Broody Toozday raising them!). At 12weeks, all but 2 went to the processor. We had some bumps, and Pekin aren't Muskovy. Ymmv.
 
Jay Angler
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Because I couldn't resist...
Like-a-Princess.JPG
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Candice Spicer
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Jay Angler wrote:Because I couldn't resist...



My broodys nest isn’t quite as “fluffy” but she’s used 90% of the straw I’ve popped into her house
 
Jay Angler
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Yes - leave hay or straw where the mom can reach it and let her do the "interior decorating"! There was ice on buckets in our field 2 days ago in the morning, and quite possibly there will be again today, so lots of down indicated. In summer here, I'm sometimes worried about the reverse - too hot will easily kill eggs. I will water down around their cubes to keep them cool on our long sunny summer days.
 
Candice Spicer
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Jay Angler wrote:Yes - leave hay or straw where the mom can reach it and let her do the "interior decorating"! There was ice on buckets in our field 2 days ago in the morning, and quite possibly there will be again today, so lots of down indicated. In summer here, I'm sometimes worried about the reverse - too hot will easily kill eggs. I will water down around their cubes to keep them cool on our long sunny summer days.



Thanks for the tip I’m in Australia so we’re just hitting summer will have to remember to water down if it gets too hot. Might have to get a little spray bottle just for miss milly (miss broody)
 
Candice Spicer
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Miss broody... this is the only way I can get her to eat and drink.... every few days I manually have to pick her up and pop her in her pool for cleaning and pooping purposes....
6D725CAC-E181-40D8-8053-A34B98290DBB.jpeg
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Candice Spicer
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Update.... egg was candled and should hatch around the 25/11 (11/25) fingers crossed... to this day she is still sitting....
 
Jay Angler
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Cool Candice, we'll be having eggs hatch at essentially the same time in both the southern and northern hemisphere. Salty's also still happily looking after her eggs despite temperatures dipping to freezing, but I think she's keeping them warm enough.

Hopefully both ducks will do well!
 
Candice Spicer
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Good luck darl... here’s to hoping... 🥂
 
Candice Spicer
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UPDATE: 1st little baby hatched this afternoon... mumma was very kind in allowing me to see her new baby....
Hoping the others hatch overnight...
3985CC78-6B3D-4831-9324-2206EBD96F20.jpeg
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Jay Angler
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Congratulations! Good job mom!

Unfortunately there was no success with the eggs my bird sat on - we had below freezing weather so she really didn't have much chance. She was still ticked when I took the nest away, but I could smell 'rotten' and I didn't want her to get sick. Hopefully she'll have better luck in the spring.

 
Candice Spicer
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I’m so sorry to hear that jay.... still waiting for the other eggs... little baby looks like it’s doing well it’s all fluffed up and is a bright yellow... mumma is keeping it warm and safe under her wings
 
Carla Burke
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Jay, I'm so sorry...
Candice,  that's wonderful! Go, lil' mama!!
 
Candice Spicer
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UPDATE: unfortunately we lost the other 2 eggs however milly (mumma) and flash (baby) are doing well
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