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Drake Wars

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by beardiemom, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. beardiemom

    beardiemom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2010
    Western MA
    We took on 8 drake ducklings two and a half years ago. We wanted to use them for herding practice for the dogs and thought that it would be better not to worry about eggs - also drakes were easily available since anyone in her right mind would prefer females :)

    Life was great until the next spring when testosterone hit and fighting began. We had to isolate one, rehab him, and then eventually split the flock into 2 groups. This spring we had some more scuffles, and had to isolate one more, do some rehab, found him a buddy from the other group, and then reintegrate so we were back at 2 groups.

    Fast forward to now. Some rainy weather, ducks inside their coop longer than they should have been and all hell breaks loose. I hear thumping and when I open the door out crawl the wounded. One totally beat up, two bloodied and two untouched.

    Beat up boy gets put into isolation. Group of three banish one of the untouched, so I thought maybe he was a pacifist and put him in with beat up boy. Beat up boy drags himself across the yard to fight handsome boy. Sigh. I put handsome boy back in with the other three and he just keeps his distance but remains untouched. The other three have most of their feathers and I am not sure if it is their blood or beat-up boy's.

    Fights seem to come and. It isn't always the same drake, and they do heal nicely, but really. I am sick of the posturing and fighting. On the other hand, we can't add females with this many males, and unless we want to eat them they are here to stay.

    So, when people ask about keeping just drakes - I would say sure as long as you have the space and coops to separate them out during high testosterone periods or whenever the weather sets them off.
     
  2. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2011
    Northern Wisconsin
    Yes 8 drakes is a bit much! I have had bachelor groups but neve rmore than 4! Yes once in awhile they would pick on each other but nothing bloody! GEEZ you have some very angry little guys if they are causing that much damage to each other..

    Just wondering how big of space do they have? Do you have them roaming or are they fenced? I find the more space you can provide the less fighting. I have 2 males right now in my flock 4 pekin hens 1 drake pekin and 2 Sliver appleyard hens and 1 Sliver appleyard Drake.

    I have seen my Pekin chace my Sliver all over the yard just running around in circles its the most ridiclous thing I have ever seen I mean they can't move super fast and I bet they are just exhausted after this but he will do this daily! We seperate during the spring for breeding purposes and they are given large amounts of room for each pen and the drakes actually can see each other through the fence but are content.

    But yes its a battle of wills when we allow the fence we put up for breeding to be brought down for the fall winter so they all can be together! It takes them about 3 weeks of this daily running for them to finally move on and live in the best harmony they can!
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    That's too bad, I am heavy draked here... out of my 17 only 8 are ducks to give you an idea, i plan on separating my youngest drakes into a boys only flock come spring, hopefully they will manage ok i plan to let them loose to clean up around the farm, for now we have some tussles but nothing major.

    My mature drakes i separate at night, as the one is a touch of a bully for the most part loose they get on alright, there are fights that said rarely does it get much worse than feathers flying.

    I think the problem is confined spaces, possibly dividing your housing at night will be needed, i have to build these drakes a new barn next year and may opt to stall it like a mini horse barn, as i said i already stall some of the ducks in the main mini barn as it is. I also have found personality plays a role in how it all works, i have some ducks that are a touch of a handful themselves.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  4. Marwan

    Marwan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 2, 2012
    Ahh yes the all too common man on man wars. I only have 2 drakes which makes life a little easier than yours but so far they have never had a horrible fight. They are only 1 year and 2 months old and been kept together, taken out together and done everything together since they were 2 weeks old (first 2 weeks they were isolated to allow imprinting on me more than eachother) they have arguements occasionally especially in testrostrone periods and usually over drinking water. They have a rota type thing going on with dominance where one id dominant now and in a few months it become the other ones turn. With all your boys it seems that this is happeneing on a wider scale where there all trying to me alpha male. They can do some serious damage as i know from experince. Mine have killed several pigeons and a wild duck that came too close so there very capable of serious injury. But mine had a proper fight 2 days ago and wouldnt stop. One was picking on the other. I went out there shouted at both of them held the beak of the naughty one and said no in a raised voice and isolated them for a few hours before taking them for a walk. they had resolved their differences and havent seen as much as a nip since.

    Unfortuentley with drakes this will always happen and i dont think theres any way to permenantly stop it. what your doing nowe is pretty much the best bet in keeping the peace but im sure there are others who have kept ducks longer and would have better advice..

    alternativley try unite them all with a common enemy and keep them out longer where there not in eachothers faces all the time :D hope you find something that works.
     
  5. beardiemom

    beardiemom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2010
    Western MA
    We started out with 1 duck house. Then we modified that and further built a duplex. They have 3 secure homes and they have fenced in yards that are about the size of a normal backyard and kiddy pools. We also have a separate wire pen with a cover for a single injured duck.

    I think we are doing everything we can. When we asked herding people who keep large flocks of ducks, they suggested lowering the protein levels so that the ducks don't have as much energy and working them harder :) I have to admit they do have a good life and we should probably put them to work being herded by the dogs more often so that they are totally exhausted when they go to bed at night. I can see why the Army sends cadets off on long hikes with full packs!

    For those of you with young drakes - ours were raised together and did great together until they were over a year.

    The beat up boy spent two days in isolation, then released to the yard by himself, and after two more days he is back to fence running with the guys on the other side and full of beans. We will try to reintegrate or mix them around after my husband gets back so he can watch them.

    All this time, the other pen with Larry and the Two Darryls has been a picture of tranquility.
     

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