My ducks are duds.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Butterflyhigh, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Butterflyhigh

    Butterflyhigh Out Of The Brooder

    31
    3
    26
    Aug 1, 2013
    I've posted on here before about my muscovy duck issues. I am still having issues. I purchased an entire adult flock (nine muscovy's one embden goose) about two months ago from a kid who lives on a local farm. Even though I had done research for months this was an impulse buy and I did not ask the right questions AND I also have "newbie" stamped across my forehead so he may have mislead me in some ways too. Anyway, I have a very large property that they free-range on (but mostly they just want to sit on my sidewalk and poop) and a 1/2 acre pond.

    One...they refuse to swim in my pond. I had someone trap the snapping turtles so they are gone. I have sat with them for weeks on end by the pond. I've built them a nice beach area for ease of entrance/exit. I give them snacks near the edge so they associate the pond with good things. My children and I have swam in the pond to encourage them. Wild Canada Geese have stopped by a few times and I have herded my flock over so they can see what "real ducks" do. I have actually just thrown them in a few times. Nothing. They just refuse.

    Two...I have five females and four males. None of them mate. They are not aggressive with each other, nobody gets bullied, no one duck is dominate. None of the females have laid an egg. They all look almost exactly the same. If they are all siblings will they not mate (that sounds so stupid...like ducks know if there related)?

    I don't get it.

    Are they to young to mate/lay eggs...are they too old? How can I tell their age?
    What else can I do to get them to swim? The whole purpose of me getting ducks was to see activity on my pond, have a low maintenance farm animal around, and collect duck eggs for baking. However I end up with ducks who won't swim or lay eggs AND I have to haul water around my property to keep them hydrated and clean.They're driving me nuts!

    Any Ideas?
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  2. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

    12,308
    170
    323
    Sep 7, 2009
    Florida - Space Coast
    If they are adults and you have seen no eggs and have had them all year you likely were sold all males. If they are permitted to wonder the entire property (and you do in fact have the male/female split you say) then you could have hidden nests of eggs anywhere, because they like out of the way and secluded spots to lay their eggs.

    Ducks are smart and if there was a threat (turtles) they assume there still IS a threat and wont enter the unsure water space. You need to stop forcing them in the water. Throwing them in re-enforces bad things at the water. Allow them to figure it out. It wont be on YOUR timeline though.

    Can you post a picture of the flock?

    buy 1 kiddie pool, clean it daily for them as you dont have to haul water all over the property for them. Hopefully one day they wont be afraid of the pond. Muscovy (at least ours) dont spend near the time on water as our domestic ducks do.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,323
    46
    171
    Aug 31, 2009
    I am far from a Muscovy expert, but I have had them for awhile. They are not as crazy for water as the other ducks. Some like it and will swim a bit, some NEVER go in the pool. It is how they are. Those that do not swim like to have a bunch of bowls to wash their faces and drink out of. They are mellow birds, so the hanging around is normal for them.
    They are great birds. Mine do lay quite well normally, but this year was a strange year for all my ducks with laying. Give them a chance and try to enjoy them. If they are young, it may take until next year for them to start laying.
     
  4. Butterflyhigh

    Butterflyhigh Out Of The Brooder

    31
    3
    26
    Aug 1, 2013
    I am sure that I have four males and five females. It's easy to tell...size difference, verbalizations are different, those little feathers on top of the males head...

    1. Is there a way to determine their age? I am surprised that I never see them mating or being territorial/aggressive about the females. Does that tell you anything, like they are not sexually mature OR that they are really old and past breeding age? I dunno...I am so new to ducks.

    2. I've also read that having too many drakes in a flock will keep females from laying. Is this true?
     
  5. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    What do they look like? Mature muscovies have red, naked faces with the typical caruncles, young ducks still have completely feathered heads and the dominant caruncle is nothing but a small knob above the bill.
    As soon as muscovies are mature, they start to mate and lay eggs. Old drakes usually have more and stronger caruncling on their faces than younger ones. Some pictures might be helpful.

    Too many drakes will put a lot of strain on ducks and thus keep them from laying. Four drakes on five ducks is a very bad ratio.

    I second what veronicasmom says, that muscovies don't go on the water that much and forcing them into the pond won't make them go into there. Depending on their former situation they might not be accustomed to a pond and refuse to go there.
    If you want some decorative ducks for your pond you might want to settle for another breed.
     
  6. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

    12,308
    170
    323
    Sep 7, 2009
    Florida - Space Coast
     
  7. Butterflyhigh

    Butterflyhigh Out Of The Brooder

    31
    3
    26
    Aug 1, 2013
    Sorry, I guess I mean that the drakes all raise the feathers on top of their heads as a way of communicating. I never see the females do that.

    Here are some pics of two of the drakes. By what you all are saying it sounds like they are still young. I have tried to advertise the drakes on CraigsList and local farm pages...nobody wants to buy drakes. I haven't been feeding them the grower or finishing feed so I'm not sure how "fat" they are under those feathers. I don't know if it would be futile to butcher them. I'm kinda at a loss of what to do with these extra drakes???


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Shikoba70

    Shikoba70 Out Of The Brooder

    57
    5
    31
    Jun 17, 2013
    If that is a drake its a very young one, how long have you had them, do they hiss or make peeping noises?
    Looks more female to me
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,828
    5,530
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Looks like he maybe about the same age as my young drake from this year 4 months on Sept 28th, he isn't even trying to mate the ducks, any drakes I've hatched one year don't mate till following year. What's the reason for not wanting to keep them?
     
  10. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,683
    143
    208
    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    I messed up my quote, and I do not have Muscovies, but I have a Rouen that raises her head feathers at me...

    I would absolutely go with Celtic's advice of the kiddie pool. I really like these ones, in terms of price, quality, and durability, these are the best! http://www.genfoam.com/
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by