Some fairly tame Muscovy ducks have moved into our pond, and have decided that it is nice to come hang out in the concrete barn aisle and poop everywhere. There are about ten of them so that creates a considerable mess in a short time. Any suggestions to get rid of them? Other than killing them?
I'm not sure when they moved in, but if they are migrating, they may only stay a few weeks and move on. If this is their home pond, and you think they are here to stay, I would, personally, 'twere it me, adopt them, fer sher. I would get some sacks of correct feed for them, and feed them in an off area away from the barn, and that can get them out of your way, I would think. If they are trying to nest in your hay, just be ready to catch the eggs and enjoy, however I don't know if ducks nest in hay. They may nest later in the spring near sheltered water.
Also, consider whether they are wandering into the barn because their pond is frozen over, if so, they may take back to the water once things warm up. I would consider this a temporary irritant and assume they will get back to the pond soon as they can, or migrate on. Meanwhile, if you start feeding them, you have to continue feeding them until spring comes and they can find other food. That would be my thinks on it. Then I would research the ducks and call wildlife people and ask them about it, also.
MistyBloo on this board is a wildlife rehab person, and if you can get her attention on this thread, it would be interesting to hear what she has to say. I'm certain she could tell you what to do if there was a vulture limping around the yard. It might be she could say something about ducks, too!
...I am now at the stage of wine-surfing COTH
Find someone to adopt them. It's a rare find to have Muscovy's that aren't hateful and hiss. Someone would surely take them off your hands.
Keep them. But feed them away from your barn. If you have doors on the barn consider keeping them closed for a few days. They may find a new hang out place once they learn the aisle isn't open for their pleasure. Muscovy's are the only "duck" that do not NEED a body of water to be healthy. So, since they don't need the pond they are probably spending their time in the barn trying to be social
Eat them. Muscovy's are meat birds and are pretty hefty. They're also delicious if you like duck.
ETA: if you decide to feed them they are very happy eating a 16% chicken feed. Try a crumble or mash as opposed to a pellet. They arent like chickens that peck at feed. They literally gorge themselves and dive their beaks into a tub of feed so they have a hard time eating the pellets. You can also offer them some cracked corn in the winter for a little extra winter warmth.
Agree with HunterKid, and want to add that I'm 99% sure Muscovys are a domesticated duck breed (species?) and not something a wildlife rescue would be willing to help with. They might be feral, but they aren't wild. If I'm wrong, I apologize in advance.
"Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive
They have been here a couple of years, the pond is 50ft from the barn door, not frozen over (it has only even hit freezing a couple times this winter), but not far enough away to make it a nuisance for them to hike over. They are almost hand-catch friendly because my husband and students feed them (not in the barn obviously). Wildlife groups not interested in helping as they are overrun with nuisance muscovys and these are not 'in danger' (except from me!).
Maybe some of those heavy mesh curtains you can hang at each end of the aisle? Where to find them?
I have Muscovy's and they do love to come into the barn. The stinkers are clever too..much smarter than chickens at getting past my barrier. I use a section of orange safety fence at each end of my barn and that stops them from coming in as long as the bottom is well secured also. Mine are deflighted (all the older ones anyway) but I doubt they'd fly in regardless.
Here is a recent picture of me herding my flock out of the barn. I left the gate open and they snuck in when I wasn't watching. Thankfully they are not destructive in the same way chickens are..scratching and digging. They DO poop a lot.
We raise them for meat and eggs. They are some of the nicest small farm poultry you can have if you actually use them that way. They feed themselves practically and provide eggs worth over $6/dozen and incredible meat.
We built our own custom sliding screen doors. They fit on the inside of the barn so they do not interfere with the regular external slider. The door give us the ventilation we need but keeps critters and insects out. If you don't have room to put a slider in...try hinging 2 screen doors together purchased from Home Depot.
ThirdCharm...we had looked into using those type of mesh curtains but decided that they would swing too much in a breeze and potentially spook the horses in their stalls. We didn't think they would do a good job of keeping critters out of our barn unless we had it fastened. Then we thought if we had to fasten it...what a hassle that would be to go in and out. Maybe someone who has used them in their barn will post.
I thought the wild was feral. ?? Feral is wild. ??
The basic difference between the two terms is that "wild" is a species that is & always has been "wild" - think bobcat, zebras, etc.; "feral" is something that is/was domesticated, but has become established in the wild - think "feral" domestic cats, "feral" hog populations, etc.
One of our neighbors had four nice big fat Muscovys at his pond on his property and when he took the horses off and allowed a friend to deer hunt he decided to feed them down at the fence so as not to interfere with the hunter. Well, somehow they got out and followed my poorly muffled car home because the next day we had them perched on our (covered Thank God!) swimming pool rim.
I was used to Barbecue, Teriyaki and Fried, the Muscovys that belonged to my best friend in high school's mom - they were typical hissy and fugly things - but these four were beyootiful. I had visions of duck dinner dancing in my head but we eventually got ahold of the neighbor and after trying to get them to stay on his place for a day or two unsuccessfully he wound up packing them into the back of the SUV and carting them off to his barn at home where the horses now were for the winter.
I love the chicken fences pictured, unfortunately ours are good fliers and love the shop rafters so DH was making a full height chicken wire slider. If we'd have kept the Muscovy's we'd have made them a pen, probably in the orchard, so they had range area and grass for nibbling. They love cheap sweet feed, my friend's mom used to cook hers great pots of white rice, but they are pretty filthy.
I priced them out on CL and they are worth about $40 apiece here so you've got $400 worth of birds there, how about selling them?
Great idea SaddleFitter! I have this problem with my dang chickens. Problem is that several of my young ones have been flying their 5 foot run fence to get out so I think mine might just pop over the little gate. Might be worth trying though since it's so inexpensive!