Ivan (white) and Igor waiting for Bullsnake and his crew to wake up..On one of our visits to a restaurant owner that purchases our Pekin ducks, a request was made for us to provide him with "Mullards"---the gourmet of all gourmet duck meat. Acting knowledgeable, we left him with the promise that we'd look into their acquisition.
Step 1 was figuring out the spelling of the name of the duck to "Wikipedia" it. Seems simple enough....the duck is a cross between a female Pekin that we already have and a Muscovy drake.
Without a moment's hesitation, we located 7 of these juveniles and brought them home: 5 males and 2 females (just because!!). That night, while trying to get the mini flock into a semi safe and weather-protected location--my now defunct greenhouse--I ended up having to pick up the youngest female, Daisy (Duck) who was having difficulty grasping the concept of going "in" anywhere! Introduction #1 to one of their differences from mallards....most ducks have claws on the tips of their "toes" ....little ones. They can scratch you, but no big deal. Not so the Muscovy! They have TALONS and a huge spur like found on a fighting rooster--even the babies. Makes sense....being perching fowl, but tell that to my clawed up arms!! And that happened just because she was scared...supposedly they can get quite aggressive if in real danger from a predator. Needless to say, these Muscovies now have the CHOICE of whether they want to go in a structure or not.
To try to understand the mentality of these guys, I started researching them online. There's a raging controversy about whether these guys are actually ducks or geese....yes, raging! It seems that they're the only ducks that don't trace their origins to the infamous old mallard. Instead, they originate from South America...and in addition are found in their own little taxonomy of critters called perching ducks. They roost in trees. Tell that to the Maremmas.... They were definitely affronted the first time the two females decided that their favorite roost was on the horizontal fence pole right over where the dogs loved to lay during the day!!....disgusting. The dogs have now moved to another siesta location.
It took a couple of weeks before all of the Muscovies got to this age of flying. (the females figured out the flying thing first...) Difference #2. They FLY....not just a little commuter flight like the mallard cross Bullsnake and his clan, but a transcontinental one!! Bella in particular, the other female is wonderful at it.
Speaking of turkeys....we get to that fleshy stuff on the faces of these guys. VERY reminiscent of a turkey. Can I just say "UGLY"!!! But they don't know it... and their little cooing sounds and other soft little vocalizations make up for the visual. They sound like mourning doves, not ducks. As an aside, when we first were looking into what breed of duck to get, I took one look at photos of these guys and couldn't help myself: "bleah". We ended up with runner ducks instead.
But we've run into a definite snag in our breeding program. When we first introduced these guys, we put them out in the orchard with the Runners and breeding stock Pekins. Remember the goal here was to have Mullards to sell to restaurants. This lasted all of a week or two....just about when the aerial displays started up....and the Muscovies started roaming around. All over the farm....checking out everyone and everything. Short of putting on a ball and chain there was NO keeping them down! And they found out where THEY wanted to be. And it's NOT with the Pekins...or in the orchard.
The only other types of ducks we have are our Mallard/Runner duck cross: A flock of a grand total of 8--who are free range, full of attitude (especially Bullsnake) and food beggars. These guys have become a sub-flock of the Muscovies. During the day they all graze and bug hunt together all over the farm. And when they rest, the Muscovies form up in small clusters around the hub of Mallards---as if the Muscovies, who are twice as big as Bullsnake's flock, are sentries protecting them. They have definitely found their niche.
So much for Mullards. I wonder what you would call a Muscovy/Mallard/Runner duck cross?