Skip to main content

10 Reasons Muscovy Ducks Make Great Pets

Dr. Mark raises free-range rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks, guinea fowl, horses, and sheep at his small farm in Brazil.

Grandma Grey watching out for the little Muscovies.

Grandma Grey watching out for the little Muscovies.

Muscovy Ducks as Pets

Are you considering adding exotic waterfowl to your household but still wonder which animal will suit you? Here is a list of the 10 best reasons Muscovy ducks make great pets.

10 Reasons Muscovies Are Awesome Pets

  1. Muscovies have cute babies and are easy to raise. Pet shops used to sell a lot of them for this very reason. Not many people can resist a cute little duckling.
  2. They are calm and collected, especially when they grow up around people. (Daffy definitely was not a Muscovy.)
  3. They are quiet. They don’t quack like the mallard-type ducks, so even if you live close to another house, the neighbors will never complain about the noise.
  4. They will eat the weeds in your grass almost as well as a goose. These ducks like to eat worms, grubs, and even small fish, but they are omnivores so they will chomp on the young weeds in your yard.
  5. They make fierce moms. Not everyone with a pet Muscovy wants to raise babies, but if you do, most predators will tend to avoid a mother because she will tear into his face instead of backing down. If your Muscovy decides to sit on her eggs and you are worried about your dog and cat worrying her, don’t be. Your duck will not be concerned.
  6. They are hardy and will rarely get sick. Compared to other duck species, they are problem-free.
  7. They are easy to train. If you are not into spending that much time with your pet duck, that is not a problem since unlike a rowdy carnivore (a big dog), an untrained Muscovy is still a great pet.
  8. The drakes are not aggressive with people. When you come home, a drake will often rush at you. It is not aggression. He just wants to see you and find out what is going on. With other ducks, however. Well . . .
  9. They will never complain about the heat. Since they are native South Americans, the heat in an area like Florida or Texas will be nothing for them. They do okay in cooler environments but will probably want to come in the house when it is raining or snowing.
  10. Muscovies are affectionate. Your pet will most likely not want to nap on your lap, but will be content to sit at your feet when you are typing on your laptop.

The Feds, Regulations, and Muscovies

If you live in the US, you should be aware that these ducks are considered dangerous and illegal immigrants and have been declared illegal for many years. It all came about because some thoughtless people bought a cute little Muscovy duckling as a pet, found out that like any duck they can be messy, and then released them at their local pond.

They are good at surviving and breeding well even when competing with mallards and other local ducks, and it wasn’t long before the Fish and Wildlife Department started to consider them a nuisance.

The law does not apply to people who keep ducks as pets, but if you want to find a Muscovy duckling nowadays, you will need to get one from a local breeder.

When you have your pet, be sure that it is on your property at all times. If there is a local park on public land and your Muscovy goes over there to take a bath, he or she can be seized and destroyed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

A young drake.

A young drake.

What Does Your Duck Need?

Your new pet will need:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Diapers
  • Nesting

All animals need food and water. Since Muscovies are omnivores, feeding is easy. You can provide some chicken feed, duck feed from a local feed store, vegetable scraps from your table, and of course, your ducks will want to go outside to check the yard for any delicious bugs.

Besides water for drinking, they do need an area to take a bath. If you do not have a pond in your yard, or at least a child's waiting pool for them to splash around in, you need to give them access to your bathtub.

What else could a duck need except food and water? Well, shelter is kind of nice. If your pet ducks do not sleep in your house, they will need some kind of building outside to sleep peacefully at night.

If you provide that shelter in your house, diapers are kind of a necessity. My ducks are all outside, but even they like to come in and sit on the tile in my front room. Muscovies have projectile poop and can make quite a mess. If you allow your ducks to run around the house these are a must.

The only other thing you need to worry about is providing a nesting area if you have a couple and are planning on raising ducklings. They like to nest in the hollows of a tree, but if there is not a safe place around, they will find any little corner to lay their eggs.

© 2019 Mark dos Anjos DVM


Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 22, 2019:

Penny, my parrot is sitting on my shoulder nibbling my ear as I write this. Muscovy ducks are fun, but I certainly wouldnt want one on my shoulder.

There is also the issue of diapers!

Penny Leigh Sebring from Fort Collins on April 21, 2019:

Sounds like a fantastic bird! I mean, I'll stick with my Meyer's Parrot for the time being, but if I had the space to raise ducks (and apparently ducky diapers) I think it sounds like an excellent breed to raise.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 21, 2019:

Hello, DrMark, this is something new to me. I am pleased in reading every datails. Thanks for sharing.

Summernole on April 21, 2019:

Dr. Mark, I guess I didn't tell you the whole story. As I said, the night before the eggs started hatching the Mom was killed. When I discovered this first thing in the morning I went in to "overdrive". Brought all the eggs into my kitchen and set them up in a small bird cage. I surrounded them with whatever table lights I could find until I could get to a feed store and buy a heat lamp. Amazingly, later that day and well into the night all the eggs started hatching. 10 of 11 eggs hatched and they were all "clean" hatchlings. I have incubated geese and ducks eggs before, in a real incubator, and I never had the success I had with these little girls and guys. To make a very, long story short they stayed in my kitchen everyday and night for the first couple of weeks. I was just trying to keep them warm. Eventually, I made a makeshift pen outside with fencing covering the sides and top and a sheet to cover them when it got hot. I had to bring them in to my Florida Room every night to keep them safe. I would haul them out to the outside pen every morning and bring them in every night. As they grew larger I finally bought a real pen (12 x 12) and covered it in hardware cloth on the sides and about two feet out from the bottom to keep the digging predators out. Oh, and it was covered. This went on from June until about August. I would let them out every morning and one day they started to fly (thank goodness). This was totally a "labor of love". On one hand, I never want to go through it again. On the other hand it was an amazing feeling to have saved them but I never want to do it that way again. They are neat ducks. I wish more people would appreciate them.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 21, 2019:

Mary, I bet they love your duckweed ponds!

Moving the nest after there are eggs in it, or if the duck is sitting, does not usually work, as I have found out---the hard way. If you can encourage the duck to start laying in a new spot, though, it will work out fine.

Duck eggs taste better than chicken eggs. I bet your Tegu agrees with that!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 21, 2019:

Liz, I have geese too, but certainly would not recommend them as pets for anyone that ever wants to have visitors. THey will chase away almost anything, unlike my Muscovies who just want to live in peace. Well, as long as no babies are involved.

Mary Wickison from USA on April 21, 2019:

Our neighbor has them but they are white ones. They still have the red on the face and sometimes the neck. Because our farm has more grass, water and weeds they spend most of their time on our farm.

I like seeing them on the lakes and grass. They've laid eggs near one of our sheds but alas the tegu has found the nest. We plan to move a box closer to the house in hope the tegu won't come up to the house looking for a nest.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 21, 2019:

I had never thought of ducks as pets before. This is an informative article in the UK I have noticed that Canada geese can be quite aggressive in park settings. I was always keen to keep children at a safe distance from them. Feeding the ducks in ponds in public parks is a popular childhood activity, but it can get a bit lively when the Canada geese muscle in.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 21, 2019:

I wish I had the space as I love the thought of having these as pets. They sound wonderful little creatures.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 21, 2019:

Thanks, Summernole. That is pretty awesome. I have lost some eggs in the past just before hatching, so having the ducklings come out was a great thing. I like the personalities of the males a lot more too, as the females are a lot more likely to just sit at my feet and not want to be bothered.

Summernole on April 21, 2019:

Good article. I raised 10 babies last summer when their Mom was killed the night before they hatched. I like them but not all my neighbors do. I find the males have neat personalities. They like to talk to me. The females are not interested in me - except for food. They are quiet and get along just fine with my dogs. I have enjoyed their company and like to watch their interactions with one another.