getting ducks in the fall.. a few ignorant questions


10 Years
Feb 9, 2009
Capital Region NY
I'm looking at getting call ducks (2 hens 1 drake) and black indies (also 2 hens 1 drake)

1) Do ducks mate all year, or only during breeding/hatching season? In other words, are they like deer, or like chickens?

2) So if I have call ducks and black indies, can they be together all year except breeding season, or should they be kept seperated at all times?
And if they are kept together, will the drakes fight when it's not breeding season?

3) Is that a good ratio for ducks 2/1?

4) If both females of 1 breed goes broody will they try to kill the others chicks? Or do they need to be kept separated from each other?

5) What is the size difference between the 2 breeds? I know they are both small breed, but so are Serama and bantam chickens, and I can say there is a huuuuge size difference between those 2 breeds.

6) Or would I be better off just getting 1 breed of duck?

Well, I know I'll have a ton of questions, but these are the ones I'm considering for now.

I was going to go ahead and order for next month, but got smart instead of impatient, and will spend the spring/summer preparing properly and then getting the ducks, instead of getting the ducks and then scrambling lol. Hey, it took me 40 years to learn that lesson
you CAN get different breeds unless you want to hatch at some point...they will get competitive and they will get territorial when breeding comes...Thats seasonal, but can also happen at most any time. Depends on the age of the duck, when she matured, and what time of yr.

Ratio is 3 hens to 1 drake to keep the bloodshed to a min. Drakes like a choice and they will fight with another drake that even looks at his harem. Once a 'couple' has a nest and a clutch the drake may or may not stand gaurd and defend the area. In a perfect world he will patrol the area and run off anyone that tries to get too close to the nest and the eggs.

2 nest hatching out same time should get along ok since the hen will stay with her ducklings and keep them out of trouble. However, the drakes are known for killing their own ducklings for no known reason. Not everytime, not always, but it happens. Orphaned ducklings get pushed out or killed. No one really understands why.
So, separation when a nest is involved may be necessary...not always so.

If it were me, I'd just get 1 breed for now and learn their habits. They all are a little different...some gentle as a lamb while others are clowns and others a bit more aggressive and possessive.
I've got a big rouen drake thats like a big bad dog...until he sits on my shoulder and I scratch his beak or rub his neck...then he's a baby. Falls asleep and then falls OFF !
His mate is a quiet little crested rouen thats as sweet and gentle as you could want...BUT sneaky! She'll sneak out sometimes and can;t get back in...Makes me wonder who the trouble maker really is out there....

Whatever you decide, do the research and you'll be fine. Ducks are a ton of fun and you cannot help but love them all. Its alot like having a bunch of kids around. Kids that are'nt potty trained......
i believe calls are smaller.
indies are slightly larger.

as for the ratio. right now i have 3 drakes an 4 hens. and they all do fine togather.
i started off with 2 drakes & 2 hens so 4 were raised togather and the other 3 were added in the fall.
no fighting whatt so ever,
Call ducks are regularly kept as breeding pairs and trios.
Call ducks have a breeding season unlike many LF ducks
Many keep their CD's in large groups during off season with no problems.
Call ducks are a bantam breed and can be easily taken by predators if aloud to free range.
Call duck hens can co-house just fine during breeding season with only 1 drake. Allow room for nest areas for both girls.

Remember Call ducks come by their name naturally, the girls can be very loud, but they are also very cute.
I have two mature drakes (almost 4 yrs old) and they don't fight each other but they do try to steal eachother's girlfriends (which the ducks do not like). The drakes are in with their own ducks all year but each group is penned separately all year except when I let them out in the yard together. That's when the girlfriend stealing happens so I have to supervise to keep the peace.

I'd get two duck per drake.
A lot is going to depend upon where you get your ducks. I've seen "Calls" that were as large as regular ducks. (dishonest or ignorant seller). If your ducks are bred to the standard, the East Indies should be about 4 ounces heavier than your Calls.

The only reason to keep them separated is if you want purebred eggs. Ducks are not discriminating about mating. My drakes have never fought; they just take turns. If you keep too many drakes for the number of ducks, your ducks will be over-mated and very tired.

Mating and egg laying have nothing to do with one another. Egg laying goes on regardless. If there are no males, there will still be eggs. The eggs just won't be fertile.

My ducks are all together until I want to collect eggs for hatching. Then they are separated. In a couple of days, my ducks will be separated by breed, and then about the first of March, I will start hatching and will be certain that the eggs are purebred.

By the way, there is about 4 pounds difference in the size of my ducks and that doesn't cause any problems. That's a lot more difference than the 4 ounces you are considering.

You'll have to watch your ducks for problems, but generally, ducks aren't mean to each other like chickens are.

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