Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New Muscovy brood hatches at Seaview Wildlife Encounter!


As regular readers of our Blog (and visitors to the Park) will know, spring and early summer bring great excitement with the hatching of hundreds of ducklings and goslings!  Yesterday the Keepers noticed a female Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) emerging from under a bush followed by eight newly hatched, bright, fluffy, gorgeous ducklings!  The Muscovy family was immediately caught and moved to the safety of an enclosure where they’ll stay for the next few weeks until they’re old enough to be released onto one of the Parks’ lakes.  The images below were taken earlier today:

  Muscovy with ducklings June 2011 DSC_0981


Muscovy Ducks have been domesticated for centuries, and are often traded under the name of "Barbary ducks".  In the meat trade, Muscovy breeds are popular because they are larger and heavier with stronger-tasting meat than most other domestic ducks.  They apparently taste more like roast beef than other domestic ducks [most of which are descendants of the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)]. The meat is lean and tender – and often compared with veal.  Muscovy ducks are also less noisy than most breeds of Duck, they’re sometimes marketed as a "quackless" duck - even though they are not completely silent, they don't actually quack (except in cases of extreme stress).


Muscovy duckling June 2011 DSC_0965


Muscovies, like Mallards, do not form stable pairs. They mate on land or in water and can breed up to three times a year (although ours at the Park usually breed once a year).

The hen lays a clutch of 8-16 white eggs, usually in a tree hole or hollow, and incubates for a period of about 35 days. The sitting hen only leaves the nest for a few minutes each day to defecate, drink water, eat and sometimes bathe. Once the eggs begin to hatch it may take 24 hours for all the ducklings to break through their shells. When feral ducklings are born they usually stay with their mother for about 10–12 weeks. Their bodies cannot produce all the heat they need, especially in temperate regions such as the UK, so they stay close to their mother especially at night.

No comments:

Post a Comment