Drakes ganging up on hens.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by buggymuffin, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. buggymuffin

    buggymuffin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am not sure if this is unusual or not as this is my first spring with drakes (we purchased the ducklings last year), but the drakes are pairing up to mate with only one hen at a time. I have a Cayuga drake and a Khaki Drake and they will work together to chase down one hen and one will climb on top while the other pins her head to the ground. When the first one is done, the other will climb on top (although the hen usually makes her escape during the transition) Is this normal behavior? I expected they might fight to establish dominance, but I didn't expect them to work together "gang rape" one hen. They aren't picking on one hen in particular, but I am getting a little concerned as we have had two of them come up lame in the last couple weeks. I just returned one to the pen that we crated because she had swelling in one foot, and now another one is limping. This one does have any swelling, but she won't put any weight on one leg and I am worried it might be sprained or dislocated, so she will be spending the next few days in the the crate. Hopefully it will be better by then.
     
  2. brookesducks

    brookesducks Out Of The Brooder

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    This is also my first year with my ducks. Unfortunately I only have 1 female and 2 drakes, but i did get 2 more ducklings and think tjey are girls! they will also both try to mate with her at the same time. I think it is normal since my drakes seem to try to compete with each other to see who gets the hen. They do get aggressive and hens will get hurt sometimes. Recently she's had he feather ripped off the back of her neck. If they do get hurt I would separate them to give her a break.
     
  3. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It often takes two drakes to cover a group of hens because they tag team the uncooperative ones. You should always have more hens than drakes, though. Your drakes are doing a fine job but your hen will get too stressed and she will have a hard time nesting even though her fertility will be 100% if she can take a break from being chased down. She might try to sit in the water for a break and then they could drown her. Having a higher hen to drake ratio will make the flock happier. One hen to one drake is usually okay because a single drake gets lazy without competition but two drakes per hen is not going to work well.
     
  4. buggymuffin

    buggymuffin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, after 3 days penned up in a dog crate with evening baths, Alex doesn't seem to be getting any better She seemed to be putting a tiny bit of weigh on her toes for a little bit, but not enough to consider it an improvement (when we first brought her in, she kept that leg tucked completely up under her). I did notice a small amount of swelling around the second leg joint (I would consider it her knee, but I think it is technically her ankle joint). The joint is a little warm to the touch, but she does keep it tucked in most of the time, so that could be contributing. She has a couple of scabs on her foot, but no swelling or other signs of infection that would indicate a bumblefoot infection. It doesn't seem to be sore to the touch, but she definitely isn't willing to put any weight on it and doesn't really swim with it (which makes me think that it is movement in the joint that caused the pain).

    She has been drinking, but not eating in the crate, but I gave her an early bath today and some dried mealworms in the water and she gobbled them up, so her appetite appears to be good. I am thinking she just doesn't like being inside and is not eating because of that (we just switched them to layer feeds and she may not be use to that as well). I have been adding Nutri-Drench to her water too for the added vitamins.

    My question is this: does the joint swelling indicate a need for antibiotics? Our vet sells us baytril to keep on hand for emergencies, so I can give her injections if needed. (we gave them to the last lame duck, but her symptoms were much more indicative of foot infection). I just don't want to give it to her if won't help and I am thinking it might just be a sprain, but I don't know how long it should take to see improvement if it is.
     
  5. jake and pippa

    jake and pippa Out Of The Brooder

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    I think I would just keep her separate from the drakes while she fully recovers. Get some more hens so there's a better ratio. I have four hens for every drake and have never seen to drakes going for the same hen. What I do see is my senior Drake chasing away younger drakes from the girls. It will take too long for the ducklings to grow up, I think you may want to get a few adult hens.
     
  6. buggymuffin

    buggymuffin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will be keeping her in until she is better, but I don't think my hen to drake ratio is the issue. We have 9 hens for two drakes.
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Some drakes are just brutal. The lives and well being of all the flock members depend on us - and it sounds like you know that - I just want to encourage you to follow your instincts to take care of the females, making sure they are not hurt by the drakes.

    Sounds like she has inflammation probably due to injury. So I am not sure it is infected. Can you also get some kind of anti inflammatory from the vet? I think Rimadyl is prescribed by some vets for ducks.

    I would separate the drakes for a bit, or perhaps split the flock into two temporarily with one drake per group. Sometimes dividing the flock will readjust the dynamic.

    Some drakes just need to be kept away from the females for a bit. And this is something a person needs to just go with their instincts on.
     
  8. jake and pippa

    jake and pippa Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry buggymuffin, read brooksducks' post and thought it was yours.
     
  9. buggymuffin

    buggymuffin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does it make sense to wrap the joint with vet wrap to immobilize it? I know that is what they do with people when they have a sprain. And does anyone know how long it might take before we see an improvement?
     
  10. jake and pippa

    jake and pippa Out Of The Brooder

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    On two occasions my Muscovy have come up lame to the point where they could barely walk, but they recovered spontaneously. On one recent occasion my dog got to a Drake and injured both the wing and a leg. The bird could not walk so after I rescued him and picked him up, I put him in a safe place far from the dog. I now have all my birds behind electric fencing by the way. The Drake made a complete recovery in several days. In my experience the ducks are pretty tough, but I do have only limited experience. If you're really concerned you should consider taking your bird to a veterinarian.
     

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