Muscovies hatching in winter

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Muscovies hatching in winter

Postby amac » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:53 pm

After a break our muscovies started laying about a month ago. They're quite crafty, leaving us eggs in nesting boxes, but hiding a nest elsewhere. Should we let them stay on the nest and hatch, or will the winter just be too tough on them? We have access to an incubator, we can rear them indoors with a heat lamp, just not sure what the fairest thing to do as we're new to raising ducks. Cheers
Last edited by amac on Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Muscovies hatching in winter

Postby wolga » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:01 pm

Hi Amac,
it basically comes down to if you want ducklings in winter or not. Personally I would wait another month before I would consider hatching anything.
Your ducks will start laying again in a couple of weeks if you take their eggs away now. Ducklings and chicks develop a lot better with longer
daylight hours.
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Re: Muscovies hatching in winter

Postby Marina » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:00 am

I think it depends on where you are and what facilities you have. I wouldn't attempt to hand-raise ducklings in winter - they make so much mess as it is - but if you have a dry area where you can confine them for the first 2 or 3 weeks, mother muscovy will look after them just fine. In the south of New Zealand and in the wetter areas it will not be fun to raise them, either, but if you are, for instance, on the East Coast of the NI it may well work out fine for you and the ducklings.

I've had hens hatch chicks in winter. We even had a snowfall while the hen was sitting on the eggs. The eggs all hatched and the hen raised them beautifully.

But as Wolga said - they grow better when the days are longer and warmer.
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Re: Muscovies hatching in winter

Postby amac » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:31 pm

Thanks for sharing thoughts. We're in Wellington so not too mild, but not freezing either. At the moment the nest is in the corner of a coop which is in a paddock where our ducks and chickens roam. We can bring mother and ducklings into our garage where we could put them in a metre and a half by a metre and a half contained steel area. We can put non slip matting on the base and/or cocoa husk with a heat lamp and feeders and waterers. We then have a separate small coop and run then can go into as they get larger. I hadn't considered bringing Mum in as well, but that would help with the care of the ducklings and I assume make it easier in introducing them back to the other ducks.
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Re: Muscovies hatching in winter

Postby Marina » Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:10 pm

You do sound keen and obviously have thought about how to handle the ducklings once they hatch.

Muscovies tend to be very good mothers - I wouldn't try to hand raise the ducklings. especially not in winter. She'll keep them warm and once they are 2 or 3 weeks old and it's a relatively warm day you could let them out for the day. With a bit of luck she'll take her duckling back for the night.

When I raise ducklings I take the water away during the night so they make less mess. Once the ducklings are a week old I give them water 2 or 3 times per day and don't leave the container in their pen for them to make a mess. But for this to be successful you need to be certain that you don't forget giving them water at least twice per day in a container deep enough so that mum can clean her nostrils.
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