Tevye - A Really Awesome Duck

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Tevyes Dad, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Tevye is a White Crested we got along with 10 other ducklings.

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    At the time we got him we knew nothing about the plight of the crested ducks[​IMG]. If we knew then what we know now, we probably would not have gotten him, and would have missed out on a VERY cool duck.

    We think he is a German (upright) Pekin. Metzer Farms doesn't specify other than White Crested. He is longer than our Pekin Duck, but has a more slender build and walks every bit as upright as any of our 4 runners. And while his crest makes him really stand out, he would be a great duck without it.[​IMG]

    Tevye takes life at half speed. He can run just fine, and on the very few occasions where he needs to, he can keep up with any of the other birds (except maybe the runners), but he usually chooses to saunter. When we go out with lettuce, he lets the other ducks dash up in a frenzy. He shows up about 10 seconds later having taken his time - the lettuce will still be there.[​IMG] When other ducks go from point A to point B, he looks around checking out the bugs / plants along the way. Always very alert (usually one of the first to spot a bird overhead), but still laid back.[​IMG]

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    One of the things we did know about crested ducks when we got him was that with the sometimes violent mating habits of ducks, crested females would often get severely injured by having drakes grab their crests instead of their necks. This is why he was one of the two drakes we got. The other one was a Rouen (because they are so darn handsome) named Kaine. When they were in teen feathers, Kaine and Tevye used to fight all the time, not too violent, but very frequent. By the time Kaine's green head was fully matured, it was clear that Kaine would lead the flock as the dominant duck and the fighting stopped. We assumed it was because he was stronger and beat Tevye. It turned out that Tevye just wasn't all that hot about running things (we will get there later).

    Tevye marches to a different drummer, that is for sure. We are always trying to figure out if he is the smartest duck in the flock, or the dumbest. We bought a grandpa's feeder where the ducks have to step on a ledge to open the feeder, then they can eat. Shortly after they were eating out of that, Tevye walks up to a dog bowl we have filled with grit. It can just sit out in a dog bowl because it doesn't matter if it gets wet and the squirrels will not eat a lot of grit. He lifts his right leg slowly and purposefully... then he sets his foot down on the edge of the dog bowl.... He stares at the grit for several seconds... [​IMG] I am not sure what he expected to happen, but when nothing did, he turned and wandered off, gazing at a dandelion along the way. We so enjoy his antics.[​IMG]

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    The drakes get a bit older and their thoughts turn to ducks. Kaine runs around the yard like he is on fire. Must hop on every duck every hour of every day. Tevye pairs up with Rhiannon. They actually spend time together walking around, swimming, enjoying each other's company and sometimes they mate. By duck standards, Tevye is even gentle which is good because he probably weighs half again what Rhiannon weighs.

    Finally the time comes that our last two ducklings (about 7 weeks) get introduced to the flock. Kaine is merciless and chases and attacks them repeatedly.[​IMG] We would interfere when it got too brutal, but we figured the ducklings need to learn to stay away from Kaine. They are both runners, so they are faster. Within a couple days, they leaned how to avoid being cornered by Kaine. At this time, we still were taking the duckling girls in at night to stay in their brooder. About 1/3 of the flock was aggressive toward the ducklings. About 1/3, the ducklings were aggressive toward. And the final 1/3 were pretty indifferent. Until about day 4. All of a sudden, the ducklings had found a friend: Tevye.[​IMG] Tevye would go to the ducklings and they would go to him. They would swim together and they would bob heads at each other, and Tevye never tried anything aggressive with them. When they wandered off, Kaine would still try to attack them, but usually he couldn't catch them.

    After the ducklings had been out about a week and a half (we were starting to talk about letting them sleep in the duck house with the big ducks - but were worried about what Kaine would do to them in close quarters), I was outside just enjoying the flock and Kaine caught Mystique and ripped quite a few feathers out of her back and tail before she got away.[​IMG] It happened in seconds, so there wasn't anything I could do to prevent it, and once it was over, I figured Mystique would learn to be more careful (both the ducklings had been getting closer to Kaine as he was reducing his "radius of attack"). A minute later, Tevye (who is generally very quiet), cornered Kaine in one of the gazebos and quacked incessantly at him for over a minute.[​IMG] When he was done, Kaine quacked once then left.

    I called my wife and laughed and told her Tevye gave Kaine a tongue lashing. I figured it was just me putting my human spin on duck actions that probably had nothing to do with what I was thinking. Sat down and watched the ducks a bit more. About a half hour later, Kaine started chasing the ducklings around again. Well, I thought, guess Tevye doesn't have much pull with Kaine. Well it wasn't two minutes later when Tevye cornered Kaine in the same gazebo again. But this time, he kicked the snot out of Kaine. [​IMG] The most spectacular part I caught in these two pictures. He grabbed Kaine deep in the chest feathers and threw him about into the side of the gazebo. Kaine is the flock leader so he didn't back down, but it was clear Tevye bested him effortlessly. Kaine lost quite a few minor feathers in the scuffle, Tevye had one feather on the left side of his neck twisted around backwards.

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    The next day I went out to check on the ducks and the ducklings were running up to Kaine and he was as nice as can be with them [​IMG]and would even swim with them with no funny business.

    Now the ducklings have been sleeping in the big duck house a week (we have a night-vision camera inside so we could make sure they didn't have too rough of a time). Kaine has never laid a bill on them since Tevye straightened him out. For a couple days after the fight, he pecked Tevye in the chest (not too hard) and Tevye did nothing but walk away. He let Kaine save face.

    Now we know what happened those months ago when they stopped fighting and Kaine took over the flock. Tevye told Kaine, "If you want to run the flock go ahead. They give me the same amount of feed if I do nothing but watch the clouds."[​IMG]

    I think Tevye might be the smartest bird in the flock.

    Tevye sure is an awesome duck![​IMG]

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  2. Eluria

    Eluria Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's awesome..thanks for sharing your story! I hope my ducklings have half that much personality.
     
  3. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great story! He is adorable
     
  4. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    I have 13 ducks: all of them have very distinct personalities. Looking at ducks in a pond doing ducky things just can't prepare you for the intimate knowledge of your own individual ducks. I peeked at your duckling post and since your ducklings all look different, I am sure you will find their individual personalities. I think those that have more than 2 ducks that are hard to tell apart by markings (i.e. 15 Pekins) may (not will) miss out on their individual personalities since they will have a hard time telling if 1 duck is in different moods or if multiple ducks behave differently. Even in this case though, there is probably at least 1 that is different enough to stand out. I am sure that as your ducklings develop and interact with each other, you and their surroundings, you will get to know them as they get you know you and you will develop a wonderful relationship with your babies.

    Also, don't get discouraged when around 8 wks, they seem more distant. Before this, you are their mama duck and they will feel safe around you and like to cuddle you. From the time they get their first blood feathers to the time they shed their teenage feathers and get their adult feathers, their instincts tell them to be independent and fear everything. They are like rebellious teenagers and will probably act more distant. Just ride this out and be consistent and once they get their adult feathers in, they will re-learn to trust you, more as a flock member (and food/treat delivery service [​IMG]) instead of mama duck. One of our worst ducks for interaction when it was young (Snow) is now one of the most loving and gentle ducks with us. If we are sitting out in the yard (even without treats) she will come over and nibble at our fingers and clothes and of course shoelaces and let us stroke her bill and face.

    I am sure you will have a wonderful time learning who your ducks are and playing with them.
     
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  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Finally read this excellent post. I have seen some quite sophisticated interactions in the flock. Your observations confirm what I have known. Glad you have shared this so well.
     
  6. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Yup. They are way more complicated than most people give them credit for. I know sometimes I anthropomorphize them, but sometimes that turns out to be what actually happened. Right now though Kaine's hormones went up to 12 (on a 1-10 scale) and he has Tevye cowed. He has been beating up Tevye and Greta (the latter I don't understand since Greta is pro-Kaine and doesn't even like Tevye). This weekend he will be finishing up 3 weeks of isolation (within sight) from the flock. Hopefully he calms down. He is a very good lead drake (and Tevye is a bit of a fop so he really can't fill in for Kaine).
     
  7. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My crested is from Metzer too, and I selected a male becuase I thought they were of the peking variety and I wanted a guard duck and didn't want to worry about infertile eggs if I ever tried to hatch.

    they hatched 3/16 so they are all of 10 days old. Just starting to get glimpses of their personality. The females-- Cayuga, Zola, is an unapologetic fish and the buff, Dawn, is the cuddliest. Star, the black swedish, is probably my smartest and the first to relent to the fact I have food in my hand. The crested, Frodo, is my only known male besides my mystery Welsh Harlequins. He's a bit derpy, marches to the beat of his own drum and never really seems to get what the other ducks are doing. He dosn't like being held, and seems to regard swimming, or running in the (dry) pool, or sleeping or eating as "whatever". I swear he just doesn't care.
     
  8. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Yeah seems maybe those boys are a little different. See how he develops. Ours has personality in spades, but even while our other drake, Kaine, is locked up (cause he is having a case of temporary hormonal insanity), he doesn't really fill in as a drake.

    Pool time: Kaine mates with everyone... twice. Tevye mates with one to three ducks then wanders off and preens.
    Eagle/hawk flying overhead: Kaine sees them and sounds the alarm. Tevye looks at them but doesn't say anything.
    Bed time: Kaine is one of the first ducks in and he stands by the door and "admits" each duck, then blocks the door until it closes. Tevye wanders in with the rest of the ducks and lays down.
    Activity change: Kaine barks some orders and the flock follows him. Tevye sometimes follows the flock sometimes does his own thing.
    Animals outside the fence: Kaine barks the alarm and is the first one there protecting his flock. Tevye stays with the flock when they go to intercept it.

    Now don't get me wrong... Tevye is doing neat things all the time. He just knows watching over the flock is not his job and he doesn't do it. He is smart enough. We have a "Grandfather's Feeder" that you have to step on the plate to open it up. He was one of the first to figure it out once it was fully closed.

    He kind of reminds me of the wolf in: Tex Avery's "Billy Boy"

     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  9. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh yes, I can see that. Just a bit hapless. I am hoping he will be a good guard flock duck...but may have to hope for that in one of the Welch Harlequins
     
  10. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    He may step up fine. Mine grew up with Kaine. Kaine is a type A+++ personality. None of my ducks like to be picked up even though they are calm once they are picked up. Everyone else wanders just out of reach when you try to pick them up. Kaine just looks you in the eye. I feel he is thinking: "I know the out come of this. You are going to pick me up. There is nothing I can do about it. So I am just going to stand my ground, let you do it, and get it over with. I am not afraid of you, but I will let you know I don't like it by staring at you." Then once he is picked up, he will put his bill against my face and stare me in the eye. Even his heart rate doesn't go up. He is a rock. Tevye never had a chance at being the flock leader. So he really hasn't developed the skills. Yours may as the only drake get all those WH's in line (By the way, Tevye's girlfriend Rhiannon is our only WH - She and Roxette our Blue Swedish are the only girls really on team Tevye). None of that will really show until the girls get close to egg laying time and Frodo finds his "special purpose". In the meantime, take him aside and give him some kale to munch on. He will get friendlier.
     

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