Duck is actually jump-flying-biting me, how to deal with it?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by purslanegarden, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. purslanegarden

    purslanegarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2016
    I have 2 muscovy ducks, male and female, around 6-7 months old.

    I have seen from having previous rouen ducks, as well as reading additional stories here, that the (usually) male ducks will bite your toes or leg areas either at a certain age or maybe closer to mating times.

    It's the winter season, so I now go outside with a sweater or long pants. Either the timing above that I mentioned, or the clothes (instead of bare skin) seems to have triggered something in him. He will come and bite my legs or arm through the clothes. The clothes are not thick, just something to keep me warm. As a result, he actually still gets his bill around enough skin to hurt when he decides to clamp down hard.

    As a result, I began doing the thing where I try to dominate him and force him low to the ground, starting with 1-3 minutes. It only has been a few days but honestly I'm also afraid of turning him hostile towards me, the same way that some animals that are abused might actually become more aggressive towards things/people.

    After a few days of doing this, including me using a little more force or holding him down longer, my duck seems to have begun actually attacking me as if he's doing some kung fu moves or something. He will lunge at me by hopping towards me, and then taking a bite. Once I see him doing this, I actually get into my own defensive stance and he invariably ends up grabbing a hold of my sleeved arm.

    Now as I'm vertical and not horizontal, I notice that his body curls up towards my leg, not unlike how a dog tries to hump our legs sometimes. I motion my arm outwards, and the force of the motion makes him lose his grip. But as he lands, his wings are out to the side, actually out wide enough to hang loose on the ground, and then he lunges at me again. He will do this several times in what looks like an actual attack, until I mount him again and keep him under control.

    I wanted to understand if this is his attempt to mate, or if his main weapon is his bill, and as he grabbed a hold onto some higher part of me, his body would naturally dangle down. Or has he begun seeing me as an enemy and he needs to attack me? Or is he like a killer whale that might just be wanting to play but he is unaware that his bites hurt and I might misunderstand him and therefore might mistreat him in an attempt to make him not do the thing that hurts?

    Thanks for any insight.

    PS. As a side note, the female duck is fairly gentle. She is a bit shy but if I actually manage to get close to her, she will seem to nuzzle her bill at my hand, not actually opening to take a bite. It might be her way of saying, 'hey you're in my personal space' but I have no fear of being bitten from her. She is actually nearby watching me dominate the male without attempting to help him or attack me.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  2. bydhatch

    bydhatch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2016
    Hello! It's winter for my younger female and male ducks as well! My male has gotten a little protective of "his girl" as we call her of late. This could likely be the case for you. He is trying to protect his girl. What we started doing to mine when he acts this way is grabbing him and holding his bill shut and holding him in place. (We also tell him that she is our girl too and we all love her. Although that's not necessary. Haha.) This will take some time but eventually he has started to understand. Just make sure to punish him and NEVER be scared of him. You are the master and rule the roost. Hope it helps! :)
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    @Miss Lydia has had to deal with this, with a Muscovy drake.

    I do wonder if your extra clothing has him worried (I am NOT suggesting you go outside in summer apparel! How do you spell apparel? That doesn't look right).

    Is there a treat he especially likes? I would try bribery.
  4. RachG75

    RachG75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2016
    Central Illinois
    Just a guess, but can you take a couple halved grapes or small bits of fruit...raisins would be cheap and easy...and at the same time you are dominating him offer the fruit treat? Only when he starts to relax though. Maybe he will start to associate your gentle dominance with the Treat? Of course, never give the treat while he is wound up or advancing on you.

    Take a video for us if possible!
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    My drake actually leaped onto my back when I turned to go into the house. I thought I had created a monster. Then I realized he was hormonal and wanted me as his mate. We went and got him 3 girls of his own but even then he still would attack me so that is when I came here and found out about showing him I am dominant over him just like another drake would be. It is not an over night fix but if you are consistent he will learn and you are not being abusive. Another thing would be to carry the broom with you and when he comes at you put the broom between you and him. I would even become the aggressor by walking towards my drake with my arms open like I was going to get him[surprise attack so to speak] Act like I am going to pick him up. I'd also use the broom [not to hit him with] but to push him out of the way if he was being hateful. I have a great relationship with my drake he has always been my baby boy, he is going on 6 yr old now and the love of my life. every once in a while I still have to remind him I am not one of his females but it doesn't take much now to get him to remember. I have had numerous drakes over the years and Opie was the only one I had a problem with and I always felt it was because he was rejected by his mama and I took him in and raised him for his first 12 weeks inside. I have found that when drakes become breeding age their hormones over rule any common sense they may have. [​IMG] You also might consider getting a few more females for him.
    1 person likes this.
  6. I just asked a friend with two breeding Muscovy Ducks.........He is getting rid of them soon....The drakes can be to aggressive and he has grandchildren that come to visit.....Not all Drakes are aggressive in certain breeds, they hardly change towards people....

  7. purslanegarden

    purslanegarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2016
    Thanks all for the tips. I will keep trying.

    Today he showed a new action. As I was carefully walking around the yard, he would get in front of me and try to block my path. At first I thought he just accidentally got in to my path but as I went out several times during the day, it began to be more than just an accident. He really was trying to stop my forward motion. I just wanted to bring this up in case any one recognizes it as courting or mating actions, or hostile "I'm his enemy" actions.

    However, it was also a little warmer so I went outside bare-legged. I now know, it wasn't totally about the clothes. He attacked my legs behind the knee (which is right around his height) and caused a break in the skin (looks like teeth marks, caused by whatever those things that ducks have inside their mouth is called). I can't imagine the pain and suffering the females must go through as the males try to mate with them, and all the biting that goes on.

    I can be aware of him but now family or little kids have to be careful around him. Definitely time to get the behavioral training.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    When he gets in front of you push him out of the way with the broom. Don't use your hands or arms because you don't want him to bite you. I wish you could get a video of what he is doing as far as getting in front of you does he seem hostile when doing it? If your fast you could try sweeping him up and holding him keeping a good grip on his neck so he can't bite. Walk around with him for a while then put him down and see what happens.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by