Are Welsh Harlequins aggressive?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by littlebirchfarm, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. littlebirchfarm

    littlebirchfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Plainfield MA
    This is a follow up to a previous post. Are Welsh Harlequins an aggressive breed? We have a breeding pair and when we introduced 2 two month olds the drake immediately became overly aggressive, to the point where we took him out and put him in with our Blue Swedish girls who recently lost their drake to a predator. The larger Swedish keep him in his place, but now the older Harlequin duck is being aggressive with the younger ones also. We've been raising ducks for almost a decade and have never seen such aggressive behavior. Are Welsh Harlequins normally an aggressive breed?
     
  2. Doulos

    Doulos Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 4, 2016
    I've only had my 8 WHs for 3 months, but I have seen zero aggression. Then again, the only time I have introduced new ducks was when 5 of them were 2 weeks, and added 3 more that were 1 week. What was the gender of the duckling that you introduced? If it was male, the drake might be more aggressive, but also if it's female, the drake might be trying to breed. What were the behaviors exactly that you saw? Also, what is your male to female ratio?
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  3. littlebirchfarm

    littlebirchfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Plainfield MA
    The younger ones were 2 females. The drake was just very violent with them, moreso than we'd seen with other ducks in the past. It was mostly normal mating behavior, but at a much higher level. We've sent several roosters to the stewpot for such behavior but have never seen it with our ducks. Now that the drake has been moved, the older female has been exhibiting the same rough behavior which is why we were wondering if it was breed-specific
     
  4. Doulos

    Doulos Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 4, 2016
    Hmmm. Could be learned behavior. Just guessing, but because ducks have such a strong flock instinct, maybe the female adopted the male's attitude. Do you let them outside of their pen? I would try letting them be together with only the adult female, outside of the pen and away from food for a while, then gradually introduce the male a few weeks later outside of the pen and away from food. Maybe that would minimize aggression until they get older. I would think that having a 1 male:3 female ratio would help, once the younger females are older. I hope you can get it worked out!
     
  5. Doulos

    Doulos Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 4, 2016
    Also, if they get along well with the swedish ducks, the swedish ones might be protective of the ducklings when you introduce them. Just a guess, my 8 WHs are the first time I have had any poultry, and I love them. They are really quiet and have no aggression that I've seen. I have 2 males to 6 females.
     
  6. DucksAndGardens

    DucksAndGardens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Drakes are jerks. When I brought in newbies to my flock I had to put them in a wire cage in the middle of the flock so that the other ducks could get to know them first. They were in a kind of run for about 2 months with the ducks able to socialize from the outside and get to know one another. But as soon as I added the new ones to the older ones my drake, a welshie was a complete butthead and really pecked at them and chased them around. It took about a 2 more weeks of supervised mingling before he finally quit being a jerk and let the others into the flock.
     

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