Drake Lost His Mate - What to Do

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by grassgd, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. grassgd

    grassgd In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2016
    We lost our loved 7 month old Mallard female, Ethel, 2 days ago and coping with her 7 month old Mallard drake, Louie, left behind.

    We received both of them around April of this year from a neighbor who found the two ducklings on her back patio. We had them free ranging in our back yard which is about 1/4 acre with many garden areas. The two were very drawn to us when ever we when outside, came home or they would see us through the back window of the house.

    Ethel developed severe respiratory illness and although we took her to the vets and were feeding and giving antibiotics, she passed away. Since Louie has never been alone before in his live, I feel terrible for him. Consequently I cannot seem to get out of his sight without him squawking. The last two nights we put him in a large dog kennel in our kitchen over night where he can see us until we go to sleep. We have owls around and at night he would walk into the open yard squawking for Ethel which would make him a prime target. So far so good, I can tell when he's still looking for her around the yard, he walks fast to areas they would frequent while squawking, not sure how long that will go no.

    Question is to keep him, find him a home to be with other ducks or bring another duck in. Not sure but it may be possible Ethel's illness may have been caused by mating in the swimming pool we have for them and got water in her lungs, we'll never know but if that was the case, I would hesitate bring another female in and risk this again.

    Apparently bring in a duckling of any sex is problematic at best which leaves the option of keeping him alone or bringing in a mature (7 month old or older) male.

    Any advice or knowledge in this would be very helpful.


    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  2. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Songster

    Feb 21, 2016
    Cumbria, UK
    I would try to get him another duck as soon as possible and keep him- rehoming him would probably make him even more stressed out.
  3. grassgd

    grassgd In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2016
    The more I read, the more it seems most people recommend at least two females per male to help the "mating abuse". Other people have reported females being drown by the drake mating in water...that's what we suspect may have caused our female's respiratory problems which led to her death. Even though I saw he aggressively going after him in the pool to mate causing him to jump out at time, but other time they mated but he did push her head below water in doing so. If that's what happened, having two females may not stop that from happening again unless we take away the pool.

    The more I read, to raise him alone does not appear to be an option at all ...cannot leave him alone for any length of time. We have kept him company since Ethel's death but that cannot continue for ever.

    Seems the only viable options are find him a good home with a flock of other ducks or see if two drakes can co-exist in harmony.


    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  4. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck

    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    So sorry for your loss... :hugs Drakes dunk ducks heads underwater during mating quite frequently aithout issue, so no way of knowing if that was the cause of her death or not without a necropsy... Drakes *can* live together without ducks around quite peacefully... however... not all drakes will get along... but I bet there's a better chance for you to find a drake or 2 nearby that needs rehoming than you have of rehoming Jerry to a new flock... unfortunately, boys in waterfowl and poultry are usually in excess in most areas... Hope you get it figured out and you all find peace again...
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  5. Kroelies

    Kroelies Songster

    Apr 21, 2015
    I'm sorry you lost your Ethel :(

    I have a big flock of mallards living in my neighborhood and the drakes have one partner. The 4-1 or 3-1 ratio kinda baffles me. I'd try to get him a new partner. Maybe on a duck show if there are any?
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I don't know if I have mentioned this to you, but an unbreakable mirror, or a photo of Ethel may help him a little bit for now, till you find him a buddy. Ducks have their own unique personalities, as you know, but given nice slow introductions, they usually get along fine.

    Vet offices, animals shelters are two places that might know of available potential friends. There are waterfowl rescue organizations and farm animal rescue organizations, too. We got Salem and Alba from a farm animal rescue and they are great pets!

    Sometimes ducks get sick from unusual circumstances. Female ducks get dunked under water countless times without problem. But something could have gone wrong for Ethel...[​IMG]
  7. purslanegarden

    purslanegarden Songster

    Aug 10, 2016
    I would also say that this kind of mating happens in nature, with the male duck on top of the female duck in the water. It's unfortunate to lose a female duck that way but it's not outside of their normal instinctive behavior and I'm sure other females are lost that way in the wild too. My drake must have been easy going because he was fine with just one female partner. She didn't seem worse for wear either, and always seemed more receptive to his advances than not.

    If you can't get another mallard duck because of not having a ready supply where you are, maybe another kind of duck or chicken could suffice to be a companion.

    I have also had cases where one of my birds lost his or her partner and that actually made him more receptive to human companionship, such as holding him or carrying him around or that he didn't run away anymore when we get close to grab him (to hold him).

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