Help! My mallards have gone insane!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by solarpup, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. solarpup

    solarpup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2013
    We have three male mallards who have all been raised together since birth, about 5 months ago - Blofeld, Le Chiffre, and Scaramanga. They live in a coop and run together, and mornings and weekends they get to hang out in the pond in our backyard. Le Chiffre has always been a little "pissy", running after Blofeld every now and then with his mouth open, but nothing ever came of it. Scaramanga always was kind of mellow. The three of them have been very used to wandering around the yard together foraging, and swimming together in the pond.

    Two mornings ago, they were hanging out together for their morning pond swim, and wandered back to the coop together when I put them away. A few hours later, checking up on them via web cam (yes, we have a 24 hour live feed...), Le Chiffre and Scaramanga were repeatedly chasing Blofeld around the run. Smashing him from both sides, grabbing him by the head and forcing his head down, biting the back of his neck and tearing out feathers!

    And Scaramanga was clearly the ring leader. When I got home, I separated out Scaramanga into a large dog crate, but kept them all visible to each other. Le Chiffre stopped attacking Blofeld at that point. I won't say they are now nuzzling again as when they were babies, but at least Le Chiffre will let Blofeld within a foot of him now. Le Chiffre and Scaramanga clearly want to hang together (Le Chiffre and Scaramanga slept on opposite sides of a wire barrier from each other last night, and Blofeld hung two feet back from the both of them). Trying briefly to reunite them this morning, Scaramanga was clearly in a mood to chase Blofeld away, so separated again they have been.

    So, here's my question. Is this a phase that will pass? It came on very suddenly! Or are we doomed to have to get rid of one of the ducks? And if so, do we get rid of the aggressive one? (Scaramanga) Or do we get rid of the submissive one? (Blofeld) In the short term, we're going to add another coop and run, and have the two runs facing each other with a wire barrier inbetween, so in the future we have a way of separating them during any temporary hostilities. But right now we can't even let all three run in the yard and use the pond at the same time!
  2. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    Sounds like a question for someone with an all drake flock. Sorry, isn't me! Hope you find out soon tho.
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    What season is it where you are? If it is spring, it may be hormonal, and possibly short term. There are some duck forum members with all drake flocks who I hope check in soon.
  5. solarpup

    solarpup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2013
    It's the fall here, on the MA/NH border. We've been slowly moving towards a more winter setup for them - more straw in the coop, and a heated water bucket to keep it from freezing, but otherwise there haven't been any other environmental changes for them.
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I'm thinking hormones, there's always a dominant drake and the others follow or there maybe one that will challenge but then there is one who takes the brunt of the frustration of not being able to mate, which is a strong drive in drakes. Before I actually got ducks of my own I got to befriend some Muscovy drakes that lived in our river, There was 2 at first and they got along great together till a third joined the group, one ended up killing the other and would have killed another if I hadn't brought him home, I'm not saying this will happen in your boys but it could, I'd get rid of the most aggressive and hope that things will settle down. They may even start abusing him by mating with him. This sexual thing in ducks can be brutal.
    1 person likes this.
  7. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would agree with Miss Lydia, two drakes who have to live as "bachelor room mates" may get along fine but a third one may suffer the fate of being used as a valve to release aggressions.
  8. solarpup

    solarpup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2013
    Well, detente has been achieved. We've put a plastic mesh in their run to keep
    Scaramanga (the aggressive one) away from Blofeld, and that seems to be
    enough to keep them calm in the run. Free roaming in the yard, they're
    well behaved enough, as long as Blofeld keeps his distance. Scaramanga
    gets put in the run to allow Blofeld some pond time, and Scaramanga is sleeping
    by himself for now. We're going to expand the run and add a second coop
    (the shot is from the web cam attached to the ceiling of the coop) facing the
    original coop. This way they can see each other and meet in the middle,
    but retreat to separate sleeping arrangements. Le Chiffre only gets nasty to
    Blofeld when in direct contact with Scaramanga. They seem to be perfectly
    happy sharing the nest box when Scaramanga isn't around.

    I'm still hoping they grow out of this, after a hormone surge calms down,
    but this seems a workable solution even if it becomes the new normal.

  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Glad to see you have worked out a win- win for now, This is actually the only time of year my drakes seem to have a truce going, no mating or fighting right now but we have ducks and drakes so hopefully as your boys age they will get along better. They sure are pretty.

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