In October of 2019, Rich rescued a malnourished Muscovy duckling from a feed store here on Oahu. The duckling could not stand or walk, which is common when they don’t get enough nutrients as they grow. We didn’t know if they were a boy or a girl; only that we had to save them.
By December, we had determined that the duckling was a girl, and we had named her Catarina. She turned things around for herself by eating all the food we gave her and working very hard to learn to walk.
We decided not to clip her wings when her feathers came in. She still trips over her feet, so I don’t see her evading any predators on foot.
However, we learned that ducks get very lonely on their own. They need the company of other ducks in order to be happy. That is why, on December 9th, we brought home a week-old duckling to join Catarina.
Of course, the second duckling wasn’t malnourished at all. It was healthy! We’d never cared for a healthy duck before, and we soon found out that it wasn’t easy. There was a lot of jumping, loud peeping, and general chaos.
So, we named the second duckling Chaos Duck.
It turned out that Chaos Duck was a boy. So, we have found ourselves with a pair of Muscovy ducks.
People often ask about the quacking, but Muscovy ducks don’t quack. They’re very quiet, and mostly only make quiet hissing noises.
This is because Muscovy ducks are descended from Geese, rather than from Mallards (like most ducks.)
Muscovy ducks are not Native to the Hawaiian islands. They came here with the Spanish and the Portuguese several hundred years ago, and those that escaped were able to flourish because Hawaii is a fairly pleasant environment most of the time.
It’s actually not very different here from the Muscovy duck’s Native land, which is South America. Yes, South America.
You’d think they’d be from Russia because of the name. However, they just got that from being sold to Europeans first by Russian traders. They’re Native land is the mangroves of South America, where they live in brackish water and dive for fish.
Catarina and Chaos Duck love to swim. However, they do have the trait that most Muscovy ducks have under-performing oil glands. This means that they don’t love to swim for more than 30 to 45 minutes. After a while they start to get waterlogged, because they’re just not very water-proof.
They are loving ducks who beg at our feet just like dogs when we eat dinner, and who love to snuggle and play with toys. We even taught Catarina to play ball, although Chaos Duck never quite caught on.
Right now, we live in a house with a very small back yard. Since they don’t have a big yard to play in, we try to take them on as many adventures as we can.
We’ve taken them hiking, kayaking, and swimming. They love adventure, and are generally excited to get in the car. I am not sure I would recommend ducks as pets. They are a lot more work than a dog, because they poop a lot more than a dog. But, we love them.