Intro-ing 3 ladies into a 2 drake adult situation...

Andrea PNW

Sep 4, 2020
Ok duck family - it's t-minus 3wks until my beautiful lady Welshies will make their big brooder move out with their cayuga and Rouen big brothers and sister. I've read all the things on the interwebs about introducing ducklings into an adult flock but my situation is a tiny bit different so phoning in a friend on this one....

I'm introducing THREE 2mo hen ducklings into a flock of two 6mo drakes and one 6mo hen. I think it might be important to note that the adult hen (Barbe) is very much the wife of one of the drakes (Ed) and they are definitely are mating. The other drake (Ruthie) was a rescue and while he's part of the "flock" he doesn't seem to have any interest in Barbe. In fact he seems kinda grossed out by her when she tries to flirt - which is a tremendous relief cuz I've heard about the gang rape business that can happen.

That means once everyone is settled in I'll have 2 drakes and 4 hens in my flock. Still not ideal but I've been in contact with my local farm animal rescue org and we're "staying close" over the next couple of months to see what happens with the two drakes and a limited number of hens as soon as mating season goes full swing.

For the past week I've brought the hen ducklings outside in a pen where the adult ducks can be close but not have full access. Ruthie - the drake that doesn't appear to have interest in Barbe (the only adult hen available) seems to be sticking close to the pen with my hen ducklings and even herding the other drake (Ed) away if he gets to close. Ed seems to be the submissive of the two drakes and just allows himself to be herded away. In fact it seems more like Ed's more interested in whatever snacks might be in their pen vs. the fact that the pen contains 3 ladies.

So that is all the backstory - so my question is - should I start having supervised free range times with the ducklings and the adults now? I'm super nervous about mating season and I'm very attached to my ducklings. Is it better to have them all hanging together now vs later when mating season is in full swing?

And to be honest the fact that I'm a first time duck mama, have two 5mo drakes and that mating season is coming ------ it keeps me up at night. Mostly because of what I read that the hens go thru.

Am I way over thinking it? I'm just so attached despite the ridic amounts of duck sh*t we all endure every day.

Callender Girl

Crossing the Road
Sep 18, 2018
North Central Iowa
All I can offer is my experience with runner ducks, which may be different. They are the only breed that I have had as an adult. I currently have three drakes and seven hens, adding four new girls last spring to balance out a flock that had lost a couple of females last winter.

Although the new girls grew up in a coop and run adjacent to the established flock, when they were finally old enough to free range all together, they pretty much stayed in their own separate cliques. Finally, I got everyone to spend their nights together and that resulted in one, big happy flock. Communal feeding helped everyone get along.

Having said that, I got more girls so the boys wouldn't over mate the hens I had. Nothing ever more serious than bleeding from the back of the head, but that was bad enough for me. The only hen who never bleeds is my original, Quinn, the lone girl out of my four original ducklings (my breeder didn't offer sexed ducklings back then and I chose my own. Sigh). Quinn seems to run the whole show and actually shows a bit of jealousy when others are mated.

So, I think it was wise to add three more girls to your flock, and I think it depends on the personality of your ducks -- all of which do, indeed, produce massive amounts of crap. And, don't forget that they like to muck up their water every chance they get! Good thing they're so adorable.

Good luck, and don't lose sleep. When spring comes, and young drakes' attentions turn to mating, you can see how it goes.


5 Years
Aug 28, 2016
Memphis, TN
I think your ducklings need to be older before you put them together, more like 4 months old. If one of your drakes mates with them, at this age, it could do permanent harm.
My experience with having 2 drakes with 4 hens was a disaster. I do not think the issue is “over mating” more like rough, mean, raping weak female ducks to keep the pecking order. My boys were always gentle with their girls but not the others. I think you are in for issues. Waiting until those issues occur can make them worse. When I got rid of one drake the remaining drake continued to pick it on the other drake’s girls. It took over six months for it to stop. My drake had a lot of alone time in drake jail during that time. I wish you luck but would suggest you make the hard choice sooner rather than later.

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