How do you stop young ducks from eating each others feathers?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Ducks-R-Us, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Ducks-R-Us

    Ducks-R-Us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2009
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    How do I stop young ducks from eating each others feathers. I have been having trouble with some of my younger ducks stripping the feathers off the wings and back of their pen mates. When I see this happen I will either take the aggressor out and move it to another pen with larger ducks or take out the picked on duck and move him in with others. The ducks normally start this at about three weeks of age when they start getting their adult feathers. They always have food and water available but for some reason once they start eating feathers, it's hard to get them to quit. And if two gang up on another, its wings can be stripped of feathers in just a few hours.
     
  2. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    Is their pen plenty big enough for all of them? I have heard of this happening when the ducks are in a space that's not big enough and they get bored.

    maybe try giving them some interesting treats everyday so they don't get crazy. I saw someone hung a whole broccoli from the top of the run with twine for the birds to pick at during the day.
     
  3. Ducks-R-Us

    Ducks-R-Us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well the pens could be bigger but they are young small ducks. I think I have 6 to 8 in brooding pens that are 3' X 6'. I think I will try the treat trick and see if that helps. I know once they get some of the adult feathers, they leave them alone. You just need to get past the start of the adult feathers, once they are feathered in, then they are fine.
     
  4. MDC

    MDC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are they Muscovy? Muscovy can become horrible pickers! Picking usually indicates that they're either stressed (too small quarters, like was mentioned) or that they're not receiving adequate protein levels, or even the right type of protein. My worst cases of picking have occurred in the fall after the greens are gone and usually it's those poor whites that get the brunt of the mess. You did what I typically advise, move the bully into another pen with older birds. Next thing you might try is looking at their ration to see where the protein is and if you can improve it by adding another protein source (such as cat kibble or fish pellets made from an animal protein source, or even hard boiled eggs).

    Picking can really injure a duckling's wings if not stopped pronto.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  5. Ducks-R-Us

    Ducks-R-Us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North Dakota
    No, they are not muscovy, they have been call ducks, magpies, and cayuga's. It happens when they are about 3-4 weeks old and start developing their adult feathers, once the adult feathers are in, then they are fine and it does not happen. The trouble is when they start picking feathers, I have to move the ducks around until I can get it to quit. The poor ducks that are picked on are then way behind in developing their wing feathers. They will draw blood on the wings. I have resorted to isolating any duck that does it to another and it seems to help. But then I have a lonely duck even though they are positioned so they can see the others. I have two in solitary confinement right now. I just had a real small magpie start to pick feathers yesterday, so I moved him in with some larger ducks but he started on them within the first ten minutes he was in that pen.
    They are on 20% starter food, which has been good with all the others I have raised.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  6. TDB

    TDB Out Of The Brooder

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    Try giving them more protein:)
     
  7. Mrs. Turbo

    Mrs. Turbo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2009
    ky
    every year we have one or two bullies in the group. We end up having to cage them alone until they are feathered out.
     
  8. niigonti

    niigonti New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2012
    How do I stop young ducks from eating each others feathers. I have been having trouble with some of my younger ducks stripping the feathers off the wings and back of their pen mates. When I see this happen I will either take the aggressor out and move it to another pen with larger ducks or take out the picked on duck and move him in with others. The ducks normally start this at about three weeks of age when they start getting their adult feathers. They always have food and water available but for some reason once they start eating feathers, it's hard to get them to quit. And if two gang up on another, its wings can be stripped of feathers in just a few hours.

    how do i over come this problem? please help now
     
  9. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    More space, higher protein diet, change the color of your brooder bulb. Red is recommended for chickens, blue for ducks.

    I often use green for ducks and it seems to work fine. Green spotlight bulbs are often on sale right after Christmas, which is why I use them
     
  10. mominoz

    mominoz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adding green grass or lettuce or peas I read helps , and that is what I do. Also if your heat is too high i read somewhere.....[​IMG] I only had one set of ducks start to do this(my hookbills on the Shetland geese (go figure), but have had about 8-10 broods and only happened that once. It was also getting hot inside the garage. I also try to set up a daypen with shade when I am home, so they can go ut part of the day ,if it is warm and they have some feathers on their backs....
     

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