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"Drake" started quacking today - what gender is s/he really?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DurhamDuck, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. DurhamDuck

    DurhamDuck Songster

    Mar 26, 2011
    Durham, Connecticut
    Originally we had 6 male ducks and 4 females - or that's what we thought, anyway. In the past few months, one of our adult males had started making a funny noise- somewhere between the girl's quack and the boy's whisper ("Quaaah..." [​IMG] ). He didn't do it very much though. But today he was quacking just like the other girl ducks. He also continued whispering, alternating. He quacked very much, repeatedly today. Two people heard him, so it's not just me not hearing him right.

    I know that if they change gender they don't change all the way. So it seems like there are two possibilities:

    1. either he was a she all along- just whispering and with a drake feather (s/he still has a little one)
    2. or he is/was a he and is just a very "feminine" drake?

    I am hoping for the first option [​IMG] ( I want more eggs, and that would even the genders out).

    Is there any way I can tell, besides waiting to see if s/he lays an egg?

    Sometimes we have seen him picking up pieces of bedding and making a nest during the day. He always does this in a corner someplace, just like the girl ducks do. Then his friends, some other drakes, come over and stomp around in it, so he seems to give up after five minutes or so.

    We were positive he was a male, as he was one of the first to get a drake feather. Also he is one of the biggest ducks we have. He just looks like a drake, but he sounds and acts like a duck. We never vent-sexed however. We got him and the rest of the ducklings straight-run.

    The duck is about two years old, if that makes a difference. S/he is a Swedish blue


    Thanks! [​IMG]

  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    But you've never seen this duck mating with another duck either as a drake or a duck?
  3. DurhamDuck

    DurhamDuck Songster

    Mar 26, 2011
    Durham, Connecticut
    Thanks for answering so quickly.

    I see that you have muscovies. Well, I do not know about anyone else's birds, but from my expieriance it seems like mallard-descended birds will mate with anyone and anything. Each other, the geese, even a piece of wood floating in the pond. [​IMG]

    So in regard to this particular duck, he has mated with both genders. And a piece of wood.

    Sometimes he mounts them and sometimes they mount him. So I have no idea. [​IMG]
  4. fowl farm

    fowl farm Songster

    May 9, 2012
    Mounting when it is not a drake mating with a female bird is dominance. My guess is it's a boy and the louder quacking might be because he's top duck and is letting everyone know.
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I can see why it would be confusing.
  6. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Can you post some pics?

    Mounting is normal for either gender. I've had males mount males and females and females mount males and females. I've had females attack with the ferocity of drakes so without further info hard to say.

    I'm not 100% familiar with swedish but due to your signature, I'm assuming that's what we're talking about. There will be a size difference between the sexes. Males can still sometimes quack. I don't know that a female would actually have a drake curl.

    Hermaphrotidism is a possibility in any species but very rare. If this duck has all of the physical characteristics of a male, its a male.

    Some may be uncomfortable with this but watch when they are mating. This is how I learned the sexes of the geese I used to have. When you see them mating, get yourself in the proper position to actually verify if there is a penis or not in the top duck. You will have a short time to tell as the penis is not retracted immediately after mating but takes a few seconds or longer. That is a 100% accurate way of telling.
  7. DurhamDuck

    DurhamDuck Songster

    Mar 26, 2011
    Durham, Connecticut
    Thanks everyone for responding.

    I can post pictures but that will take a while. It tooks hours just to get to the coop today (there's at least three feet of snow out there, and another storm is coming!)

    I'm thinking he is a he. He is one of the biggest ducks- probably third or fourth in size, at least according to looks. The heaviest is a stout little female. She's very heavy for some reason.

    Jdywntr, that's a good idea. I will have to wait until the snow is gone and the ice on the pond melts. Plus it's been so windy lately, it will probably be a while until they can come out and I can check (they only mate in the water).

    It seems like hormone problems seem to be fairly common in ducks and birds, at least compared to mammals, because I've seen a few books and websites mentioning ducks getting stuck "halfway". One of my books gives a story about a female duck who was always very broody. [​IMG] One year she laid tiny deformed eggs and abandoned them. The next year her quack went away and she grew a drake feather!

    There's never a dull day in the world of ducks. [​IMG]

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