With the advent of the Zika virus in Florida and elsewhere, folks may want to reconsider their attitudes about the quiet, mosquito-hungry Muscovy duck.
These easy-to-keep, sociable creatures make themselves at home in a variety of environments, from city parks to farmyards and backyards everywhere. Their diet includes grasses, insects and grubs of all kinds; but they absolutely love mosquitoes and flies. On a typical Spring or Summer day, you can find Muscovy ducks literally snatching flying insects out of the air and using their bills to skim the surface of puddles, ponds and streams for the eggs and newly hatched larvae of gnats, flies and mosquitoes (and anything else that moves).
Once native to Central and South America, Muscovy ducks have established themselves in Florida and other areas (where they are sometimes considered a nuisance) and are raised domestically for their eggs and meat in North America, Europe, Australia and elsewhere.
Our farm lies between the between forest and lake, surrounded by streams, marshes and ponds. In past years, we were unable to enjoy the spring and summer months outside due to swarms of carnivorous biting flies and mosquitoes that would persist until Fall.
Last year, we brought home 11 Muscovy ducks and let them have the run of a couple of acres around the house. Suddenly, for the first time in nearly a decade, we found ourselves enjoying long walks, cookouts and gardening without fear; that is, without slugs, mosquitoes or biting flies. The occasional task of clearing duck droppings from our walkways with a garden hose is a small price to pay for blissful enjoyment of the Great Outdoors, I assure you. I love those ducks.
Contact us if you’re in the Maritimes and are interested in some friendly Muscovy ducks or ducklings. (Our ducks have been quite fruitful and are multiplying).