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Will one drake and one duck work out OK?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kiwichiks, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. kiwichiks

    kiwichiks Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 12, 2015
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    We have been raising our gorgeous ducklings Arlo (Magpie duck who's just turned out to be a female) and Daisy (Welsh Harlequin who's just turned out to be a male) who are now 6 1/2 weeks old. They will be pet ducks that we plan to keep long term for eggs and pleasure. We have a very small yard, but so far they seem extremely content and happy just hanging out in their pool or foraging and sleeping in the garden.

    At the moment they obviously love each other in a 'non-nuptial' way, snuggling together when they sleep and doing everything together (which is to be expected since they've been raised together and are each other's 'flock'). However I've read a few things on this site about 'problem drakes', 'over-mating' and ideal male/female ratios and I'm worried about whether having just one female and one male will work once their hormones kick in. Does anyone have any experience or advice in this area? Pics of our duckies below.

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Orca5094

    Orca5094 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes having just one drake and one duck works out just fine, it all depends on the drake and how aggressive he is during breeding season. It sounds like you are maybe limited on space for more ducks, so for now I would just wait and watch them closely as they get older. If you notice the male obsessively bothering/chasing down your female and she starts losing feathers on the back of her head (from him pulling them out while mating), then you need to get him more females so he doesn't over-breed your one female. Like I said, it all depends on the male. Some of them are perfect gentlemen, but alot of them are rather dastardly during breeding season.
     
  3. PotatoWaffles

    PotatoWaffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed. I started out with a male mallard and female pekin for the first year. They had been living together for a couple years already, and the male was hopelessly devoted to the female. He never hurt her or overbred her. It seemed he knew she was crippled and needed extra care. We added more ducks the next summer, and he treated them like garbage lol. He mated with them but was rough and nippy. But always gentle with his special girl. He protected her from other males, and spent his last night with her inside the duck shed as she passed away. I would never put him with one of the other females just the two of them, but I trusted him with the pekin. It all just depends on the duck. Watch carefully for signs that you may need to intervene, but if all seems well, I wouldn't worry too much.
     
  4. kiwichiks

    kiwichiks Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow, what a gorgeous story - brought a lump to my throat! Thanks so much for the advice - I really appreciate it. I'll wait and see what happens...
     
  5. kiwichiks

    kiwichiks Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 12, 2015
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    Thanks so much - that's really helpful. So far Daisy (our boy) is incredibly calm and quiet. I'm not sure if this is the norm with WH. We only have Arlo (the girl) to compare him to. She's much more 'high maintenance' and has a quack to knock your socks off! Maybe his calmness will continue into adulthood and he'll be one of the 'perfect gentlemen' you mention [​IMG]
     
  6. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can I ask what makes you think the WH is a male? That almost white head and dark bill looks more like a female.
     
  7. balderman72

    balderman72 New Egg

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    Feb 16, 2016
    We had 2 Perkins one of each, they got along great for 9 months, then our drake was attacked and killed by a fox, the female was distraught and very vocal. Cried none stop until we could get another duck. Luckily we found someone looking to home one of their drakes. We now have 5 females in case this happens again.
     
  8. kiwichiks

    kiwichiks Out Of The Brooder

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    That's a really great question, and we're still REALLY hoping we're wrong and that she is a girl after all. The reason we now think that Daisy is a male, is that she doesn't quack at all, but still peeps. And over the last couple of days, the peep has developed a kind of 'huskiness' to it. We're assuming that this huskiness is the beginning of the male rasp. Arlo (the magpie duck, who we thought was a boy, but is now definitely a girl) is exactly the same age and the quack is unmistakeable. She's been quacking loudly for almost 2 weeks now, and we assumed that if Daisy was in fact a girl, she'd be doing the same.

    The reason that we were convinced Daisy was a female to start with, is that we tried sexing her by beak colour when we purchased her at 1-2 days old. Her beak was pinkish, ending in a dark spot, which we understood to be almost definitely female. I've attached a photo of her as a 1-2 day old, so that you can see her beak colour at that point. Then when she was about 4 weeks old (from memory) she started doing little 'accidental' honks in between peeps when she was preening herself, but this has long since stopped. She now also does a kind of whistle/whoop which is very cute.

    I had thought that her colouring looked female too, but then I read that the full colour of Welsh Harlequins doesn't show up until they're a couple of years old. So I'm open to any wisdom on that one! I've attached a couple more recent photos of her/him that I took yesterday.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  9. kiwichiks

    kiwichiks Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh that's so sad! We are in NZ, so no threat from foxes, but instead a stray dog would be the most likely predator (although we don't really see any in this neighbourhood - yet!). Hope your Pekin girl is now blissfully happy again!
     
  10. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're right that the full adult plumage won't come in till about 2 years but you can generally tell by the teenage patterns what you have. It's not odd that she hasn't started quacking at this age. I had one that didn't quack till about 8 weeks. It's also common for young hens to have orange legs that darken as they get older. Drakes have yellow bills not black ones and I'm not seeing any green on the head. I'm still going to say Daisy is female.

    I'd love to see what Daisy looks like after the first molt and with adult plumage. Daisy is already a beautiful duck.
     

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