My Runner duck is getting aggressive

duckduckdog

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
2
0
7
I have read some helpful information on backyardchickens.com about ducks and hope I can get some advice.

I have two male Runner ducks; our first duck, Winston is a beautiful black runner, we got him from the county fair a year ago this June, he was about 2 weeks old. We hand raised him, held and played with him everyday and built him a pond. He enjoyed spending time with us and liked to hang out with our chocolate lab. After doing more research on ducks, I found that he really needed another duck to keep him company. We found someone who raised fawn & white runners that where about the same age as Winston and so we brought home Benson - he too is beautiful. After a very short adjustment period the boys became inseparable. At the time neither had their drake feathers so we had no idea that they where both males, but Winston was bigger than Benson and as Benson already was a bit of a follower, it became clear that Winston had the stronger personality and would be in control.
About 3 weeks ago Winston started to get aggressive; he started to chase me, not follow me like he used to, then he started to peck at my shoes. Of course I tripped over him, stepped on his foot and he fell, this really mad him angry. I thought that as I was wearing white shoes when this happened he associated white shoes with a trauma so I started wearing different shoes when I would go outside. Different shoes worked for one day, he got more aggressive pecking at my feet and then started actually biting and pulling at my pants. His aggressive behavior keeps escalating! I have tried to stand still, let him have a go at my feet and once he is done move slowing away from him, but he just chases after me and starts aggressively pecking and my feet and legs all over again. I thought that I was the only one he did this too, but he is also starting this behavior with my husband and son. Benson had not been joining in this behavior until a few days ago.

Their living conditions:
They have a gated area about 8 x 16 feet that includes a dirt area for them to forage in. Their enclosure has a secured coop (4 x 8) that they sleep in from dusk until about 8 in the am, then they are free to roam the enclosed area - food and water are available,
they are fed twice a day crumble and an assortment of lettuces. About 2:30 in the afternoon they get to come out and are able to roam in our backyard where they can forage and have a 50 gallon filtered pond to swim in. I regularly help them "hunt" by turning over prim locations for worms & slugs and hand feed them king worms - although now they are getting too aggressive for that. The dog is never outside alone with them and has never shown any sign of aggression toward them, even when they try to hop on his back.

I love my ducks and do not want to have to reduce their time roaming the yard by keeping them in their enclosure, but their aggressive behavior has me very concerned. I really could use some advice! Thanks for any help.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium member
10 Years
May 3, 2009
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It sounds like frustrated mating behavior. It's spring, testosterone levels are very high, and your drakes are becoming sex driven. Most drakes become very sexually aggressive during the mating season. They may turn this frustration on one another. Once we get later into the season they will probably become mellow once again.
 
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duckduckdog

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
2
0
7
Thanks. Winston is so very sweet, usually; I guess everyone gets 'Spring Fever'. I have taken to just standing still until he turns around and then I follow him. He is a bit confused by this and it takes me longer to get things done, but he remains calm and goes about his usual business after that.
Now I know what to be prepared for each spring.
 
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