Poorly duckie :(

TheDuckWoman

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 22, 2012
54
1
29
Cambridge, England
Hello! This is probably going to be a long one so I apologize in advance! I have to tell the whole story to get to the question so get comfortable
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:

Near my house there's a green and a river with wild ducks on it. Now there are mostly mallards, but there about five Pekins, which were placed there by someone a few years back. These birds came from a farm where they weren't allowed to look after their eggs, so they didn't know how, and pekins are well known for not being very good mothers anyway, so there are A LOT of abandoned eggs on this green. The pekins are pretty tame and there's actually one who let me pick her up and she sat in my lap. One time I was walking my dogs on the green and I noticed a full nest of eggs (I know that the mothers don't sit on the nest until all the eggs are laid) there were at least 10 in there, and they were cold. I sat and observed for about 45 minutes, as I knew that mothers don't leave their eggs for more than 30 mins at a time. I took them home and hatched them. Only two out of the 10 hatched, my babies
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now they have spent every single moment from the day they hatched together, and they are almost a year old so they are very much best friends. And here is where we encounter the four problems:

Their names are Joey and Dougal (Dougal is actually a girl but I sexed her wrong then felt weird calling her a different name so she just stayed Dougal) and Joey is a boy. Problem 1: Recently Joey has become REALLY territorial/aggressive/protective, biting and chasing. I know it's because of it being mating season etc so I can handle it but I just wondered if he is ever going to go back to being my sweet boy again? Problem 2: Dougal is terrified if she is without him for even a second, she literally depends on him and I think it's getting unhealthy. She always looks and sounds really stressed out, her feathers are messy and dirty no matter how much I bath her, her voice is hoarse and she is not the confident duck she used to be. How do I separate them without being cruel? Problem 3: Joey has been mating with her. I recently got some female runners and wondered if he would take either one of them as a mate instead? And problem 4 is linked to problem 3: he is aggressive towards my new (well 4/5 week old) ducklings and goslings and no matter what tricks I use to try and integrate them into the 'flock' he tries to attack. I've been worrying for so long now, getting rid of anyone is NOT an option - I have a responsibility over my pets so I would never get rid, but pleaseeeeeeeee someone help me, I'm not experienced and I have NO idea what to do,
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why can't everyone just be friends?

*edit*
and I completely forgot todays new dilemma: Dougal lay a really flimsy egg today, about half an hour ago. Could she have an illness which is why she looks bedraggled or does she just need more calcium? We haven't been giving her supplements such as oyster shells, just normal duck feed. Is this where I'm going wrong? I feel bad that I could be treating them badly but I honestly put so much work into giving them a good life, anyway thanks x
 
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Amiga

Overrun with Runners
12 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,223
2,869
571
Southern New England
Bless you, you care so much!

Let's see if we can go over the care and maintenance items so you can feel better, and so Dougal can feel better, and Joey behaves better (or at least doesn't make everyone else's life miserable
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)

Here are some ideas and many may not work for you, but I am just going to share my initial thoughts and we can all go from there.

Joey is probably going to settle down after breeding season, but how much and how long it will take are unknown.

Dougal is getting too much "attention" from Joey and that can stress her system and often that affects egg laying. It can get deadly serious if not dealt with.
(don't want to give false optimism, so that you can prevent heartache)

A general rule of thumb is three to six females per drake. Here's another twist: I feel that Pekin boys are too big for Runner girls. I would get two or three more larger females, so that Joey can spread his sexual attentions around. He would still be nearby for Dougal, but she would have a break.

Separating ducks physically can be as simple (or not) as running a dividing fence in the pen. They can see each other, even sleep right next to each other, but no hop on top, or fighting.

Expect Joey to act like a jerk for a while. Protect the others.

I have also had soft-shelled and shell-less eggs. In our case, it was in spite of oyster shell, neoglucan and calcium gluconate supplements. A few of my prolific layers had been laying daily for 14 to 16 months, and what they needed was rest. They finally took a three month hiatus, and when they started laying again, all was well. They were also in much better condition in general.

I do think free choice oyster shell is very helpful for laying ducks, and drakes need to avoid the extra calcium in laying ration or they risk internal organ problems. Ducklings also should not be eating laying ration. So with a mixed flock, oyster shell is a good way to go.

Hope this is a good start.

hugs.gif
welcome-byc.gif
 

TheDuckWoman

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 22, 2012
54
1
29
Cambridge, England
Bless you, you care so much!

Let's see if we can go over the care and maintenance items so you can feel better, and so Dougal can feel better, and Joey behaves better (or at least doesn't make everyone else's life miserable
wink.png
)

Here are some ideas and many may not work for you, but I am just going to share my initial thoughts and we can all go from there.

Joey is probably going to settle down after breeding season, but how much and how long it will take are unknown.

Dougal is getting too much "attention" from Joey and that can stress her system and often that affects egg laying. It can get deadly serious if not dealt with.
(don't want to give false optimism, so that you can prevent heartache)

A general rule of thumb is three to six females per drake. Here's another twist: I feel that Pekin boys are too big for Runner girls. I would get two or three more larger females, so that Joey can spread his sexual attentions around. He would still be nearby for Dougal, but she would have a break.

Separating ducks physically can be as simple (or not) as running a dividing fence in the pen. They can see each other, even sleep right next to each other, but no hop on top, or fighting.

Expect Joey to act like a jerk for a while. Protect the others.

I have also had soft-shelled and shell-less eggs. In our case, it was in spite of oyster shell, neoglucan and calcium gluconate supplements. A few of my prolific layers had been laying daily for 14 to 16 months, and what they needed was rest. They finally took a three month hiatus, and when they started laying again, all was well. They were also in much better condition in general.

I do think free choice oyster shell is very helpful for laying ducks, and drakes need to avoid the extra calcium in laying ration or they risk internal organ problems. Ducklings also should not be eating laying ration. So with a mixed flock, oyster shell is a good way to go.

Hope this is a good start.

hugs.gif
welcome-byc.gif
haha, they're such great animals it's hard not to!

ah, okay - thank for being honest. I'd rather fix things now before it's too late! woot, any excuse to get some new babies is fab, just got to convince everyone else now tehe.

That's a great idea, I can separate them during the day easily enough but there's only one place they can sleep at the moment which is a converted dog kennel, should I just separate them in the day time and then let them sleep together, or would this just continue the problem?

Also during the day should I put Dougal in the run with the babies (the Embden is as big as her now) for company, seeing as she isn't aggressive and it could possibly allow them to bond?

Ah, okay thanks. I'll get some oyster shell asap!

Sorry there are so many questions and thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed answer!
 

Tahai

Songster
8 Years
Dec 18, 2011
474
18
141
North-Central Pennsylvania
Another thought, in addition to Amiga's excellent advice: You say Dougal and Joey are a year old...have they molted yet? In addition to too much attention from Joey, Dougal's feathers and condition may be poor because she is preparing to molt. In some ducks, eggs get softer, and laying patterns begin to be disrupted a few weeks prior to a molt.

Best wishes, Tahai
 

TheDuckWoman

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 22, 2012
54
1
29
Cambridge, England
Another thought, in addition to Amiga's excellent advice: You say Dougal and Joey are a year old...have they molted yet? In addition to too much attention from Joey, Dougal's feathers and condition may be poor because she is preparing to molt. In some ducks, eggs get softer, and laying patterns begin to be disrupted a few weeks prior to a molt.

Best wishes, Tahai
Ah! That must be it because I have noticed more than normal feathers lying around - I feel so inexperienced! Thank you so much!
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
12 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,223
2,869
571
Southern New England
TheDuckWoman,

Sounds like things may be turning around for the better! Yay!

About the nighttime arrangement . . . See if you can get something else set up, because ducks don't sleep through the night, leaving each other alone (at least, my runners don't . . . in the cold seasons they sleep in the walkout basement, so I hear their discussions off and on all through the night).
 

TheDuckWoman

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 22, 2012
54
1
29
Cambridge, England
TheDuckWoman,

Sounds like things may be turning around for the better! Yay!

About the nighttime arrangement . . . See if you can get something else set up, because ducks don't sleep through the night, leaving each other alone (at least, my runners don't . . . in the cold seasons they sleep in the walkout basement, so I hear their discussions off and on all through the night).
Definitely! Brought the two Aylesburys home a couple of hours ago and they've settled in well
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We're also going to be changing the night time arrangements so it's all sorted hopefully! Thank you
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