Duck, Goose, Chicken & Game Bird Hatchery

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a mule duck?
Muscovy and domestic ducks (such as the Pekin - which were developed from Mallards) are very different as they have been genetically isolated for over 50 million years. They can be crossed but you get some very interesting results. If you cross a Muscovy male with a Pekin female you will hatch moulards (or mule ducks); if you cross a Pekin male with a Muscovy female the progeny are called hinnies. In Europe and in Asia many mule ducks are produced because of their large size, quality liver and reduced fat content in the carcass. Artificial insemination has been developed in ducks due to the desire to produce mule ducks. If left to mate naturally, the fertility is only 20-30%. Artificial insemination brings the fertility up to 80%. Whereas a Pekin takes 28 days to hatch and a Muscovy takes 35 days, a mule or hinny takes 32 days to hatch.

Approximately 60% of mule ducks are males. Some of their characteristics are like the Muscovy as they are large, quiet, slow moving and have long claws but are also like Pekin as they swim well, the males and females are much the same size and they do not fly. Hinnies are not grown commercially. Male hinnies are much larger than female hinnies, like the muscovy, yet the females look like Pekins but fly quite well. Mules and hinnies cannot reproduce. Both males are sterile and only the hinny females lay eggs (though they cannot hatch). If you have Muscovy and Pekin together, the chances are poor that they will cross but if they do, a hinny will probably be the result as Pekin males can catch Muscovy females more easily than Muscovy males can catch Pekin females. We do not produce mules or hinnies but thought you might enjoy this material on this interesting aspect of duck production and genetics.

Which breed(s) would make the best pet(s) for me?

I only want one or two birds, what do I do?

How do I care for the baby birds?

When can I put them outside?

When do they become completely feathered?

When can I give them swimming water?

When do they start laying eggs?

How long can my female lay fertile eggs after my male died?

How do I pick up a duck?

How long does it take Mallards before they fly?

How do I prevent my Mallards from flying?

When should I switch from starter feed to grower feed?

Is the floor surface important with ducks and geese?

Can I keep a baby Mallard duck/Canada goose I found in the wild?

Will a single duck/goose be happy living with me?

What size must my fish be so my ducks and geese do not harm them?

Do ducks and geese get along?

Does anyone sell egg cartons for duck or goose eggs?

Can ducks and geese survive on a pond?

Do Runner ducks swim?

Can ducks and geese be outside during the winter?

Will they crossbreed?

Do ducks and geese have to have swimming water?

What causes eye problems in my ducklings?

Do you give tours?

Where do I get leg bands for older birds?

Why do my Sebastopol, Embden or Roman Tufted have black feathers?

What is a mule duck?

What causes the black spots on my duck's bill?

How do I keep ducks out of my swimming pool?

Can my ducks and geese drink and swim in chlorinated water?

Are ducks safe around children?

What is grit?

Should I provide oyster shell?

How soon does an egg have to be put in the incubator?

What do I do about my duck's dull and ragged feathers?

Where can I get native plants that ducks and geese love to eat?

What duck breeds are best to train my dog for herding?

Where do I find Call ducks and Muscovy?

How do I introduce new ducks into my flock?

What are the scientific names for ducks and geese?

So, do geese make good pets?

But, can't geese be mean or aggressive?

What about snacks for geese?

Will poultry lay eggs without any males present?

How can I get them to lay eggs in nests and sit on them?

What should I do with an egg I found?

Do I have to use an incubator?

What is the normal incubation period?

How do I know if an egg is fertile?

Can I help a bird out of the shell when it hatches?

What is the life expectancy of a duck or goose?

How do I tell males from females?

How many males and females should I have?