Warring Duck Factions-Advice Wanted

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by AtropineCaffein, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. AtropineCaffein

    AtropineCaffein Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 13, 2014
    Northern Alabama
    Hello All...any advice welcome. Sorry this is long--much like international politics, this is complicated.

    Last spring we bought a group of ducklings. We were too male-heavy, so we bought a second group of all female ducklings a couple months later. We also got rid of three males. We lost three females: two to predation (including a coyote who took one in broad daylight by the house) and one to injury sustained in mating (my only blue egg layer :/).

    These two groups, Elder and Younger, broke into two factions (started by the males we got rid of, but never re-coalesced once the males were gone):

    Dominant Faction (DF): consists of two males and three females (all from the Elder group)

    Secondary Faction (SF): Consists of one male and 10 females (one Elder male, two Elder females, and all the younger group)

    To say they don't get along is an understatement. They only tolerate each other at night when they sleep in the pond together. Other than that, they maintain a distance with semi frequent coups. The SF male tries to mate with the DF females, the DF males chase off even the females of the SF, rarely tries to mate with the SF females, the females of the DF try to run off the SF females when I am out there with scratch, etc, etc.

    Basically they don't get along.

    Now, just to make things interesting, two young muscovies (either dumped or flew) arrived here a couple days ago and seem to be making themselves to home. They are very sweet and are trying to bond with the other ducks, but neither faction will have them. I am not sure if they are male or female. They are not making noise, and I can't find if muscovy drakes have drake feathers or not. They now have stopped trying to hang out with the other factions and are just hanging out by themselves. One of the females of the DF, named Donna, is now PO'd at me for feeding the muscovies and will come up and try to get between them and me, will charge me if I start walking to the muscovies, etc. She is happy enough, though, if I sit down just to give the DF or even the SF scratch.

    Even more interesting: Two broody ducks, one from each faction, are sitting on nests. One of them I think might actually hatch hers out.

    Plus I have twelve eggs in the incubator that will be hatching in the next week or so.

    I have enough land for the ducks. I feel sorry for the muscovies who seem bewildered. Not sure what will happen to the ducklings that hatch out of the broody moms or the ones I will hatch out in the incubator--which group will they go to?

    Is there any way to bring peace to our little pond? If I thought getting rid of more drakes would help, I would consider it, but we only have three left (of course, we might have drakes with the hatches). Plus I think the females of each group hate each other now.

    Any advice? Any experience with warring duck factions? I thought ducks were supposed to get along :/
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Much of the time they do get along. But I maintain a small group of three - a drake and two ducks - because (it's complicated) in essence, he has a fixation with another duck, and the rest of the ducks get really upset when he hops on her. It's a whole saga - but long story short, I have a group of all girls and a small trio.

    That said, sometimes you can split the groups up to change the dynamic. But it sounds like their night accommodation is a pond.... and that does not lend itself to flock dynamic engineering.
  3. Cut back on the Drakes...
    The drakes are your problem. We keep our Drakes to a limit.
    In breeding pens its one Drake too three hens. Even then it gets a bit crazy during breeding season.
    Sadly my little Drakes are off too auction the end of summer or on the table??
  4. LeviS

    LeviS Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2012
    North Dakota
    I think the amount of drakes you have seems reasonable for 13 hens, could maybe do with one less though.

    How big is this pond, just out of curiosity? The only time I've seen my own ducks not get along, is when water is involved. They are just obsessed with the stuff and jealously guard it.
  5. Also if you have broody hens they are grumpy. You have hormones running high at your place.
    Typically Ducks do get along....
  6. AtropineCaffein

    AtropineCaffein Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 13, 2014
    Northern Alabama
    Thanks all. The factions started before the hens were broody. I think it was too many drakes at the time who divided the flock. I got rid of all but three drakes. I don't want to go too much lower as we have had a predator problem and I want to make sure at least one drake makes it. We will see if I get drakes with the hatches :). Maybe then I can cull the one drake from the younger crowd amd the ducks might reincorporate?

    The new muscovies are settling in well. Still sort of in their own world but drift from group to group. We found they flew in from a neighbor's yard. They are both girls apparently :)

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