One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Muscovy ducks is the fact they roost, like chickens. Muscovies with unclipped wings will often roost in very inconvenient places such as on top of barns, houses, and even in high branches of trees, but even clipped, flightless Muscovies will find a way to perch on the highest surface they can reach. Your Muscovies will greatly appreciate being provided with roosts to fulfill one of their strongest natural instincts.
Roosting has many advantages for prey animals such as birds, and Muscovies are no exception. It gives them a high vantage point from which to observe their environment, and as a result reduces anxiety. Muscovies who can roost at will tend to be calmer than those who are forced to remain on the ground, which goes against their survival instincts.
In addition to keeping your ducks calm, providing roosts will encourage your Muscovies to stay close to home. Muscovies are an incredibly independent species of duck and are not above simply finding someplace else to roost and nest if they are unhappy with their living conditions.
Fortunately, providing roosts doesn’t have to be complex. Muscovies will willingly roost on everything from straw bales, to fences, to chicken-style roosts.
I keep my Muscovies with clipped wings which prevents them from flying or jumping onto high surfaces. To help them get to their roosting spots, I attach ramps to my roosts. This way the ducks can climb up the ramp before settling down to roost.
Since Muscovies are large, I prefer to build their roosts out of a 2×4 turned on its side–sometimes with a second 2×4 behind it to make a wider surface. The ducks seem to really like the wide surfaces, but one downside is their droppings tend to build up. This isn’t a very big deal, though, if you don’t mind periodically scraping off their roosts of the buildup.
No matter what style of roost you decide to go with for your Muscovies, they are sure to appreciate your efforts!