Will drakes kill ducklings?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kaumlauf, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. kaumlauf

    kaumlauf Songster

    Nov 2, 2010
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    Our pair of Blue Swede cross have grown up together. She is laying on a large nest of 20 eggs, and moves this nest completely (all the eggs, and the entire nest) a foot or so, every week. Is this normal? It's been about a month. And, my hubby is afraid that our very assertive drake may kill the ducklings when they hatch. So far, his assertive behaviour is limited to pecking our feet that are wearing black or brown shoes, and aggressively mounting the girl when she leaves her nest to join me for a walk, for excersize and then she goes for a swim/preening bath . He does not chase her off the nest to mate, as far as I can tell.
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Its unusual that she is moving the nest. I've never heard of that. Yes, some drakes will kill ducklings. If you are concerned it would be best to either keep a very close eye on them or seperate her and the ducklings or confine the male.

    How long has she been sitting on the nest? They should hatch in 26-29 days from the day she started to set.
    DucksOhio likes this.
  3. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Songster

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    In my experience, it depends on the drake. I had one drake that was very aggressive with ducklings... So he was kept seperate always. My other drake was sweet as could be with ducklings. So I'd play it safe, keep drakes away completely for probly 3 weeks or so, until you are 100% sure that you can trust drake. Good luck.
    DucksOhio likes this.
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I would recommend you keep him away till as a PP said they are a few weeks old. I have two drakes, i separated the duck and her young till they were 2-3wks then they joined the flock, i did not have any issues the drakes wouldn't take mama duck on, she was a bulldog so was the mama before that(we had two nests this past summer)

    Some drakes will kill ducklings something to be cautious of. GL!

    oh the shifting, i have had it a touch but nothing major... usually when the nest has began to be "sat" on the place is settled UNLESS she is feeling insecure about the location?
    DucksOhio likes this.
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    When poultry is bred to remove broodiness, it also removes the fathering instinct in the males. So you end up with some males that are good with babies, some males who can't figure out what to do with babies, some males who kill babies, and some males who are accident prone clumsy doofuses who crush babies because they don't have a clue.

    The safest thing to do is to separate them. Then it doesn't matter if he is a duckling killer or not. He can't kill them if he can't reach them. Or you could take a chance, leave him in, and be prepared to separate the second that he shows any aggression.

    In a breed that had never been selected to remove broodiness, the female would defend those hatchlings and it would be worth the drake's life for him to attack ducklings. But that has been bred out of most ducks. If you take geese, where parenting is considered to be a valuable trait and is actively encouraged and bred for, you don't mess with the goose's hatchlings and the ganders are even more protective and are great care givers. That has been bred out of ducks.
    mklogan likes this.
  6. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Songster

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    Interesting Oregon!!
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've had both, in my hatchery Rouens. Drakes that totally ignored the littles and drakes that aggressively hunted them down and drowned them. I wondered why the momma didn't do more to protect her babies, that's interesting above. I know no one in the chicken coop messes with my bantam cochin's babies or they pay a dear price! and it never occurred to me a hen duck would let her babies get killed. She was distressed but didn't physically try to protect them at all, it was very sad.
  8. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Songster

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    My broody duck moms (2) were both super aggressive acting, biting and hissing me, but I guess when it comes down to it, what are they really going to do?

    Oregon, I'm curious where Khaki Campbells fall on the spectrum. That's the good dad here. Sorry if that is high-jacking.

    I really agree that unless you are okay with just letting the chips fall where they may, and possibly dealing with deaths, then you need to keep all drakes seperate. It will be more work for you, certainly at this time of year, if you get winter like me. What worked for me was having 3 seperate areas 1) the Brooder area, 2) the fenced outdoor pen (with shelters), and 3) the free range yard area. So after a period of time, I think it was at least 2 weeks, mom and babies would get their time to cruise the pen while others free ranged. When the rest of the flock came in, mom and babies went back inside to the brooder area, which is separated by a drop door. Managing that was definitely a 2 person job. Well, me + a kid. That's why I say I would never allow a mom to sit after September 5. Search for flock management with hatchlings. You might find more ideas.
    DucksOhio likes this.
  9. Justabouta Farm

    Justabouta Farm In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2017
    I think my drake killed one of the babies when it was only a day old so I started seperating him just in case. No more deaths. It has been about 3 - 4 months now and I still can’t let him near them. I tried last night in the chicken coop and immediately he attacked a baby. I had a hard time getting him to release it. What should I do? Would like to keep these babies but everyone gets along great but him now? Will he ever change?
    DucksOhio and Lil Drake40 like this.
  10. Lil Drake40

    Lil Drake40 Crowing

    Apr 25, 2018
    Somewhere in the mountains
    What breed? Just asking because once fall gets close hormones aren’t as high and he may chill out more . Do the free range?
    DucksOhio likes this.

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