Keeping Muscovy Ducks is Now Illegal

| 3/31/2010 2:11:40 PM

Tags: poultry, ducks,

We recently received an e-mail from a reader who’s concerned about new regulations from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that would make owning or selling Muscovy ducks illegal — unless the ducks were specifically intended for use as food. The regulation doesn’t seem to account for small farmers, fancy poultry breeders or people who keep backyard flocks. Muscovy ducks provide wonderful natural pest control, and they’re great at hatching eggs and raising ducklings. What can you do to change the regulation so you can keep them legally? Here’s the e-mail:

Yesterday I came across info on a poultry forum that a new law went into effect that will make it illegal to raise Muscovy ducks. The Migratory Birds Division of the Fish and Wildlife Service adopted a rule to deal with problematic feral populations of Muscovy ducks in certain areas. Apparently, the Muscovies are protected as migratory birds, so people in some areas were prohibited from controlling these ducks without a new rule. The FWS lumps domesticated Muskovies in with native wild migratory ducks rather than domestic livestock.

From comments on the forum, Dr. George Allen (Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) is now aware of the widespread domestication of Muscovies and is somewhat agreeable to revising these rules.

More people need to be made aware of this situation so that their voices can be heard and taken into account in the revision of these rules.

This is an extremely time-sensitive issue and the poultry community is just now learning about it.

Ruth Millett
7/3/2012 1:05:33 PM

We have Muscovy, but our ducks are pinioned because they will fly off, though they do always come back home in the evening. We are in the North East. We use these birds for meat and eggs and they are fabulous. Usually get 30 or more chicks per year from just 2 setters.

Linda Hill_1
7/28/2010 1:57:09 PM

I have Muscovies :) Ours are pets, one of which was "Duck Vader", named for the puffing sound he made similar to Darth Vader. He was a hoot, unfortunately he died about 2 weeks ago and I can't think about it without crying. I miss my Goob. He played with shoes, guarded chickens from hawks and pecked at the sliding glass door- not for food, but for company. We could pet him and hold him just like any other family pet. If you'd like to keep these intelligent and funny birds, check out this website as it has much info on changing the laws coming into effect: I have written all the people to write to because I believe life would have been very bland without having Vader in it. I'd hate to have the same experiences deprived from another family. Blessings, Linda

6/22/2010 5:07:10 PM

I want to know if this effects all areas in md and de we dont have wild muscovys. I have pet ones and you can even still buy them at the local tractor supply as babies. I think there is no reason for this law. it is not been a law and there is none running wild in our area. all the local farmers tend to keep there flocks under control around here. I can understand opening a hunting season on them in areasthey are a problem if needed. even though me personaly dont like hunting. like as a crop or property protection program. so when revising this they need to consider local farmers that raise them and sell them as meat, or sell there hatchlings to raise as meat or pets. i dont eat mine and have had some for over 8yrs now.

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