Dilemma for my single duck- long!!


In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2016
Okay so I have a dilemma and I'm really torn. I bought 2 Mallard ducklings in the spring at CO-OP, they turned out to be drakes. Tuesday evening my sweet Ted flew out of our yard and had was killed by neighbor dogs (Border Collies. My gut tells me they were not on the "hunt" to kill him but that's another story, I guess) To put it mildly: he had the worst timing. These dogs never come around and he never flies out of the yard without landing back in the yard. Anyway- that leaves his brother Bill all alone and he's clearly different. He calls for Ted, won't walk around the yard by himself and only gets in his pool if it's within inches of his covered run. He flies out of the yard every few hours it seems and I'm constantly rushing out to get him back in the yard. I know he's out looking for Ted or for other ducks. I try to spend as much time as possible with him until I find new flock members for him. I found two options for us: 2 Khaki Campbell ducklings that will be a straight run or a person selling 2 Welsh Harlequin drakes that are 3 years old on Craigslist. I don't know what to do that's best for Bill and my family. (I have 2 children under 4) Do I adopt 2 boys who are 3 years old or do I get 2 babies who will be a random draw? My list of pro's and con's the best of my knowledge about ducks is as follows:

Cons of getting babies:
-I could end up with 2 females which means:
- a different type of food I'll have to buy for them (special layer feed for making the eggs)
-plus the added responsibility of collecting eggs and
-the possibility of babies if I miss an egg or something.
- If I get a male and female: mating time becomes dangerous for the female having 2 males fighting over her and hurting her to mate.
Pros of babies:
-easier to integrate them in with Bill. He's clearly going to be the alpha because he's oldest.
-if I do get females, that's "free" eggs to eat rather than store bought
-Bill will get some nooky if one or both are female

Cons of 2 more adult males:
-more of a slow process to integrate them with Bill
- fighting to establish dominance. This may or may not happen. I don't know enough yet to know if they'll come in and realize it's a new place and follow in with Bill or of Bill will need to establish his position.

Pros of 2 more adult males:
-no eggs to deal with
-already grown and ready for adult food
-no heat lamp set up and all that
-no brooding or nest building to worry about


Apr 11, 2016
Rhode Island
My Coop
My Coop
Aw Bill and Ted!

I don't think that the food issue is that much of an issue, just offer some oyster shell free choice and that should take care of that.

the only other feedback I have is that oldest != alpha. It does sometimes, but not always.


Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
Southern New England
Even though there are general ways duck and drakes behave, I have seen enough differences to feel that we cannot know exactly, much of it is up to the drake or duck, based on their personality.

I might lean toward the older drakes because you won't end up with the one female problem. But you need to go with your gut, and remain committed to making sure none of your ducks gets hurt in any way.

And . . . I think it will reduce your stress level to do something like clip one of your little guy's wings so he does not clear the fence.

An unbreakable mirror may help quite a bit until you can bring home friends for him.

Sad for your loss.


In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2016
Thanks everyone for your advice! My guy says to get the drakes and then once my yard is bigger (we have 5 acres but only a tiny portion is fenced right now) I'll look into get females and get a real flock going. In the meantime- my little bubba needs an immediate family
Do I need to be considered that the 2 new guys have been together their whole lives? Will the push Bill out? Like make him an outcast? My other research seems to support ducks are all-welcoming-but I figured you all would know best.


May 23, 2016
New Hampshire
They WILL push eachother around to sort out dominance, just watch it doesn't get deadly.
Be sure to introduce slowly. Divide the pen with poultry netting so they can see eachother for a few days or more. Then supervise play dates.


In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2016
I understand! And when it's all settled and they seem friendly- will I kind of constantly have to be on lookout for fights or will they stop fighting permanently once the order is established? And is this a 90% of the time like dogs or are ducks a little more forgiving in that department? I bought a few books but they talk about raising ducks and feed and housing- don't touch enough on social norms so that's why I came here.


In the Brooder
Aug 19, 2016
I have no suggestion with what kind of friend to get him, but I do agree you need to get something. Ducks are very social and like companions.

I can, however, shed some light on how to introduce to your flock. If you get ducklings, be sure they aren't left together unsupervised until they are old enough to hold their own. Drakes are dominance driven and will even mount other drakes to show they are most dominant. Supervise and separate. Once they are old enough and can be left unattended, still monitor for missing feathers or any other signs of "bullying". Also, don't put them around water together until you're sure they are buds; many ducks are drowned during mating or dominance displays in water.

I lock my ducks in a coop at night and added a divider to let them be able to smell and hear each other, but couldn't hurt each other while unsupervised. Once they get used to each other, regardless the age you get, they will be just fine. Like I said, they strive for companionship.

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