Keeping girls and boys together?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Shally, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Shally

    Shally Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    Birmingham UK
    I currently have 3 and half year old Bobby-Girl (Aylesbury x) and have now bought 2 ducklings (Aylesbury pure breed and hope they are girls) as I never wanted a Drake.....however....a neighbour is struggling to keep her 2 ducks (Aylesbury pure breeds) and is moving away, they never free range (as my Bobby-Girl does) ...so am considering helping the neighbour by adopting them....trouble is...one is male one is female!...both 6 months old

    So the questions are......


    Can you keep ducks and drakes together and still be able to eat the eggs if they are collected daily as I don't want to breed them?

    If my 2 babies ARE both female (which i hope for) ....will it be ok having 1 drake and 4 ducks?

    The babies currently spend days outdoors in the duck run whilst Bobby-Girl free ranges and they are bought in at night as they are only 3 and 4 weeks old so they are beginning to socalise and get used to each other ....Bobby is totally unphased! The neighbours 2 have their own house which I would have so they will be able to acclimatise to their new surroundings and family too....but eventually I want them all to live together and free range daily....so next questions are.....

    How long should I keep them like this before releasing them all to meet beak-to-beak!?

    will they all get along as they are all so different in age?

    Apologies for so much info and Q's so soon but I don't know if taking on these 2 other ducks is wise!.....even though I really want them I don't want to have an unhappy flock!

    Thanks :)
     
  2. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2014
    West Chester, PA, USA
    Yes, hens and drakes can live together and you can still eat the eggs if you collect them every morning. As far as whether they'll live together peacefully in the beginning, that depends on the temperment of your friend's drake. Some drakes are very territorial and/or possessive, and both ducks may be unsettled by the move even though it's only next door. I'm thinking they might wander back to the new neighbor's yard periodically if one yard or the other isn't fenced.

    Before you commit to taking the new ones, you might want to bring them over a few times to hang out with the ones you have to see how they'll behave as a group. If they all happily follow around together, you should be good to go. If the drake tries to immediately assert himself as the leader of the flock, that's pretty normal since he's the only adult drake. However, if he is aggressive, you might have some taming in your future. You will probably have somewhat better luck with him than you would with a 2-3 year-old drake that's very set in its ways, and he will probably consider the hen he's been with all this time "his." That's normal as well.

    If you decide to do an introduction this way, you don't want to leave them alone for even a minute. Aggressive tendencies don't always manifest the minute one animal meets another. Curiosity often comes first, the same as when you meet a new person and you're deciding whether you do or don't like them. The ducklings will be the biggest concern, and don't be surprised if he tries to mate with your grown hen. Also, don't be surprised if she doesn't appreciate his advances since she's never been exposed to a drake.

    As far as male/female ratio 1 to 4 is fine. If one of the ducklings turns out to be male, 2 to 3 might be high depending on the ducks. Do you have any indication yet from the ducklings quacking/not quacking as to what the genders might be?

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Shally

    Shally Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    Birmingham UK
    Thanks for the advice Jade

    No idea what sex the ducklings are yet although the lady I got them from said they are female she is fairly new to keeping ducks she said and learning as she goes along so not sure how good she is at sexing them....I have looked at videos of venting but don't feel comfortable doing this as i have no clue on pressure etc to apply and don't want to hurt them so would rather not attempt it. They haven't started quacking yet either so not sure about that but they are both vocal and loud with the squeaking lol ....one a little more so (the smaller of the two) but both are quite vocal. How old will they be before I am able to tell by the tail curl?

    Would love to know for sure as I might be giving them a complex calling them Betty & Babs :lol:
     
  4. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good call on the vent sexing. You can cause permanent injury to the bird if you do it incorrectly. Ducklings are best vent sexed around a week old since it's harder to expose the sex organs as they get older. Someone experienced in it could do it for you at the age of your ducklings, but wise decision not to try it yourself.

    You should be able to voice sex them within another 2-3 weeks if they're still just peeping now at four weeks. Male ducklings sometimes make a kind of whistling noise, which is cute beyond belief. As far as a distinct drake feather, I've seen those take as long as four months, and you'll likely know long before that from listening to their calls.
     
  5. Shally

    Shally Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    Birmingham UK
    Guess I will just have to be patient (not easy for me)

    Thanks Jade ....will let you know once I know for sure if they are Betty & Babs or not lol

    ps:....the neighbour is 3 houses down but my garden is completely safe and fenced off all around with 6ft fencing so unless they are able to fly that high they should be ok lol ....they cant fly that hgh can they!?! :/
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  6. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might not need to wait. It's worth a shot to call the lady you bought the ducklings from to ask how she determined they're female. If she says it was by vent sexing, just keep in mind that it's much easier to mistake males for females than to mistake females for males, especially if the person doing the sexing is inexperienced.

    Aylesburies can't really fly as far as taking to the air and flying away. Very few domestic ducks can do that, though some can flutter and glide and gain a bit more height that others for short distances. With that breed of duck and a six foot fence, you don't have anything to worry about.
     
  7. Shally

    Shally Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    Birmingham UK
    ***Update****

    I have now received delivery of 'The Duck Inn' ......courtesy of my popsy's handy work so Bobby-Girl is loving her new abode :D

    'The Girls' ....Betty & Babs the babies are now outdoors at night in the kindergarten and so far so good :D

    ......and finally......

    The two new additions to the growing flock arrive tomorrow :weee

    ....and so the task of finding names begins all over again! :idunno
     
  8. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congratulations! It's always exciting to add to the flock!

    Do the two new ones not already have names, or do they have names you don't care for? The reason I ask is that some ducks will come to recognize their names, though I've only had that happen with some of ones we've hand-raised. Only four of ours have names. Two of them definitely know their names, and the other two (Anconas) either don't know theirs or are stubborn. I'm not sure if ducks that are named after they're grown will ever come to recognize their names since I haven't tried that, but naming is often more for the convenience/pleasure of the owner than of the duck.
     
  9. Shally

    Shally Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2014
    Birmingham UK
    Hi Jade

    The 2 new ones arrived today but am worried about one of them in particular she cant walk very well at all, seems weak and just doesnt look right. They are both quite big but was shocked :eek: when I picked them up how light they are! The living conditions when I went to collect them was disgusting they had no water, the pen was filthy with no bedding and the ground they had to walk on was roof felting which was all uneven and obviously filthy, they never came out of the pen and the girl told me they are 6 months old, and she was "so glad your taking them I cant go by them or pick them up cuz I'm scared of them" ....so how they was fed and cleaned out (if ever) is beyond me ....I felt like saying "I'm glad to rescue them from you before you had dead ducks to deal with" I feel so sad for them which is why I had them, I'm just worried about the one that cant walk properly now....any ideas?

    I wish I didn't have to go to work tonight I have worked non stop in the garden today getting them and the pen here, constructing it safely and cleaning it all with fresh bedding so not only am I shattered I'm worried about the ducks :(

    As for the names .....the neighbour called them Donald & Daisy and I probably would have kept the names but I don't want them to have ANY reminders of their previous life so even if they don't respond to their new names at least they wont hear the old ones ......my grand daughter has named them.....Mickey & Minnie ....so keeping with the Disney theme lol

    I know they will be happier here but worry if its too late for Minnie :(

    Any help or info would be gratefully received
     
  10. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is heartbreaking and very concerning. My understanding of Aylesburys is that those ducks should weigh 8-10 pounds by now, though Aylesbury owners on here could probably give you the best advice on that. It sounds like they could be malnourished, which could also explain the trouble walking if she's weak. That also, though, could mean other things that are more difficult to solve. It could be bumblefoot, one cause of which is poor diet, and that can be treated with antibiotics if it's not too far advanced. It could be a developmental issue if they've been poorly fed/cared for all their lives, or many other things I'm not thinking of right now.

    Have you examined her feet and legs for signs of lesions, injury, or anything else unusual? You really should if you haven't. If all that looks normal, you could try a few days of giving her good, free-choice feed, plenty of clean drinking water, electrolytes, and nice comfortable bedding to encourage her to stay off her feet for a bit. I'd be inclinded to take her to an avian vet, but I know those can be expensive.

    What is it about her that doesn't "look right" aside from the walking? Are her feathers in decent condition on the back of her neck and elsewhere?

    Please keep us posted on how this is working out. I'll keep hoping a good diet and environment will perk her up.
     

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