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Can you sex your ducks when they are still young?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by mama24, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been doing searches on the internet and have not come across a clear answer, so I'm posting here. I'm sure you'll be able to help me out! I got my first ducklings last month. 3 Anconas from a local breeder selling at a flock swap. Boy do they grow fast!!! They are HUGE! And super duper cute! LOL. Anyway, I have the 3. I is much much bigger than the other 2, and they are the same age. Does that mean it's a boy and the other 2 are girls? I have never had ducks before. Do ducks need to be in pairs instead of flocks like chickens to get them to breed? Thanks for your help! Oh, he also said he had blacks and lavenders. I think I got all blacks, though. That meant the spots, I assume, right? One was solid yellow and he said it might be a lavender, but I think its spots are coming in dark, not light gray like what you'd call lavender on a chicken.

    I also picked up 4 Pekins at the feed store last week and they are adorable. 2 have little knots on the back of their heads and 2 don't. Does that mean anything as far as sex? I also have some runner ducks coming with my hatchery chick order. We are excited about getting ducks, but I obviously have a lot to learn!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    Sounds like you have your hands full of fun!

    Welcome to Duckdom!

    Ducklings can be sexed at an early age, but extreme care must be taken because they can be seriously injured if you don't do it right. And I have been told it is as much art as science.

    If you can get a copy of Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, there is a section on sexing. I also like The Ultimate Pet Duck Guidebook for all kinds of good advice from a caring duck steward.

    Size is not a reliable indicator. All mine are girls, and Einz is much bigger than half of my ducks, always has been.

    The little knot is probably what is called a crest. It looks to me like a wad of cotton on the backs of their heads. It is caused by a difference in the bones, if I recall correctly, perhaps there is a gap in the skull bones (someone please explain this better for us).

    Ducks will breed in pairs or flocks, it appears to be one of their favorite hobbies. A rule of thumb that many follow is one drake to three to six ducks. One on one often leads to injury or worse for the female, if you have an oversexed drake. Some folks find getting more females helps, some rehome their drakes.

    Ducklings need to be able to wash their heads frequently to prevent infections of sinuses, eyes and ears, and water management is one of the biggest hurdles to new duck raisers. So, please search the forum, especially for duckling water and brooder topics, so you can start planning and setting up ways to keep them healthy, and keep yourself calm.

    Ducks are so wonderful and therapeutic! They are some of the most positive creatures I have ever encountered. May you and your flock be blessed.
     
  3. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I am letting our ducklings use my daughter's turtle sandbox filled with water for now. We have rocks and bricks in it so they can get out. I need to go and buy a small kiddie pool for them as well as sand for my little girl, hopefully I'll get to that this week. I've been emptying and refilling it every 3-4 days, though it gets absolutely filthy in between. It isn't even in their pen, so it's not near their food. Does that sound ok? The baby ducklings are in with my chicks and I clean and refill their waterer every morning. I also have a regular chicken waterer in the big ducklings' pen that I clean and refill daily, and there are metal pans that also usually get rinsed and refilled daily in the chicken pen where I have the sandbox for now.

    I was just out there and I noticed that the 2 bigger Anconas have black spots and are still making that soft whistling peeping noise. My littlest one that has brownish gray spots is quacking loudly. Does that mean anything for sex? I have read the quacking means girl, but I was wondering how true that is. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Whistling, mumbling, peeping, are all words that have been used to describe drake noises. Ducks, the girls, wak or honk or, in my Runners' case, make a loud ah AH ah ah.

    So you may have two drakes and a duck. May I suggest you consider more females before there is a problem?
     
  5. Amy S

    Amy S Chillin' With My Peeps


    Ours whistle a lot. One of mine just softly quacked for the first time this mornng. The past few days they have all been making these strange hissing-looking faces when people would put hands near them. They are runners, and still a bit skittish, but now I am getting the quacking...so I'm thinking they were practicing that. [​IMG]
     

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