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Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kamrynwade, Jun 5, 2016.
Are ducks the same as chickens where the drakes need more than one female or does it not matter?
Ideally, yes, they need 3-4 ducks per drake minimum to prevent over breeding...
One male and one female will do good as long as they have enough room. This will ensure that the female can avoid the male if needed. However you need 3 or 4 female ducks to one Drake if you plan on breeding them-That way the hens don't get over mated/over breeding.
Even if you aren't breeding them, they're going to breed. I'd recommend the 3-4 rule whether or not you plan on raising offspring if you don't have the ability to separate the drakes if they are getting too frisky.
Though I have had my flock at a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio, I find 1:3 works just a bit better, especially if you have multiple drakes.
Drakes tend to be hormonaly driven in breeding season and can injure a duck by mating with her repeatedly. Some folks separate their drakes if they seem to be overly aggressive about mating, others don't have that ability (this is where I'd recommend the 3-4 rule.)
If you want 2 ducks go for a pair, or 2 hens.
3: 1m, 2f.
4: 1m, 3f.
5: 1m, 4f is my recommendation, but 2m, 3f can work in some flocks, but you may need to separate the drakes for a bit (possibly a few months.)
We have not had issues with a 1:1 ratio during breeding except infertility in the case of a single pair when the hen does not like the drake. Having two drakes with multiple hens is better if you want to ensure fertility because the drakes will sometimes team tag an uncooperative hen. Our drakes are gentle on the hens and do not overbreed so it definately depends on the breed and how aggressive the drakes are towards the hens and other drakes. Our flock also has a large space so they are not crowded in a small pen.
Right now our flock is split with our main breeding ducks having a 1:3 ratio and our ducks for sale having a 1:1 ratio since we are selling breeding pairs from that group. The hens with the 1:3 ratio are free to sit on nests while the hens with the 1:1 ratio are mostly running with the flock rather than nesting but then we are not wanting them to nest since they are for sale. We collect the eggs to hatch in the incubator but one hen from that group is sitting on a nest and not getting bothered by the drakes.
Our drakes actually help guard the nests and protect hatchlings. We even have a drake that sits on a nest while the hen is off the nest taking a short break. Our drakes hang out together while the hens are nesting and they do a pretty good job listening to the broody hen when she announces that she is not in the mood. They will sometimes chase her but she dodges them pretty effectively and they will give up the chase quickly. Other duck breeds may be more aggressive so there is no right answer for every situation.
The hens will choose their mates and they are 97% monogamous with a 3% rape factor. It is certainly possible for multiple hens to share a drake but we do have hens that will run off other hens trying to head bob with her guy. There are distinct pairings with hens and drakes where they seem happily married and not looking for anything outside the marriage. Our flock shares the same area but they have plenty of room to go their separate ways.
I might need to search through the forum some more, I am new to ducks and have a question that might go along with this thread. We have 6 Pekin ducks and I think some are starting to look like males. We also have a batch of Khaki Campbell ducklings-all female (in a separate pen for now). Should I be concerned with the size difference? This is going to sound really silly, but do the ducks just try to breed to their own type? We were considering buying some Cayuga ducklings too. Will any of these ducks have a problem with each other?