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What is Muscovy Duck Breed: Anything You Need to Know

The Muscovy duck, also known as the Mexican real duck, Barbaria duck, or Creole duck, is a breed of tropical duck in Central America where it ranges from Mexico to central Argentina and Uruguay. It is used mainly for the production of meat because it has less abdominal fat and great muscle development. This characteristic makes it highly sought after by poultry farmers dedicated to the duck trade.

Muscovy Duck image credit audubon.org

Its scientific name is “Cairina moschata” and it is called Bragado because it has a different tone in the lower part compared to the rest of its body. They are usually dark in color mixed with areas of white feathers. If you want to know more about the history, characteristics, and reproduction of the Muscovy duck, continue reading this article.

Origin and History

Since pre-Columbian times, this bird has been raised by rural communities in Latin America, being part of the backyard or poultry birds of rural homes in small lots. However, despite the fact that the Muscovy duck is native to Central America, currently, the biggest boom in commercial breeding of this breed is in Asia and Europe. For example, in France during the 1930s, they have made great strides in genetic improvement for the production of Muscovy breed meat. Also, it is being used for the development of specialized genetic lines for hybridization with other races.

It is one of the most popular and sought-after breeds of ducks for the exquisite flavor of its meat and because it is easy to breed, its behavior is docile and it seldom becomes aggressive.

Some of the most representative characteristics of this breed are:

  • Its wings are large and its legs short.
  • Long tail and bare face.
  • There are 3 varieties of color that are: white, black or combined.
  • They have protruding claws on the toes.
  • Around the beak, it has red or pink granules characteristic of this variety.
  • Male lacks chin feathers.
  • They measure approximately 76 cm.
  • The male can weigh up to 4 kg in 11 weeks and the female 2.2 kg.
  • They reach sexual maturity between 30 to 40 weeks of life.

The Behavior of Muscovy Duck

The muscovy duck is a fairly rustic bird, so it does not require sophisticated facilities for handling and breeding. It is a very precocious breed, fast-growing with high fertility and easy fattening, which is why it is considered one of the best breeds of fattening ducks since it makes good use of feed rations. Due to the above reasons, many duck breeders and farmers prefer to raise the breed.  In addition, it is quite resistant to diseases and adapts well to different types of climate. It is a calm, docile species and they are not very good swimmers.

Reproduction of Muscovy Duck

Sexual maturity begins at 30 to 40 weeks of age, however, females reach full vigor at two years and their productive life can reach up to 10 years. If you are looking to obtain large eggs, it is recommended to wait for the beginning of the productive life of the females, which is up to seven months.

The hens have an average laying of 15 eggs, where the incubation has a period of time of 30 days. The birth of the ducklings occurs simultaneously and as soon as they are born they begin to follow the mother. In the wild, the ducklings together with the mother looking for a nearby body of water and remain there for several months until the young are able to fly.

Productive characteristics of the Muscovy Ducks

Currently, the Muscovy duck is one of the breeds with great commercialization, this is due to its productive and organoleptic characteristics (flavor). Here are some of the advantages of breeding this breed.

  • Good growth rate of 46.7 g / day in some selected animals.
  • High meat yield.
  • The meat has a lower fat content.
  • The objectives of its production are mainly focused on meat and eggs.
  • The meat has a very good consistency, texture and is softer and less fibrous than that of other breeds.
  • The flavor of the meat is very rich and appetizing.

Common Diseases of Muscovy Duck

It is a very strong breed against common avian diseases, it rarely gets sick, however, there are two viral diseases to which the Muscovy are very susceptible, which are the ones mentioned below.

1. Derzsy (Parvovirus of geese)

Derzsy is a disease that is more common in geese but it has been found that Muscovy ducks are more susceptible compared to other breeds. It is a fairly contagious disease in young geese and Muscovy ducks. This virus causes severe inflammation in the membranes of the heart and liver of the animal, so if there is no effective or prior treatment it can be fatal in most cases.

2. Duck parvovirus

This is another disease related to parvovirus, which damages the duck’s locomotor system, causes weight loss, and in extreme cases the death of the animal. This virus mainly affects ducklings between 1 and 3 weeks of age. To prevent this disease there are some duck vaccines that can be applied to the breeders.

In the Philippines, the Muscovy duck is one of the most popular breeds in backyard farming. Although commercial farmers grow Pekin Ducks, the Muscovy is preferred by backyard farmers due to its being disease-resistant. You can find Muscovy ducks being sold online especially on Facebook. Its eggs are preferred in “balut” making due to their large size.

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