Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Muscovy Ducklings – a gorgeous new brood hatches at Seaview Wildlife!

The two images below were taken earlier this morning – of mother Muscovy with her adorable newly hatched brood of ducklings!

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The Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) is a large duck which is native to Mexico and Central and South America; feral populations also exist in Europe. Although the Muscovy Duck is a tropical bird, it adapts to icy and snowy conditions down to –12°C or lower without ill effects. Domesticated Muscovy Ducks can breed up to three times each year.

The female (hen) lays a clutch of 8-16 white eggs, usually in a tree hole or hollow, which are incubated for about 35 days. The sitting hen will only leave the nest once a day for a few minutes to defecate, drink water, eat and sometimes bathe. Once the eggs begin to hatch it may take 24 hours for all the chicks to break through their shells. When feral chicks 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.

In the wild, the male (drake) usually stays in close contact with the brood for their first few weeks of life. He walks with the young and provides protection for them during their normal travels in search for food. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, in response to different environmental conditions, other adults assist in protecting chicks and providing warmth at night. It has been suggested that this is in response to humans culling the eggs, which has led to an atypical distribution of males and females as well as young and mature birds.

For the first few weeks of their lives, Muscovy ducklings feed on grains, corn, grass, insects, and almost anything that moves. Their mother instructs them at an early age how to feed.

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Our young Muscovy family were rounded up this morning into the safety of an enclosure (with shelter, a pond and lush green grass) until they’re big enough to be released into the the main area of the Park. Once they’re old enough to fly they are then free to choose to stay on in the Park or fly off to explore other areas. Mostly they choose to stay ….

1 comment:

  1. Awww so so cute !!! 11 chicks wish I was there

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