Journal: Speculations on Duck Gender

(Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 8:45 pm)

I think my duck might be a girl after all. It’s so hard to tell with muscovies. With other ducks it’s pretty easy. The females have a much louder quack and the males have curly tail feathers. But muscovies are mute so you can’t tell from the quack. And they don’t have the curly feathers on their tails. The main way you can tell them apart is by their size, because the males are about 65% bigger than the females. I got five muscovy ducklings and this one is the only one that has survived to (near) adulthood. And of the five, (s)he was right in the middle, size-wise. And now there’s no one left to make a size comparison.

The second way to distinguish the genders is by the caruncles of their faces. They all get them, but the males eventually have more caruncling than the females. But that develops very slowly over time (I don’t actually know how long), so I won’t really know anything from that until the caruncles stop growing or else grow past the point of what the females have.

Another difference is flight. Males have been bred to be too big for their wings to support them, so they generally can’t fly. But the females can. Today, the duck leapt into the air and full-on flew for the first time. For a very short distance. But still, it was farther than I would expect a male to fly. Definitely not as far as I have seen females fly, though. So I’m still not sure. I guess I’ll find out later this spring/summer if (s)he starts laying eggs.

When I put her to bed this evening, she was definitely favoring one foot. It didn’t look too serious, maybe just a sprain. It should clear up on it’s own, I think. That duck has survived three predator attacks at this point. She probably got away this last time by flying, I assume. It’s kind of impressive, don’t you think?

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