Why drakes and biddies don't mix

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by The Yakima Kid, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    Every year people decide that it is just too cute to keep the ducks and the chickens together, including the drake. And every year someone is broken hearted because a poor biddy died in agony after a drake attempted to mate with her.

    Here are the basics:

    Chickens do not have a penis; they perform what is known as the cloacal kiss in order to mate.

    Ducks have penises; some ducks have very large genitalia. Researchers have found that the more prone a waterfowl species is to forced copulation, the larger the penis. Google the subject for more information.

    In short, the drake has a very rapid, high-powered erection and a corkscrew member; the female has a reverse corkscrew orifice, complete with blind pouches to misdirect a male who is forcing her to mate with him; these defenses meant that 3% or fewer water fowl eggs are fertilized by forced copulation. When she wishes to mate, she simply relaxes, and things go into the right places; if she is tense and struggling, her natural defenses make successful fertilization very tricky.

    Biddy doesn't have these defenses, and her body is not evolved to accommodate a large male member. Biddy can be ruptured internally by a randy drake, and can die in horrible pain from a slow infection.

    Biddy suffers far more than a broken heart in these situations.
     
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  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Never heard a chook called a biddy before, but hopefully people get the gist of it, lol.

    I agree, except of course there is always the exception to the rule, those flocks where the drakes don't stray from the ducks.

    Always a risk keeping mixed species, but so many aspects of keeping animals are always a risk anyway even if you don't mix species. For example the not uncommon case of drakes killing ducklings the same way. Most of them should be a good father to their own offspring with their mate/s, but you never know until you find out, and the only way to find out is to risk lives. I've had a few good males turn bad without warning too, you can never guarantee an animal 100%.

    Definitely a good primer for newbies wondering why drakes and hens should not be mixed. Too many threads on this forum about hens or other animals dying after the drakes took to them, too many threads with people asking if their lonely pet drake should have a hen for company...

    Best wishes.
     
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  3. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay, now you are scaring me.
    I have a mixed duck-chicken flock. They get along just fine, but I guess it is a possibility.
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Many perhaps most drakes don't try to mate hens. In my experience it is most common with hen fostered drakes or drakes raised in conjunction with chicks as ducklings.
     
  5. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    My ducks and chickens have always been together. Now that they have grown, they are indifferent. The drakes have their own hens.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Agree with sourland, that's definitely true. Avoiding cross species imprinting is very important for things like that.

    I reared turkey chicks under hens for a few generations before cross species imprinting really took, and then without warning I had a tom turkey that had never shown interest in chicken hens suddenly trying to mate bantam hens. It literally showed up out of the blue and if I hadn't been present he'd have killed the hen, and from that point on I had to separate him. The same thing you hear repeated in threads about drakes and hens. 'All of a sudden'...

    Definitely something to keep an eye on, just in case. It might be okay, for a lot of people it is okay, but if it stops being okay, it's often sudden and the damage irrevocable.

    Best wishes.
     
  7. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    It seems all too common with all drakes in my experience. There are other reasons, related to disease, particularly problems associated with dampness that is bad for biddies, that biddies and ducks should not be kept together. But the hen killed by the rapist duck is one that a lot of people don't consider, until afterwards when they are very sad, and it is too late for poor biddy.
     
  8. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

     
  9. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am not arguing, it is entirely possible. I will keep it in mind, but currently I have no signs of issues.
     

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