My drakes almost drowned one of my girls - not sure what to do next

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Jen1979, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Jen1979

    Jen1979 Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have 7 ducks - 2 male pekin x runners, 3 female pekin x runners and 2 female cayugas.

    Yesterday when I got home from work and went to put the ducks away, I noticed Cleo, one of our cayuga girls was missing. I found her in the duck pool, completely water logged, half drowned, missing 2/3 of her feathers, with a scraped and bleeding neck and small tears in both of her feet (on of which was bleeding quite a lot). I got her inside and warmed up in front of an infrared sauna, put some antiseptic on her wounds and got her comfortable. She was shaking like a leaf and making little mewing sounds. It was heartbreaking. I cuddled her until she was warm and dry and I've kept her in the bathroom with towels and a big mirror for company. By this morning she was eating and drinking and had stopped making the mewing sounds (and is now growling at me when I open the door, but lets me touch her after that).

    I now don't know what to do. I assume the boys teamed up and attacked her in the pond. Or it could have been one of the boys. The two boys are father and son. The father (Norris) is usually pretty good with the girls - he'll chase them around, but if they throw him off while he's trying to mate with them, he'll give up. Up until now, the son (Quack) hasn't really tried to mate with the girls much at all. Just recently, I've noticed him doing it and he is relentless. If they try to throw him off, he wont have a bar of it - he just grips their neck tighter and keeps standing on their back while they struggle.

    The boys have always tolerated each other, theyve only had one very small and short spat, but now they seem to be absolute best buddies.

    My first thought was to rehome Quack. That would ensure that if they were teaming up, it wouldn't happen again. The thought devastates me, I raised him from an egg, but if it had to be done, I'll do it. BUT, in saying that, the two cayguas (Cleo and Morticia) were introduced ducks and up until it has always been a fairly obvious that Norris has his original girls (the 3 female pekin x runners) and Quack has the two cayugas as his girls. Not specifically in a mating sense, but in a sense of who they hang out with the most. Cleo started hanging out with Norris's crew a bit more over the last few months and I've noticed Norris will often chase Morticia away. She has always been the shyest duck and although she will hang out with the other ducks, he has recently been chasing her away on occasion.

    So, now I'm worried that if I rehome Quack, Norris will pick on Morticia and run her out of the flock. Even more so at the moment because Cleo is inside. I'm worried that if I bring Morticia inside to be with Cleo so she doesn't get picked on, I'm leaving my three other girls out there with the two boys in the middle of breeding season (it's summer here in Australia). I don't want to rehome any of the girls.

    What would you do?

    1) Rehome Quack
    2) Bring Morticia inside with Cleo and hope Norris won't team up with Quack on his girls
    3) Bring Morticia inside with Cleo and somehow try to separate Quack from the rest of the flock
    4) Try and separate the boys from the rest of the flock until they calm down
    5) Get two more female ducks in the hope a higher ratio of girls will help.
     
  2. Debs Flock

    Debs Flock Birds on the brain Premium Member

    7,355
    10,995
    516
    Apr 28, 2015
    Jefferson County, MO
    So sorry that this is happening. I only have 4 ducks and thankfully, haven't had any issues with aggression or mating.

    Let's tag some people that have much more experience to get their input.

    @Miss Lydia
    @jtn42248
    @Amiga
    @Tevyes Dad
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    23,063
    2,092
    491
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I would separate the drakes for now, and give yourself some time to consider longer term options.
     
  4. StephMagee

    StephMagee Out Of The Brooder

    76
    1
    43
    Jun 9, 2014
    Bradford,Pa
    I have 2 Pekin ducks. One male(Pecker) and one female(Daisy). If they get into the pond together, Pecker will hold Daisy's head under the water and try to mount her while biting the back of her neck to hold her head under the water. It got to the point to where she wont get in the pond when he is in and shes in and he gets in she gets out right away. So we stay down there and let her get in and keep him out so she can swim. Other then that, I don't know what else to do, especially when were not home or down there and they both get in.
     
  5. Jen1979

    Jen1979 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks @Amiga Do you mean separate the drakes together away from the girls? I think I could make that work short term at least. Hopefully the drakes will be ok together for now (and not fight) since they seem to have become best buddies.

    @StephMagee That's why I've tried to have a ratio of more females than males, so the girls don't get ""overused" for want of a better word! by the males. Getting the right flock balance seems to be so hard doesn't it! :(
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    23,063
    2,092
    491
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    [​IMG]

    It can be maddening, sometimes.

    But I always come back to something I tell myself especially when I feel overwhelmed and spread too thin - that each duck's life and health depends on me. I am the one who can protect them. So, telling myself that somehow gives me the boost I need to figure it out.

    Try separating the drakes. Understand that sometimes they will fight with each other. It is difficult to predict. Go with your instincts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  7. StephMagee

    StephMagee Out Of The Brooder

    76
    1
    43
    Jun 9, 2014
    Bradford,Pa
    That has to be tough. And that's what I worry about happening with just the 2. He's can be so rough with her at times. Tonight I took in 3 more ducks that didn't have a place to get out of the cold weather from. I'm think 2 females and 1 male. So that leaves me with 3 female and 2 males. I'm hoping I won't have too much trouble. This is only for a couple months until the weather is better and they can go back home.
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    23,063
    2,092
    491
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Glad you took them in - and yes, be watchful.

    Perhaps keeping them amused may help - a small head of cabbage to mess around with? Lettuce leaves in a bowl of water?
     
  9. Jen1979

    Jen1979 Chillin' With My Peeps


    Thanks @Amiga that's great advice. I'll keep the boys in the enclosure during the day and let the girls free-range as normal. Then at night I'll lock the boys in a separate area and put the girls away where they usually sleep. I'd like to rotate them so the boys can have free-range time one day and the girls the next, but my husband is away for a week, he comes back 3 days, so I might have to try that plan once he's home and can help me rotate them!

    Good on you for taking in the other ducks @StephMagee like Amiga said, keeping them amused might be a good idea. We made "snack baskets" for our ducks. We just got cheap hanging baskets (the ones made from metal wire) and hung them under a tree. Every morning I put a head of lettuce in there and they love it! They really enjoy hanging around it and pulling leaves out. I was intending to just give it to them once a week or so, but, of course, once I started doing it they run straight over to it every morning and have a complete meltdown if the snack basket doesn't get filled up haha :D
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by