Drake pair constantly pulling each other's feathers - anything I can do?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Misskpw, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Misskpw

    Misskpw New Egg

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    I have 2 drakes that free-range during the day & have a 12x4' enclosure at night. They are very often chasing each other around and pulling each other's feathers out. I read in another thread here that usually all-drake flocks can work nicely, but this pair clearly is not. I had been thinking of finding a couple of females for them (I figure 2 more would be the limit for their night time enclosure), but I think that would be worse. They willl chase anything that will run from them ... my 4 year old son can hold his own for a while & I've taught him not to run away, but when they start pecking his shoes he gets scared (and then the ducks chase him). They don't hurt anyone (will run away if you just turn and look at them). My oldest son loves them, feeds them & picks them up, etc. I had to separate them from my hamburg chickens because the chickens made good targets for them. Are my drakes just especially aggressive?? If so, is there anything to do other than re-home one of them (or make duck soup)?? Thank you!
     
  2. gal5150

    gal5150 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old are they?
     
  3. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    If you'd like to get females for them, you'll want 3-4 females per each male. Your nighttime shelter is actually big enough to house 10-12 ducks comfortably so adding six females is totally doable.

    They may also calm down once the breeding season is over. This time of year their hormones are really flowing.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I am wondering if you might find a hobby for them - I kid you not! I suspect, from some things I have read, that some ducks just get bored more easily than others.

    There are occasionally threads about "enrichment activities" for ducks. May sound silly, but it could save a duck's life in this case! [​IMG]

    Let me see if I can find some links.... @Misskpw

    http://www.majesticwaterfowl.org/mmissue20.htm
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
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  5. gal5150

    gal5150 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Distractions and enrichment are definitely worth a try! Good call @Amiga.

    Simple things we've added to our outdoor pen that entertain the ladies for short periods throughout the day.....large hanging jingle bells, thick rubber bands cut in one spot to mimic long rubbery worms tied slightly above head height, (sounds crazy) my daughters went to SPCA summer camp and when they let them decorate huge pillows for pet beds they made theirs for the ducks....they actually use them and each have sort of claimed one, metal key ring on the end of thick, cut rubber bands.

    What I have noticed, though mine are girls mind you, but one is much more easily bored than the other and she can be a butt to her "sister"....she is also the primary user of the "toys" in the pen. She rarely bugs "sister" since adding these items. "Sister really enjoys hanging out on her pillow bed :)
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    @gal5150

    I am pretty sure you have things secure enough so that no one will swallow the metal, right? I worry so about hardware disease, and I know you are very conscientious.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. gal5150

    gal5150 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @Amiga, yes, ma'am, triple reinforced so they'd have to break through three separate rubber bands and we check all toys twice daily...when the girls go out and when they're brought back in. Couldn't imagine losing one of these sweeties! But thanks for the reminder that you really can't be too careful. They're just so precious!
     
  8. Misskpw

    Misskpw New Egg

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    Thanks for the "enrichment" ideas! They have a large yard & wooded areas to roam in, along with a small pond that comes & goes with wet & dry periods ... but perhaps they need something more. @gal5150 - They are about a year and a half (getting ready to go into their second winter). How long does breeding season last? It seems they have been beating on each other since early spring.[​IMG] I really don't want to have to get rid of one (or both) as they are so fun to have in the yard and great at getting japanese beetles .... but clearly don't want them to kill each other either.

    @Pyxis - I was worried 8 ducks would be too cramped in the run because if we go away for a night, we leave them cooped up & just have a neighbor come fill water/food. I don't think I'd be able to do that with 8. (I'd also have to retrofit part of the run to be winter-proof, as only part of it is now!). Maybe it's time to hot wire around their house, so they can have free range when we go away! [​IMG] Thanks for the input on ratios!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
  9. gal5150

    gal5150 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Breeding season, late winter through spring and into early summer....though with domestic ducks it can go a little longer [​IMG] Sounds like they have an amazing set up! So, don't know if enrichment would help beat out hormonal aggression....but it's worth a shot! Does it seem like one is more the instigator than the other? This is an awful pain but wonder if they could get little breaks from each other daily via a smaller area with chicken wire or the like dividing it?
     

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