My personal philosophy is to raise all animals as naturally as I can to support healthy, hardy, self-sufficient and
productive birds.  The birds are allowed to forage for all the greens and insects they are able to consume for the
majority of the year and I supplement that with a diet consisting of whole & chopped grains such as wheat, milo,
corn, and oats, as well as black oil sunflower seeds and I also use a meat-based poultry supplement.  During the
winter I supplement their grain-based diet with high-quality alfalfa hay since there are few plants available.  I limit
my use of commercial rations opting instead to have my feeds mixed by the local feed mill or by hand at home
based on proven recipes gathered from experienced nutritionists and breeders.  I avoid soy as much as possible
because I believe that it has negative effects on the fertility of birds, however, a small portion of their total ration
might contain trace amounts of soy as this is often a staple of a poultry concentrate.  I have inquired about this and
feel confident that the minimal amount that is included in my total ration should not have detrimental effects due in
part to the care that is taken during the heat processing of the soy which breaks up the phyto-estrogens that are
linked to poor fertility and denatures the trypsin inhibitor which is damaging to internal organs.  For my Muscovy
program I allow all of my ducks to set their own nests.  The ability to set a nest and raise ducklings is a very
important breed characteristic and one that I encourage in all of my birds.  Birds that are not successful hatching
their own ducklings are culled.  Maternal instinct is another factor considered in whether a bird will remain in my
flock.  Ducklings kept for my own flock are raised by their dams for the most part although I will, on occasion,
artificially brood ducklings if necessary.  For my Welsh program I gather eggs during the spring and early summer
to place in the incubators but do allow the ducks to set a nest during the summer before breaking up the breed
pen.  The ability of the Welsh to set and hatch out her own young is also a breed characteristic, so I do like to give
them that opportunity and use their success in doing so as part of the overall consideration of whether or not a
bird will remain in the flock.  I have chosen these two breeds because they are both fantastic assets to a
homesteading environment, which is the lifestyle I myself find ideal.  I don't think you can do wrong with either
breed if you're looking for a homestead bird or simply a good natured duck.
If you are first-time Muscovy owners, or are interested in
purchasing birds and want to learn more about them before
you buy, please take a moment to check out, "Why Muscovy".  
There I highlight what I feel Muscovy owners need to know in
order to determine whether Muscovy, as a breed, is a good
choice.
In the photo at left you will see a flock of young
Muscovy hunting through a patch of weeds looking for
insects and snipping off bits of succulent greens.  This
is how I love to brood my ducklings, on the ground
where they can be active and happy!  Below, a
chocolate ripple wondering where her treat is!
Because Muscovy are a perching duck, I
like to provide roosts for them around the
yard.  At right you will see one of several
perches I have made which the birds
love.  I simply placed a rough
bark-covered pole between two cinder
blocks.  These are fairly easy to move
and disassemble - can't get any better
than that!
One of the animals best suited for homestead life is the Muscovy!  If I could only raise one bird,
the Muscovy would be it.  They have wonderful personalities, are quiet (no, not silent!) they're
great foragers and hunters of insects, and are the absolute best broodies/mothers around.  They
can't be beat, in my opinion!
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