Drake over mating one duck

loofa

Songster
12 Years
Aug 4, 2009
124
126
231
Hi everyone,

I have one drake and four hens. I'm thinking this should be enough ducks for my drake, but he has a particular focus on one of the hens. She stands out in the crowd because she is the only blond (drake and 3 ducks are khaki cambells but Flopsy is mostly Welsh Harlequin). She's lost a lot of feathers on the back of her head/neck and I'm worrying about her.

Is there anything I can do to protect her (other than separation from the group which will be distressing for her)? I'm wishing there was some sort of collar with like a hood to protect the back of her neck.

Any advise appreciated.
 

3bird

Crowing
Apr 2, 2017
1,391
3,276
326
Rockland, Maine
My Coop
My Coop
Hi everyone,

I have one drake and four hens. I'm thinking this should be enough ducks for my drake, but he has a particular focus on one of the hens. She stands out in the crowd because she is the only blond (drake and 3 ducks are khaki cambells but Flopsy is mostly Welsh Harlequin). She's lost a lot of feathers on the back of her head/neck and I'm worrying about her.

Is there anything I can do to protect her (other than separation from the group which will be distressing for her)? I'm wishing there was some sort of collar with like a hood to protect the back of her neck.

Any advise appreciated.
Tis the time of year (at least for us up here in Maine). Generally speaking, I hear folks looking for a 1:5 or 1:6 ratio as being best, but it really can vary based on your flock. If you choose to keep a drake (we do!), it's pretty essential to be set-up to easily separate your flock. When we separate our flock of six (1 drake and five hens), we put them into groups of three and three or four and two. We mix the groups up each day and we keep them so they can see each other and sleep side by side separated by a fence. We do let them free range (supervised) twice a day. At night, we will isolate our drake (or let his best girl go with him) in a fenced-off part of our predator proof run, but again, he's only separated by wire from his girls, and they will often sleep side-by-side. Keeping a drake with a small flock can be a challenge and may require a fair bit of maintenance during breeding season (~April to September for us), but for many folks, it's worth it.

How bad is her neck?

Here's a picture of our boy Angus with his best girl Mouse.

Angus Mouse Bridge.jpg
 

Quatie

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Oct 16, 2020
2,527
12,263
461
Northern California
I agree with 3bird.

Also every male is different. We just re-homed our khaki campbell male because he needed a lot of females. He would be happier with probably closer to 8-10 females. We still have our other male, a saxony, and he is pretty laid back. He did pretty well with 2 females when we started our flock. Our flock ratio was 1:5 before we re-homed the male. Our welsh have been big targets of breeding as well.

If the damage is really bad, you will either need to separate the drake or the female so she can heal.

Best of luck with the flock.
 

loofa

Songster
12 Years
Aug 4, 2009
124
126
231
Thank you - and drat, from other threads here I was pretty sure that 4 hens to one drake would be plenty. And I'm really not sure that getting more hens would fix the problem because he just seems fixated on Flopsy. I hate the idea of re-homing him; it's just so hard to know that other people will treat their critters well. I'll have to think about all of this.
 

Parront

Crossing the Road
Jul 27, 2017
6,522
27,655
907
Prescott, AZ
Is your duck Flopsy having trouble walking, is she hiding from the drake, running too much to get away from him? Just being bald is really only a sign of desirability to the ducks. If she goes up to him and bobs her head, and hangs out with him, she is fine.
 

Quatie

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Oct 16, 2020
2,527
12,263
461
Northern California
Thank you - and drat, from other threads here I was pretty sure that 4 hens to one drake would be plenty. And I'm really not sure that getting more hens would fix the problem because he just seems fixated on Flopsy. I hate the idea of re-homing him; it's just so hard to know that other people will treat their critters well. I'll have to think about all of this.
It can work with 4 ducks for some males, unfortunately just not always. Drakes tend to have their favorite female. It is hard to say if more females will help that particular issue. It is possible more females will distract him.
 

LT71689

Songster
Jul 5, 2020
336
618
118
Canada
4 females is really the MINIMUM, more is always better and often needed. But like you said, the problem is he's picked a favorite, not that he's hurting all of them and doesnt have enough.

Since he's not displaying aggression with the other 3 girls, you might be able to get away with pulling Flopsy and one other girl out for a couple days while she gets a break, that way she doesnt have to be by herself and he doesnt have to come out by himself. He might learn to like one of the remaining two which wouldnt be so bad when Flopsy comes back.
 

loofa

Songster
12 Years
Aug 4, 2009
124
126
231
Following up - we kept Flopsy and her best friend Mopsy separated for a few weeks -they would all coop together at night, but in the day kept separate. It's a hassle and not a permanent solution. When back with the flock Clove just immediately goes after Flopsy again. In the time they were separated he didn't pay much attention to the ducks he was with. He'll mate them occasionally, but really he just wants poor little Flopsy. I HATE the idea of rehoming any of them - here they are well cared for and have lots of space to forage all day. But I'm thinking of looking for a safer home for Flopsy and Mopsy. I would rehome Clove but as a drake I think his chances of being wanted are far lower. One last call out for ideas before I go down that sad road....
 

Anime2lover

Crowing
Apr 17, 2019
3,225
11,162
467
Thank you - and drat, from other threads here I was pretty sure that 4 hens to one drake would be plenty. And I'm really not sure that getting more hens would fix the problem because he just seems fixated on Flopsy. I hate the idea of re-homing him; it's just so hard to know that other people will treat their critters well. I'll have to think about all of this.
Seperate the drake. That's my advice. Doesn't have to be for long. But enough for your girl to recover some. Might advise to get some pick no more stuff. It tastes horrible and might help easup some of the issue.
 

loofa

Songster
12 Years
Aug 4, 2009
124
126
231
Seperate the drake. That's my advice. Doesn't have to be for long. But enough for your girl to recover some. Might advise to get some pick no more stuff. It tastes horrible and might help easup some of the issue.
Pick No More! This is exactly the kind of thing I've been looking for - tried googling all sorts of things hoping to figure out a safe bad tasting thing to try. Thank you! I'm going to get some of this and give it a try - fingers crossed.

Also, I've tried separating them - it's good in terms of giving flopsy a break, but it doesn't ultimately fix the problem.
I'll let you know if the pick no more works; thank you again for the suggestion
 

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