Over-zealous mallard?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Broodica, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. Broodica

    Broodica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My older Mallard (supposedly female), is the most feathered out of my little flock of 3 Mallads and 1 Rouen, all 4 and 5 weeks old. She's half the size of the Rouen, also 5 weeks old, but not that much larger than the 4 week old Mallards. She has become very aggressive to the rest of them. I have 3 water and 2 feeding stations set up, all quite far apart and she literally chases them off of any station they go to with a good butt/nip in the side with her bill. The little ones are constantly squealing from her poking at them, and the Rouen even gives a good, I call it a bark, every now and then. [​IMG] It's too early to sex them, I know, but even if she is a he, (the mallards are supposed to be females, we don't know about the Rouen), is this normal behaviour? I know about the pecking order, but this seems a little extreme. She's even yanked a feather or two out of one of them.

    They were in the bathtub until yesterday and I gave them the run of the whole bathroom yesterday because I thought being too crowded might have been causing the behaviour. But she's just as bad, except now she has more space to chase them! She was a lone duck for about 5 days until we got the Rouen and then the younger one's came a long a week later and we put them all together about 5 days after that. They were all fine until about 3 days ago and now the behaviour is almost constant, except when they are sleeping, when they are cuddled up together. It's about 74F in the bathroom and I still have the red heat light on. Is it time to turn it off and get them use to a regular night and day schedule. Becuz the young one's are a week behind, I haven't wanted to push it.

    I am all for letting nature takes it's course, but she's starting to tick me off!!!! [​IMG]
     
  2. Broodica

    Broodica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well another feather ripped out of my Rouen's wing.

    Seriously.....should I be concerned or is this normal????
     
  3. Broodica I know somewhere in the Holderreads book he says the red bulbs occasionally cause ducklings to become aggressive, so maybe turning off that lamp off will help. If your ducklings are at least a week old and have others to cuddle with I think they should be fine at room temperature.
     
  4. Broodica

    Broodica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks so much for responding, Dances. I really appreciate it. I am doing away with the red heat lamp and just putting in a night light so they can find their way to their water/food at night. I did read in Holderread that using a blue light might be better for ducks, but since they are older, I'm just going to forget about it. They didn't sleep under it last night at all anyway. Temp in the house doesn't go below 60-65F at night. The 2 older ones are getting in their beautiful blue wing feathers and those are the one's she keeps yanking out on the Rouen! Grrrrrrrrrrr. Even if the Rouen is sitting in your lap, she'll climb up and push him/her off and then chase him!

    Anyway...I hope this works. Ya gotta love them [​IMG]
     
  5. Broodica

    Broodica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now Ms. B****y is blocking the others from getting at food and water which is in the shower stall....she just sits at the entrance. She grabs the younger mallards by the wings and holds on while they are trying to run away and they are screeching....it's not even by the feathers, she is actually grabbing the wing in her bill. I am truly at a loss here. I know it's my first time raising ducks, but this behavior seems extreme and damaging. It's not like they haven't been living together for the past 3 weeks with the young ones and she's been with the Rouen since they were 4 days old and are 5 weeks now.

    I would really appreciate some wisdom from you veteran duck lovers. I have separated them in the bathroom with hardware cloth so they can see each other, but she can't physically attack the others. I really don't want to do this, but I am truly concerned about the welfare of the other ducklings!

    I removed their red heat lamp yesterday and gave them a night light for the night as Dances suggested, but today her behavior seems even more aggressive (I am assuming it's a her).

    HELP!!!!
     
  6. I don't understand why the red light can cause aggression, but perhaps it takes a little while to wear off?
    I think you did the right thing to separate them. Maybe they are too crowded in there, and possibly bored. They are four and five weeks old, correct? If you have wing feathers coming in they should be able to handle some cool weather, perhaps not freezing yet. Could you put them outside, at least during the daytime? I usually get mine out, even during the first week for a few hours if the day is warm enough. Gives them sunshine and a chance to run and forage on greens.
    I've never had a problem with a duckling becoming so aggressive towards other broodmates, but sometimes you get a stinker. You can keep trying different things but if you can't get any improvement I would wonder if she needs to try a new home. Maybe a total change in environment and flocks would shake her up enough to reset her behavior.
     
  7. Broodica

    Broodica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again for replying Dances. I don't know anything about the red light thing either....lol. They weren't requiring the heat anymore anyway it seems. They have the run of a very large bathroom, probably 15 square feet not including the water/feeders area, so they aren't overcrowded. The older ones are getting their wing feathers...the youngest ones are just starting and my aggressive girl is the most feathered out....probably because she's pulling out the other's feathers....Trying to keep a sense of humour here.... [​IMG]

    Bored....I guess that's a possibility. I've tried singing and dancing, but they just look at me funny. Seriously though, they have been outside whenever possible, it's tough cuz it's been cool here and the younger one's are still pretty fluffy to be out in 55F weather. If I try separating the young one's from the old one's.....they are very unhappy. They have 2 swims a day in the tub, they get their treats once a day. My son is in there hanging out with them....or he was until she began shoving the others off his lap. We figured that him sitting there might be aggravating the situation, so he stopped going in with them.

    I hate the thought of having to separate her, but it has been amazingly quiet in there since I did. the other three are hanging out. I put a feather duster in with her right by the separator. She's eating a drinking and seems happy...but I am sure she isn't removed from her flock. The thought of having to give her away is heartbreaking...so not going there yet.

    I sent an email to John Metzer to see if I can get some advice from him. Doesn't look like many have had this issue on here judging from the lack of response.....or perhaps I am just being hysterical [​IMG]
     
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I'm sorry, but I think that they are overcrowded and bored. They are old enough that they need an outdoor pen with a swimming area and space to hunt for insects. Their environment is most likely the cause of your problems, and I am afraid that they will escalate. If you remove or rehome the agressive duck most likely another will take her place.
     
  9. Broodica

    Broodica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2010
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    Quote:I won't disagree with you about bored and possibly overcrowded. But I will say that since we separated them, there have been no incidents. I want to get them out as soon as possible....hopefully in a week.

    Had a neighbour come over who I thought only raised chickens, but found out he raises ducks as well. He thinks my problem is I have 2 drakes. The younger ones are impossible to sex, but the first thing he said when we had them out in the sun today was "Do you notice a green sheen on both the older ducklings heads?" I had noticed it for a couple of days now, but thought it was impossible to tell at this age and never said anything. Then my DH and son came out and they both noticed it without any prompting from myself or my neighbour. His theory is that since the older Mallard is physically more mature than the Rouen, that she or he (?) is already making sure it has control of the (hopefully) female younger ones. I'm skeptical....all this happening at 5-6 weeks old?
     

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