How long does it take ducks to establish a new pecking order?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kaymb03, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. kaymb03

    kaymb03 New Egg

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Lodi, CA
    Hello, I'm quite new to raising ducks. I have two cayugas (one male, one female), a mallard (male), and a pekin (female). The cayugas and mallard (Pancake, Waffles, and Bacon) have grown up together and are about 18-19 weeks old. Since we knew that the male to female ratio was going to be hard on Pancake (the female cayuga), we just adopted our pekin Muffin (5 months old) yesterday to at least make the numbers even.

    While in hindsight we should have introduced Muffin to the others much more gradually, she has already joined them and interrupted their pecking order. The dominant male, our mallard Bacon, has been antagonizing her ever since. He chases her around the pen, pecking and biting her neck and chest and pulling out feathers. When she tries to get in the pool, he chases her out. It's not constant, but it is frequent and alarming to watch. Waffles has been harassing her as well, but not nearly as badly. Pancake, however, seems totally fine with her being there.

    I'm assuming that this aggression is just a dominance thing, reestablishing the pecking order, since it looks much more aggressive than the mating behaviors we've been seeing. But how long does it typically take ducks to establish a new pecking order? And at what point would I have to assume that they won't accept her, if it continues? Thanks for any and all help.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I might back off with them for now. Try putting in a temporary dividing fence so that they can be right next to each other without touching.

    Ducks can be hard on newcomers, and as duck keepers, I feel it's up to us to keep everyone safe and healthy.

    So, you might have Muffin on one side of the fence for a few days before trying supervised introductions again. Or, see if Muffin and Pancake will get along as roomies, a boy-girl division.

    Give everyone treats at the same time so they associate good feelings being around each other.

    It took three sessions for our most recent adoptees to fit in with our flock. We made a temporary pen inside the duck yard and let them talk, scold, run at, and poke at each other (supervised) and ignore each other. When they mostly ignored each other it was time to let them all together. There was a tiny bit of chasing and scolding, and that was that. The first two times we then put the new girls back into their separate night pen. The third time, Alba refused to leave her new flock, and that's when we knew they were all set. I still checked on them during the evening, and listened for any signs of conflict.
     
  3. Luvduck

    Luvduck Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2016
    Iowa
    I had a problem similar, our female duck's sister died and she was alone. We bought a new male and female and the male would do the same thing. After a while we just let them do their natural thing. They love each other now
     
  4. kaymb03

    kaymb03 New Egg

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Lodi, CA
    Thanks so much for your advice! We just set up a second pen along one side of the duck pen and she already seems so much happier now that she's not getting beat up. [​IMG]She seems to be feeling a bit left out, but it's for her own protection. We'll take your suggestion and give it a few days to see if they get used to each other through the fence. :)
     
  5. kaymb03

    kaymb03 New Egg

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Lodi, CA
    Update: We've had Muffin in her own pen for a few days now. Today was their first supervised interaction in the yard. I could tell she really wanted to join the others, but Bacon chased her off every time she got within a few feet of them. Waffles chased her a bit as well, but it looked more like he wanted to mate with her. All in all, no real progress so far, but we're going to keep trying. I imagine it's going to take a while.

    Here's a video of some of their interactions today:
     

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