It's no secret that I love ducks. We've had several over the years, along with a few geese, and I discovered that I enjoy the waterbirds even more than I like my chickens.
Muscovies are a large duck that originated in Mexico, Central America and South America. They are the only duck breed that did not descend from the well-known Mallard duck.
The second benefit is the Muscovy's excellent bug-catching skills. Like other poultry they enjoy eating grasshoppers, grubs and other annoying insects, but Muscovies are excellent mosquito-catchers too. This skill is another reason to have Muscovy ducks on the homestead, where ponds and water troughs provide breeding grounds for the blood-sucking insects.
Their droppings make excellent compost for the garden too, just like other types of poultry.
Muscovies also make great pets. Not everyone would call "they make great pets" a benefit, but in my opinion if you can combine usefulness with animals that are pleasant to be around it's a plus. Frank combines those two well.
Frank loves to be picked up and carried around. He holds his wings out so that I can pick him up, reminding me of a child that holds its arms up. Now that Frank's wing feathers are larger it's not as easy to pick him up or carry him around as it was when he was smaller. He's the size of a grown hen now.
He also loves to be petted. I never realized you can pet a feathered animal or that they would enjoy it. Frank's favorite spot to be petted is between his wings.
The hens are a bit afraid of Frank, who lives in the chicken coop with them. When I fed them last night Frank galloped his funny uncoordinated gallop from one side of the coop to the other and back again, flapping his not-very-long-yet wings the whole time. He trips over his own big feet. I can't help laughing at him, but he doesn't seem to mind.
"Ugly duckling" is the term that comes to mind, but he always makes me smile.
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