Separating drakes from ducks in coop at night?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Cred, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Cred

    Cred Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 6 8-month old ducks, 1 Cayuga drake and 2 hens and 1 Welsh Harlequin drake and 2 hens. I'm aware of the recommended 1 drake to 3 or more hens but we lost 2 hens to predators in early summer.
    I watch them carefully to make sure this 1:2 ratio remains civil and from what I had observed had been working well. And I wondered if free ranging helped as the females have space to get away from the males.
    However, within the last week I've been finding many feathers in the coop when I let them out in the morning. I'm concerned that the males are being too agressive while they're confined and the females can't get away. This morning I noticed my one female welshie looked rather disheveled and am now worried about her.
    Since its winter and we live Ontario, days are well below freezing so I had been leaving them in the coop until 10am once they were just finished laying- so they would lay indoors and I could get them right away before the eggs froze.
    Some of my questions are, is this happening because:
    - the coop doesn't allow the females to get away from the drake and they should be separated overnight?
    -is it that leaving them in the coop until 10am is too long? And they might fare better if I let them out earlier?
    -is that it is just now becoming a problem because they are getting older and more aggressive and thus need to be separated from the ducks while locked in the coop?

    And as a final question, how do you separate and herd your ducks and drakes in at night when they've been mixing during the day?
     
  2. DemonicFowl

    DemonicFowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Describe the coop and free range set up. Is your yard fenced up? Does your coop have a pen area? Size/ventilation of coop. Perhaps a picture.

    broody ducks can also be aggressive to other ducks. Really aggressive, one of my muscovys draws blood.

    If you don't have a pen I recommend building one to your coop. Even if they are free ranged and if your ducks need more space from each other until you let them out again. It also allows them to sleep outside, forage at night or early mornings while being protected. It doesn't have to be huge, mine is 8x8ish for 4 ducks(with top mesh).
     
  3. Cred

    Cred Out Of The Brooder

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    Our coop is a converted garden shed about 8x10 with duck door. They have been free ranging, on our acre without fencing and have access to their coop at any time. However, I made a makeshift run, late fall, when we experienced some wandering too near the road for my comfort. We had an exceptionally warm December and their foraging was taking them toward the road (I wondered if they were seeking further because they possibly had foraged all there was within their normal range- but that's just a guess, since for six months they had free reign and hadn't gone that far before)
    The makeshift run is just to keep them safe from the road but is not predator proof so at this point they must be secured in their pen at night. Now that we have a considerable amount of snow, they don't venture far from the coop so I don't lock them up inside this run during the day. They are free to roam and we just close them in the coop at dusk.
    My intention is to build them a proper run in the spring that will protect them from predators for times that we aren't home and won't be back to secure them in the coop before dusk.
    I can't rule out broody ducks being the aggressors because I haven't seen for myself. However, they don't sit in their nests, there are no eggs and they haven't laid for about a week and a half. They had just reached sexual maturity in the fall and one started to lay in October and a second about 6 wkds later. Since then, the last two ducks have not started to lay and gradually the others slowed down until I'm not longer getting any eggs. Shorter days wreaked havoc before the others got started. Since they're won't be a year until May, I doubt they're getting broody. It's my understanding that they will get broody once their older.
    Thanks for your reply, I do plan to build a good run, I just wonder how to keep my girls safe until spring when I can build it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I made stalls inside my duck house so my females actually have their own bedrooms. They love having their own space and use them also for egg laying and brooding. I can show pics if you like. Ir you could separate your duck house down the middle put drakes on one side ducks on the other for the night so the girls have a bit of rest. Keep you flock safe this time of year predators are really hungry I just read of 2 members who lost their ducks in the last few days to a predator. We have even had coyotes coming down around our home.

    @Cred Welcome to BYC
     
  5. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We've been really lucky so far and our drake appears to be a kind spouse to his girls. Nobodys getting too beat up. It's been rather like watching tugboats trying to breed. I DID notice we had more feathers around on the ground than usual - some chicken (no roos) some duck. I was wondering if we had a spring molt coming up. Not looking forward to cleaning that up.
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    He's def a keeper then. Some ducks do spring molt so you maybe seeing that. My Muscovy's go through their big molt in fall then seem to have small ones off an on through the rest of the year.
     
  7. Cred

    Cred Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, Miss Lydia. I would love to see photos of your duck stalls. I will definitely at least divide the coop in half but would like to see your setup, perhaps I can do the same in our coop.
    And thanks for the predator warning- we lost 2 girls to racoons in the spring and while we haven't seen evidence of predators since, I will forever be vigilant. Our coop is quite secure, our loss was first due to a huge mistake on my part and the second by underestimating how wiley a raccoon can be.
    I am also interested in how others segregate their drakes- is it possible to herd them into their own side or must they be picked up to do so? My ducks aren't hand tame and keep their distance from us. My concern would be how stressful it would be for them (and me) to corner them and pick them up everyday, or would they get accustomed to the routine.
     
  8. Cred

    Cred Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 31, 2015
    I did wonder about molting but didn't think it was likely since it's well below freezing this time of year. And I had been finding just welsh harlequin feathers since this has started and more of their longest feathers- which is unlike what they lose on a normal basis from preening and such. This morning though, I did notice Cayuga feathers mostly and just a couple welshie's.
     
  9. Cred

    Cred Out Of The Brooder

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    How old are your ducks? Mine are still pretty clumsy while mating and not sure if they've ever hit their mark:p. Duck fornication never looks good from a female perspective but my drakes never seemed over aggressive either. I don't even know that this is the cause of all the feathers I find. Just wondering if as they mature that they may be getting more aggressive, coupled with the overnight quarters not allowing the females to keep a distance from the drakes.
     
  10. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They're a year in February :) laying daily for about two months. Blue Swedish

    I was hanging out in the yard washing out the pool yesterday and my male neighbor popped by just in time to witness ducky love. Hmmm. That's awkward... lol. They have um.. coordinated parts. It's rather like a cooked spiral pasta noodle and it just curls around where it needs to go - even if by how badly balanced they look like theres just no way. I got a revealing glimpse and kind of had a mental note moment myself, cause I was kind of wondering as well whether the waddlefats were just making this an exercise in drowning each other. He seems to have figured it out, but the act isn't really "forcible" if you know what I mean. They do this whole dance thing before hand, he courts them, they bob at each other, shiver neck feathers, swim in circles and then the girls flatten out for him and he tries to huft his duckyfat up on top of them. Then after the act he does a victory lap around the yard WAAAAK-wak-wak-wak just so everybody knows he's a boss and jumps back in the pond. Because it's too cold for them to sit still (regularly dropping below 40) in my cold intolerant perception, I've actually not been changing the water as much cause they only seem to want to get it on in the pool.

    Adorable - in the most demented way possible. He's pretty mellow, but the girls are also every bit as big as he is. Maybe same breed they flirt in the same language so everybody's "on board" before hand... lol? *Aaaaalouete Gentile Alouette...*

    The girls follow our drake around like he's Gods gift to duck hens. They adore him like he's Elvis, follow a few steps behind him...
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016

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