Raising Muscovy Ducks for Meat and Pest Management

Operator Name: David and Linda Spain
Production: Livestock (poultry), Vegetables
Location: Raleigh, Wake County, NC

The Spain’s are raising Muscovy ducks, a healthy alternative to traditional meats that are marketed to restaurants and through the farmers market. In addition to filling a niche market, the ducks are beneficial for sustainable farms as the naturally control insects and pests through their foraging.

David and Linda Spain have a 20 acre farm on the outskirts of Raleigh in southern Wake County. It’s a small farm tucked away amongst encroaching suburban sprawl. The farm naturally grows livestock and produce using sustainable agricultural and agroecological methods. David and Linda specialize in livestock and want to expand their operation by raising a specific breed of duck called Muscovy. Muscovy ducks are a little different from your average mallard. They are native to Brazil and raised to be hearty warm-weather animals that are primarily raised for meat. The Musocvy males have bright red faces that appear to be full of tumors. The females also have the red faces but are generally smoother and a more slender bird in general. The ducks are a little unsightly and are strange because they hardly make any sound. They don’t quack but rather hiss. However, ugly and strange these tropical birds may seem, their meat is highly regarded as the best fowl meat you can get. This breed can carry up to 50% more breast meat, which is 98% lean and the skin has 50% less fat than other ducks. The meat is highly sought after by high end restaurants and consumers as the healthiest, most nutritious meat you can buy.

The ducks don’t only serve as a livestock product. While being raised on the farm they serve another very important purpose that can contribute to the health and stability of the agro-ecosystem. The muscovy ducks happily feast on common insect pests on the farm that typically plague vegetable and other horticultural crops. The ducks will keep insect populations down while causing minimal damage to the crop itself. The Spain’s not only want ducks as a highly valuable agricultural product, but they also see them as a great asset in natural pest management on the farm.

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