Hi, has anyone experience of this? After many years we are down to 3 ducks from the original 7, leaving a group of 3 - our original Khaki Campbell drake aged 8 & 2 x female crested White Campbells aged 4. These have always lived together amicably as part of a larger group. However, since becoming a group of 3 the dynamics of the remaining group have altered & the drake has begun bullying one duck constantly. He is controlling the garden (they are free range), not letting her near food or water, agressively pecking her & pulling out feathers from her neck and body (NOT mating!) This continues in the house when they are put back. He has never behaved like this in 8 years and we are concerned for the duck's welfare (although she doesn't seem to be getting injured). We have now had to provide separate areas of food so the picked-on duck can eat! Will this settle down (it's been two weeks now) or do we need to add new females to mix things up a bit (which is an option but it is a bit cold for ducklings yet). The other duck is being allowed to roam freely by the drake. Thank you!
Bullying Campbell drake(10 posts)
Welcome to the farmingfriends forum.
I am sorry to hear that your drake has started to bully one of the ducks. I wonder whether he feels threatened by this duck and is exerting his authority in a bid to stay at the top of the pecking order. It seesm strange that he has lived with them for so long and only now chooses to start bullying.
Is the drake in good health, sometimes they can become agressive if they are not feeling well and if the drake thinks one of the ducks is a threat this is why he is behaving this way.
I have read that a drakes hormone levels are controlled by the the number of hours of sunlight they get a day andnot letting them get more than six hours a day will help to shrink their testicles and they become less aggressive. I don't know if this is true and it probably doesn't apply at this time of year. Although I have to say that I have noticed that my drake is less inclined to breed since we have had the very cold, Wintery weather.
Adding more females to the flock may help as his attention will be diverted although I would suggest ducks that are his age as he will easily go for younger ducks. Is the duck that is getting bullied alot smaller? I know that one of my ducks out of 6 gets more attention because she has a smaller frame than the other 5 ducks.
Have a look at this thread about a vicious duck. http://farmingfriends.com/forums/topic.php?id=34
Hope the bullying stops soon.
Sara @ farmingfriends
Sara, thank you very much for your reply. I hadn't thought of ill health as a possible reason for Humphrey's behaviour - a good point. He does seem OK, and his breeding colours are just coming in,but I will keep an eye on him. I have noticed he is not running away -quite- as fast as he used to! Perhaps he feels threatened by the younger duck, as you say. We even wondered if he thinks she is another drake (suddenly!) - he certainly won't let her near the other duck for long. Thanks so much too for the Monty thread, this has been really helpful, it was amazing how that was resolved. I have decided to call my local duck farm and see if they have any suitable new candidates to join the group, before the situation gets out of hand. I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again.
Hi, I just wondered if you had changed their diet at all recently? there could be one food that is making him react badly towards the lower female.
I am having real problems with my adult male campbell bullying his son (which is to be expected) and now after introducing a new duck to the group - who has severe social issues by being raised indoors all her life - he is now fighting with her, to retain his dominance as she has been challenging them all with her nil social skills.!!!
Sarah LSarah L
Hi Sarah, many thanks for your comments. I haven't changed their diet, but I phoned my local duck farm today & they advised me the bullying has begun because the ratio of females to my drake has become too low really, because Campbell drakes are best at a ratio of no less than 1:5; 1:6 is optimum. They think with a 1:2 ratio, either one duck is giving him the cold shoulder & is being driven out or one is a 'tart' (to use their phrase! they do happen apparently) and he therefore prefers her to the other one. So we have decided to get 2 or 3 more girlfriends for him at the weekend so they can share the attention & hopefully calm the situation! They think it will completely resolve the problem (as it did in the Monty thread above). I hope so and will report back.
When we first had him, we had 1:6 ratio and he's always been fine, definitely always the 'leader' but not a moment's 'bad' behaviour in 8 years. I guess this issue has crept up on us over time without us realising it. It's not his personality that's changed, just the circumstances.
How many ducks do you have in total? Do you think there could be something similar going on in your group where there are the two drakes?
Hmm I have 2 drakes and 3 females. We have been looking for more white females, so may breed them again this year and just keep the females. My "mature" drake is very content with just his two ladies. We resorted to separating them into two groups but they have been together during this winter and now the young male is mature the problems are exacerbated.
Hi Deb, I have 1 Khaki Campbell drake with 1 Khaki duck and 3 white campbell ducks. He is definitely the one in charge, but seems relatively settled with 4 ducks. One seems to be his favourite, but he shares himself around with the others and they all seem to get on fine, so it definitely sounds as if you could do with another 2 or 3 ducks to keep Humphrey distracted!!!!! It sounds as if he likes to be centre of attention holding court with as many pretty ladies as poss!!!
Hi all, many many thanks for your thoughtful comments and insight. We finally acquired 3 more females yesterday - 2 point-of-lay Khaki Campbells and 1 x 2yr old Aylesbury - and after a few hours we introduced them all to each other. Our drake Humphrey took it all in his stride and did not react at all - in fact the main troublemaker seemed to be Alice, our bullied duck of all things!
She sometimes chased various of the new ducks away from 'her' patch of grass, but Humphrey did seem less prone to ostracising Alice than usual. We penned them up for their feeding time together and, with trepidation, as things seemed OK, put them all in together overnight.
This morning they fed happily together, and for the first time in weeks, Alice was NOT chased out of their house by Humphrey!
Very occasionally a squabble has erupted between Alice & Humphrey but it's over in a few seconds today, and it often seems to be caused by Alice chasing away one of the new ducks. It is as though he is putting her 'in her place' which casts a new light on things. She has, however, been allowed to feed and drink at last!
It's been a relief because for the first time in weeks, Humphrey has tolerated Alice near him and I would say his attacks on her are down by 70-80%! Although she occasionally provokes the new arrivals, they seem pretty mellow. I look out of the window at a pretty contented scene - amazing compared to how it's been, and all this in one day!
We're delighted to have a big group of 6 again - they're fantastic to watch mooching about, all the interplay, and the new ones (who come from a lovely farm nearby but were in a big noisy flock) are slowly settling in, copying the others & pecking at the grass - the Aylsebury was very dirty when she came and has spent the day constantly preening with fresh buckets of water and is slowly returning to white!
The kids have called them Waddles, Puddles and Rose! We're just relieved for Alice that things seems to be calming down. I don't claim to understand why exactly as Humphrey isn't particularly 'interested' in the new ducks, but it seems the larger group is just better for dynamics with our drake.
Oh well we look forward to the extra eggs in the spring! Thank you all again for your comments.
This is good news. I guess the new ducks will have to find their place in the pecking order, which is why Alice is fighting to find out where she now fits in!
Sounds like they will sort it all out quickly.
Great to hear Alice is no longer being bullied and ostracized from the group. Love the names your children have chosen and pleased to hear that the new ducks are settling in well. Keep us posted on their progress. If you have any photos you'd like to share just let me know and I'll send you my email address so I can add them.
sara @ farmingfriends
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