Duck head bobbing behavior??

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kodiakchicken, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    My black cayuga has started this head bobbing thing lately and I can't figure out what's going on. A few details: She is around 12 or 13 weeks old and by the extreme volume of her voice I'm guessing she's a girl. She's the lead duck over 2 others, although not in a bullish manner.

    For the last couple weeks, whenever we go out to see her, she bobs her head up and down quite rapidly, like she's trying to see us but can't get a visual. I've seen her do this in her pen when she's looking through the wire and in the yard. It only seems to happen when a human is around though.

    She's also started getting friendlier. When one of us approaches she'll bob her head up and down and then lay her head close to the ground and come close to us. She'll even let my husband pet her, which is completely out of character. The other two haven't exhibited any of these signs.

    I don't think anything is wrong with her eyesight, as she goes after food just fine and leads and follows the other birds around. She doesn't run into anything either.

    Does anyone know what this is? Since she's getting friendlier is a mating behaviour? I don't see her do it with the other ducks, but I've heard of rabbits falling in love with humans and doing their little dance for them.

    I am really curious as to what's going on. I hope nothing is wrong.
  2. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Nothing is wrong with her. Our muscovies do the same when they're happy to see you. I don't know if that's exactly what it means or not, but it's normal behavior.

    Does anyone know anything more?
  3. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    That is called around here as "The Hussy Head Bob". [​IMG]
    She is flirting.
    I find it amazing they can do the head bob and walk in a straight line LOL
    MinniesMomma likes this.
  4. hatchcrazzzy

    hatchcrazzzy Songster

    Jun 8, 2007
    kemp texas
    she loves you
  5. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Songster

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    I had a pekin that used to do that to me, like she was telling me a story, I would sit on the ground, and she would talk to me, bobbing her head, then run into my arms. Like she knew I would comfort her. Her partner had been killed by a predator, we never found out what took the other one, but I imagined she was telling me all about it, and that she missed her partner.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
    ajallchorn likes this.
  6. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    my muscovies greet me that way in the mornings. They greet each other that way several times a day. Now I can not say they walk in a straight line doing it either! They will also do it as a kind of reassurance to each other after two males chase and fight each other. Mine spat a few times a day and then make up right away, I am sure it is because I only have two hens and 7 drakes left. But I do have two mallard hens who hang out with them.
  7. Tailfeathers

    Tailfeathers Songster

    Dec 31, 2007
    Washington State
    Hi Kodiak,

    Your Cayuga is displaying breeding behavior. She may have identified with you as a mate. Especially if you raised her from a chick. Don't ask me why about that. All I can say is that I've witnessed the same behavior in many of our ducks. And when I locked up the boys so they couldn't get to the gals anymore because they were just tearing them up too bad, I'll be plum at a loss for words as to why, but I even witnessed on of my Pekin ducks mount the other as if to mate! I've also seen the males do the same thing a few times when I had the gals locked up away from them.

    So go figure. All I can tell ya is that the head-bobbing is some sort of signs as to say, "Hey, Big Boy! Lookin' for a date?" The laying the head on the ground I would guess is a sign of submissiveness.

    If anyone has any more specific information, like maybe they studied, or read someone who has studied, duck behavior. Dave Holderread, you on here? Bet you could tell us a few things!
  8. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    My Pekin does something similar, and I always thought she was flirting or begging....
  9. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    Thanks, everyone. I was pretty sure it was a mating behavior, but wanted to make sure. Guess that's why she does it more for my husband than me! LOL! She'll even let him pet her, which is waaayyyy out of character.

    So, does this mean that I could expect eggs sometime soon, or does one have nothing to do with the other?
  10. Sparrow

    Sparrow Songster

    Apr 11, 2008
    My girls...and boys!! that to me as well. My young drakes head bob at me even more frequently than my girls do. Does anyone know why this is? Do they identify me(correctly) as a female?

    Sorry to ask this question in your thread, but I've been wondering the same thing for a while now about my drakes!

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