Mean, Biting Drakes


5 Years
Aug 11, 2014
My muscovy drake used to be the sweetest thing. When he turned about 3 months old that all changed. Maybe I babied him too much because now he's turned into a demonic duck from hell!
Lol! He bites for no reason at all and will stand his ground if I charge at him and try to scare him away. I heard sitting on them will show them who is boss. I tried this on my other drake and it works well, but it seems to have no affect on this particular one. As soon as I let him up he starts hissing and biting at me. Is there anything else I can try? It's gotten to the point where I don't even want him anymore, but I feel bad giving him away to someone if he acts like this. I've heard this is a phase they go through, but I'm seriously considering cooking him up for dinner.
Yes, be consistent! If he bites, grab him and hold his beak shut, yelling "NO" (easier said than done with a buff ol' muscovy, I know). You also have to sit on him for at LEAST five minutes per transgression. He's challenging your authority as ruler of the flock so you gotta show him who's boss!
I don't own muscovies, but I know a little about them, and I own mallard ducks, so here's my opinion:

While I agree that the pack/flock mentality is the problem, I also believe amykins' way of thinking will make it worse.

Look, your muscovy sees himself as a duck. He also sees you as a duck. He knows you are the biggest, and also the leader. He's essentially jealous. It's not the kind of complex jealous feeling that humans get, but it is still a very simple, primal form of jealousy. What he's doing is challenging you for the spot in the pecking order, a spot he feels entitled to.

You can do two things.

1. "fight" with him and win, like amykins suggests. The problem I see with this is that he will eventually pluck up the courage to try again, and again, and again. You can see this yourself; you said it worked for your other drake, but not this one. He's very determined. Ducks aren't the most logical of creatures and their memories are not great. He's operating on hormones, not war strategy LOL. You can beat him, but sooner than later he will forget about it and try again. (If you do do this, I wouldn't yell at him. It's just cruel IMHO. He won't understand what's happening, only that you're attacking and scaring him. Muscovy males don't yell at each other when they fight. Yelling will remind him of a predator growling, not another duck. Then he'll see you as a threat to his flock and will either A- remain aggressive in a protective way, or B. become skittish and avoid you.)

2. Convince him you are NOT a duck. This might be impossible if he imprinted on humans but you can try. Try "backing off" from the flock. If any of the girls "Squat" for you, ignore them. Don't pet them; that just reinforces your drake's belief that this is YOUR flock and if he can beat you it will belong to him. Make him believe he already IS the boss and doesn't need to fight. Keep talking to your flock, but tone it down- don't respond if a duck "talks" to you. You want him to see you as a "pet" of sorts LOL. "You're not a duck. You're just some strange creature that brings us treats."

If you can do 2, he might calm down. Otherwise, you might have to eat him. It wouldn't be right to give him away if he attacks people. Is it just you he's attacking or everyone?

I don't think you babied him too much, since it's just this drake in particular, as you said your others are fine. It's just a mixture of genetics and hormones. Muscovy drakes are like roosters in that way. Sometimes they are just aggressive by design.

Hope this helps.
Forgive me, I certainly don't mean put your WEIGHT on the poor thing when you sit on him, just to squat over him and hold him down. I am just relaying the advice given to many, many other BYC members that had the exact same problem, and this is what worked. Just like children, when a duck crosses a boundary, discipline must be administered. It is the same as it is in nature, and I don't agree that recreating it is a cruel act.

I don't think backing off from the flock is going to help at all, as it will only make the drake focus his attacks on the other ducks, as well as damage the bond between duck and owner. And if he's bonded with humans, this could stress him out even more.
If holding him down and yelling didn't work, have you tried just "standing your ground"? I have used that technique both with ducks and dogs. As noted, ducks pretty much run on hormones and instinct. If the male sees you as a threat, make yourself boring! Just stand there and look at him. Don't back up, don't react. You may need to wear heavy pants if he bites at you. It may take a while, but if you refuse to participate in the aggression in any way, he hopefully get bored and stop attacking you.

As noted, he may just be genetically mean. My pekins this year seem to be very high strung and not at all likeable. Last years were adorable. It's hard to know.
You need to be a duck. Basically ducks like to "dominate" other ducks to show dominants and excitement. This action is mounting each other not mating! My ducks (hens) do this a lot.

Pin him down and ruffle his feathers for 10 seconds and push him down a bit or so and make sure he takes it. You might have to toss in some scovie sound effects when you do this. An when your done holding him down, again act like a duck get excited and run around. Works with my cayugas all the time they even join me in the excitement :D.

p.s don't know why people say to yell at them if anything I would hiss. Ducks don't yell :p

Then again I have cayugas, and just recently scovies. I don't know if they "dominate" like my cayugas or if he'll attack you after you do this.(running around part)
Pin him down and ruffle his feathers for 10 seconds and push him down a bit or so and make sure he takes it. You might have to toss in some scovie sound effects when you do this. An when your done holding him down, again act like a duck get excited and run around.
Best. Mental picture. EVER.

We say to yell so that, much like we learn to speak duck, they learn to speak human. After a while they will associate the yelling with the action, so us duck owners don't have to chase down and mount our ducks every five minutes!

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