August 28, 2016

Double Mom Ducklings

This has been a prolific and interesting year for ducklings. We've had ducklings raised by our Buff Orpington, ducklings raised by an attack duck, and now we have double mom ducklings.


Two ducks chose a spot under one of our fig trees and made shared nest. One of the other was always there, so we were never sure how many eggs they laid. One day I heard peeping from the direction and went to take a cautious look.


It was impossible to get a head count. Both mothers fussed over them, and were suspicious of me. Several days later, they brought them out.


They move around a lot and the mothers always position themselves between the ducklings and anything else, so it took awhile to get a head count.


There are 17 of them. That brings us to a total of about 30 Muscovy ducks! Time to figure out what to do with all of them.


Double Mom Ducklings © August 2016

37 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

If I lived near by I would buy some off you, still looking to replace the ducks we lost to a fox attack, we are having duck for dinner tonight

Judy said...

Duck tenders and Jezebel sauce! Yum!
http://www.kingsoutdooradventure.com/koa/images/RecipePDFs/DuckGooseStrips.pdf
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/jezebel-sauce-1 I only make a quarter recipe at a time.

Leigh said...

Dawn, if you lived near by I would give you a bunch! Duck for dinner sounds good but that's sad news about the fox.

Leigh said...

Judy, thanks! I need to start collecting recipes. :)

Dani said...

I could also happily relieve you of some ducks. We're missing ours big time - they provided a touch of amusement with their antics which is missing with the chickies.

Hoepfully your ducklings are more female than male... Otherwise Duck 'Lorange will be on the menu for a while :D

Fiona said...

Wow! How wonderful. How are these "Moms" integrating their ducklings with your other ducks?

Susan said...

I have a couple of sets of double-moms this year. One of my older ducks deserted the nest she was sharing with a Runner Cross (infertile eggs) to co-mother the first batch hatched this year. Then I had a nest that was being tended by another (very flighty) Runner and 2 Muscovies. Unfortunately all the fussing there was very detrimental to the ducklings, so they only managed to save 4 of them. Totally rethinking my duck set-up for next year; running everyone together has been very hard on ducklings being in the wrong place at the wrong time. No overt hostility, but I'm tired of finding sqished babies.

DFW said...

Wow ... 17 ... wow! I love crispy duck.

Renee Nefe said...

I'm not sure that I've ever had duck. I know my parents share a story of how the duck slid off the plate, was caught by my father and replated because they weren't waiting for another one and this was still good. But I don't know that I ate any. I also know that my father had a duck in the freezer that he wanted to get stuffed, but pretty sure we never had any for dinner at the house. I should try some...if given the chance I will. Too bad it isn't early spring, you could sell a lot of those ducklings for Easter. Since I suspect your freezer will get full quickly, perhaps you need to find a recipe to can the duck. Good luck, I know you'll put it all to good use.

Chris said...

We had fifteen chicks hatch recently, but you're fortunate to have the mum's doing all the incubating and rearing for you. So it seems what started as dubious odds, in the beginning, has turned into a bounty of little ducklings. You never know what you're going to get with nature. :)

Leigh said...

I'd love to give some to you! We especially don't need more than one drake. Considering how prolific they've been, I don't think we need more than one drake an one or two ducks. I agree that they are truly likable critters. They patrol the yard and eat bugs and weed seeds, which is truly helpful.

Leigh said...

That's an interesting question Fiona. Actually, each group of ducklings has become it's own unit. The first four have taken up with the one duck who sat on duds for two months. Mama of Six (formerly Seven but we lost one to drowning) and her crew patrol around the house, and the double-mom gang hang close to the goat barn. That leaves the drake and the one whose nest was disrupted when we moved the hay hut to rule over the chicken yard. Not sure if or how they'll integrate by winter.

Leigh said...

Oh my, that would be tough indeed. I'm thinking we need to get our duck numbers down to a very bare minimum to keep the numbers manageable. Of course, that assumes we'd have lots of ducklings, which in reality there is no guarantee for.

Leigh said...

And that's only about half our duck population!

Leigh said...

I think I had duck once, in high school. We tried goose one year for Christmas dinner, but nobody cared much for it. I understand that Muscovy is a very delicious meat, not as fatty as other breeds. Meat harvesting season is coming up, so I'll have to let you know!

Leigh said...

Chris, that's exactly right, you never know. Another year might see nothing. Actually, considering that we've had a lot of potential predators around (possums, skunks, and coons, not to mention wandering neighborhood dogs) it's amazing most of them have survived. Only one loss so far (besides unhatched eggs) from a drowning.

Farmer Barb said...

The nice thing about duck, is the quality of the meat doesn't go down as markedly as it does with chickens when they are older. You could spread out the harvest instead of having to freeze them. 30 plus all the adults is a LOT of ducks. We only have three females. I will try letting them hatch next year. Until then, four ducks pooping up a single duck house is fragrant enough.

Henny Penny said...

That's so cute, and very interesting. I did not know two Muscovy females would raise babies together. I miss our old Muscovy pair. It was really fun watching the baby ducks hatch and I enjoyed caring for them.

Perry - StoneHillRidge said...

I'm in, just let me know where and when to pick up the ducklings. Of course, lets keep it on the down low, don't need my Lovely Wife finding out I added another critter to the homestead.
Side note, we are still looking at getting goats next year. I am headed to a local farm today to get some fresh goat's milk. Hate to go to all the trouble and find out we don't like the milk. :)

Susan said...

For those that haven't had it, Muscovy is delicious! I liken it to really good beef. I part mine out and pan sear the breasts after scoring the skin so the fat can render out (it is fantastic for sauteing potatoes in). Legs and thighs get ground either for burger or sausage; wings & carcasses make stock. This year I may can some thigh meat for things like carnitas or stew. I've got plenty to play with - still have 25 ducklings and several adults destined for the freezer.

matty said...

I love Muscovy ducks! They are so dear with their red warts... I love how they look and sound! Our Muscovies were Princess and Excaliber... I cried when they died... Wonder if theses would like a road trip to the mountains......

Cassandra said...

Wonderful! And adorable too.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Such great pictures Leigh. I love watching those babies and mama's and this year we'll be butchering several along with the broiler chickens we are raising. It is a time consuming process which we like to do early fall. Nice and cool, less flies!

Rain said...

Oh my gosh Leigh, you're so blessed. 17 little ones...I turn to mush just looking at them! Interesting, I'd never heard of a double mom team before!

Judy said...

Next time you are at a Chinese restaurant try Peking duck. Very taste!

Leigh said...

I didn't realize that about age of the duck. I can't recall off the top of my head what age is recommended to process Muscovys, I seem to remember 18 weeks(?) Catching them will be the trick! Right now they pretty much go where they want, when they want.

Leigh said...

That was a discovery for me too. And from reading the comments, it seems it's not uncommon!

Leigh said...

LOL. The nice thing about Muscovys is that they aren't real noisy. But they sure do seem to be prolific.

I'm glad you're thinking of getting goats. I find goat milk to be sweeter and richer than cows milk.

Leigh said...

Susan, that's great information. I keep reading Muscovy meat is really good so I'm looking forward to trying it. I was interested you can render the fat. I read it is a less fatty duck so I was wondering about that. 25 is a lot to process!

Leigh said...

I think Muscovy is the perfect homestead duck! (Not that I have any other breeds to make a comparison to :) I'm so sorry yours died. It's always hard to lose critters.

Leigh said...

Thanks!

Leigh said...

Early fall is our time for meat harvest too. We mostly have ducks to do this year, unless one or more of those four baby chicks turns out to be a rooster. :)

Leigh said...

The team mothering was new for us too. Animals always teach us something!

Goatldi said...

I agree with Susan. Muscovy is wonderful and very beef like. Not as fatty as some other varieties can be either.

Goatldi said...

Adorable! They would love it here in norther CA.

Devon G. said...

That's awesome. I used to have two'game' hens that would nest and raise their chicks together. I learned multiple mothers increase baby survival rates tremendously.

Devon G. said...

That's awesome. I used to have two 'game' hens that would nest and raise chicks together. I learned two mothers increases survival rates of chicks tremendously.