Mean 'Scovy Duckling! Help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by cyanne, May 16, 2009.

  1. cyanne

    cyanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    I brought home a trio of Muscovy ducklings when I went to pick up the new goats (could not resist, of course!). One of them is a little smaller than the others but 10 times meaner! Anytime someone sticks their hand in the brooder to mess with them she attacks your hand and bites you as hard as she can. [​IMG]

    I have tried handling her as much as possible to see if it will help make her more tame, but it only seems to make it worse. I also tried grabbing her beak and holding it each time she bites to try to make her realize that biting is a no-no, but it does not seem to faze her one bit.

    Right now she is still mostly in baby fuzz and her bites are not too painful, but I can just imagine her once she's grown and can do some real damage! I can see myself now being pursued across the yard by a vicious bird intent on taking a chunk out of me. [​IMG]

    My newest idea was to separate her from the other two (who DON'T bite, btw) and see if her loneliness makes her appreciate visits from people more. It's a trick that I've seen work wonders on other 'animals with attitude.' I've used it with horses and even with some feral kittens that I fostered. Usually they are all tough when they are with their posse, but as soon as they are alone for a bit they want to be your best friend.

    She has been separated from them since this morning with only us for company, but so far she seems unperturbed and just as bitey as ever. [​IMG]

    Anyone else out there had this issue? Is there a secret to teaching a duckling not to bite or is there any chance she will grow out of it?
    Last edited: May 16, 2009
  2. kitkatbahr

    kitkatbahr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2009
    Merritt Island, FL
    Hi, I don't have much advice, but I can say you are definitely doing the right thing trying to "tame" her now, while she is still little. I have two VERY large Muscovey drakes who challenge me almost every time I go in their pen. I have had to show them who is boss, by flipping them on their backs and pinning them. Just holding their beaks didn't work, nor did just pressing them to the ground. Sometimes it takes three or four "lessons" before they leave me alone!! You are correct that once she is bigger, she can do some damage. These boys have bitten me several times, hard enough to draw blood. Not only do they just bite, but they twist at the same time. I have had numerous bruises on my arms and wrists as well as my legs. They also pummel me with their wings!! It hurts! I read on here how to teach them the pecking order, by holding them on their backs, and it does work. I just have to do it almost every time I go in there.

    I know some of it is because it's mating season, and I don't have any hens in there with them yet. I bought four hens (one I think is a drake though) that are Pekin/Swedish mix, from the best we can tell. I know mom was a pekin, anyway. But, they were only 4 months old, and not big enough yet to put in with the drakes. They are growing really good though, so in another month, I will put them in with my boys and see if that makes them happy. Unfortunatley, I think I need another hen or two though, as I believe one of these little ones is a drake, based on his lack of quack.

    Good luck with your baby. I hope someone has some good info for you. Perhaps you can modify the turning her on her back trick and see if that works. With my big guys, I actually feel as though I am wrestling them, plus I have to hold their legs, or those nasty claws will tear me up! LOL I feel like I need 6 hands to hold them down. Funny thing is, one will attack me while the other watches from the other side of the pen. Then, he will continue to watch while the attacker gets his lesson. Once he is let up, and leaves me alone, then the watcher decides its HIS turn and he does the same darn thing! I guess they don't learn from example!!

    Good luck with your little one.

  3. cyanne

    cyanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    Yes! My little duckling does the same thing with the 'twisting.' She grabs until she gets a good hold on a tender bit of skin and then she twists her head back and forth like she is trying to tear a chunk off! What a little brat!

    I just visited with her for a bit and made *some* progress. She still tried to bite me when I reach into the brooder (my bathtub) which I guess she thinks of as HER territory, but when I took her out of there and put her in the sink to pet her a bit she definitely didn't try biting nearly as much.

    I have a separate shower in my bathroom, so when I took a shower a little while ago I put her in there and let her walk around my feet while I was in there. I thought maybe it would be a chance to bond a bit since it would maybe remind her of playing in the water with other ducks.

    Don't know what she thought of the whole thing, but at least she didn't charge over and try to bit me the whole time. She just sort of walked around and peeked up at me with this serious look on her face. Ducks have an uncanny way of looking at you and it seeming almost human sometimes. Maybe she was wondering how I took all of my feathers off! [​IMG]
  4. achapra

    achapra Out Of The Brooder

    May 16, 2009
    Wood Dale
    Wow, those things are little bugars, sounds like theyre filled with personality to the max!
  5. birdsbirdseverywhere

    birdsbirdseverywhere New Egg

    May 17, 2009
    Have to agree with kitkatbahr on this one. We had a mallard drake, a couple of muscovies, and a gosling who were like that as babies & flipping them on their back for a few seconds each time they tried to bite seemed to do the trick, although one of the muscovy drakes can still be a bit nippy if he feels you are intruding on his territory.

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