Two Cliques of Muscovy Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by karchworld, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. karchworld

    karchworld Just Hatched

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    Before I begin, I want to let you know that we have only been raising Muscovy ducks for the past 3 months, so we have a lot to learn and is why I am writing y’all now for expert advice. Now for a little background.

    We started originally with four adults (1 drake and 3 hens) which are least a year old as they all have full caruncle on their faces. A few weeks later, we added five more ducklings (which grew into 3 drakes and 2 hens), which we raised separately until when they appeared to be fully grown. The ducklings were not added to the other four until we guessed they were big enough not to be hurt by the adults.
    We free range the ducks during the day and house them all together at night in a large horse stall to protect them from coyotes and such.
    My question is, ever since we introduced them to the adults, they always seemed to be like two separate flocks; the original adults and the young adults. They hang out separately in the pastures, which is fine I suppose, but when I coop them up at night, the older adults are really mean to the younger ones.


    Both drakes and hens, the older ducks chase them around, nip at them, and it is not until I turn the lights out that they calm down. The younger ones don’t fight back and I would chalk it up to just them figuring out the pecking order, but everyone by now should have determined who’s in charge and who’s not. The sex of the ducks seems to be no factor in the harassment. It’s like one gang is beating on another
    Is this normal? Any thoughts on this? It is starting to become unsettling to us. Should we be concerned? Are we doing something wrong?
     
  2. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi and welcome to the wonderful world of Muscovy raising. [​IMG]

    What you describe doesn't raise any red flags for me, and I have a flock of just under 30 Muscovies of various ages, including an original adult group. Each time the ducklings have been integrated into the coop with the adults (and the older juveniles), there has been some bullying and, to a more limited extent, it continues today. By bullying, I mean "grabbing" at feathers or pushing/poking at each other with bills, and running around in the coop. While I was initially concerned, too, similar behavior occurs when I do a chicken integration...they all seem to work their pecking order issues out without any real harm done (though the chickens are much harsher on each other). It is difficult to witness - I would take measures if anyone was actually harmed, but none of my 'scovies has suffered anything more serious than a few pulled feathers.

    I think that, over time, you'll see the "hazing" lessen...but it may take several more months, or even longer. They may still hang out in their own groups during the day - I have subgroups within my flock, and I sometimes see the original adult group foraging away from the others, but everyone generally gets along.

    Tagging another Muscovy keeper, @Miss Lydia , for input. I hope your 'scovies all settle down soon and that the coop environment becomes more peaceful for everyone.
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    @karchworld Welcome to BYC

    I actually see it more with my females since I only have 1 Muscovy drake now. When I had 4 the drakes all had their own sleeping quarters separate from each other and the females. Now my females tend to rule the roost so to speak and there has been some stressful situations where my oldest duck was going after a younger one every evening when I put them up. So the one being picked on was having to be closed in a stall by herself. Now she roosts up on a 2X4 with the chickens and the older leaves her alone. . That maybe be something to consider putting up roosting boards I use 2x 4 so they can have their whole feet laying on the board. No fear of frost bite that way. I only have 3 that will roost the others sleep in the shavings. I think what your seeing is very typical of this breed. I have had Muscovy since 2004 and they have always had squabbles. Mainly the females just having small cat fights now the boys can really get into it. Hopefully since no one has been hurt they will settle down soon. But pretty soon breeding season will start up that can create it's own set of troubles. lol
     
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Normal.
    If the existing are meanies to towards the new until the lights are off, put them in their stall and don't even have a light on. They will eventually be fine at night.

    I find my "batches" will hang out at times, but they prefer to hang with their own batch. And as time goes on, they blend more, but they still really do like to be in their original group.
    Not sure if this would be an issue when raising larger numbers together, but when raising small numbers, it seems they really do flock together and like to stay that way.
     
  5. karchworld

    karchworld Just Hatched

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    Oct 27, 2016
    Thank you all for this reality check. I appreciate it and it makes me feel a lot better.
     
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