Need advise---just got 2 muscovy hens (1 was bullied) and 1 duckling

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Kwyjibo, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. Kwyjibo

    Kwyjibo In the Brooder

    Jul 1, 2011
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Hi all, Bride of Kwyjibo here......

    Thanks in advance for any advice you have for me. I can sure use your experience! Ok, first problem..........

    A week ago I bought 2 muscovy hens and 1 duckling (now ~4 w.o.). Originally, I was just going to get the hen that was advertised on Craigslist as being bullied by some in her flock. They wouldn't allow her to nest or even be near them. She has injuries and missing feathers on her "shoulders" but looks to be healing up very nicely now. The people I bought her from offered me another hen as they are downsizing their flock and a single duckling they said was the only one in it's clutch to hatch and there were no other ducklings at the time. So, they'd been keeping it warm and safe inside in a brooder. The other adult female is fine and has no injuries and appears very healthy. In fact, she was brooding a set of eggs that were infertile--the people said they had meant to collect the eggs but waited too long and had neglected to do so even after. I am keeping them in the coop 24/7 for now.

    While I know about the wonderful qualities of muscovies, I know nothing of how they behave together and what is considered "normal". Anyway, the one that was bullied is behaving like the Queen Bee and pecks at the other adult hen sometimes....but it doesn't look like it's very hard. Sometimes Queen Bee kindof "mouths" the other but it's intention seems to say---"Hey, Watch it sister" and it's usually around food, but sometimes I'm not sure what it's about. Other times it's a harder peck but still nothing that seems like pulling feathers or biting. The other hen--I'll call her "Broody" for now--they don't have names yet----returns the pecks and mouthing sometimes but much gentler--sometimes not even making contact. Is Queen Bee going to be a bully? Or is this just normal stuff? If she's a bully what do you do about it? I've caught her in the act when she's about to do it and give her a "look and a tone" like you would with a dog and she really eyeballs me like she's deciding whether or not to go ahead and do it. I can see the wheels a'spinnin' in her little head.

    Ok, Problem #2.....the duckling which is the cutest thing that ever existed in the entire universe....

    I've kept it indoors until today because it caught cold ( I have it on medicine and it's doing really great) but put it out today in a large wire dog crate w/ a heat lamp to be on the safe side. ( We're in Northern WA state and I don't think it has even broken 80 degrees yet--gets down to low 50's at night. I will bring it in at night and keep it in the coop during the day.) Since the duckling is a single, I know it's important that it doesn't imprint on me and I want it to know the big ducks so I can avoid getting another baby duck. I was hoping "Broody" would take an interest in the duckling and she has but I'm not sure what her angle is........I had the baby out of the cage and stayed there so they could interact w/out the cage. Both Queen Bee and Broody peck or nip at the baby. Queen Bee seems to be saying "Get lost, kid" and Broody while very interested does the same thing but not as hard. Watching them while baby is in the cage (the dog crate has enough room for the hen's beaks but not their head and it's large so baby can keep its distance) , Both the adult hens are wanting to peck, mouth the baby or mess with him/her in some way. I don't want the baby to end up being a target like Queen Bee was in her old flock. It's only been one day, the big girls see me handling the baby and feeding her a bit of greens and they see me take her out of the coop for a walkabout.

    Problem #3........

    How long do I keep Queen Bee and Broody in the coop before I allow them to free range? And when do I allow baby to live without the kennel/cage?

    What say you?

    Bridge of Kwijybo
  2. DeeJay

    DeeJay In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2015
    Sorry to say I can't offer advice - I came looking for similar reasons. We have a Muscovy Hen about 10 months old & just got 2 ducklings today as she needs more friends than myself & partner.

    First 10 mins supervised outside she was curious and gentle, then progressively more terratorial - now she seems to be legitimately bullying them out of a sense of being annoyed and jealousy.

    Not sure what action to take other than seperate and very gradually integrate as they get bigger, whilst trying to show equal attention to all 3.

    Anyone got any advice, including the OP? (Old thread!) :)
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    You got it gradual getting to know each other adult ducks can and will kill ducklings not their own so never leave them unsupervised. The ducklings will have to live side by side her but not be allowed to live together until same size as adult. unless you can be with them for treats and making sure adult behaves. I'm talking out and out meaness, there will be a dominance issue to reconcile but after living aside by side and with supervised interaction that should get resolved pretty quick.

    Welcome to BYC Pics when you can!
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    When you say free range do you mean no fencing at all? and have their wings been clipped? if not you risk the chance of fly aways too. I clip one wing on my Muscovy's to keep them home they just love to fly. But way to dangerous here. The 2 adults will eventually work out their differences. Just let them do it unless someone is getting picked on way to much. Girls have squabbles too. lol
    as for the young one you'll have to keep it separated from the 2 adults until it's same size. but keep them side by side so they can get to know each other and let them all be together when you can be there to protect baby if one of the girls get to carried away. Eventually they will be come friends it just takes time.
  5. DeeJay

    DeeJay In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2015

    Thank you!I thought as much but am relieved to have confirmation :) Yeah her attitude completely changes around them vs on her own - and she goes for the little one harder than the slightly bigger duckling.
    Plum & Pepper -
    Lemon - [​IMG]

  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Beautiful babies and duck. Names are cute too.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015

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