Raising Muscovy Ducks for Meat and Pest Management

November 20, 2014 - Livestock, Tools, View All

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

David and Linda Spain raise Muscovy ducks, an alternative to conventional 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 they control pests by foraging.

David and Linda have a 20 acre farm on the outskirts of Raleigh. It’s a small farm tucked away from the encroaching suburban sprawl. The farm grows livestock and produce using sustainable agricultural and agro-ecological methods. David and Linda specialize in livestock and have expanded their operation by raising Muscovy ducks.

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. Muscovy males have bright red faces that appear to be full of tumors. The females also have the red faces but are generally smoother of face. The ducks are a bit unsightly, and quite strangely, they hardly make any sound. They don’t quack, but rather hiss.

However ugly these tropical birds may seem, their meat is highly regarded. The breed can carry up to 50% more breast meat, which is 98% lean. Their skin has 50% less fat than other ducks. The meat is sought after by high-end restaurants and consumers as the healthiest, most nutritious duck meat currently on the market.

The ducks don’t only serve as a livestock product; muscovy ducks happily feast on common pests on the farm that might otherwise plague vegetable crops. The ducks help keep insect populations down while causing minimal damage to crops.

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