How many drakes should I keep?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by zooweemama, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. zooweemama

    zooweemama Songster

    What do you do? I will have a small flock 10-12 egg laying females ideally (that's small right?) when all is said and done this Spring.

    I have a mixed batch with undetermined genders (10 of them) so I have to wait see what they are. I did also order 8 females- so I will have 8 females for SURE and then whatever the 10 yields me. I know some will be drakes. What I am trying to determine is: should I have NO drakes, 1 drake or ...what 2 drakes? And is there any benefit to the flock of having drakes? Thanks!
  2. ambrose

    ambrose In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2012
    Disclaimer: I have no real life experience yet, so if anyone disagrees with me, listen to them instead. I would think 2 drakes to 8 ducks would probably be just OK, but no more than that.

    i want to have at least one drake for aethetics. and because I might want to breed them.

    They're also less noisy.
  3. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Songster

    Feb 24, 2011
    Canberra, Australia
    I have 7 ducks and 3 drakes. They are penned in separate groups:

    1 drake with 4 ducks
    1 drake with 2 ducks
    1 drake with 1 duck

    Because they are penned separately the drakes don't have to compete with anyone in the oen and the ducks are not 'over mated'.

    But.....because they are penned separately they have formed their own little in-groups and do get a bit terratorial when they free-range in the yard (when I am home). The drakes like to chase the other ducks a bit, so I supervise or else only let two groups out at once.

    If you want to keep them as one group all the time then it's a case of the more females the better, but I'd have no fewer than three ducks per drake - ideally four or five. If you want to pen them separately then one drake per duck should be fine (though it depends a bit on the drake...all mine are gentlemen with their own ladies).

    As for the advantages of having a drake....well, the only significant advantage is that you can hatch ducklings if you want to. Also, drakes are quiet so will still eat all your bugs without adding to the noise factor. Drakes don't really 'manage' a flock like a rooster does, though one of mine does defend his girls against any drake or chicken who comes near. My drakes also always let the ducks eat first. I kind of like the look of the drakes and the sound they make. But....I can't think of any other advantages :) I breed my ducks for showing, so that's why I have drakes. Some of my ducks are very attached to 'their' drakes but I don't really think they'd miss them if they'd never had them in the first place.
  4. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    I think you have to be very careful with drakes.
    What do you want your flock for, ultimately?
    Eggs? Meat & eggs?

    It sounds like you are building a very large flock, so many of the drake problems I had will probably not be a problem for you.
    But, if you plan to breed them & sell them you should have a plan to contend with your "extra" stock.
    My friends with larger duck operations who try to sell "straight run" are reporting real problems moving any ducks, while the folks who offer sexed ducklings are being left with drakes almost exclusively.
    With such a large network of breeders, hatcheries, swaps, etc. & so many folks offering sexed birds I think it is getting harder & harder for small, private breeders to sell straight run.

    Drakes have a lot of negatives along with the positives. They become very aggressive during mating season. Can come at you, your kids, your pets, your chickens... and they are only doing what their hormones tell them to do.
    Also, if you don't want to breed or raise your own meat you are sort of throwing money down their gullets. With the number of ducks you have in brooders I doubt you'll need any more foragers.

    There are a lot of sides to the drake coin, so it is hard for me to give good advice that is not a rambling mess.
    I am sure others will weigh in who had less traumatic drake experiences, and their opinions are valid as well.
  5. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

    Sep 7, 2009
    Florida - Space Coast
    Do you want to hatch eggs in the future? Will these be pure bred or are you raising multiple breeds?

    If you are raising multiple breeds, then keep the girls and list the boys. If it is all one breed or two breeds you can pen seperately then 1 drake per group is sufficient.

    Just remember they are like chickens in that they don't NEED a drake to give you eggs.

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