Proposed Regulations for Muscovy DucksNovember 05, 2010
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!
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.