They grow so fast. Here’s Gus (on the left, then known as Augusta) with his posse on April 28 when they first came to Morning Bray Farm.
Here’s Gus on May 4.
Don’t blink. August 13.
Most of what I’ll share with you is adapted from Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks. Being a tree duck, Muscovies roost in trees at night and spend hours preening on elevated perches after their daily bath. They’re classified as a heavy breed of duck; males (drakes) average 12 pounds, while females (ducks) average 7. In case you’re wondering, the average weight of a Mallard drake is 2.5 pounds; ducks 2.2 pounds.
The head of the mature Muscovy drake is massive, and its face is covered with red skin, called caruncling. Remember, Gussie hasn’t stopped growing yet.
Their long toes are webbed, amazingly strong and tipped with talon-like claws.
Compared with other domestic ducks, their bodies are flattened, heavily muscled and extra wide across the shoulders. Their wings are very wide and moderately long, with the tips being more rounded than in other breeds. The tail is long and broad.
As I mentioned above, the size difference between drakes and ducks is remarkable. By adulthood, females weigh 45 to 50 percent as much as the males. For comparison, in other domestic breeds and wild species that nest on the ground, ducks typically weigh only 8 to 12 percent less than drakes at maturity. (Muscovies prefer to nest on large branches and cavities in tree trunks.)
Here’s Isabelle on August 13. Much smaller than Gussie.
Look at her beautiful blue eyes. By the way, Isabelle would like to let the world know that she adores tomatoes.
While we gave everyone female names at the start, and not long ago we were certain we had an even mix of drakes and ducks, we’re positive now that we have four boys and two girls.
1. Augusta is Gussie – drake
2. Isabelle is Isabelle – duck
3. Hillary is Hillary – duck
4. Hazel is Jake – the drake
5. Beatrice is Oliver – drake
6. Harriet is Alfie – drake
And we love them all.
Muscovies are the quietest of all breeds. Females occasionally quack weakly but mostly use a variety of soft chirps to communicate. The drake’s primary vocalizations are hoarse, breathy exhales (hisses) of varying lengths.
Most females are fair to good flyers and will perch on fences and buildings. Here’s Hillary up on the front porch.
It’s always a madhouse here, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.