I raised Muscovy Ducks, they are not like other duck breeds. They hiss and wag their feathers like a dog would. They do not quack like the “other duck” breeds do. They are their own line..
If you breed a donkey to horse, you get a mule.. If you breed a Muscovy to “any Mallard duck breed” you get the same thing.. this will cross over on the first gen but they are mules.. none breeding second gens.
That’s how far apart Muscovy Ducks are from “Mallard Ducks” and I find the taste of their meat to be just as far apart. While if cooked with some skin on and collecting duck fat in this regards, its still fine eating.
But where the Muscovy Ducks truly shines is as a “beef” replacement. Once you breast out those big(much bigger on the males then the females) breast, you can consider each one to be the finest steak that can be used in all the same ways a high quality beef steak can be.
or can be breaded like a cowboy steak.. O my so good!
but don’t stop there, it can be cubed to for use in stews, it can be corned to make Duck breast Corned Beef, it can be sliced for stir fry’s, it can be cubed and made into Salt/Pepper Chinese steak. It can be ground up and used in burgers.. which would be a total waste in my mind for the breasts but it can be done. (if you want burgers, use the other good meaty parts for your minx blends) It can be made into the most outstanding jerky.
And that brings me back to 2019.. we have a limited amount of beef left in the freezer and we are not planning on adding a new beef calf to the farm until after our farm sitter does her gig.. its not far to ask her to try and raise a bottle calf into her daily chores.
Honestly, it might just be off the list all together for 2019.. we will see on that one..
What is on the list is the gathering up the duck eggs and filling at least two, maybe three batches into the incubator to raise at least 48 to 60 ducklings that will be raised in moveable pens, this will greatly reduce their feed bills. I have a few other tricks for cutting their feed costs down that will be shared in detail as we go though the growing season.
While a few female’s will be held back for breeding, most of them will be the first butchered for fresh eating, smaller whole duck or will be portioned out.. at around 10 to 12 weeks of age
The males will be allowed to grow a extra 2 to 6 weeks for the large sizes to be reflected in the end sizes of the “breast meat”
The very best grow-outs males will be held back for breeding as well. I will be watching for a outstanding sized male at the fall bird sale for new genes but I have what I need for this years breeding season.. we have three male’s and 8 hens.. pretty close to perfect numbers and as we have two male lines, most will be outcrossed but I will also do two females/one male on a in-breeding line.
I am not planning on letting my duck girls sit their own eggs much this year, I will be collecting the eggs and hatching in larger batches. I want to control the timing of the ducklings to match up with the best time of the year for forage and feed rates savings.
I also want to be able to time out butcher days in a more controlled fashion. The past three years, two of them, I had issues with flooding springs effecting hatch rates and last year we have high heat and drought effecting hatch rates.
This year, I am taking those factors away and doing it myself to control the process better ideally!
I will be sharing setting rates, hatching rates, grow out rates and final cost per pound as well as many new recipes.
While I am very sure that I can bring my “ducky” beef in on a very good price per pound, we will see if I am right or wrong. I have great detailed cost outs on all the beef I have raised over the years so I will be able to directly compare them.
However I will not be able to compare as easily today’s current prices but I should be able to do a rough guess.
Can you please email me how old the ducks are when you butcher? I have more questions too.
I have saved your email and will do so, I have removed it from the post so you will not get extra spam to it 🙂 I will go back to the post and edit in when the average butcher dates are as that is a good questions.
That is so cool. I have never heard of the breed nor the differences between it and mallards. I am looking forward to hearing how the plan all works out this year.
Can you do a post on how you keep them in your climate? Housing, feeding, water, do they live with other birds like chickens or on their own, etc? We have considered ducks before but never went for it. I would really love to see how you go about it with the cold and all. And the practical aspects of raising them properly.
all great questions and great ideas on coming posts
I had no idea. This sounds like a very sensible solution for raising meat.
Like everything there is pro’s and cons and I will be going over those in more detail. However its useful information to share and maybe people can raise ducklings in area’s that they can not raise a beef calf.. The fact that these breed is super quiet is also helpful in that regards 🙂
Very interesting read! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more on this project this coming year.
Glad you liked the read and more will be coming over the year in some pretty detailed posts