managing mature(breeding) ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by sayyadina, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. sayyadina

    sayyadina Songster

    May 19, 2009
    In anticipation of spring, when I've heard male ducks can become... overly amorous, I have several questions on what I should do.

    Right now I have:
    3 female welsh harlequins
    2 male welsh harlequins
    5 female runners
    5 male runners
    plus 2 female geese (african & toulouse)

    What do I need to know about breeding ducks? I'm assuming that if I want purebred offspring, then I should separate the welsh harlequins and runners. Not 100% sure how I'll go about that, since they all share 1 big house right now.

    Is my male:female ratio ok for the welsh harlequins, or should I only have 1 of the boys with the girls? I know I have too many male runners, but hopefully 3 or 4 will be finding new homes come spring.

    What triggers an increase in breeding behavior? More daylight or warmer weather? Hoping its warmer weather, since its still VERY cold here (gonna be 5F tomorrow night!).

    Do ducks breed year round or are they seasonal?

    How do I find out if duck eggs are fertile or not? How do I choose an incubator (assuming I should go this route since I've heard ducks generally aren't broody)?

    What do ducks need (as far as housing, nesting, feed, etc) to breed?
  2. pringle

    pringle Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    Sorry to say but you gotta get rid of one of the welsh harlequins and 4 runners.The way I tell if the eggs are fertile is if I see the male ducks doing there thing [​IMG] .I only have 2 male muscovy's at the moment but when I used to have pekins and other breeds they would breed all year long as long as they had enough light.So I think that its light and warmth that triggers the male to really go crazy in the spring,mine are still lazing around in the yard lol
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Ducks usually start breeding in winter, at least mine do. Mine will take a month or so off from laying, usually December-January, but as for breeding I don't think they ever stop. I can find a duck egg any time of the year and put it in the bator and it will develop. Obviously, the males' fertility will go down when they are molting, but I don't think they ever truly stop.
  4. sayyadina

    sayyadina Songster

    May 19, 2009
    I know I have too many males... but I haven't been able to find new homes for them. Don't know if I can put the boys together, away from the girls, and they'll be ok. Yet another one of the numerous questions I've asked here and haven't had answered. I can't even count the many times I've posted questions here, since I can't find the answers anywhere else, and I get NO answers! [​IMG]

    I'm so fed up with having questions that don't get answered, after performing my own research and coming up with nothing. Makes me want to give up completely on having ducks. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I almost always have too many males. My ducks all flock together and I don't have any problems. Most of the time the boys are too busy fighting with each other to 'overwork' the ducks.

    Right now I've got 5 pekin hens, 3 rouen hens, and 1 runner hen. I've also got 2 pekin drakes, 1 rouen drake, 1 runner drake, and 3 mixed drakes. So almost even numbers, and they do fine. Though 3 of the boys all hang out together, they've yet to be accepted by the rest of the group.

    I think this is the first time since I've had ducks that I've not had more males than females. [​IMG]
  6. KansasKid

    KansasKid Songster

    Feb 7, 2010
    South East Kansas
    sayyadina: to give you a straight answer, yes. You can separate the males from the females and they will learn to live with each other. I've done it before and it works-
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  7. mominoz

    mominoz Songster

    Feb 17, 2009
    North Georgia
    I wouldn't get rid of all your males, keep at least 2 of each......what happens if you lose one to a predator? Or one isn't very fertile? Or breed the offspring to next year? Not like they eat much... and it can be hard mid year to get replacements.... You could put excess males in their own pen.... I have 2 males and one female together for almost 2 years and they don't fight or hurt female(but I am going to separate the one male , don't want to push my luck.....but there was another breed on bantam duck with them, they grew up with and they beat him up last year, so he got moved with his girl.... I understand about the info thing, felt the same way, very little out there on ducks,because not many people have them I do searches on certain themes, like "duck pens', "or 'breeding ducks" etc on BYC and come up with some good info.
    Bascially ducks have different personalities and also how you raise them seems to make a difference. Some "lines" of ducks seem more aggressive or timid etc. some are friendlier etc. I ' ve seen sme say Runners are mean. I have some of Dave Holderreads runners and they are not aggressive at all, have housed them all together for 2 years and my drakes don't fight... they come when called,and literally get under my feet.They are only 'skiddish' is I move real fast. I have to be careful not to step on them when I feed them or put them in their pen.....So different ducks have different personalities and you can train them. If you have a really mean or bully duck, you may want to cull him....
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  8. Quote:Im sorry you feel that way. I just looked back thru all your posts and only 1 didnt get answered. Some of your posts were the same just worded differently but they still got answered.
  9. One Acre Wonder Farm

    One Acre Wonder Farm Songster

    Feb 20, 2009
    Last year I had 3 boys and 6 girls. I felt awful for the girls, they were constantly pursued bu the boys and had very few feathers on the backs of their heads [​IMG]

    This year I have one boy and 5 girls. I think they'll all be happier this year.

    If I it were me, knowing what I know now, I would separate the drakes (or most of them) in a bachelor pen. Ducks breed year round (I witnessed this just the other morning in 0 degree weather [​IMG] ) but the males will go on a mating frenzy (at least mine did last year) come spring. Not sure if it is the light or temps that trigger it...

    Check out this thread for more info on determining an infertile vs fertile egg:

    There are many good threads about which incubator to buy; use the search tool in the blue bar up top. Personally, I have 3 incubators (Brinsea Octagon Eco 20, Genesis Hovabator, and LG still air), and I use the LG for my ducks because of all my eggs the duck eggs are easiest to hatch.

    I don't change anything as far as housing/nesting/feeding goes for my breeding ducks.

    Worst case scenario, if you can't separate/rehome, let them all be together and see what happens. Ducks have individual personalities, just like people do; your ducks may all get along just fine. Keep an eye on them with a back up plan to separate if you see trouble.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by