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Duck questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by birdlover, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Hi!

    My two fawn and white indian runner ducks are 2 months old now. Here are my questions I haven't been able to find answers to:

    1) How old are they when they start laying?
    2) When does the drake start to develop his curly tail?
    3) At what age does the drake begin trying to mate the
    female?
    4) Are they as persistent as roosters? In other words,
    is it bad to have only a pair and not more females
    to reduce the "work load"?
    5) Do drakes denude the backs like roosters do to the
    hens?

    I guess that's all I have for now. I'd really appreciate knowing! Thanks in advance!

    Ellen
     
  2. mlheran

    mlheran Chillin' With My Peeps

    1-3) Around four to five months. (Usually closer to five)
    4) They can be. If there are too many males they can accidentally kill or drown a female (they prefer to mate on deep water). They can pair off, but often a male will service other available females. A good ratio is one male to at least two females (1/5 or 1/6 is better).
    5) They pluck the neck/head, not the back (it's where they hold on with their bill). And if one duck is overworked she could get a bare neck.

    I highly recommend Dace Holderread's book Raising the Home Duck Flock (I got an old copy off eBay) which has been republished as Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. [​IMG]
     
  3. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Thank you soo much for all the information!! You really helped a lot!! I'll get that book too!! I didn't even know it existed! thanks again!

    Ellen
     
  4. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Mine developed drake feathers (same day!) at 3 and a half months.

    I have seen one duck (the swedish-maybe?) breeding with the (possible buff/runner mix) drake several times within the past week and they will be 4 months old on July 21. The other two are doing nothing.

    And ... I can't find an egg no matter how hard we look. I don't know if she's not laying yet or if she's hiding them well.

    My (very!) limited experience. [​IMG] For what it's worth.

    trish
     
  5. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    my drakes got their curl at 4 months old, and as of yet, no matting has been witnessed. But my last group began mating at around 5 months. In my opinon Ducks are not as persistent as roosters in their mating, sometimes it even seems like the girls have to Beg for it! I have never seen a uck with a bare back, like chickens get, Ducks seem much gentler and calmer while mating. My females started layong at about 5 months old.
     
  6. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    159
    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Now that I can say ... the black swedish female seems to be begging for it ALL the time. I think it's her doing, really. The drakes seem that they couldn't care less.

    I didn't know what she was doing at first. She curves her neck down and puts her head against her body and walks in front of them ... I can almost see her batting her lashes and saying, "Look at me, I'm soooo cute that I don't even have a neck!"

    I don't know what's up with that, but ... she sure seems to be begging for attention. And it just started in the last couple of weeks, after the chicks went outside and she spent all day sitting beside their pen watching them. Baby chick envy? She wants ducklings? I have no idea, lol. But she's fascinated with them, and the other 3 don't care much at all.

    trish
     
  7. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    Quote:My Female Cayuga duck, does this to my Hamburg rooster!!! She thinks she is a chicken, seems wuite put off when he ignores her, or gives her a peck! Gosh, she has 4 drkes, you'd think she would have figured it out by now!![​IMG]
     
  8. mommahento5

    mommahento5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 6, 2007
    South East Indiana
    [​IMG]
     
  9. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    mlheran did a great job answering the questions.

    here are some additonal comments-

    male ducks CAN be as persistant or worse than roosters at times---the males can also gang up on a female and force the issue. They can also drown the female in the process.

    If you want to be sure about egg laying, you can keep your ducks in their coop until about 1hour AFTER sunrise. Unlinke chickens that will lay all througout the day- ducks will lay early in the morning. This method is how I make sure to find all the eggs! My DH started letting them out early and I now have a broody duck on eggs. I'd be thrilled, except it's her first clutch and they're due to hatch while we're on vaca!!!

    Runner ducks are fun fun fun!

    Sandra
     
  10. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Hmmm ... so maybe my duck isn't laying? I leave them in the coop until a few hours after sunrise, as the early morning hours around here are not as safe. They have a wire wall, so they can see it's daytime.

    Yesterday the other duck started acting "cute" too. They are still so young though, I didn't expect eggs this soon anyway. Just the behavior is already there (although admittedly my answers shouldn't have been meant to apply to the original question as my ducks are still not even 4 months old yet).

    I hope my drakes don't cause any problems. I was glad to see that no more than 2 of the 4 are drakes, because I had heard that drakes will go after hens if ducks are in short supply and can injure the hens.

    (I work at a health store ... there's probably an herb or homeopathic I can use to keep my drakes hormone levels from getting out of hand -- I'm joking though. But if only there was one to get the one female to SHUT UP, lol.)

    trish
     

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