1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Muscovy juvenile that I raised is now pecking too hard

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Joan6153, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    24
    Dec 10, 2014
    I raised a single Muscovy duckling named Pumpkin from the time he hatched as a little yellow duckling until now when he is 3 months old. He was sick as a baby and I held him a lot to give him medicine so he was strongly imprinted on me.

    For the last few months he has been going outside and meeting the Muscovies in my backyard. He can't fly yet to escape predators, so though he stays outside all day, I let him sleep on my patio at night if he wants too, which is does. I leave the door open so he can go outside whenever he pleases at night and in the early morning but shut it so he has to stay outside during the day. He's bigger than all the backyard females at this point and as big as the smaller males.

    He eats with the backyard ducks whenever I feed them, though I do give him a bowl of lettuce for himself every day. He can't get down to the canal outside to eat there because the bank is too steep and he can't fly so he only eats what I give him or he forages for in the grass. Since he has no place else to swim, when he comes onto the patio in the evening, he sometimes swims and bathes in my pool which is OK because it's winter and we don't want to use it. Once he can fly, he will be an outside duck exclusively. Hopefully!

    So much for the background information.

    Even since he was a baby he would be comforted by pecking and nuzzling my fingers. He just loved doing it. But now that he is bigger, he's taken it to a new level. He runs over whenever any human goes outside. He chatters at you and likes to peck and bite and twist his beak on you so it actually hurts. He's pretty strong now. He also pecks your shoes, clothing, ankles and whatever else he can get his beak on.

    Is he just being affectionate? Or is something more going on here? I have heard he might want to mate with me when the time comes but he isn't sexually mature at 3 months, is he? And he pecks all the humans he sees, not just me.

    He seems to prefer people to ducks though he gets along with ducks well enough. He has actually dominated one of the smaller backyard adult males but gets put in his place by the bigger ones. He chased a female around the yard one day though I don't know what he was planning if he caught her.

    So the question is this: is there a way to get Pumpkin to stop or discourage the incessant and painful pecking?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,960
    1,921
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I would like @Miss Lydia to respond to this. She had a similar situation, and has it managed now.

    I suspect some of each of the possibilities you mentioned - and it can be worked on. This note should show up in her messages, so I hope we can hear from her tomorrow.
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,359
    5,110
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Thanks Amiga and yes I had the same situation with my imprinted Muscovy drake and by the way your boy is beautiful. They do tend to get confused when they have been raised by us, my drake was about the same age when he would jump on my back if I turned to walk away or if I sat down he would climb up my leg onto my arm and yes those bites hurt. Having had many Muscovy's before this one but they had all been raised by their mamas so I didn't expect this kind of behavior until it happened, So I came on here and asked what to do, well just about everyone said i was going to have to show dominance over him and let him know I am not going to be one of his girls. It didn't happen over night and I had to be consistent about what I did but he is going to be 4 yrs old this June and is the sweetest drake still loves to hang around us even comes in to visit. so here is what you need to do, when your drake starts biting and nipping place one hand at bottom of his neck the other at base of his tail where it connects to his body. and push him down on the ground on his belly, this can be done with out injury to the duck and he isn't going to like it but this is similar to how a dominant drake will teach another who is boss, so do this and when he stops squirming release him, if he starts again do it again, you can also use a broom and when you see that look and know what he is about to do put the broom between him and you even sweeping him away from you you can use verbal words like no bite if you want to. Main thing you don't want to do while training is put your hands where he can bite them so no petting while training is going on, you know like puppys that want to cut their teeth on your hand well you don't intentionally put your hand down for puppy to bite on you give them something else more appropriate to bite on to distract them. Same applies here so a broom breaks the thought pattern of okay here they come time to go into attack mode. Once he really starts into adult mating behavior hopefully he'll be more distracted by the females in your yard and less attracted to you but you will still have to remind him of his place with in your family, your main dominant duck he is not. and any members of the family will have to do this to, My dh had to because Ope seemed to see his as a rivial but they are best buds now, Opie does bite the dickens out of his jeans legs when they are together and I keep saying your going to be sorry when you have shorts on but he will let him know not to bite. Like i said before main thing is consistency he has to know each and every time he cannot get away with this. I can even push him away now when he gets over excited and he will understand.
    So start training and keep us updated on how it goes.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    24
    Dec 10, 2014
    Thanks so much for the tips! I had tried to gently hold his beak shut when he bit but he did not seem to get the point from that or perhaps I was not consistent enough. I will try your ideas and see if Pumpkin can learn to behave more appropriately when we dominant ducks are around!
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,359
    5,110
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I can vouch it does work just don't expect over night success but it will happen more good reading https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/561849/geese-training
     
  6. Buck Oakes

    Buck Oakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    most of the time they do this because they grow attached to you and because your raised them they see you as a female... yeah. When my males get to ruff i hold their bill and put it down to the ground, count to thirty and let them go, i want them to see my as mama duck but only as mama duck, get what i mean?
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  7. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    24
    Dec 10, 2014
    Just an update on Pumpkin and his pecking. I used the suggestion you gave and pushed him down to the ground when he pecked me. The first day I had to do it a few times, and then on the next few days I just had to do it once. But then I went out of town and he was at it again when I got back so a few more days of pushing him down ensued. When I do it I also say "No bite" out loud.

    Well he's been much better about the pecking though will occasionally go for a pants leg. Today he grabbed my pants leg like he really meant it and I said "no bite". He dropped right down to the ground all by himself without me touching him! It was hilarious. So he seems to have it figured out but still slips and pecks sometimes but it's only lightly. I have not gotten any bruises in weeks so I'm happy.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,359
    5,110
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Buck Oakes

    Buck Oakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    yay!, i let mine nibble on me but not like bite me, like as i said before i do that but i let them nibble on my fingers or hair because its what babies do to bond with their mom and older ducks do it to each others feathers for emotional bonds so its slightly okay just not when they get ruff
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by