Will it be possible to make our duck realize he is not a chicken? Ideas please!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by UrbanFarmerGirl, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. UrbanFarmerGirl

    UrbanFarmerGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    Western Washington
    We had a broody hen hatch a friend's duck eggs last year. We have one mail duck who stayed with the chickens and has lived as part of the flick for the past year. Roosts with them at night, flicks with them during the day, shares food, etc. the chickens view him as part of the flock too. His name is Chuck. Now that spring is here he has been trying to mount the chickens. He is considerably bigger than they are, and is very rough. Many people have told me that the chickens will peck him or get away but our two most gentle chickens didn't and they were getting a lot of abuse. I penned him in his own pen to stop it, and he became extremely distressed, as did a few of the chickens. We recently got a female duck of about the same age and put her in with him, and put a visual barrier between the ducks and the chickens. She is interested in him, but he is distressed and confused, and when he hears the chickens or catches sight of them he starts pacing the fence and tries to reunite with them. He has been with the girl duck for three days with no change in behavior. Today he escaped and immediately mounted two chickens. Foes anyone have any ideas about solving this problem? Any experience with this? We would like to keep him and dont plan to eat him, but i worry about the sfety of the chickens and, as dumb as this may sound, the mental health of the duck. At some point will he realize he is a duck?
     
  2. Megan Amber

    Megan Amber Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2013
    Unfortunately no ideas but this let's me know not keep trying to get my chicken to hatch my duck eggs. So in a morbid kinda way, thanks for finding that out. Does he scratch the ground like a chicken does?lol. I will think about ways to treat this.
     
  3. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Your duck has imprinted on the chickens. He thinks he's a chicken and I don't think there is anything you can do to convince him otherwise. Google imprinting to see what I mean.

    Do you remember a few years ago when that man stayed with the whooping crane during the breeding season and danced with her in a mating ritual so she would lay eggs? As far as she was concerned that man was her mate. She had imprinted on people and she would not mate with the male whooping cranes. She was artificially inseminated so her eggs would be fertile. That man danced with her every year.
     
  4. Dutchgirl

    Dutchgirl Not Dutch!

    Apr 1, 2008
    U.S.A.
    Our drake, Piper, was raised by a chicken and was also confused for a while. When he was a "teenager" he joined our gang of guineas. Then, when he got older, he finally realized he was a duck and started hanging out with our duck hen, Duck.

    Since then, he has definitely had some crushes -- for months I would often see him chasing one hen in particular around all the time. I think he's lost that, though. (But to be perfectly honest with you, I have quite the hunch that he was the one who drowned one of our favorite hens while we were on vacation.)

    Because your drake had no ducks around when he reached maturity, I'm not surprised he decided he likes chickens. He'll want to return to his flock, as would most birds. I would remove him from sight of the chickens. Also, Piper only mates Duck in the water. I would put in some kind of water tub with them, if there's nothing already.
     
  5. UrbanFarmerGirl

    UrbanFarmerGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    Western Washington
    Your experience gives me hope! Thank you! I made a visual barrier between his pen and the chickens but I think I will make it go all of the way aroun his fence so that he will focus less on the idea of getting out to the other side, and maybe look around and notice the other duck. we did give them a pool, and they've been using it separately, so I'll hope that will help as well. I read another forum post where someone had a duck that had imprinted on the dog and thought that it was a dog. That person said when they have that drake a female fick he ignored it and acted like a dog for about two weeks, and then one day he snapped out of it. Habit and routine are so important to fowl- I am thinking that patience and time will be important in changing his behavior.
     

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