Do Rouen drakes fight?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Tiffrz-N-Kidz, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Tiffrz-N-Kidz

    Tiffrz-N-Kidz Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    Aledo, TX
    OK - I have determined I have 1 male and one female at the moment. I have another 5 that a friend was raising for me and 4 have turned out to be drakes. She wants hens for eggs. So, question. If I take the 4 drakes back will they all 5 fight over the one female? Or would I be better off having JUST drakes and give her the one female?

    Or what? I don't really care about eggs, we have chickens for that, and the one female is noisy as heck! I would like to keep the noise level down (neighbors) and have a few (3-5) ducks for my son to show at the little fairs and maybe 4-H.

    So what combination of drakes/hens do you experienced duck owners think would be best for our small suburban homestead? Would 5 drakes fight if there was no female? Or would 2 drakes and 1 female be OK? (I could probably rehome 2 drakes.)

  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    Last year, I bought 4 at the feed store. Turned out to be 1 hen and 3 drakes. They had very minor skirmishes with each other over the hen, but nothing serious and all seemed to get along.

    However, during the peak of the breeding season in April, it became obvious to me that they were wearing the hen out, she seemed beated down, had most of the feathers gone from her head/neck from the drakes pulling at them, and developed a limp. I had to separate her for a week for her own good. After that, I let her sit on a clutch of eggs so that they would leave her alone, which they did.

    I added 5 babies to the mix this year when they were about 2 months old. The 4 original birds fought with them a bit at first, but they all get along fine now.

    Overall, I'd say it shouldn't be a major problem with all 5 drakes, but it would probably be a lot better for the hen if you only had 2. Better yet, if you can handle all of them, is to try to get some additional hens to mix into the flock so it's a more balanced ratio.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  3. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Bad idea to have that many boys. They will hurt the hen. Worst they may all climb on her at the same time and break her legs, or worse drown her in the pool. It's extremely stressful to the hen to be over mated. A healthy number is 3-10 hens per drake. You can get away with less hens if only one drake is present.
  4. MysticalMom

    MysticalMom Songster

    Jul 1, 2009
    Yeah. Your poor girl. She's gonna need some girlfriends to help her out or she'll be a mess. Maybe even killed.
  5. Blooming chicks

    Blooming chicks Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Bucks County
    What about him just keeping the drakes? I have read that a flock of bachelors is okay (and not too noisy). Anyone?
  6. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

    Dec 15, 2009
    Penn Valley, CA
    I have three drakes and one hen, and they get along just fine. I haven't seen any fighting other than the most minor of bullying, which caused no harm and had a very short duration. I may have issues this year during breeding season (because there's one more drake than there was last year, though he's slightly crippled), but if any problems arise or Eugenie seems stressed I'll separate her out and the three boys will just have to deal with it.
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Anyone who has ever seen 3 or 4 drakes trying to breed a hen at the same time knows that keeping that many drakes with one hen is a very bad idea. Anyone who has pulled a drowned overmated hen from a pond knows that is a very bad idea. Anyone who has ever seen a hen crippled through overmating knows that is a very bad idea. Give the hen away and try keeping an all drake flock. That will be far more fair to the hen. Simply good animal husbandry and common sense.

  8. KansasKid

    KansasKid Songster

    Feb 7, 2010
    South East Kansas
    yup had a bad ratio last year of rouen hen/drakes and it ended badly for the hens, they survived but were beaten up pretty good.
  9. Tiffrz-N-Kidz

    Tiffrz-N-Kidz Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    Aledo, TX
    Thank you all for your insight. I asked my son if he wanted to try to hatch baby ducks or if he wanted all boys and he said he wants to try to hatch babies.

    So - I will keep the one hen and her hubby in the current pen if the other 4 come back I will keep them separate and look for homes for them. She is a noisy thing, but I have come to like her and I'd hate to see her hurt.

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