I am not sure if this is unusual or not as this is my first spring with drakes (we purchased the ducklings last year), but the drakes are pairing up to mate with only one hen at a time. I have a Cayuga drake and a Khaki Drake and they will work together to chase down one hen and one will climb on top while the other pins her head to the ground. When the first one is done, the other will climb on top (although the hen usually makes her escape during the transition) Is this normal behavior? I expected they might fight to establish dominance, but I didn't expect them to work together "gang rape" one hen. They aren't picking on one hen in particular, but I am getting a little concerned as we have had two of them come up lame in the last couple weeks. I just returned one to the pen that we crated because she had swelling in one foot, and now another one is limping. This one does have any swelling, but she won't put any weight on one leg and I am worried it might be sprained or dislocated, so she will be spending the next few days in the the crate. Hopefully it will be better by then.
Drakes ganging up on hens.
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So, after 3 days penned up in a dog crate with evening baths, Alex doesn't seem to be getting any better She seemed to be putting a tiny bit of weigh on her toes for a little bit, but not enough to consider it an improvement (when we first brought her in, she kept that leg tucked completely up under her). I did notice a small amount of swelling around the second leg joint (I would consider it her knee, but I think it is technically her ankle joint). The joint is a little warm to the touch, but she does keep it tucked in most of the time, so that could be contributing. She has a couple of scabs on her foot, but no swelling or other signs of infection that would indicate a bumblefoot infection. It doesn't seem to be sore to the touch, but she definitely isn't willing to put any weight on it and doesn't really swim with it (which makes me think that it is movement in the joint that caused the pain).
She has been drinking, but not eating in the crate, but I gave her an early bath today and some dried mealworms in the water and she gobbled them up, so her appetite appears to be good. I am thinking she just doesn't like being inside and is not eating because of that (we just switched them to layer feeds and she may not be use to that as well). I have been adding Nutri-Drench to her water too for the added vitamins.
My question is this: does the joint swelling indicate a need for antibiotics? Our vet sells us baytril to keep on hand for emergencies, so I can give her injections if needed. (we gave them to the last lame duck, but her symptoms were much more indicative of foot infection). I just don't want to give it to her if won't help and I am thinking it might just be a sprain, but I don't know how long it should take to see improvement if it is.
- Overrun with Runners
Some drakes are just brutal. The lives and well being of all the flock members depend on us - and it sounds like you know that - I just want to encourage you to follow your instincts to take care of the females, making sure they are not hurt by the drakes.
Sounds like she has inflammation probably due to injury. So I am not sure it is infected. Can you also get some kind of anti inflammatory from the vet? I think Rimadyl is prescribed by some vets for ducks.
I would separate the drakes for a bit, or perhaps split the flock into two temporarily with one drake per group. Sometimes dividing the flock will readjust the dynamic.
Some drakes just need to be kept away from the females for a bit. And this is something a person needs to just go with their instincts on.