Early last summer we took a trip to look at several properties around the Missouri Ozarks area. When we got back to the hotel , I jumped in the shower and as I was drying off I noticed something on my side –
A TICK!!!!!! Gross!!!!!!
In that moment I realized that I needed to find the best way to control pest, specifically ticks, on our future homestead. Not chemically, but naturally.
After doing some research, I was sure guinea fowl were in order. They are tick eating machines. However, they are also noisy creatures and since suggesting guinea fowl as a tick exterminator on our little farm, hubby hasn’t been convinced.
I have continued to read more about guinea fowl and discovered the noise they make to be a common complaint. While some homesteaders love having them on their land, many others do not and I fear hubby would likely fall in the “do not love them” category.
Chickens are also good at pest control, ticks included (although not necessarily as good a guinea fowl), and then I remembered my recent research on ducks. I decided to do a little more digging and think I have found the perfect duck for us.
The Muscovy duck.
Muscovy ducks are especially good at controlling flies, mosquitos, ticks and grasshoppers. They will also kill mice and snakes.
They are not derived from Mallard stock like other domestic ducks. For a matter-of-fact, they aren’t really ducks at all, but instead are large waterfowl.
Now here is where the Muscovy duck gets points over guinea fowl . . . .
Muscovy ducks don’t quack. In fact, they are quiet ducks. The male has a soft breathy call and the female has a soft trilling coo. They also have a calm temperament and with regular handling will become very tame, almost “puppy like” as they follow you around, wagging their tail and looking up at you for a treat.
They do fly, have strong sharp claws and like to perch high in trees.
Muscovy ducks are highly intelligent birds with lots of personality. They will lay up to 180 eggs per year and if they get a high protein diet, will hatch about 4 sets of ducklings per year.
Because we would like the animals on our farm to provide multiple purposes, Muscovy ducks would be a great choice. They would help with pest control, provide us with eggs and meat. For a matter-of-fact, Muscovy is one of the healthiest meats around and is considered a delicacy. It’s a dark meat that is 98% or more fat-free. The meat is not greasy, like other duck meat, is great tasting and healthy. Some compare the breast meat of the Muscovy to sirloin steak while others compare Muscovy meat to expensive ham or veal.
While they are not necessary the most attractive duck/waterfowl, I must now score them higher than the guinea fowl and seriously consider adding some Muscovy ducks to our homestead one day.