Ideas on muscovy housing and breeding

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by lauralou, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm getting ready to build a new setup for my muscovies, so I thought I'd ask for suggestions from other muscovy owners.

    Here's my situation. I have 2 pens, a chocolate pen and a lavender pen. I keep them separate. Two separate duckhouses and 2 separate pens. I want to continue to keep them separate, for breeding purposes. I know that those colors can breed together, but I have a specific program in mind, and I want to keep the drakes exclusive to the ducks that I have them with.

    I have a few problems with my current setup.

    In the chocolate pen, the females don't get along so well when they are brooding. In fact, it can get downright ugly! So I'm wondering how you guys deal with that issue. Do you separate the females when they are brooding?

    The problem in the lavender pen has just cropped up. The drake recently decided to become a psycho sex maniac. For no good reason, because his poor Lily won't be laying any eggs until spring. He is harassing her endlessly, to the point that she spends her days sitting on top of the fence. She's the sweetest, most docile bird ever, and I'm feeling very sorry for her. I hate locking her in the duckhouse with him at night. But obviously, I would hate it even worse if I left her outside and a predator got her.

    Has anyone else ever dealt with this problem? How did you solve it? My thought is to make a high roost for her in the pen for daytime, and possibly some sort of a nighttime division in the coop. Maybe a wired off area with a door that I can close her into. So he can't "bother" her at night.

    The other issue hasn't actually become a problem yet, but I imagine that it will next year. What do you do with the drakes when the ducks are brooding? Do you have a separate area for the drakes? Do you only keep them with the ducks when you need them for breeding? Do I need a bunch of broody pens? (ARG!)

    Worse yet, am I the only one who has these issues? LOL


    Okay, I got a bit long-winded, so I'll sum up my questions here.

    1) How do you deal with multiple brooding females?

    2) How do you deal with the drakes in general?
    a) when they want to breed, but the females aren't receptive, and
    b) when the females are brooding.

    All suggestions are welcome!
     
  2. MDC

    MDC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:It depends on the bird. As a general rule, what I do is have a pen or brooder set up & will allow ducks to be with their ducklings until I need space, then I begin a system where I throw out the bird that has the oldest ducklings so she can go back into a breed pen and the other mother will then adopt and foster her ducklings in most cases. Usually I have several hens in the duckling pen so everyone has someone to snuggle up to. The older ducklings have a couple of run ins where they can get in out of the weather and they usually don't care where Mom is so much as they don't rely on her for heat. Some hens will not tolerate other ducklings, maybe not so surprisingly this occurs sometimes when you have different colored ducklings such as a clutch of whites and a clutch of blacks, sometimes Mom knows those aren't her ducklings and sees them as threats. Then there are some hens who are just nasty individuals and don't need an excuse. Sometimes you run into problems if you put ducklings of different sizes in the same brooder if the size difference is very noticeable. Usually it's the juvenile males that become huge pains in the rear and they're the most likely to try to kill very young ducklings in my experience. I'm referring to nearly feathered drakelets (teens) and day old ducklings. Just something to watch out for.

    Quote:Why don't you pen the drakes together right now? They will squabble for a bit, sure, but they'll settle down when the pecking order is figured out. Is the randy drake a young 09 hatch drake? They do tend to get a dollop of hormones in the fall when they reach sexual maturity before calming down for awhile. The mature drakes are oblivious at this point, usually, and only care about eating. The juveniles, being hot headed young things, think they're going to give a go with every duck they see. It can be annoying, without a doubt. If you put the ducks into their pens in February so they can start looking for nests, by the time they're actually ready to lay eggs they'll be at home in that pen again and it won't put them off laying. Of course, if you live in the south you might want to consider January, possibly, as I don't have any experience with the routine for more temperate areas. Those of us who have 4 seasons live by an entirely different set of rules!!

    Quote:Separate them if needed. It's always good to have an extra pen in case of injury, illness, and of course, segregation due to bad behavior!! Usually mature drakes and ducks tend to cycle similarly where when she's done laying he's done courting for the year. It's those young ones that tend to walk to the beat of a different drummer.

    Quote:See above. Some drakes don't bother ducklings and others will kill every duckling it can catch. That's the most distressing aspect of Muscovy, IMO.
     
  3. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you MDC! That was very helpful.

    As far as my randy drake, he's the mature one. The young drake is a total gentleman at this point. He is breeding, but nobody seems to mind his advances. Maybe I should change his name from Curly to Romeo! [​IMG]

    I'm hesitant to put him in with the big drake, because he isn't causing me any problems. But I could move the abused hen into the other pen until I get my new setup built. My evil chocolate hen is molting right now, and she's much more docile than usual, so that might work out.
     
  4. keeperofthehearth

    keeperofthehearth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks MDC, good advise! In Scovies, it also helps if you have more than one hen for those rowdy boys. [​IMG]
     
  5. keeperofthehearth

    keeperofthehearth Chillin' With My Peeps

    The young drake is a total gentleman at this point. He is breeding, but nobody seems to mind his advances.

    I have two like that, clutched fm my Blue hen, Arwen. They are both on the small side for drakes but very much the wooing/courting type. It's sweet to watch them rub their head along the hens neck & head and gently pluck at the girls wing & back feathers.​
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  6. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:HA! Yes, that's the plan for next year! [​IMG]
     
  7. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have two like that, clutched fm my Blue hen, Arwen. They are both on the small side for drakes but very much the wooing/courting type. It's sweet to watch them rub their head along the hens neck & head and gently pluck at the girls wing & back feathers.

    It really is sweet. Curly is such a doll. I hope he stays that way. And I hope your young Casanovas stay that way too!
     
  8. MDC

    MDC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That just proves the theory that each bird is an individual because I can't remember a time I've had a mature drake be overly randy in the fall/winter.
     

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