Acquired: Bred animal myself
Texas, United States
Posted Apr 02, 2015
When you buy duck at the grocery store, odds are it's a Muscovy. My experience with the breed goes back well before I ever ate duck, however.
When I lived on a farm as a kid, there was a pond that I used to take a small row boat out into on summer evenings. One day, I saw a bird along the far bank. It wasn't a crane, heron, or any of the wild birds I'd normally see - but this was a HUGE bird. It didn't make a sound, but it was watching me. I decided to start casually rowing toward the bank of the pond, when this animal took flight in my direction. It had to have had a wing span of at least 6 feet, with a slow, deliberate flapping motion. At 10 years old, I was more than a little startled.
Later on, I found out it was a Muscovy duck. These birds are huge, indeed, and are mostly muscle (meat). The typically have black and white feathers, and when startled, the feathers on the tops of their heads will rise, making a mohawk. On top of all that, their faces are covered in large red bumps, and they don't quack; they hiss. Not like a snake, but like Darth Vader. For someone who has never encountered a Muscovy duck, the first introduction can be a little intimidating.
However, they are very docile creatures, keep the yard free of bugs with their foraging, and yield great tasting dinners. I've raised a few dozen Muscovy ducks from hatchlings. If they have shelter to hide in during inlement weather, that's fine - but these are hardy animals - known ti weather winters and rainstorms in the wild.
A definite must for anyone looking to raise birds for meat/commercial use, or if you simply want to keep six-legged pests out of the lawn.