New Pekin behavior, maybe due to her molting?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by gilbert2, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. gilbert2

    gilbert2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2014
    Hi, folks. Recently, my Pekin went missing. I finally gave up on her, thinking that somehow, a coyote must have brazenly come into our zone during the day (this has NEVER happened before, as they all know my herding dog, Wendell). A full day and a half later, I saw my duck standing under a juniper tree, at least 100 yards away from her usual areas. As I directed her back home, I looked for any damage or irregularity. There was nothing abnormal, thank God.
    Of course I locked her up for sleeping that night, as usual. The following day, she went walkabout again! I couldn't find her anywhere. Two days later, I heard her normal morning quacking, just before sunup.

    What is going on? Now she has taken to hiding during the day, then coming out some time after midnight, and going into her home, brooding, and laying an egg a day, as usual. Yesterday she looked sort of "roughed up." Could it simply be the molting? Or are her feathers getting messed up when she crawls into her hiding place? Although I have not yet seen her, I think she must be staying under one of my two sheds, which are elevated on cinder blocks.

    Other than this strange hiding, her behavior is normal. Can it possibly be related to her molting? Or could she have had some late night encounter with some creature (without incurring any visible damage)? I am trying my level best to take care of her, but she has a mind of her own. Something tells me that there was no encounter, since there were NO signs of any messy feathers on the ground or anything like that.

    She uses her swimming pool just as always, and still loves the water. When he flaps her wings, I can see how stubby and thin they are, compared with her normal plumage. The difference is remarkable.

    I know that I am opening myself up to your criticism for being a bad duck keeper, since I have let her range freely during the day, and only lock her up at close to dusk. Ok. But what I am looking for is an answer to this strange behavior. I can go back to keeping her locked up at all times, like when she was a baby, but she has become so used to ranging, I am hesitant to do this.

    Any thoughts?
  2. apricotvalleywf

    apricotvalleywf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2014
    Millbrook, Ontario
    My Coop
    It sounds like she is starting a clutch somewhere and/or mating with another duck you do not know about.

    I would think that if the molt was to affect her behaviour it would be in the spring time after breeding season and not a fall body molt.

  3. gilbert2

    gilbert2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2014
    I am so sorry for this VERY late reply. Your logic is excellent, but I did not share all of the facts. I know my Pekin is not hiding a clutch, since I collect one egg per day, and have been eating them. Her "roughed up" look is definitely from her molting. She is hanging around her normal places more, and not hiding all day anymore, but she still hides once in awhile. She's adopted a new home for herself--a covered ares outside my garage. It is between the woodpile and some equipment, so nobody can see her when she is in there. I added some straw, and she appears to like the place. Still, I don't know what caused her strange behavior.

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