Muscovy Duck Eggs: Egg-cellent Facts Everyone Should Know | Kidadl


Muscovy Duck Eggs: Egg-cellent Facts Everyone Should Know

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A Muscovy duck is a duck breed that is endemic to the Americas.

Like other duck breeds, this duck breed belongs to the class of birds. Like other birds, Muscovy ducks also lay eggs.

There are two types of subspecies of Muscovies, and these are wild Muscovies and domestic Muscovies. The scientific name of this duck breed is Cairina moschata. Muscovy ducks are large, and their breeding populations have increased in the United States. They are generally found in Florida, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Hawaii's Big Island, and other parts of North America, including southern Canada. Feral breeds of Muscovy ducks can also be found in parts of Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.

While the male Muscovy duck is called a Muscovy drake, the female is called a Muscovy hen. The male Muscovy duck is about 30 in (76 cm) in size and weighs around 15 lb (7 kg). Females of this breed are considerably smaller than the males, with their weight being around 6.6 lb (3 kg), just half of their male counterparts. Muscovy ducks are generally white and black in color, with their beaks or bills being yellow, black, pink, or red. The black feathers of male ducks are more glossy, while female ducks are slightly drab. The wings of these birds may have white bars or patches, which can be seen during flight. While wild Muscovies have black-colored bodies, domestic Muscovies come in slight variations of black mixed with white and brown, especially in the head region.

Muscovy ducks are domesticated and raised for various reasons. People have been raising Muscovies for centuries. Muscovies, like chickens, are raised as poultry birds. They are kept in a duck house. One of the purposes of raising Muscovies is for meat. Unlike the meat from the other breeds of ducks which are considered to be descendants of Mallard ducks, the meat of a Muscovy duck is much better. Muscovy duck eggs are also considered very yummy and popular amongst people.

What month do Muscovy ducks lay eggs?

Muscovy hens produce between 60-120 big eggs annually (a low number for ducks). Adulthood in males occurs at 29 weeks, whereas in females, it occurs at 28 weeks. The Muscovy mating season typically begins in August and ends in May. 

Tail wagging and raising the head crest are pretty much the extent of the courting rituals. They mate with several partners; however, a male may assist in protecting the nest and the young. The female will lay her eggs in an expansive tree hollow, a safe prefabricated nest box, or a high-up duck home; these birds are not fond of ground-level duck houses.

While Muscovies are not as dirty as other ducks, some people house them alongside their hens. She may lay anything from 12-16 eggs at a time. She'll take 35 days to incubate her eggs to the point of hatching. It's common for many mothers to take turns caring for their young.

Throughout the first 10-12 weeks, the ducklings will remain close to their mother to keep warm and secure. They will be equipped with lifesaving knowledge and techniques throughout this time. There will be a noticeable size difference between the ducklings and their parents at 12 weeks.

How long does a Muscovy duck sit on her eggs?

After successful mating, the mother duck prepares for nesting by removing down feathers from her belly, leaving a bald spot known as a 'brood patch'. She then uses the feathers to line the bottom and sides of the nest, keeping her eggs warm and insulated. Since the duck's blood veins are so near to the skin in the brood patch, they can transfer heat to the eggs without any extra effort on her part as a consequence of the plucking.

When the mother duck lays eggs, she will have a 'clutch' of 8-14 eggs by the end of the week. The temperature of the clutch must be just right for embryo development for the eggs to hatch. Temperatures between 96.3-47.8 F (35.7-38.8 C) are observed to be ideal. 

The female will stay close to her nest during incubation to prevent sudden temperature swings in the nest. Muscovy ducks, unlike hens, will leave their eggs for short periods to forage for food, drink, and eliminate.

 A brooding duck will incubate her eggs continuously after she has finished laying. She must stop periodically to eat and drink, but those pauses are usually short. Mother ducks generally spend 20–23 hours a day sitting on their eggs, with three short intervals of around an hour each. The duck hen adds extra layers of down and nesting material to her eggs to keep them warm when she leaves the nest.

On average, the incubation phase lasts around a month or as long as 28 days. Since a mother duck seldom leaves her nest, she must rely on her fat reserves for sustenance. Ducklings will start making peeping noises from within their eggs a few days before they are due to hatch. The 'egg tooth' is a tiny, pointy protrusion on the beak that ducks use to crack open their eggs and release their ducklings. After hatching, the egg tooth immediately falls out.

After the ducklings have all hatched, the mother will often stay in the nest for one more night to help keep them warm and dry. The ducklings will follow mom the next day as the mother takes them out to seek food.

Many domestic ducks lack natural instincts for caring for the young and abandon their nests if left unattended. When this happens, the fertilized eggs are often fostered by a broody hen, if one is available, or by artificial means. The time needed to hatch the eggs is the same for both types, but hens cannot usually keep a whole clutch of duck eggs warm since they are so much larger than hers.

How to hatch Muscovy duck eggs without an incubator?

Look For A Replacement Hen

You may locate a brooding hen for your duck eggs if you reside on a farm or have access to one nearby. A brooding hen incubates her eggs while simultaneously incubating a duck egg. Suppose none of the avian inhabitants of your farm are now nesting; in that case, you may go to another farm or a nearby supplier of farm animals. You may either buy the animal or leave your eggs at the farm for it to hatch them.

Any bird will suffice; hunting for a brooding duck is unnecessary. Even hens would work since the eggs need a warm, moist atmosphere. But a duck hen would likely be preferable since she lays more eggs underneath her. You may choose a nesting location after you've located a nesting bird.

Incubating eggs in a secure, hygienic, and dark setting is ideal. Ascertain if the nesting location is perfect if the bird has already selected it. Around the nest, there needs to be food and water.

You may need to incubate the eggs alternately depending on the size of the brooding bird. A mother can only cover the number of eggs she can incubate. Larger ducks, like Muscovy, can incubate a dozen or more eggs at once.

Warmth Pad

Duck eggs may be hatched with the use of heating pads. Be aware that this procedure might take a lot of work. A heating pad with an always-on setting and some clothes are required. Have many towels available since the eggs need to hatch in a warm, humid atmosphere. Lay your heating pad down first, making sure it is on. Then cover the top with a cloth to keep the eggs together. Another towel on the eggs will help keep the heat from escaping too quickly.

The eggs should also be examined for growth, and to ensure uniform heating, they should be turned over on each side. To keep the environment for the eggs warm and humid throughout the day, you will also need to dampen the washcloth often. Make sure there are no concerns with mold or mildew that might damage the eggs. For this technique to work best, your duck eggs should be about a week away from hatching. If moisture is kept beneath a blanket for long, mold may eventually grow.

Homemade Incubator

An incubator may also be made using a few simple materials. Coolers made of plastic or styrofoam are perfect for this. After you have a cooler, you may start assembling an incubation system using a few tools, such as:

  • Bakeware made of plastic or an ice cube tray
  • Mesh poly screen tray
  • Multifunction humidity and temperature gauge for the home (you can also use a cooking thermometer)
  • A light bulb
  • Few mason jars

After you have everything you need, setting up your homemade incubator will take little time. First, put the tray in the cooler's bottom. Make sure the tray completely encloses the area at the bottom. For sustaining a humid atmosphere, the surface area covered is more crucial than the amount of water present. You may put a mesh tray on top of the tray after you've added water to avoid overflowing wetness.

You have two choices for warmth: a light bulb or mason jars with boiling water inside. The cooler's top light bulb has to be screwed in, and the wiring needs to be figured out. If you want a less complicated method, mason jars filled with hot water will work just as well. To keep the temperature constant, you must repeatedly refill them with hot water throughout the day. Put jars inside the cooler and cover them with towels to protect the chicks from burns.

You may put the thermometer inside your homemade incubator after it is ready. Put the eggs inside the cooler so they can hatch. To create the ideal atmosphere for incubation, keep an eye on the temperature.

Fresh Muscovy duck eggs in the basket on the ground.

What color are Muscovy duck eggs?

Muscovy duck eggs are much larger than chicken eggs. They can grow to a length of 2.5 in (6.35 cm) and a weight of 3 oz (85 g). By contrast, the average weight of a chicken egg is just 1.7 oz (48.2 g).

The Khaki Campbell duck, on the other hand, may produce eggs that weigh up to 4.4 oz (124.7 g), making the Muscovy duck egg seem positively puny by comparison.

Muscovy duck eggs have an off-white, creamy tint. Eggs laid by Muscovy ducks are a popular food item worldwide. Chefs have come to appreciate Muscovy eggs for their luscious flavor.

How can you tell if a Muscovy duck is laying eggs?

Muscovies are quiet ducks. They do not quack as often as other species. While females have a soft vocalization, a drake has a low husky tone. In addition to being quiet, Muscovies are also known for being secretive.

If given free rein, they will hide their eggs in places you find difficult to search. Knowing when a duck will lay its eggs might be slightly tricky. However, since the breeding period of these ducks is known, it is easy to prepare for laying these eggs in advance. Most of the time, Muscovies start laying eggs in the morning.

You can check the pelvis of ducks to understand when they will lay their eggs. If the females start brooding, sitting over a spot for long hours to incubate, they have stopped laying eggs. They will continue to sit on their eggs until they are ready to hatch. It is advised not to approach them during this period as they can be quite possessive and display aggressive behavior. Instead, you can just provide them with fresh water and food from time to time.

Identifying when hens will lay their eggs becomes easy when you know the time of the year they generally start laying and their behavior just before and during the laying process.

Caring For Your Muscovy Ducks

Health Problems

The Muscovy is an all-around strong and healthy duck. Research conducted in Colombia revealed the sole health issue with this duck. While both Haemoproteus and Plasmodium are indigenous to tropical regions, they discovered that the Muscovy was more often infected with both. As neither parasite is zoonotic, humans are not at risk.

Otherwise, they are susceptible to regular pests like worms and lice. Medication can manage this. Duck plague, also known as duck viral enteritis or DVE and brought on by a virus, is a potential threat to all ducks. In the US, a vaccination is readily accessible; thus, it should be administered whenever feasible.


The Muscovy duck consumes vegetation and other animals since it is an omnivore. They may be given an all-flock meal as ducklings with brewer's yeast added. They will consume grass, cereals, and maize as well. They will begin to consume beetles, snails, insects, and crustaceans as they age, precisely as adults.

Mature Muscovies may be given an all-flock diet, which they will top up with foraged foods from the backyard and garden. Slugs, snails, and flies may all be eliminated with this effective pest control method! In tropical regions, they attack termite mounds and consume the termites.

You may feed them more greens in the form of maize, pesticide-free cut grass, chopped fresh vegetables, and chopped lettuce. They will play about and consume some of the plants and roots if there is a pond.

Roaming And Coop Setup

In contrast to other ducks, the Muscovy duck loves to perch; therefore, you'll need solid roosts in the coop! They seem to get along well with hens and do not mind keeping them in the same coop. Since they naturally build their nests high up, you may use big chicken-style nesting boxes.

The perfect box would be 2 ft (0.6 m) high, 18 in (45.7 cm) wide, and 20 in (50.8 cm) deep. You may wish to leave the box's top open if you have many Muscovies; they can share the area as they enjoy co-nesting.

They will consume pests like ticks and flies and are often let onto fields after animals to get rid of flies and maggots. Also, they like scrounging at the borders of ponds and streams for delectable crustaceans, plant roots, larvae, and other little treats. They will undoubtedly consume grass as well. They are very effective in removing grains and seeds.

Although these ducks will put up with confinement, they do far better when given access to the outside world. If you keep them in a run, they will need a lot of space.

Did You Know...

  • Muscovy ducks are tropical birds, which means they like warm and humid climates. However, they also can adapt to colder temperatures. They can thrive just as well as survive in colder conditions.
  • The average lifespan of a Muscovy duck is between 7-10 years; however, this may increase to 20 or more years with proper care and diet.
  • The males are notorious for their aggressive behavior against other birds. Various weapons, including claws, wings, and beaks, may be seen in use during their frequent clashes.
  • Wagging their tails and raising and dropping their heads are two ways that Muscovies express themselves to one another.
  • Muscovies don't swim as much as other ducks since their oil glands aren't as well developed. They can still fly (mostly low-flight), swim, and walk decently.
  • The Muscovy duck is not a genuine duck despite its common name. This bird, more closely related to geese than ducks, is classified in a separate genus named Cairina.
  • The Muscovy duck was originally from Central and South America, but it may now be found in many other countries due to domestication.
  • Muscovy ducks are easily recognizable because of the brilliant red warty growths known as caruncles that decorate their face and frame their eyes. Caruncles are used in a variety of courting rituals.
  • The Muscovy duck has a reputation for being a great flyer, capable of covering great distances quickly. They can also sit and climb trees, which is unusual for ducks.
  • In contrast to most other duck species, Muscovy ducks can successfully reproduce without access to water. They may also interbreed with other ducks to create hybrids.
  • The flesh from Muscovy ducks is widely sought after because it is leaner and more flavorful than other domesticated ducks. Their sociability and ease of care also make them desirable as pets.


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