Flock dynamics

FuzzyDuck

In the Brooder
Jul 17, 2021
27
27
46
Hi everyone! I’m new to ducks, and just bought a property that came with 10 ducks (and some chickens too!). There are 9 Cayuga and 1 white duck (not sure of the breed). As far as I can tell, it’s an even split of boys and girls, and they hang out in two groups: Group A is 3 males and 1 female, Group B I think is 2 males (younger, I think, though one is getting bold with the other group) and 4 females. Obviously there are a lot of drakes and there are signs of over-mating — some of the girls have bald spots on the backs of their necks.

The ducks and chickens are currently fully free range. For a variety of reasons, we are going to enclose them. For the chickens, it’s pretty straightforward, just building a run around their coop. For the ducks, there’s a fenced area we’re going to set them up in, and we’ll have a couple duck houses too.

Here’s my concern: currently, these ducks can roam around the property in their little groups and avoid each other when needed. Sometimes different males will chase down a female in the other group. I’m concerned that in a pen this will be more challenging.

Aside from giving away / culling some of the drakes, the options are:
(1) Putting all the ducks in one pen and seeing how it goes

(2) Putting Group A and Group B in separate pens — though that makes me worried for the one girl in Group A

(3) Changing up the groups and having a bachelor flock — which could work but I’m worried about messing with their social dynamics? The drakes in currently two separate groups might not get along, or they could get frustrated no longer having access to any hens


Hoping to get some advice on how to approach!
 

FuzzyDuck

In the Brooder
Jul 17, 2021
27
27
46
Another option, good point! I’m wondering why the one girl hangs out with those boys, hopefully she gets along with the other females.. Maybe we’ll try that out. I assume it’d be best to have visual separation between the pens?
 

DuckyDonna

Crossing the Road
Aug 26, 2018
5,513
17,401
836
Dallas, Georgia
It sounds like you're going to have to separate the boys from the girls if you've got neck damage. That can lead to worse and we don't want that. My 17 get along most of the year until spring hormones kick in. I tried keeping them in 2 groups. I've got 4 boys and 13 girls. I kept the older 10 in one group and the younger 7 in the other but it was a bad ratio with the younger group. Each group had 2 boys.

Long story short, I had to separate the boys from the girls. I've got 2 pens and I was able to split their run. I hate it but it had to be done because of the over-mating. They seem to have their favorites and they were getting very abused.

The boys all get along as well as the girls. The boys run their dividing fence line all day long and have worn a path the length of it. I've had to double the fence leaving them about a foot apart so they can't reach their long necks through and grab the girls. I'm afraid that one of the 4 (the smallest little guy) is going to end up in the nervous hospital because he runs that fence line non-stop. The other 3 boys find other things to do but still stay on that fence line a lot.

Other than that it's working, the girls are not getting abused and they are happy. The boys have their own pool and plenty of food, water, shade and room and they'll just have to get over it. I'm anxious for them to calm down so they can all be together again hopefully soon.
 

FuzzyDuck

In the Brooder
Jul 17, 2021
27
27
46
Thank you both!!!!
@DuckyDonna , so just to double-check, do you keep them together part of the year and separate when they get difficult? Your boys don’t fight when they’re all together with no access to the girls?
 

DuckyDonna

Crossing the Road
Aug 26, 2018
5,513
17,401
836
Dallas, Georgia
Thank you both!!!!
@DuckyDonna , so just to double-check, do you keep them together part of the year and separate when they get difficult? Your boys don’t fight when they’re all together with no access to the girls?
Yes, I keep them together most of the year and they do really well. When you first separate the boys they may bicker a bit but mostly they will get over it.

When I had fewer ducks I had to keep my little boy separate. He's the one that is making himself crazy. After a few days my heart was breaking for him so I had an idea. I put his best girlfriend in with him and like magic, it was calm in duckyville. Everyone was happy and he did not abuse his best girl at all. I would like to have done that this year but I had too many boys and it would have been too hard to have more separate runs and pens.
 

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