Can I mix ducks of different ages?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by naturemom, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. naturemom

    naturemom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2007
    northern IL
    Out of my first setting of eggs, only 1 hatched, so now I have a very lonely duckling, and have not been able to find it a friend. It will be 3 weeks old on monday. Now I have 3 eggs in the incubator and 3 more under a broody hen. The bator eggs are due to hatch in a week and a half, and the hen ones a bit more than a week after that.
    I know that with chickens you have to wait until everyone is close to the same size or the big ones can kill the little ones. Is it the same for ducks? I so want my ducky to have a friend, but of course I also want them all to be safe. When can I safely introduce them? How?
     
  2. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    NM
    I'm not sure whether it varies by breed, but I mix my Pekins. I had three adults, two of which got killed by a raccoon, so I put the remaining hen with some ducklings I had just hatched to cheer her up. That went great; one was about a month old and had been living with turkey poults, and the other four were about 2 weeks old. That was about a month ago, and I just put my 2-3 week olds out with that bunch and they are getting along great. I don't know whether having an older drake would make a difference, but my drakes in the older bunch have not caused any trouble. Ducks seem to be a lot more accepting of new birds, and adopt them readily in my experience,
     
  3. naturemom

    naturemom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2007
    northern IL
    That is just what I was hoping to hear!
     
  4. Did it work out? I am in the same boat and so far the older one is picking at the younger one.

    I have an day old duckling whose nest mate died. at the same time I had a second broody hen hatching a clutch of chick eggs and one duck egg. today that ducking hatched and I want them to grow up together. maybe the young one is too young to meet the 8 day old duck? i mean it literally just hatched and the big one is picking at its feet and wings which causes the little guy to flip over since its balance is so under developed.

    I plan to keep them separate for a few more days.

    any advice would great!!
     
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Give it a few more days, i'll tell you i had two premature hatches this summer and i mixed them in with some other ducklings, that were about a week or so older, i did wait for the little ones to get their footing however, now months later they are a "flock" two Muscovies and 2 buffs(ducks)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  6. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aww that pic is too cute. I don't think I'd mix the groups just yet, due to size differences. By 3-4 wks or so, the groups seem to naturally come together on their own. At least here! I had staggered hatches like that this Fall. I think mine are 2wks apart and the totally are together all the time now (both groups over 2 monts old now)
     
  7. TracyLovesDucks

    TracyLovesDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Hi everyone, I see this is an old thread, but was hoping it's still being watched.

    I have 4 runners that are 3 to 4 months old. Two of which are drakes. They are a great group and get on well together. They are getting closer to sexual maturity.

    Then I have another group of 4 runners (all female) that are going on 5 weeks old. The two groups live together but are separated by fencing... their duck house is split in half and their yard is split up to keep the little ones protected from the big ones.

    I am really wanting to fully integrate them as soon as possible because the big ones are so friendly with people and love my presence (similar to happy dogs)... and my little ones are completely opposite. They are deathly afraid of me. It wouldn't be too much of a problem, but I have to handle them twice a day when I pick them up out of their duck house to put them on their side of the fence in the yard. They scream and run from me trampling each other sometimes. They and scratch me and struggle.

    So the reasons I want to blend the two groups ASAP are:

    - I won't have to handle the little ones, they can just follow the big ones out of their house in the morning and follow them in at night.
    - The big ones can teach them that I am not someone to be feared.
    - I'm afraid if the little ones get much bigger, there may be a battle for dominance between the groups... and if the little ones win and become the leaders of the group, they will influence the others to be afraid of me as well [​IMG]

    So my question is... since my older drakes are nearing sexual maturity, will they recognize that the little ones are not ready for sexy time and just stick to their two mature girls, or will they go after the little ones and hurt them? Like, are there hormones that they recognize as missing in the little ones, and therefore are not sexually drawn to them?

    Thanks for reading this long post and offering any advice!
     
  8. Tapioca

    Tapioca Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I joined 3 one month old khaki campbells with my group of 3 month old khaki campbells and runners with no problems. The older drake I currently have only goes after the older ducks and I'm pretty sure I have 2 female one month olds. Before I joined the two groups they had been separated but able to see and hear each other up close for a few weeks. I had the same experience as you with the younger ducks though. They freaked out so much when I would do anything with them. Now that they're with the older ducks they come right up to me and although still scared, they're much better than they were.
     
  9. TracyLovesDucks

    TracyLovesDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Here are my two groups. I am planning to combine them this weekend. Today, I held each of the little ones close to the big ones, and the big ones are still biting at the littles' necks, heads, beaks, eyes. When I first moved the little ones out into the duck house, the big ones freaked out quite a bit... they got all shakey and tried to bite the little ones through the fence. They are perfectly fine now sharing the duck house. But when I held them close together this morning, the big ones started shaking again (like their necks start vibrating, and sometimes the big girls actually pounce at me). I guess they're going to have to get over this sooner or later.


    This is how they've been living together in the duck house (first thing in the morning, so it's before the daily cleaning... excuse the mess)
    [​IMG]


    And this is how they've been sharing their yard.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Tapioca

    Tapioca Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Statesville, NC
    When I put mine together finally, the big ducks were mean to the little ones for a few days and then the pecking order got sorted out and everyone calmed down. Make sure to keep a close eye on them when you do put them together, though, and make sure no one is getting seriously hurt. I would also put out multiple water and food dishes in case the older ducks try to keep them from eating or drinking. I hope everything will go smoothly for you!

    Hopefully someone else will add on to this ;_; I'm very new to duck keeping and don't have much experience to pull from.
     

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