Muscovy

Such a beautiful animal. When my white Muscovys spread their 6' wings to fly, they are both graceful and magestic.

The Muscovy duck is by many people's account, the best tasting veal and the best tasting duck you can buy. Comments have been made like:

A very tender Turkey taste - and larger than smaller turkeys in your supermarket
At 5 months, it tastes like veal

At the suggestion of a couple friends (one who raises her own Muscovies) and my own preferences for the taste of 'range feed' animals and veal, I have gotten into raising a few Set up for Muscovlings per year. Like piggies, my emphasis is on taste, after all, I'm raising them for my family and I to eat - and I love to eat great food - especially if there is no more work to get great food vs oK food.

I've been asked if people can buy some, the answer is - maybe. I have a tight limit imposed by the county, on how many animals I can raise at a time and, as a virtue of being located in the cold North (Calgary area) I obviously can only raise range feed animals in the summer! So I can only realistically get one or two crops of Muscovy veal per year though I'm keeping some to overwinter as my breeding stock.

So, my excess Muscovies will be available on a first come first serve basis. To secure your Muscovies, you first check if I have some available (as of this writing, the answer is no) then you provide me with a 50% down payment. While I fully expect to be able to deliver if, due to circumstances beyond my control I can't, I will of course return your money and give you first right of refusal on next years muscovys (meat) or muscovlings (young ones for you to raise yourself). Then, when I know what day tehy or the meat will be ready, I let you know and we arrage for delivery. If you buy from me 'this' year, you'll also get first right of refusual for next year.

Now, enough of the business end, on to the interesting information:

There are 3 types of ducks, by most accounts,

  1. Wild ducks. These come in various qualtities for eating, some wonderful, some terrible. Read any good hunting book that describes the various ducks and how they taste. I've read that most (other sources say 'all') of the ducks hunted are from the Anas family of ducks.
  2. Standard domesticated ducks. Genetically bred from Mallard ducks aka Anas platyrhynchos. According to more than one source - all domesticated ducks other than the Muscovy (below), come from Mallard ducks The most common complaints about these ducks is they are very greasy and very bony. My personal experience has been 40% fat and 40% bone and 20% greasy tasting meat. Now to be fair, standard domesticated ducks are broken into 2 categories. Both have the above characteristics, but they are split into ducks raised for egg production and ducks raised for meat production. Obviously, if you are keeping a duck for its lifetime production of eggs, if it tastes bad at the end, it is no big deal. Just don't eat it!
  3. Muscovy domesticated ducks, aka Cairina moschata. Compared to other domesticated ducks, it is much larger, lean and closer to a turkey in terms of bone to meat ratio. The flavour is declared wonderful by most people. It doesn't produce as many eggs though, so it is not a good egg production animal

Some people have said that the word 'duck' does not properly apply to the Muscovy because of its characteristics and the fact it is a Cairina not an Anas. So lets look at the Muscovy compared to the real (wild and domesticated) ducks:

We have different animals that are similar: A chicken and a turkey. A cow and a buffalo. An emu and an ostritch, And I have no real problem accepting that a duck and a Muscovy are the same type of pairing. But, since it does look very much like a duck other than perhaps the mottling on its head, and many people call it a duck for practical purposes, For the young, you can use the term ducklings or muscovlings.

Another twist, in the early 1900's some people called the Muscovy a 'type of goose', not a duck.

In any event, You can probably guess why, for my acerage, I have choosen Muscovy ducks for meat production. I will admit, at some point I may try an egg producting duck variety after which I'll add it to my pages for whatever practical advice I can offer at that time.

Muscovy ducks were originally a wild variety. There are several different stories given as to how the name came about, and some people, with completely different stories - and I mean completeley, are adamant that their answer is correct. I'm therefore going to ignore the issue entirely! (Update, I've been asked so I'm starting a collection at the bottom)

Other names I've heard these ducks given:
The Turkey duck
The Veal duck
Scobies
Tree duck
Barbary (name given to the carcas, not the live bird
And of course, Cairina moschata

Back to the flavour of the meat, the color/colour is reported to affect the taste with the white ones being the best, the dark ones having an off taste near the skin. I don't have personal experience, I've just decided to go with the premium white. Cost me a bit more to get started, but that's OK. If you want to start easier and possibly at a lower cost - just don't be picky about getting the white ones

Some other nice factors about Muscovys beyond their taste:

Some not so nice factors about Muscovys

Silly rumor: I read on one web site that had 'lots' of details about Muscovies that the males can't fly. Just come and watch if you think this is true. And remember that the muscovy is basically a wild duck - how do you think they get around in the wild - waddle away from the predators? No, the males can fly just fine.

Some of reasons given for the name Muscovy.

New Terra Farm -completely unrelated to me- has a lot of interesting information, while not directly related to Muscovies, I found lots of their info to be very practical for homestead style raising of Muscovies. Some of their advice is free with just your email, others at a cost. For information on both types of product, visit: Click here to visit New Terra Farm. But before you buy anything - check out their best offer: Click here to view more details I bought this best offer and I was really pleased with the info I got and I have made very good use of several suggestions in their information.