Duck runt problems - advice needed

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Alycea, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Alycea

    Alycea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2014
    near Chablis, France
    Our saga....

    We have 5 ducks, 1 male and 4 females. One of the females, Maggie, is the mother of the other four (hatched in April). Maggie is a pet duck (imprinted on me). The others are tame-ish, but not pet ducks. Maggie lives indoors at night and is outside with the other ducks during the day. (They live in an outside duck house at night.)

    However, another one of the females, Beepbeep, who was and is the runt of the litter and is definitely smaller than the others is having real trouble fitting in, particularly lately. Beepbeep is more tame than the others and sort of straddles the two camps of pet/not a pet duck.

    When Beepbeep was down with the other ducks at night we noticed that she was looking very much the worse for wear in the mornings, with broken and ruffled feathers. We tried seperating her in the duck house at night, but each morning we would find them all together somehow and more ruffled feathers. She started trying to get away at night when it was time to herd the others in, showing definite signs of not wanting to join the others. So, we took her into the house to protect her whilst we tried to work out a solution. She then got broody and started laying eggs in a nesting box we put together for her and then sat. We had hopes that her having her own ducklings would mean she would have others to live with/protect her/etc, eg. she would fit in better. (This is what worked with Maggie.) Unfortunately the eggs turned out not to be incubated (possibly too young or wrong time of year). (A successful brooding is still a hope for the future for her.)

    The brooding cycle has just ended and we tried once again to put her down with the others at night. She was picked on even worse than before, possibly because of the weight loss during the brooding. She is currently tiny, but we are working on building her weight back up.

    She is a smart little thing and has always been very good at staying, and wanting to stay, with the flock during the day, whilst also staying out of the way of getting pecked. She has worked out how to make sure she gets food and time in the water and so on without being hurt. But at night, confined in the duck house (which is about 3 foot by 6 foot), she has no where to escape too.

    We now have her in a temporary little house outside our cottage at night while we hurry to come up with a solution as she absolutely hates the isolation. As a flock animal, this is not surprising.

    So, what to do?

    A: I have considered finding her a new home, but as she is so small I suspect she would just have the same problem elsewhere with other ducks.
    B: Her preference is to be in our house, safe and with lots of others even if not ducks, but as she is not an imprinted duck we find it difficult to have her inside at night. Maggie grew up in the house and has her places and routines, but Beepbeep is still very much more on the wild side and chaos often ensues. Not to mention Maggie is almost worse than the other ducks at bullying Beepbeep, given half a chance.
    C: Get another male, or two, in hopes that she mates/finds herself a protector - though our worry here is that as she is so small, eg the runt, she will not be of interest to any males we get as they would probably prefer the others. We did have a wild male join our flock for a few days. He was a small drake, but still didn't take any interest in Beepbeep.
    D: I am thinking the best solution is creating a permanent seperate area for her in the duck house is the answer, as she definitely prefers company over being alone. So something where she can see them, but not be with them and they can't get to her.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, recommendations? We want to do what is best for our little Beepbeep.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I think I would go with D, if she doesn't work well as a house duck. I am so pleased that you understand that you are the one responsible for making sure she is safe. If we could interview drakes and companion ducks before bringing them in, that might help when we are looking to add to the flock for a particular reason. The ducks I got to befriend Romy after she lost Michele are still, after 4 years, a separate flock from the rest, and now Romy has acclimated to being in the all-girl flock, even though she is the only Buff in the mix. sigh.
     
  3. Alycea

    Alycea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    near Chablis, France
    Thanks Amiga

    Lovely to have your thoughts.

    I am with you on D. The last 2 nights I have tried having her in the duck house. The first night I kept her closed in her nest box (read animal traveling case), sans eggs, and the morning found her sound of body but definitely not happy about being locked in there. Last night I put a divider down the duck house, so she could see the others, move around more, but still be seperate. This morning I found she had somehow flown over top on to the roof of the interior duck house nesting box and couldn't get down to the others (not enough space to fly down from).

    The trouble is it is currently freezing and I am not sure if ducks need to huddle together for warmth (do they?) in which case she may be better off being with them - if they would let her. She has lost so much of her body fat, this is now my more overriding concern for her.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    In the cold, then I would want to have her where it is above freezing. An unbreakable mirror helps. And while it can be a pain, I think it is just a matter of designing a separator that works for her.

    I have had to modify the night pen to be sure no one flies over the top, since I have a tiny 2 pound duck who must be kept away from the 5 pound drake at night.
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed




    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The little Black Duck is my new little Call hen......Photos are of her minutes after she arrived and was put with the flock....The other two on the outsides of the photo are two other Calls but not of tiny size.......Anyways......My Ducks boss her around, although she is happy in the flock......Sometimes we put people feeling before the actual Duck feelings......I can almost bet she is happy with the flock and has no concerns.....If you keep removing her she will never fit in..........Lily eats last and has learned to wait her turn...She is very happy here, but does know her place in the flock.....


    Do not get rid of her.....Try leaving her to be a Duck.......
    I love my Ducks possibly way to much...lol....I do back off though to let them figure things out.....


    Cheers!
     
  6. Alycea

    Alycea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2014
    near Chablis, France
    I hope I have got it right tonight. Third time lucky maybe. She was hesitant to go in to the duck house at first, but once she went in she was straight into her straw filled duck home. Fingers are crossed.
     
  7. Alycea

    Alycea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2014
    near Chablis, France
    Hi Chickens Really

    Thanks for the insight.

    I strive not to put personal feelings on to her, but seeing her feathers broken when I leave her with the other ducks does make me realise it is not just about my thoughts. I get the whole pecking order thing in the duck world, my worry is because she is currently underweight due to nesting (unsucessfully) that she is being picked on more then normal as well as not able to cope with it as well as she normally does. My hope is in seperating r, and she has access to food without being moved out of the way, she can get back to a better weight and therefore be better able to cope with the other ducks, even if this means simply avoiding them (which she is very very good at).
     
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Fantastic......No one loves their Ducks like I do.....My FEATHERED PUPPIES.....lol.......Give her a chance to fit in....She might look like an out cast to you? Really she knows how to play the game....Ducks love Ducks!!!


    Cheers!
     

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