Topic of the Week - Integrating ducks

sumi

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Duck flocks expand and evolve over time, whether it's via new ducklings hatched and raised, or adult ducks bought, or adopted, they need to be integrated into the existing flock. This week I would like to hear how you all go about adding new ducks to the flock. Specifically ducklings and adult birds.

Also, for those who have chicken flocks and want to add ducks, any tips?

For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
 
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chickens really

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Another great Topic...:frow
This is what works for me integrating Adult Ducks. I do the introduction from a crate first for about 30 minutes and then I let them out together to free range my yard as I sit and watch them meet..I only keep one Drake per breeding flock so this is Hen introduction..It has never been an issue for me...My Drake will chase the new Hen around although it ends quickly..
I introduce Ducklings in look no touch pens. I have a puppy playpen and keep all Ducklings safe behind the fence..Many times Adult Ducks don't like the peeping of Ducklings if they have never raised any. I'll let them out as they get bigger at around 3 weeks to free range with the Hens and keep my Drake locked up. If breeding season is over I let the Drake out also. By the time the Ducklings are 6 weeks they are fully in with the Flock..
Introducing older Ducklings to younger Ducklings is easier. Look no touch pens for a day and then I put them all together to play in a water bowl..By the time the playtime is over they are all friends..
That's what has worked for me....:frow

The introduction of Ducks and Chickens does not apply to me. My Ducks hate my Chickens..I also have Calls and then Huge Chickens..Had a huge Chicken Hen land on my Young Call and injure her neck. I keep Both species separate..
Best wishes with your Ducks ....:wee
 
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Duck Lover88

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I put my ducklings in a pen in the stall that my ducks sleep in at night... and raise them in there... that way the adults can "meet" the duckings and "visit" them as much as they please... and then gradually let them out to play (all of mine free range).... for adults I do almost the same thing I just keep the adults locked up with the new adults (new ones in a different pen of course just so that they can see each other) and then gradually let them get to meet the current residence.
hope y'all can understand all this :D
 

BantyChooks

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This week I would like to hear how you all go about adding new ducks to the flock. Specifically ducklings and adult birds.

Also, for those who have chicken flocks and want to add ducks, any tips?
I have never introduced ducklings to adults, but I did bring in a 4mo Call drake into my flock of adult medium ducks & drakes. That went even smoother than introducing chickens... I just let them see but not touch for a few days, then held the newcomer on my lap and let the existing birds come up and check, and within 5 days they were running together like they'd never been apart.

Actually, I just remembered. I used to take ducklings off my neighbour's pond in summer and return them in fall, once danger of being eaten by snappers had passed. I tossed the ducks in the pond and they joined up with the main flock like they'd known each other for months. No issues.

As for integrating ducks with chickens, that was easy too. Same way as integrating chicks---free range everyone, & gradually let the new critters out for longer and longer. At first I only let three of the nine ducklings out to keep them sticking close by. Within a week they were all out. To be fair, I do have a very tolerant chook flock---I am pretty sure they just sigh and roll their beady little eyes whenever momma throws yet another new bird in with them.
 

GldnValleyHens

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:popGreat topic! I couldn't join the last one because I don't have any geese.
I will be watching this topic because any helpful tips on adding my future ducklings to my existing flock will be helpful. My chickens and Call ducks get along nicely, but most of the issues that come up are the ducks' fault.
The drakes are especially aggressive and will nip and lunge at the hens to get them to move away, and when the chickens try to drink from the pool that the ducks are swimming in, they will rush at the chickens, shaking their heads. All that wonderful water belongs to them, and they have the only right to drink it apparently.

They also attacked my baby chicks last year, didn't like them at all. I think its funny when those little ducks are being snotty to my chickens, but they probably could injure or kill a young chick if they were allowed to. They show their anger by vibrating their heads ( only way I can describe it) and knock the chick down with their bills. They don't take any crap from the cats either!
 

HannahDuckLover

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One important thing to keep in mind when introducing new ducks is the possibility of them carrying diseases. It's recommended to quarantine new ducks for about a week, if I remember right, before allowing them to be in contact with your flock. I don't have the facilities to do this, but I would if I could. However, fortunately, I've never had a problem with immediate introduction.

ADULT DUCKS

Recently I bought two adult Muscovy drakes (Eli and Edward). I kept them in the ducks' main night pen for two days so they'd know where "home" was before letting them free range with the flock. They got along fine with the other ducks, except for staying far away from the drake, who is bigger than they are.

When I let them out to free range for the first time, they followed the other ducks and stayed with them all day long, and were pretty easy to get back in the pen in the evening. All was well. Eli and Edward each quickly picked their favorite girlfriends, and Eli has also become fast friends with one of our other drakes, Captain. Captain's much bigger and stronger than he is, but they make great friends and are often napping or foraging peacefully together.

What really interested me was how they learned, either through observation or through conversation, from the existing ducks. One the first day free ranging, three of the girls gave Eli and Edward a tour around the property. Within ten minutes, the girls had led them to every major destination on our property - the pond, the best preening perches, the shadiest napping spots, the greenest foraging areas, etc. It took our existing flock a YEAR to explore the entire property, when we first got them. And the new drakes never had to learn to go in their pen at evening. They immediately knew it, from watching the other ducks. Our geese, on the other hand, which we bought with the two drakes, did not "talk" with the ducks, and thus only recently have fully learned to put themselves to bed. We've had them for almost four months.

DUCKLINGS

I have introduced ducklings less than a week old to the rest of the flock, but only if the mother was with them. A while back I also bought several ducklings that were about a month old, and introduced them to the flock immediately. Some of the adult ducks pecked them when they got too close, but they did fine on their own.

I would never introduce motherless ducklings to adults until they were capable of being at least relatively independent, for their safety.

GEESE

Introducing geese to a flock of ducks, by the way, went a little different, for us at least. The proud geese think they're the mightiest, most powerful creatures on the planet (Gideon parades around all day with his head stuck in the air screaming his head off and announcing to the world, "I MIGHTY GOOSE. I MUCH MIGHTY GOOSE." They're hilarious.) And they have a VERY big personal space bubble that they keep the lowly, wimpy ducks CLEAR out of. The ducks still get chased or attacked every time they don't notice that they're near a goose. Broody ducks have it the worst, because they refuse to move. Isabelle grabbed a broody duck by the tail and dragged her out of the nest and about fifteen feet through the yard. Geese can be mean little beasts!

Does anyone have geese that actually get along with their ducks or chickens?

Sorry this was so long. I like to ramble.
 

Henrik Petersson

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I think this is yet another issue where muscovy ducks differ from common ducks.

I've heard that with muscovy ducks, you can pretty much just chuck the newcomers in. Scovies are notoriously accepting of new recruits.

I have some experience with this: We gave away four scovie ducklings, thinking they were one drake and three hens, and several weeks later, it turned out they were four drakes, and we took them back. When our flock met the four male teenagers, they all just bobbed their heads and vocalized a little, and all was fine.

However, I've also read that two fully grown scovie drakes will fight like mad. So maybe this legendary scovie hospitality is limited to young ones and females.
 

Miss Lydia

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My Muscovies are tolerant of new comers unless it's another drake. I have never had Muscovy drakes be able to live together in harmony and they have a pretty good area to keep out of each others way. Even my Muscovy drakes and my gander get into fights first my gander starts them because he gets hormonal before my scovy drake does then my scovy drake gets hormonal about 2 months later and he is the dominant one. As long as one keeps the other out of his personal space things go okay but my Muscovy drake isn't very tolerant of my gander being there period. lol but this has been going on for almost 11 yrs with my gander having first my oldest drake and him going at it and after he passed at almost 12 yrs old his son now picked up the gauntlet. So Samson the gander isn't new to having to live with a Muscovy drake. They could never live in the same house from Late Jan to late Oct. My geese have their own house.
My geese are very tolerant of the chickens that they forage with. My Runners and Buffs who the Muscovy females hatched here almost 2 yrs ago have blended in so well no one really pays them much mind at all. They stick in their own lil group of 6 females and 1 Runner drake.

The only problem with having chickens and other poultry and with me it's the Muscovy's that give the chickens grief. Nothing serious but the Muscovy females like to grab hold of a chicken if she gets to close and hold on for dear life and make the chicken scream like she is being killed. Nothing to the point that feathers are being pulled out they just like to hold on. It's quite comical.

Ducklings only hatch here with a mama so they get intergraded into the flock pretty easily I do keep them on one side of the fence with mom for anywhere from 2-3 weeks so everyone can meet the newbies with out getting picked on.


I did have one incident where my tiny Cochin frizzle hen decided she was going to stand up to my gander once well he picked her up and she landed in the pool which would have been a death sentence for her if I hadn't gotten her out. She never stood up to him again. And he has never done anything like that since.
 

HannahDuckLover

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I think this is yet another issue where muscovy ducks differ from common ducks.

I've heard that with muscovy ducks, you can pretty much just chuck the newcomers in. Scovies are notoriously accepting of new recruits.

I have some experience with this: We gave away four scovie ducklings, thinking they were one drake and three hens, and several weeks later, it turned out they were four drakes, and we took them back. When our flock met the four male teenagers, they all just bobbed their heads and vocalized a little, and all was fine.

However, I've also read that two fully grown scovie drakes will fight like mad. So maybe this legendary scovie hospitality is limited to young ones and females.
Interesting. I had no idea. I'll be getting other breeds of ducks sometime this year, so I'll have to keep that in mind.

My experience with multiple drakes has been good. I currently have five. They get along great. Fights happen, but they're rare. They'll have small arguments often, but usually nothing major. They ARE quite territorial about their night pens, which are relatively small. I have three drakes in one pen and two in the other. If I ever get a drake in the wrong pen, a major fight will start. But every morning when I let them out to free range, the three top drakes will excitedly run off together into their "man cave" talking happily. King and BB often spend the day together, and Captain and Eli are often together. Edward's a loner.

Edward and Eli were much smaller than our other three drakes, so they had no choice but to be on the bottom. So introducing them, as adults, to other adult drakes, went fine.

All the ducks fear the geese, even the drakes. I don't think they'll start any fights with the ganders anytime soon.
 

Miss Lydia

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It is nice your scovy drakes live together so peacefully boy mine never did and I wonder if it was because my very first Muscovy drake came from the wild? He belonged to someone but escaped to the river. Him and my gander who hatched 3 yrs after I brought home my drake from the river never got along once the gander grew up[he was hatched here] Then I have had as many as 4 Muscovy drakes and could not keep any of them together I had to have them separated into different parts of the half acre and they had to sleep in stalls alone at night. Their females all stayed together. They would fight till one of both would be bloody. Even if I stood and waited till one got the best of the other they would go back to fighting again the next day. I don't think I will ever keep more than one Muscovy drake at a time. My Muscovy drake pays no mind at all to my Runner drake I know I've said this many times on BYC but I don't think he looks at Snoop as a drake or a threat since he isn't shaped like a Muscovy. :idunno
 
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