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Help - Drake suddenly bullying/killing other drakes in boys only flock

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DuckyDucklings, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. DuckyDucklings

    DuckyDucklings Chirping

    Aug 21, 2012
    Please help -

    I hatched Call ducks last year and gave away the girls, as where I live the girls would be too noisy, which left me with 3 boys. I'd read all I could here, Holderread etc. about just having drakes. All went well. My second (disastrous) hatch I only had 2 girls which I swoppped for another 3 boys. I carefully introduced them and they were an instant happy flock of 6.... Since last summer I've had 6 boys all very happily running together, free ranging over a nice, large garden.

    My original 3 have always been the ones in charge, deciding when they're going to have a swim, eat, rest, explore etc. There's been the occasional neck wrestling of the least dominant, and also Charlie, the oldest of the original 3, frequently gets amorous with the others first thing, but apart from that they've all got along so well together. 'Til now....

    The original 3 are Charlie, Snowy and Brownie (who should probably have been renamed Mallard-y). They've never been apart. The other 3 are Sonny, Barton and Choccy... You can see most of them in my avatar photo.

    Suddenly Brownie has started bullying Snowy severely. Chasing him around the garden, away from food etc.. When he catches him he pins him down, pulls out feathers from his neck and back - there are white feathers all over the garden and Snowy is looking a wreck. He doesn't try to mate with him, her just attacking him. It is constant, he never seemed to let him rest, and he seemed to be getting more and more violent. I've read of drakes killing other drakes and I need to do something before it gets any worse.

    Initially I waited a couple of days hoping things would settle down but the bullying seemed worse than ever. I read all I could here and elsewhere, to see if there is anything I can do but couldn't fine any answers. For now I've separated Brownie in a run by himself.

    - Both (all) seem to be in good health, there's been no change of food or anything else, but it is feeling a bit like spring might be coming after all. They're 8 months, the others about the same, maybe a bit younger.

    My plan is to keep him separate for 2 weeks and try to reintroduce him then, and if not, rehome him - am sure he'd be fine if he was somewhere with some girls to occupy him. There's no guarantee of course that the same thing wouldn't happen again down the line with the other 5 - did see Sonny chase Snowy a couple of times but fairly half heartedly. It's been very upsetting but I know it's nature/ a result of their situation and my responsibility to sort it. Such a shame though, it's been brilliant having the 6 of them all so happy together.

    Have you any advice that might help?

  2. I would keep them seperated for the next weeks. It's mating season for ducks and the increasing hormon level can cause aggression. I have always read that you could keep several drakes together without trouble, but I've never tried it, though. Maybe the drake needs to compensate because there are no females around and thus has to "blow off steam". Have your drakes tried to mate with each other?
  3. Apyl

    Apyl Songster

    Feb 5, 2012
    Necedah, Wi
    I've got one of my drakes in the bad boy pen lol I'll let him back out when mating season is over or when spring actually gets her and there is more room for my flock to move around. Right now we're still burried under snow.
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I've never had only drakes either. You can try removing the instigator for at least a few days. This will change flock dynamics. The other boys could fight for top position if you do this though. When you return the instigator, he will be at the bottom of the flock. Again, there could be fighting.

    Otherwise, find those that are getting along and seperate them for a while.
  5. DuckyDucklings

    DuckyDucklings Chirping

    Aug 21, 2012
    Thanks everyone for your replies, much appreciated. I was hoping he'd only be in the "bad boy pen" for a couple of weeks! Things are a lot easier with him apart. I just hope that eventually he'll be able to be with the others again...
  6. DuckyDucklings

    DuckyDucklings Chirping

    Aug 21, 2012
    He's been a week now in his bad boy pen. Initially if was in an enclosure where the others would pace up and down beside him and he'd still try and get at them from inside. I then moved him to an area by himself down the side of the house blocked by a section of shed, so he can't see them - and with sudden heavy snow the 5 boys are now happily in the enclosure. Brownie though spends his day calling to them and they spend about half the day calling back to him. Is there anything else I can do?

    About when does the mating season finish? Someone suggested trying to reintroduce him after two week. May try that, he can always go back in the bad boy pen!

    Any advice you have would be much appreciated.

    Thanks again,

  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I'd try again, like you said he can always go back to solitary confinement.

  8. mominoz

    mominoz Songster

    Feb 17, 2009
    North Georgia
    Well, things seem to settle down in summer. I have a 'boy pen too'. I watch who is the "bully" and they go to the pen.I also have extra drakes there. Funny thing is they are fine with each other, but when the others are near their pen they will bicker over the fence. Do make sure you have a smallish wire so they can't stick their heads thru. I lost a drak last year that was bickering thru the fence on the 2 x4 wire as he got his head and neck wrapped around the wires and they injured him enough , he died. ;0(. So add a small mesh to the bottom 3 feet or so.
    My Silky Ducks just started bickering and I have one whiteone, who was suddenly getting picked on by a snowy,(I am sure silkies have some callduck in them), and I took the snowy out and put him with another drake, a mini-applkeyard and they are fine, he still tried to 'attack thru the divider ' the white. I was resorting groups anyway, so the white went to another white female.
    I notice some birds display more aggression against birds of different colors in spring......
  9. feathersweet

    feathersweet Chirping

    Feb 5, 2013
    Thank you for sharing all this insight! Our little flock (born Feb 7) debuted their drake and royal hen-ness a few weeks ago -- and sure enough, we had 3 drakes and 1 hen. I say "had" because we added 2 more female ducks with the good help of our feed store.(Ratio 3: female-3 drakes and looking to add another female.)

    All was great last week...until the very same as you have been writing about started to take place. Our alpha drake, Sunshine (Pekin) started chasing our Khaki Campbell and attacking his neck, nonstop. They are separated now. I have been reading and researching and will keep them separated for a couple weeks.

    I appreciate all your input. (The protection mesh (wire) is a important note, too! As always, learned a lot.

    How long is mating season? How many times a year? - back to the books and email strings.

    Enjoy your day!
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Sorry to hear this but I can sympathize with you being 2 of my drakes my 2 youngest[ 2&1yr got into a fight this morning and since I saw no blood I let them duke it out, peace will reign till JR decides he wants to try to usurp dads authority again. [​IMG] Mating season starts in early spring and usually starts to wane in late summer. This is my observance of my Muscovy's might be different in other breeds of domestics. Watch the ducks around your aggressive drake he could very well kill one or drown one.
    Last edited: May 30, 2013

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