Sunday, March 13, 2011

Proposed Regulations for Muscovy Ducks



Originally posted by John Metzer on Fri, Nov 05, 2010 @ 02:03 PM 

On March 1st of this year the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a final ruling that included several onerous provisions concerning the keeping of Muscovy ducks. As wild Muscovy are now found in three southern counties of Texas, they are now included in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and have the same regulations as wild Mallards. Unfortunately the USFWS was unaware of the commercial meat production and hobby breeding of Muscovy ducks. Once they heard from the hobbyists and hatcheries, they realized they had to revisit their rules. On October 1st they published a new set of rules.




It is interesting to me that because wild Muscovy have moved into three counties in Texas, they are now included in the List of Migratory Birds. And guess what? Muscovy do not migrate! I have nothing against Muscovy and I know they make excellent pets, meat birds and exhibition birds, but they are probably more of an invasive species than a migratory bird!
The part of the current rule that bothers me the most is that “You may not sell or distribute muscovy ducks as pets.” I don't understand how they can rule that you cannot have Muscovy as pets, but you can have Mallards as pets, or innumerable other animals as pets. I have been told by some muscovy owners that their Muscovy are the dearest pets they have ever had. Now this practice is “illegal”?  There is no point in making a law that will be flagrantly disregarded.




A second provision that concerns me is “You must physically mark all offspring hatched in captivity before they are 6 weeks of age in accordance with section 21.13(b), unless you hold them at a public zoological park or a public, scientific or educational institution.” The USFWS's accepted methods of marking are 1) clip off the back toe on the right foot, 2) pinion one wing, 3) leg band with a seamless band or 4) tattoo the bird. We have the same requirements for domestically hatched Mallard ducks and at Metzer Farms we always clip a back right toe immediately after they are removed from the hatcher to fulfill this requirement.
Unfortunately, very few domestically hatched Muscovy will be caught and marked correctly as most are hatched under their mother and it is difficult to catch these day-old Muscovy ducklings right after after hatching. But the pinioning or toe removal needs to be done immediately after hatching to lessen blood loss of the baby ducklings. So my guess is very few people will accomplish this requirement.

I encourage you to read the entire ruling and submit your own comments concerning it. You have until December 30th to submit your comments in the ruling. You must either submit a comment on their website or mail them a letter.
In the big picture, there are two things to consider with this process. The bad: they made an initial ruling without a clue on what was going on with Muscovy in the US. The good: they understood the resulting uproar, listened to the public, revised their rules and are doing a much better job of publicizing their new proposed rules. Now we just need to convince them to make a few more changes.
Metzer Farms does not hatch and ship Muscovy ducklings as they do not handle shipping well.  Their adrenal system is not as developed as other ducks at hatching so must have water sooner after hatching than your typical Pekin, Khaki Campbell, etc.  We experienced much higher mortality with Muscovy and so, for this reason, discontinued selling day-old Muscovy ducklings.  We recommend people try to find their Muscovy locally.
Next week we will show you how to use artificial lights to maximize duck egg production during the fall and winter.

13 comments:

  1. And these people in the USFWS are supposedly "specialists" in their field? This is incredible.

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  2. It is interesting that the USDA has a regulation that forbids selling over $500 worth of rabbits in a calendar year and recently fined a family $90,000 and can fine them over several million dollars for non-compliance. This case is now going to court. The silly, arbitrary control of farm livestock is getting very scary. Rabbits, ducks and chickens are the best animals to raise for food in a real famine. Makes me think of the death penalty Lenin imposed on the starving Russian people if they were caught slaughtering an animal. Am I an alarmist??? $90,000 for selling rabbits? This goofy control of Muscoveys?

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  3. These government organizations are controlled by the big agricultural corporations. If you are not a factory farmer they want to shut you down.

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  4. The government is not aware of the fact that they are forming a conspiricy against the American people. The very 'safety regulations' against small farmers only creates a tight noose for the American population. First of all, since the average factory farmer is so far removed from the consumer, his number one driving force is not safety and cleanliness. Their bottom line is the $$ made. For the small farmer, he needs to be concerned about how he produces his products because he cannot run a business without repeat customers. We need to wake up and educate ourselves about where our food comes and how it is produced; and then vote with our dollars by patronizing a local small farmer.

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  5. I have saved 5 Muscovy duck eggs ...I need help please.can you guys give me advice please.

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  6. ladycateyes432000@verizon.netJanuary 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    I had never considered that the negative bias against Muscovey ducks was due to once again, big money influencing those agencies that are supposed to function in our best interests. I was brought 3 babies from 3 different parts of town when their mothers had been killed. Two paired off, a male and a female and the third, a male so young, he imprinted to me. He has become a very affectionate, loyal pet that follows me step for step...something I had not expected. My pair, seemed devoted to each other and I had clipped her wings because she kept flying up to the roof, but I never clipped his, thinking, foolishly, that he would never leave her. We've looked for him for two months and spotted him, the last time on Christmas day. He was terrified of traffic, but so happy, he would run to us and then stop and flee. Someone came through my neighborhood and shot our ducks with a tranquilizer gun (one a pet raised for two years, by one of my neighbors)and most in my development are upset. This man is selling them to Asian restaurants which serve it as beef and veal. My son found cat claws in his food at two local Asian restaurants and when he complained, was told it was a duck claw, but my son argued he had not ordered duck and since we have both cats and ducks, he knows the difference! We searched for my duck for 2 months and finally gave up as we have not seen him and I think the man with the gun may have gotten him. Our legislature endangered our neighborhoods by making hunting of Muscovey ducks legal, in our neighborhoods and never took consideration of how many were held privately as pets. I thought they were just stupid! After all, Muscovey ducks eat algae, 200 bugs a day, mainly mosquitoes and mosquito larvae...these ducks kept us from having to spray toxic spays that pollute our environment, seep into our soil and wells, and they eat aquatic roots and plants that would otherwise restrict the flow of water in the pond and 10 canals in my neighborhood! "What were they thinking?" I asked myself. These ducks do not originate here? They were brought here, to Florida, by Spaniards to decrease the mosquitoes and came from Equador, dating back to 700 BC, and drawings of them have been found in Egyptian tombs. They've been here longer than any of us! They are named Muscovey for the name given by the indigenous tribe that raised them, the Muscov who originally kept them in their homes, as pets! What can we do to correct the record and charge these people with selling out this wonderful duck. I live in Tampa, Florida and if ever a place needed something that eats mosquitoes, Florida is the place. Twenty ducks in my neighborhood of 325 homes, consumes 1 1/2 million bugs and mosquitoes a year! What can we do to correct the record and shame these Wildlife legislators who sold these animals and those of us who love them, out? My female Muscovey
    duck, Luciana is so depressed, missing him, she is barely eating and overatures she made to the imprinted male, were in vain. Where can I get her a young male, black and white Muscovey. Luciano, her mate weighed just shy of 20 pounds. Thanks in advance, if you know a breeder, here in Tampa.

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    1. I cannot stand these vile-looking birds. In my apartment complex they shit all over the place(I've walked a number of times in it, and once had it all over my carpet), they swim in our pool, reproduce like rats and eat all the food a few residents put out for the abandoned cats, while these monstrosities have plenty of natural food to feed on. If they were on my property, I'd have a nice cold one, taking aim at them, one by one, with a big smile on my face.

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    2. I have a feeling you don't like Muscovy? Next time tell it like it is, don't beat around the bush! :)

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  7. What's the current law on owning a Muscovy Duck as a pet. Can I have pet Muscovy's without a permit?

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    1. I believe the Fish and Wildlife Service dropped the concept once they realized the consequences of their proposal. I would not worry at all about having a pet Muscovy.

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  8. Isn't it amazing how a top guy in Fish&Wildlife can write a law about something he is completely ignorant of? As in, has no clue how many people raise these ducks for meat. Does anyone know if the govt. ever rescinded this stupid rule? Or did they just leave it and are not enforcing it? (like Aldous Huxley said in 1984, they always have a law you are violating, they always have something they can get you for if they want you.) I would like to know if it is legal to raise them or if I am practicing civil disobedience. Thanks!

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    1. Looks like John Metzer answered this question on August 15, 2013. Thanks, John!

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