I have 2 muscovy ducks, male and female, around 6-7 months old.
I have seen from having previous rouen ducks, as well as reading additional stories here, that the (usually) male ducks will bite your toes or leg areas either at a certain age or maybe closer to mating times.
It's the winter season, so I now go outside with a sweater or long pants. Either the timing above that I mentioned, or the clothes (instead of bare skin) seems to have triggered something in him. He will come and bite my legs or arm through the clothes. The clothes are not thick, just something to keep me warm. As a result, he actually still gets his bill around enough skin to hurt when he decides to clamp down hard.
As a result, I began doing the thing where I try to dominate him and force him low to the ground, starting with 1-3 minutes. It only has been a few days but honestly I'm also afraid of turning him hostile towards me, the same way that some animals that are abused might actually become more aggressive towards things/people.
After a few days of doing this, including me using a little more force or holding him down longer, my duck seems to have begun actually attacking me as if he's doing some kung fu moves or something. He will lunge at me by hopping towards me, and then taking a bite. Once I see him doing this, I actually get into my own defensive stance and he invariably ends up grabbing a hold of my sleeved arm.
Now as I'm vertical and not horizontal, I notice that his body curls up towards my leg, not unlike how a dog tries to hump our legs sometimes. I motion my arm outwards, and the force of the motion makes him lose his grip. But as he lands, his wings are out to the side, actually out wide enough to hang loose on the ground, and then he lunges at me again. He will do this several times in what looks like an actual attack, until I mount him again and keep him under control.
I wanted to understand if this is his attempt to mate, or if his main weapon is his bill, and as he grabbed a hold onto some higher part of me, his body would naturally dangle down. Or has he begun seeing me as an enemy and he needs to attack me? Or is he like a killer whale that might just be wanting to play but he is unaware that his bites hurt and I might misunderstand him and therefore might mistreat him in an attempt to make him not do the thing that hurts?
Thanks for any insight.
PS. As a side note, the female duck is fairly gentle. She is a bit shy but if I actually manage to get close to her, she will seem to nuzzle her bill at my hand, not actually opening to take a bite. It might be her way of saying, 'hey you're in my personal space' but I have no fear of being bitten from her. She is actually nearby watching me dominate the male without attempting to help him or attack me.
Edited by purslanegarden - 12/11/16 at 9:28am