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Ducks shunning former Toulouse Goose leader

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by newduckmama, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. newduckmama

    newduckmama In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2013
    New member and duck/goose mama here -- needing some help with this.

    My partner and I brought home four ducklings, as well as two 2-month old ducks (a Buff Orpington and a Cayuga) and a lovely Toulouse goose, also about a month old. From the time the four ducklings were old enough not to get bullied or trampled on we raised them all together. The Buff and our darling Goosy became fast friends and were pretty much inseparable. Goosy led the ducks out and about and Buff was her first lieutenant never more than a few steps behind her with the remaining five ducks happily bringing up the rear.

    After a few months went by we discovered Buff and two of the younger ducklings turned out to be drakes so we ended up with 3 drakes, 3 ducks and Goosy. We would joke that without a gander and the Buff as her best friend, Goosy probably thought she was a duck herself! Goosy led the group and as the drakes grew I noticed Goosy would sometimes peck at both of them (but never at her buddy, Buff) once in a while and quite randomly. I didn't realize it at the time but I think she was trying to show or maintain her dominance in the pecking order. As the two younger drakes, Choco and RB achieved sexual maturation I saw them getting a bit aggressive with the the youngest female duck, Molly, and decided to separate them at night in the sleeping pens - the three drakes in one pen, Goosy and the three female ducks in the other. Where previously I would put Goosy in with Buff and another female duck I thought it best to separate them for the night along gender lines. Buff, Choco and RB seemed to bond nicely after a few nights spent together though I could see Goosy was disturbed by being separated from her pal, Buff.

    Well our peaceful situation changed rather suddenly over the last few days and that is why I am writing...seemingly overnight Choco and RB have declared war on Goosy as their leader. Any chance they get while free-ranging during the day RB and Choco seek out Goosy and chase her away from the other ducks. Where just last week they were eating, drinking, swimming and foraging together as a family unit now RB has made it clear he wants Goosy nowhere near his duck flock and Choco has taken on the role of first lieutenant to RB. Goosy is not allowed to be anywhere near the rest of the flock whether it is to eat or rest in the duckhouse during the day.

    It is heartbreaking to see Goosy wandering alone and not being able to socialize with the other ducks. Worst of all, Buff has completely abadoned Goosy as her friend and has become just as involved in chasing Goosy off as the other two. To hear Goosy shrieking as she runs from her former duckmates is breaking my heart. The other ducks, the females, have all fallen behind this new regime and shun Goosy completely although I don't think they harbor any real angry or resentful feelings towards Goosy, they are just passively going along with the change in the pecking order.

    My partner and I are now searching desperately for a gander mate for our dear Goosy to alleviate her loneliness and perhaps to protect her from RB and Choco's relentless attack on her. I am sure she is stunned by the change in her status, the anger with which RB and Choco are now displaying towards her, and probably most of all the betrayal of her former best friend, Buff.

    Is this normal behavior on the part of the ducks? Is there anything we can do to have them accept Goosy again? Does anyone believe a gander for Goosy will help the situation? We are really at our wits' end and being first time fowlers we are mystified as to how to help our poor Goosy. I know she is suffering (as any of us would should all of our friends suddenly turn against us) and we would love any suggestions on how to alleviate it any way that we can. Thank you for any help you can offer us!

  2. SaltyPaws

    SaltyPaws In the Brooder

    Jan 6, 2013
    I know nothing about geese or duck social order.

    Having said that, I think that Goosy is being like a rival drake. Unfortunately she doesn't have the instincts or aggression to fight for her position in the flock.

    I think the only solution is to give her some goose friends. I would find a female first as ganders are quite aggressive.

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