Backyard BirdsbirdsDomestic BirdsMuscovy Ducks

Where Do Muscovy Ducks Sleep?

Planning to keep muscovy ducks as pets? This article will tell you all about how and where muscovy ducks sleep and what provisions you need to make for it.

The Muscovy duck is a unique duck breed with several characteristics that make them closer to geese than ducks! 

If you plan to rear Muscovy ducks, it’s time you explored a bit on their habits and needs.

While Muscovies need a coop like any other poultry bird, they also love to roost in trees. 

Let’s find out more about what you need to give the ducks a suitable place to sleep.


Where Do Muscovy Ducks Sleep


Where Do Muscovy Ducks Sleep at Night?

As I mentioned, Muscovy ducks are rather unusual compared to other duck breeds, and their sleeping habits are a perfect example. 

Unlike most duck species, they prefer to perch and roost in trees at night. 

That’s right, these babies fly up on trees and perch there for the night, like other smaller birds you might have noticed.

Not for them the big huddle on water that other duck species do to protect themselves from the winter. 

Let’s talk a bit more about their perching.

Do Muscovy Ducks Roost?

This is one of the several characteristics that make this breed of duck different from the rest. 

These ducks can fly, which allows them to roost in trees in the wild. 

That’s the way they prefer to sleep, rather than on the ground or while floating on water.

Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you have to free-range Muscovy ducks or rear them in large, enclosed farms with trees. 

They can’t fly very far – just about a mile or so. But they can go high – as much as 60 feet! 


Muscovy ducks roost high on trees

Male muscovies can do only half of this, though.

Simply adding some perches and/or small logs to the coop will do the trick.

Do Only Female Muscovies Roost?

In a free range or the wild, you’ll typically find only female Muscovies roosting up high on tall trees. 

This might make one assume that only female Muscovies roost – the males don’t.

However, while male Muscovies also sleep by the side of ponds, they like to roost too. 

They prefer much lower branches than the females, which is easy to notice if you observe these ducks well. 

It’s harder to fly high when you are twice the size!

So, when setting up your coop for Muscovy ducks, remember to keep enough perches for both males and females.

Why Can Muscovy Ducks Roost on Trees When Other Ducks Can’t?

Now, you might wonder why Muscovy ducks can roost in trees – something that other domestic ducks cannot. 

What special ability do they possess that allows them to get up there on the branches and perch safely for extended periods?

Birds need two things to be able to roost in trees – the ability to fly and the ability to hold on to their perch. 

Unlike other ducks, Muscovies have both.


These birds can still fly – unlike other ducks


Most breeds of ducks have lost their ability to fly due to evolutionary processes resulting from constant domestication. 

However, Muscovies still retain it and have even been known to fly in order to spread in a region. 

Special claws for roosting

Muscovy ducks have an extra claw on the hind side of their webbed feet. 

This sharp claw can dig into a perch to help the ducks roost. 

Their foreclaws are longer than most other duck species too, allowing them to get a good grip.

If I Clip Muscovy Ducks Wings, Can They Still Roost in Tree?

It’s a common practice for pet bird owners to clip the wings of their birds. 

Wing clipping involves a gentle trimming of the flight feathers to partially or completely restrict its ability to fly.

Considering the Muscovy ducks need to roost, you might be wondering if it’s okay to clip their wings. 

Don’t worry; partially clipping the wings won’t ground the ducks completely, and they can still perch on low branches.

You may also clip just one wing instead of both. This will discourage the ducks from flying by throwing them off balance when they try.

And even though you might think – should I really clip the wings of my Muscovies, you may not have any other option. 

While they are great as free-range ducks, you wouldn’t want them to fly away for some reason. 

They can still perch if you trim their wings

Where Do Muscovy Ducks Nest?

While Muscovy ducks generally prefer to roost in trees, they nest on the ground. 

You don’t need to provide them with nest boxes, as they can build their own nests. However, if possible, you should make one for them.

Muscovies often simply lay on the ground rather than using a nest at all. 

If you have raised ducks for egg production before, you should already know this is common among ducks.

You may place wooden crates filled with straw and shavings, but the ducks may or may not nest in them. 

Put them at the corners of the coop – that’s where the Muscovies prefer to nest. 

Also, leave some straw and shavings strewn on the floor for the ducks to use if they want to make their nest themselves.

Do Muscovy Ducks Need a Bed?

You don’t have to put much effort into making beds for your Muscovy ducks. 

They don’t need a bed while roosting anyway, but it’s good to add some bedding just in case. 



Besides, bedding makes the coop easier to clean as you can just remove it in chunks and replace it with fresh material.

Laying a mix of hay and wood shavings on the floor of the coop should be enough. If you have a garden, you may also reuse the bedding mix for mulch later on.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Muscovy Ducks Sleep?

Unlike most duck breeds, Muscovies are perching birds. In the wild, they roost in trees at night. 
The female duck of this species prefers higher branches, while the males roost on the low ones. 
Domesticated ducks of this breed can roost on perches and logs when kept in a coop.

Do Muscovy Ducks Roost in Trees?

As unusual as it might sound for a duck, Muscovy ducks roost in trees. 
They’re perching birds with claws designed to help them stay perched on branches. 
These ducks are also capable of flying, which is how they reach the branches.

Do Muscovy ducks need shelter?

One of the good things about Muscovy ducks is they can free-range and don’t necessarily need shelter except during bad weather. 
However, if predators are common in your area, a coop will help keep them safe. 
Free-range ducks also need to be raised accordingly, and you must make sure they have access to food and a water source.

Can Muscovy ducks see at night?

Muscovy ducks don’t see well at night, which also makes them prone to predators. 
For this reason, you may face some difficulties getting them to return to the coop at night. 
Leaving a light on can help remedy this by assuring the ducks that a coop is a safe place.

Wrapping up

Apart from their role in duck egg and meat production, Muscovies are also gaining popularity for a new purpose – companionship. 

They’re a quiet duck breed that loves human company, with a mild and curious temperament.

If you’re planning to keep Muscovy ducks as pets, it is important to know how to make the right provisions for them – be it food, sleep, or even mating.

Thank you for your time – I hope this article has been helpful to you.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button