Help! My muscovy drake is obsessed with my chickens!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Parrotchick, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    I got my Muscovy Ivan in June when he was several days old. I kept him with 4 silkies and polish chickens that were his exact same age. He was kind of like their big brother as they got older, since he was so much bigger. By late summer, they were free ranging with the general population of 15 chickens, plus 3 Pekins who showed no interest in him and vice versa. Ivan seemed kind of lonely, like he wanted to be around somebody that looked like him, though he continued to hang out with the silkies (both polishes died [​IMG]) and roost with them. But then when he was around 2 1/2 months old, he started trying to mate some of my big chickens. He was just brutal, so I segregated Ivan from the chickens, alternating who got the pen and who got to free range. I got Ivan a beautiful muscovy hen friend, about a year old, to help satisfuly his lustful impulses, but though they stay in a pen together all day, he shows no interest in her. But as soon as I let him out of the pen, he is trying to mount the chickens, sending the roosters and everyone else into a total frenzy. When Ivan is not with the chickens, he quacks his whispering quack incessantly. He'll even follow me around and nib at my shoes or my pants leg. It doesn't strike me as particularly aggessive (I've been handling him every single day since he was a peep) but I don't know what it means. I'm not sure what to do, other than keeping him separated from the chickens for their safety. Is this behavior because of his age or maybe what he sees as breeding season? Is he miserable? Do I need to give him a harem of muscovy hens? I had a really hard time finding Muscovies old enough to sex and be mating this fall. If more hens are the answer, is it OK to get another breed? Also, I tried to put all the ducks together. The pekins were annoyed because they view it as their pen at night. But Ivan went hysterical, flapping and flailing around. I've never seen him like that. Any suggestions would be really appreciated. I love Ivan; he's a good duck. I hate to see him so frustrated.
  2. Duck_feeder

    Duck_feeder Drowning in feathers!

    Oct 22, 2009
    Unfortunately, it sounds like Ivan sees himself as a chicken. Most species of birds will get confused if they are around a different species shortly after hatching and imprint or bind with them. He's unlikely to want the companionship of anything but chickens. I'm not sure there's a solution that will make everyone happy.

    In the 70's when scientists were trying to breed peregrine falcons in captivity, they made the mistake of letting the first few birds imprint on the researchers. As a result those falcons only wanted to make with people. The males would land on a potential mate's head and and attempt copulation (often leaving a mess in the person's hair...) Nothing the scientists did could get them to mate within their species.
  3. Just be VERY careful--and you'll want to separate him SOON and get him his own posse of female scovies. Muscovy drakes can and WILL kill chickens--especially when "breeding" them. I speak from experience, unfortunately.
  4. GrannySue

    GrannySue Songster

    Quote:Let me tell you about John the Perverted Runner Drake;
    He and his partner Tim (lovingly named after a couple in town) lived happily together with a bunch of mature chickens. They lived a solitary but dual life, as one. Poultry in motion, you might call it, doing everything together as if choreographed by a seasoned artist.
    Sadly one night Tim went out to dinner with a raccoon, leaving only a few feathers and a mutilated carcass behind as evidence.
    Not one to mourn for long, John joined up with a trio of pullets. He followed them everywhere they went. He stood under them if they perched on a low branch. He ate with them, called them if they ran too fast for them. They were very good friends.
    Alas, one day John discovered his maleness and started mounting the chickens. This was the beginning of the end of their relationship.
    So I looked for some more ducks. Fortunately John and Tim's breeder had a few available. Unfortunately he would only allow them to go in pairs. So Victoria and Albert moved in. Both Albert and John kept Victoria "amused" but John kept going back to his original girls.
    So I looked for some more ducks. 4 girls arrived, Albert and John were thrilled (as, I'm sure, was poor Victoria) but John kept going back to his original girls.
    So Victoria and Albert moved to a farm up island and John was the only drake on the Vast Estate. And John stopped going back to his original girls.
    And they all lived happily ever after!

    i.e. get a couple of Muscovy girls to keep Ivan happy.
  5. NancyDz

    NancyDz Songster

    Oct 9, 2008
    Dutch Flat, CA
    Where are you located? I have two muscovy hens I'm looking for a good home for. They are black and white and I'm in northern CA.

  6. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    Aw shucks, Nancy. Thanks so much for the offer, but alas I am in Maryland. Fortunately, I think I might have a lead on some Muscovy hens located only an hour from my home. In October, I drove about 2 1/2 hours each way to get two hens for Ivan. The next morning when I went to introduce them, I got distracted by renegade chickens and didn't close the duck pen tightly when I left for literally less than a minute. Ivan made a move on one of the hens and she made a frantic getaway into the Thousand Acre Woods, sadly never to be seen again, despite lots of searching and "lost duck" signs. Guilt, guilt, guilt- I will try never let my guard down again like that. I'm new to the chicken and duck scene (about 6 months) and Sojourner was the only one I've introduced who ever even tried to get away from the general bird area. So Clarabel, the remaining hen in whom Ivan shows no interest, has paid the price and not been allowed the free range time as I fear losing her too. I know there was a post recently that said that a new duck should recognize a new home within a few days but I'm erring on the side of caution for now. She and Ivan have a safe pen with a nice duckhouse and pool, and I am in the process of greatly expanding the pen and spicing up the accomodations with more exciting perching/roosting spaces. Clarabel is about a year old, so I don't know about teaching an older duck new tricks. She's still pretty skittish, even though the lady I got her from said she would eat out of her hands. She has however learned to hop right into a carrier if I am going to move her.

    Thanks for the tips and love stories. Fear not. Ivan is denied access to my big white chickens that he and the roosters are so fond of. (He has shown zippo interest in my Rhode Island Reds and at most a Platonic eye for his old Silkie buddies, but I'm not taking any chances.) I think humans are his second choice for a love/lust interest. When he gets his out-of-pen time and realizes he can't get to the chickens he likes, he will follow me or my fiance around, quacking and tasting our shoes and tugging at our pants. He was really intrigued by my friend's two year old son. I will try to get Ivan two more hens and hopefully he'll start getting the message that he's a Muscovy and at least Clarabel will have some other girls to hang out with.

    I was looking at baby pictures of Ivan today. Such a sweet innocent li'l thing.

  7. TennesseeTruly

    TennesseeTruly Songster

    Mar 5, 2009
    Church Hill, TN
    Hi Merrill. I don't have any Muscovy advice for you but I saw that you and I have something in common....we're both parrot lovers!! Of course you have 14 less than I do. ROFL But you have one of my favs....a Patagonian conure! I have a Patti named Giggles and she's the apple of my eye! I also have 9 macaws, (5 B&G's, 2 Scarlets, 1 Military, 1 Red Fronted), 2 African Greys, 2 Red Belly's, 1 Meyers, 1 Brown Headed, 1 Double Yellow Headed Amazon, and 2 Green cheeked conures. I've done parrot rescue and rehab for a number of years.

    If it has wings and feathers, it usually ends up with me. LOL


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