Thinking ahead for next year - adding a drake - pros and cons?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Amiga, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,984
    1,959
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Hello, duck stewards!

    It is looking like we have an all-girl flock. That is what I wanted this first year.

    I am happy enough the way things are.

    However, I do wonder if it might be good to introduce one drake and have fertile eggs to sell. There are a number of pros and cons that I have thought of, and decided to present this idea to see what you all think I might be up against, worse case, best case, typical case.

    For example, we have a nice energy with the flock now. Everyone is sweet and gentle. No one harasses anyone. Peace. Harmony. Introducing another duck of either sex could ruin that, I think. But there are eleven females, so one drake might be just fine. Some drakes, however, are quite aggressive and can pick on one or two females, harming them. I would need to learn an entire new set of skills related to breeding (nutrition, management, incubation, shipping, genetics).

    and so on.

    Other perspectives appreciated!
     
  2. Goat_Walker

    Goat_Walker I Am THE Crazy Duck Lady

    4,887
    10
    231
    Jul 9, 2008
    Maryland
    I have 11 hens and three drakes. I have fights and chases multiple times during the day. I would suggest getting an OLDER drake. Like a 2-4 y/o . My 14 y/o drake is a SWEETHEART and a gentleman! But my two younge drakes from my november hatch harass my hens ALL DAY. They chase them around the yard and when i se it i go over and get between the two so my poor girls can have a breather. Monty - my old geezer - will often chase the two young drakes away from his girls but sometimes he cant get there in time.


    So on the one hand - you will have fertile eggs and cute little babies
    On the other - you might have a drake that chases your hens around the yard and is a harasser.

    But if you get just one drake, i think your biggest problem withh be the hens putting him in his place till they accept him as their man, lol. But I do suggest trying to find at least a two year old drake. His hormones wont be so wild and your hens will be happier.

    Like I said - my old geezer is the seetest guy ever. He goes and sits on the eggs my hens have just laid, as if congradulating them, he will sit inthe front of their nesting houses and keep them company when they brood.

    God lick!
     
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,703
    44
    228
    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    There is a lot to think about. It comes down to whether you want an easy, peaceful flock to look at and enjoy, or if you want a slightly greater challenge with potentially higher rewards.

    If you want to sell fertile eggs, you'll need a couple of drakes to service that many hens. One won't be able to keep up with that large a number. If you plan to sell them for hatching, you'll either have to start hatching yourself so you can guarantee hatchability, or you can offer your first couple of batches at a reduced or free price to someone willing to test the fertility/hatchability for you. They'll need to be willing to keep accurate records and also you'll want someone with some experience so you can be sure their data is accurate.

    I don't have any problems with the drakes in my flock, but I have in the past.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,984
    1,959
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Thanks Goat_Walker and iamcuriositycat, for confirming some of the things that one doesn't know until the drake arrives, and for your suggestions. This is why I want to wait until at least next year. The ducks will be a year older (they are not quite seventeen weeks old yet), their bodies more mature, and I will be more experienced in their care.

    Could anyone write about whether finding a good drake is difficult or reasonably easy? I often read of people with too many drakes, needing to rehome them. If I were, next year or later, to seriously consider a drake, I would want a runner, perhaps a chocolate (if I recall, breeding a chocolate drake to a black runner gives sex-linked offspring . . . or do I have that backward?)
     
  5. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,281
    10
    191
    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    I would think getting a drake would be fairly easy. Many people hatch eggs or buy ducklings, and when they find out they have too many drakes, and they would happily give them away. I have two, two year old rouen/buff crosses that I would happily give away or sell. I love them , but I have way too many drakes(they fight a LOT) and I don't want to breed my mixes. So it might be harder to find a good quality breeding drake w/out behavior issues, but definatly not too hard. [​IMG]
     
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    11,199
    44
    311
    Oct 2, 2008
    Colorado
    I have always had a drake except for a few short periods of time. During those drakeless periods, it never failed that one of the girls would decide they were the boss of everybody and get all pushy. A sweet-natured gentle drake IS a good addition to the flock, but you may have to sell or trade a few away to get a good one.
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,984
    1,959
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Wifezilla, thanks.

    For now, we have a good bunch with a couple of early adopters, a couple of explorers, and no one who seems to want to be the boss of anybody. From what I have read, this is not always the case. Thanks for pointing out that the search for a good drake may involve some duck trading.
     
  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,703
    44
    228
    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I agree with Wifezilla. I wouldn't think finding a good drake would be hard. I have two VERY NICE Holderread blue Runners right now that I'd part with pretty easily (but not for free--I've given away drakes before, but these are GORGEOUS and will make someone a very good flock sire). Of course, I'm nowhere near you, but I'd be surprised if someone in your area doesn't have drakes to part with, even good ones. However, you may have to adopt a few to figure out which ones have the mild nature you want, and you'll have to give them time to settle in and sort out the pecking order before you make any decisions. So it can be an involved process, but I haven't had much trouble. Ducks are in general very peaceful animals, and it probably won't be as difficult as you expect. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by