Mallard hen behavior

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Taylor9214, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Taylor9214

    Taylor9214 New Egg

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    Aug 12, 2016
    I have 2 Mallard hens 1 year old, 1 Pekin hen 5 months old, and 2 Welsh Harlquins (1 drake and 1 hen, maybe 1 month old).

    This may get wordy and there is two parts to this. Please bare with me. Any words of advice are greatly appreciated.

    Part 1: Both of my mallards have been laying eggs for about 6 months now in the coop, nothing out of the ordinary. Every so often they lay one on the yard since we let them roam during the day. But just in the past 2 days one of them has decided that she is going to lay all of her eggs behind a wood pile in the corner of the yard. I couldn't find her for hours and thought a hawk got her. She still goes to the coop at night, but wants to sit on her eggs during the day and hisses and snaps at me if I get near her. (Very out of the norm for her). There is no chance her eggs are fertilized. Is this just natural instinct to sit on her eggs and protect them? But then to get up in the middle of the day and walk off randomly strikes me as odd. Should I just let her ride it out as long as she wants?

    Part 2: The other mallard with out the mommy issues is INCREDIBLY aggressive towards the 1 month old Welshies. She will do the whole head bob and if given the chance she will tackle and flog them. We keep them separated with cages and separate yard time like prisoners but its getting old. She was kind "rude" toward the Pekin when we brought her home but not nearly this bad. She has since gotten over any hate she had toward the Pekin (I think because the Pekin is 3x bigger than her). But with this being such a stronger aggression, will she grow out of this when the ducklings get bigger and can hold their own? Or will we have an all out brawl in our backyard?

    Thank you all so much for any help. This website has been a huge help in our first year of raising Ducks. I couldn't have done it without these forums.
     
  2. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2015
    By the jungle
    Yes, it's just a natural instinct for the Mallard to sit on her eggs. It doesn't sound like she's fully broody, though, because a totally broody bird won't leave the nest. You can let her sit until she gives up if you want, but I prefer breaking them up so they can get back to normal as soon as possible. (To break her up, remove the eggs from her nest. If she still tries to sit in the nest – some ducks are stubborn – remove her access to the nest or blockade the entrance somehow. She'll likely give up after a day or two.)

    The Welsh Harlequins are still quite young. Once they get older, they'll probably have a few good fights to find out where they are in the pecking order (probably the bottom). It's possible the mallard will still be overly aggressive, but I think right now it's just their age. (Once the drake is mature, she probably won't dare attack him at all. Drakes seem to automatically be above the hens.)
    Hope this helps!
     
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  3. Taylor9214

    Taylor9214 New Egg

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    Aug 12, 2016
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This was exactly what I needed. I need you on speed-dial! I'm going to go get the eggs right now. I also can't wait to see how the drama unfolds as the babies get older.
     

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