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Cuyaga or WH for quiet, tame pet/emotional support animals?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi all, new to BYC and new to ducks!  I'm a clinical psychologist and mom to two special needs girls, 7 & 9.  We are looking to get 3 ducklings from Metzer in April....2 ducks, 1 drake.  Not looking to hatch, but eggs would be nice and the male to female ration seems prudent given my research.  We currently live in a rural suburb and will be moving to land in the next year or two and starting a therapeutic farm.  I'm looking for duck breeds that would be good for that end goal.....therapy.  I don't intend to try to make them lap ducks, but rather low stress socialization opportunities.....reading to them, hand feeding, petting would be ideal.  Due to current living situations as well as sensory issues for potential clients, a fairly quiet breed would be great.  I've narrowed it down to Cayuga and WH.  Can anyone give me feedback on whether these breeds seem to fit the "bill"....pun intended!  I'm also considering a mix, drake of one breed and the 2 ducks of the other...  Thoughts?  Which ladies are quieter?  Which breed drake would be quietest?  Personality and temperament?   I'm excited to hear your thoughts!



post #2 of 15

WH females or very loud but this is common among all ducks. If you want quiet you should think about cayugas or muscovy ducks as they don't quack they hiss. If you want that mix flock I would get female cayugas and a WH drake males tend to make less noise. Though the noise thing really depends on the duck, I have a drake who quacks all the time and a hen who rarely makes a sound. Regarding wanting a calm, tame breed you should look into call ducks. They're small and very easy to tame, a lot of people can get them to sit in their lap. Though again the females are loud

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally I was very keen on Moscovy but given the desire to use the ducks in a therapeutic setting, the talons concern me. I've read of people trimming and/or filing the ails but I don't want to be stressing out the birds, so we've voted out Moscovy.
post #4 of 15

Pretty much all ducks have claws though I guess mucovies would have sharper ones since they roost in trees. My ducks claws are pretty sharp so you may have to clip them anyway, that shouldn't be too bad if your ducks are tame.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Solid point. From what I've read, Muscovy adult talons average about 1 1/4"! If I may, one more question.......since I am trying to keep the noise down and don't care too much about eggs, what about scrapping the whole 3 idea and going with 2 drakes, no ducks? I've read differing opinions on keeping only drakes......
Thank you SO MUCH for being patient with me and so helpful!
post #6 of 15


I'm super new to ducks, and I only have experience with Cayugas (3, 2 girls and 1 drake), but I thought I'd do my best to answer with what I know, I hope it's helpful :)



Most of what I've read has said it's best to have 3-4 girls per drake. I got my Cayugas sexed as all girls but I guess there was a mistake, I'm planning to get two Welsh Harlequin girls in May to try to make sure I've got enough, and It's an excuse to get two new ducklings ;)


My drake is quiet, I think all drakes are. With the girls, they're capable of being very loud if they want to, but it's very rare, they had a period where they "yelled" a lot but it was only when they wanted something, like company or food, now they barely ever raise their voices much, they chatter a lot but it's not loud at all.

Mine are only just reaching maturity, they haven't started breeding, so I don't know anything about it from experience, but I've heard quite a few stories of people's drakes becoming complete jerks during breeding season, becoming aggressive towards other ducks and people, biting, stuff like that, I don't know how common it is, but it is something you may want to be aware of.


For personality, mine aren't fully tame, so I can't really talk about their friendliness, they eat out of my hand, the drake doesn't like to, he keeps his distance usually, but he's willing to. The girls come right up to me for treats and eat out of my hand, they've even done it while I had a cat on my lap, haha. I'm working on socializing them more now, and they are slowly getting more comfortable with me, the drake, while also being the most shy, for some reason accepts being held for the longest, he doesn't like it, but he tolerates it without too much struggle.


They do scratch me, but it's only when they struggle about being picked up, I think as long as you made sure yours are well tamed and used to it, it shouldn't be an issue. They nibble and bite sometimes but it's literally never hurt, it's been slightly uncomfortable, but never pain.


I'm getting Welsh Harlequins mostly because I've heard such positive things about their personalities, people saying they're very friendly. So just based on what I've heard they'd sound like the better choice. A mixed flock could be very nice. Cayuga drakes are gorgeous so if looks matter, my boy has such a bright green head and pretty colours all throughout him :)


Good luck! If you've got any questions I'll do my best to answer, hopefully you'll have more experienced people reply though.

post #7 of 15

A flock of only drakes can be bad. Drakes do sometimes get very aggressive during the breeding season to ducks and people, if it's just drakes they may fight each other. I've also heard plenty of stories of drakes 'mating' other drakes and hurting, and in one case killing, the other drake. I've found that if you want the quiet drake it's best to raise him by himself from an egg so he thinks your mom and he's a human. I have a mallard drake that I hatched from an egg and had to raise single and he's the sweetest little thing, he's even nice to complete strangers. I've heard people keep flocks of only drakes for weed control but they need time apart from the flock to keep tempers down. Based on what I've read about cayugas and what Ghibli said female cayugas noise level would be best. I actually think that having a drke around makes the females feel safer and will then make less noise but that's just me. P.S. Female ducks are called hens.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you, again, for all the feedback! I'm thinking I'll stick with the original plan of 1 drake, 2 hens😉 I cannot exceed 3 in total. If the girls are being pestered too much I will likely regime the drake. Know a couple people who could help me with that.
post #9 of 15

I'm glad you have plans set if the drake doesn't work out, it'll be less stress on you and the duck.

post #10 of 15
All ducks have a own personality. My female Cayuga is pretty quiet; she has the lowest pitch quack, and doesn't vocalize much. But she is not very tame and rarely eats from my hand. My female WH is quite a bit louder with a higher pitch quack, but I can get her to eat from my hand about 50% of the time.

My males WH eats from my hand occasionally too, but being a male, he is very quiet. He is also pretty nice when the comes to other ducks. The male Cayuga I used to have wold always eat from my hand and wax more handleable. But he was an absolute jerks to the other ducks and nearly killed one of my females, so he had to go.

It's kind of a toss up, really. Each ducj is different. None of my ducks are very handleable. None like being picked up or touched in any way. I have ordered some through the mail as ducklings, hatched some of my own. All were handled regularly, but none are trusting of people. The ones I hatched were great and loved people until they joined the main flock and became scared like the rest of them. Hatching your own and having them imprint on you is a good way to go if you want very social ducks, but then you don't know the sex until they grow up.

Maybe it will be easier for you to socialize them, having two kids to hold and love them all the time. I worked with mine as much as I could but I work full time and just didn't have the time it took to tame them up very well. I am raising two feed store ducklings right now and trying to get them tamed. What seems to be helping them is that they're being raised with chicks, which are much more calm when approached and handled.

I'm off topic now. I think either breed would work for you, as long as you just bombarded them with human attention from the get go, lol.
So this is where my John Hancock goes? Oh wait, John Hancock?'s Herbie Hancock ;]
So this is where my John Hancock goes? Oh wait, John Hancock?'s Herbie Hancock ;]
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