adding a duck to a bonded chick/duck pair?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by hooktontravel, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. hooktontravel

    hooktontravel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi~
    I'm not sure where best to post this question. I did some searching and didn't find quite what I was looking for, so I figured i'd start here. I'd be happy to move it if there's a better location

    I have just started my poultry owning experience for the first time this year. I have a flock of 5 half-grown chickens (approx 3.5 months old) who are a mix of Faverolles, Brahma, and Orpingtons. Then I have a 2.5 month-old chick-and-duck bonded pair who hatched together. The 'littles' are spending most of their days (and even nights lately) in the big pen and chick house with the 'big guys' so it's finally easy to shut everyone up for the night, but we do keep an eye out as the little Brahma is still smaller then all the others and the chicken 5 tend to push the duck & little out of the way & chase them a bit. the pen has tons of space so no real bullying or injuries, but they stay in 2 distinct groups -- the chick-and-duck 'odd couple' as my mom calls them, and the other 5.

    I was offered a drake to match the duck (she's a silver appleyard). I am excited by the idea of adding another duck, but concerned that if Homer bonds with a boy duck her best friend 'wilbur' (gender as yet undetermined - buff brahma chick) will end up left out. Wilbur won't fit in with the big 5 just now, but perhaps when it's larger in size it will feel like tackling the pecking order...

    I am wondering if anyone has experience with anything like this. Would the duck give up her bonded buddy if she got a male duck, or is it possible they could form a trio of pals? The drake has been with a small backyard flock, so is used to sticking together with other ducks. Would he be likely to bully a chicken? As of now the duck grew much faster than the chick, so she's bigger...but looks out for her little buddy when they're penned with the bigger chickens.

    It doesn't matter so much to me if I leave things as-is, but i'm curious if people have thoughts on how this might work out if I did end up adding the drake.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    No Drake.....Drakes will try to breed the chicken hens and can kill them...Sorry Drakes have a penis and Roosters do not!
    Slow down and research your goal....It at this time, will not work....


    Sorry...
     
  3. hooktontravel

    hooktontravel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    okay, so how is it there are a number of mixed-fowl flocks around and the chickens aren't all dropping dead by being bred by the ducks? are that many people just supremely lucky?

    and researching is exactly why i'm here asking this question! thanks for the input.
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Sorry, I only answered from experience...
    Duck hens living with chicken hens might work...My Ducks hate my Chickens and they all were started together in the same coop.
    My friend had her Ducks together this spring and her Drake had one of her Chicken hens by the neck and was swinging it around trying to breed her...

    Try what you want...I only replied to your thread.

    Best of luck..
     
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  5. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have drakes and they don't bother my chickens at all. How old is the drake that you're considering getting? That's my only concern. Since your female duck is very young still, I wouldn't introduce a full grown drake yet. It's tough to guess whether or not your duck will bond with the drake. One of my female ducks hates the drakes, she chases them away.
     
  6. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you do decide to get the drake, I'd be interested in an update of how it works out. I'm curious as to whether your duck would bond with the new duck or would prefer her chicken friend. In my flock, there's several 'cliques' of birds, and the ones who grew up from babies together always stick together.

    Adding the drake is a tricky option and if possible, I'd keep a backup plan if you need to get rid of him. I've not had the best experiences with drakes. I had a gorgeous Muscovy drake, so sweet and really liked me, but he would not leave the girls alone. He was constantly mating them. One of them would hide in a shrub so he couldn't get to her, and another would get chased all over multiple times a day until he caught her. So I rehomed him. Then my Indian Runners drake, who had been fine for over a year, decided to start harassing the girls, and they started looking all ragged with bald spots on their heads and feathers missing. So off he went. I currently have one drake who is pretty passive and as long as he stays that way, I'll keep him. All that to say, just be prepared to rehome the drake if he doesn't work out. It's a gamble on how he treats your duck.
     
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  7. hooktontravel

    hooktontravel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the drake is a hatch from this year, so he might be a little older but not full-grown. It's from someone in town and I don't have to take him until I'm ready for him, if at all... I would not want to have a badly behaved guy bothering either the duck OR the chickens!!! he would be roast duck or re-homed in short order. it sounds like the potential for havoc in a mixed flock is high. I will have to think about it! I am happy with them as-is for now and need to make them a bigger house anyway since they've grown so much. It might be better to wait until spring or even not add a drake at all. We were excited Homer turned out to be a duck because we look forward to eggs. getting babies is not so high on the priority at this point because I don't even know if I like duck meat, and I know I want to keep my flock pretty small. It would probably only be if I knew people who wanted ducklings that I would bother to hatch any out...
     
  8. hooktontravel

    hooktontravel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well we added Hesiod about a month ago. Poor guy was pretty shell-shocked to move from his duck flock, have 2 car rides, meet Homer (the duck) and Wilbur (the chick who was NOT IMPRESSED with this new duck and gave him a stare-down), and learn he was to live with a flock of ...POINTY-BEAKED CHICKENY THINGS! and no pool. just a bucket to wash his face in and a trip to the backyard swamp every few days (it's actually got flowing water in part of it and is quite clean. I thought it'd be a duck paradise, but after a few minutes of billing about they leave!).

    My friend picked the most 'submissive' of her drakelings, and this guy is definitely shy. He follows the duckling around, quacks in his very-quiet-drakey-way, and was very easy to integrate. Within 2 days (and after only a brief stint in a small 'meet & greet' pen beside the others) he was heading right into the house at night with everyone else. The chickens all will make moves at him and he skitters away, but he also can get close when they're all muddling and digging in leaf piles, etc. They are not nearly as aggressive towards him as they are toward even one of their own brooder-mates who fell ill and had quarrentine (again in a pen alongside) while she recuperated and got strong enough to handle the pecking order again.

    I haven't seen any breeding at all. Strangely enough, a week or two after I added the drakeling, the duckling started making snakey-necked bobbing quack-circles at ...THE COCKEREL who is head of the flock. He ignores her the vast majority of the time, but every so often will jump on her back and 'breed' and I don't know if it's pure dominance on his part or if he's humoring her request to be bred...

    The drakeling isn't nearly as tame as the birds I had first. They all will come eat from my hands, but he stares wistfully from a couple of feet away. he's almost brave enough to come pick up the fallen bits now.


    So far so good. Now we'll see what happens come spring when all the hormones are raging. I will have the small chicken house available for a duck hut if I need to separate them in their own pen then.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  9. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm glad it worked out! My drake is a submissive drake too and I've decided that those are the best kind to have. I haven't had any problems with him at all. Yours might not want to come eat out of your hand if the chickens boss him around. I found with mine that if the chickens are there, he hangs back; but if the chickens aren't there, he will come up to me for food. I guess he doesn't want to compete with the chickens and knows they'll chase him off when food is involved.
    How about the younger chick Wilbur? Has she made buddies with the bigger chickens or does she stick with her ducky pal?
     
  10. hooktontravel

    hooktontravel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wilbur still follows her duck-a-ling friend. They are a funny looking trio. female duck leads the way all the time, and the drakeling and pullet follow along. Sometimes it looks like the ducks are getting to be more of a pair, but if I take the ducks out, Wilbur just sort of hangs out by herself, making sure to stay clear of the big guys. She and Homer both still think they are special and deserve free-range privileges while everyone else stays shut up...
     

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