Are 2 of my 3 runner ducks male and if so, what are my options? :(

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jennytg3, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. jennytg3

    jennytg3 In the Brooder

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    I have three 4 month old beautiful runner ducks, and thought they were all female. However, only the smaller one quacks - it says Quack Quack Quack very distinctly. The other two, larger ones just rasp, and they don't say quack. Also the two larger ones also have the curly tail feather and the smaller one doesn't. Recently, the smaller duck has been exhibiting weird submissive behavior, lying down kind of flat when I pet her, and I wonder if she's trying to get laid? [​IMG] But I haven't seen any of what I'd call mating behavior.

    So, if they are male, what are my options? I'm only allowed 3 total in the city limits, so I can't get more females. The farmer at C&L Farms I bought them from said that if they were male I could return them and get females, but I love THESE ducks, not just any old ducks. Plus, what happens to the males if I return them? I want them to be happy and alive, not dinner. Can I even get grown females? I would imagine people would want to keep their female ducks.

    However, I've also read on this forum that two males and one female is bad as they'll fight and screw the female duck too much. So far they all are completely happy and inseparable (they're from the same litter). I don't know what they'd do without each other. I can't carry one out of sight of the others without the other two screaming bloody murder.

    However, my husband is less than happy about doing all this work and having only one potentially be female.

    If two are males and I keep them all, can I eat the fertilized eggs if I eat them the same day? Is it really any different?

    Your input is much appreciated, thank you!

    Jenny
     
  2. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Songster

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    I know people generally recommend having a lot more females than males, but I don't think that's an absolute hard and fast rule. For a year, I've had a trio of Pekins, two male and one female. I got the female when she was a few days old- her "partner" mysteriously died two months later. To keep the survivor company, I brought home boys that were maybe a month older than she was. They were instantly great friends and the boys have always shown respect and deference to the female. They mate her occasionally when she "asks" for it but they are total cads when it comes to my Muscovy female. The female quacks up a storm whenever they boys are being naughty.
    The three Pekins are the best of friends and go everywhere together. I don't even see one as being dominant-they seem to take turns leading the way and I've never remotely seen any kind of scuffle or behavior of concern.

    Maybe I was really lucky with my three, but I don't see why you couldn't see how it goes with your three. No sense presuming that things will go one way or another until you see it as a pattern. Maybe they will be decent to her. And as for eggs, I get an egg from my Pekin just about every day. Pekins aren't known as the greatest sitters, so even if you don't pick the egg up every day, I think you'll be fine.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. jennytg3

    jennytg3 In the Brooder

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    Thank you for your input, I appreciate it! So does the no quacking and tail feather mean that they probably are male? Or is the only way to really tell is if they start mating w/each other?
     
  4. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Curly tail and raspy peeping are definite signs you have a boy.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    As far as I know, no quacking and curly tail feathers means drake.

    I agree that if they are getting along, and no harm is coming to the female, keep them all. Remind husband, perhaps, that bug eating and fertilizer are also wonderful things to be able to have. I actually got my runners so that they could contribute to the garden in that way. I ordered females because the eggs are good to have, but if there had been some drakes in the bunch I would be fine with that, too.

    Fertile eggs don't start developing, really, until they are incubated. So if you take the egg every day and refrigerate it, or just don't incubate it, it should be fine for quite a while for eating. I don't recall the date ranges, but I believe it is a number of weeks. It is more a question of the egg being fresh, not of fetal development.
     
  6. jennytg3

    jennytg3 In the Brooder

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    Thank you! Is it even possible to trade in adult male ducks and have them still go live somewhere nice, or do they just become someone's dinner? Can you buy adult female ducks? (I'm mostly just asking so I can explain to my husband, I don't know how I'd possibly do that.)
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    So much depends on where you are and what the duck owners around you prefer.

    My feeling is that drakes can be a liability unless they have traits desirable for a breeder, or someone lost a drake and needs to replace one, or someone has so many females they want another drake to make sure the eggs are fertile. I have also heard of people wanting drakes only for ponds (they don't lay eggs), but I don't like the idea of releasing domestic ducks into ponds (my bias).

    So it would not be impossible but you won't know until you ask around. It is quite likely a drake would become dinner if you are not careful. Sometimes adult females do come up for sale, that is not uncommon. People move, they decide to adjust their breeding program, and so forth.

    As long as no harm is being done to your female, I would pull for keeping the boys. One note - when a flock is changed, the results can be unpredictable. It can work, but there can be surprises, such as previously mellow ducks becoming more aggressive. It is not all bad news, just a possibility to include in your considerations.
     
  8. AdamD77

    AdamD77 Songster

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    Sounds like you do have two boys, but like others have said, wait and see how it goes because you never know how they'll be in the future [​IMG]

    I'm sure there are people willing to buy males, but in general it's probably less common. Some people may have started with only females but now want to start breeding so may then want to buy in a grown male, or maybe someone wants just males as pets and isn't bothered about getting eggs or breeding their ducks [​IMG] If there really is a problem later on, don't despair thinking no one would take one, because I'm sure there's someone out there who is in need of a drake and not just dinner [​IMG]

    You can buy adult females but like you said, most would want to keep females for the eggs/breeding and to keep a good male/female ratio so people are more likely to be selling spare drakes, but there are sure to be some people selling adult females for whatever reason, you just have to do your research and make sure you find them [​IMG]

    It all depends on how they behave further down the line and if you can bare to find a new home for one of the drakes, although I'd feel a lot happier sending one off to a home where I know it would be loved and cared for rather than be eaten [​IMG]

    I hope it all turns out okay in the end [​IMG]
     
  9. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Songster

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    The nice thing about the drakes too is that they are sooooo much quieter. When my females get to quacking, usually just duck gossiping, it sounds like a massacre. The boys have cute little rasps. In my very limited experience, I have found the boys to be more outgoing and less skittish than the girls.
     
  10. ejctm

    ejctm Songster

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    if it is any comfort, runners don't really have enough meat on them to be worth eating, so if you do end up having to rehome one, then it is less likely to be for dinner - also you would be vetting the potential owners i am sure, to make sure it would be a kind and caring pet home.

    [​IMG] you won't have to anyway
     

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