So, when I went North to get Vespy, I might have also accidentally brought home a trio of muscovies. I absolutely adore them already!
Why muscovies? So many reasons, really.
The domestic muscovy duck ( Cairina moschata forma domestica) is a large duck that comes to us from Latin and South America with small wild/feral populations all over the place. They're not related to the mallard derived breeds so any cross between a mallard-esque duck and muscovy will be sterile. They're called hinnies around here though word is they're officially called Mulards.
So, how large is a large duck? The males can weigh 15lbs and females max out at about half that. They can be any number of colours or colour combinations of whites, browns, greys, and blacks. Both sexes have red or pink wattles on their faces. They also have seriously epic claws on their webbed feet.
In spite of the warmer origins of the muscovy, it can thrive in much colder conditions. Here, they live in temperatures as cold as -30*C.
Muscovies are fascinating in the way they communicate, using a variety of hisses and bobbing head gestures to make their point to one another. They don't really quack at all, though they can make this squawky sort of sound if they need to.
There are a tonne of stories about the origins of the muscovy name. The story I like best is that it relates to their fondness for eating mosquitoes. And they truly are fond of mosquitoes. I love how they keep the populations down.
They lay tonnes of delicious ducky eggs that, if you have a boy and you don't collect them, after 35 days of incubation, will turn into absolutely adorable cheepers. The cheepers will stick with their mums for up to three months because they need her heat to keep them warm. Although they don't form breeding pairs, a drake will help with protecting the hen on a nest, and babies, once hatched.
PS - if you've ever eaten Barbary duck, that's the culinary way to say C. moschata.