Will Two Drakes & Two Ducks Get On?

Duck keepers often wonder what is the best combination and ratio of male to females and I am often emailed about the numbers of drakes and ducks in a group and whether they will get along ok.

Carolyn has just emailed as she has two draks and two ducks.

The ducklings I got at Easter have turned out to be 2 drakes & 2 ducks. Will this ratio work, or will there be problems with having two drakes? Hope you can help Many thanks Carolyn

My response is:

There may be rivalry between the drakes when they reach maturity so they may fight to see who is top drake!

They may also prefer one female over the other and both my fight over the duck which could hurt the duck as well as the drakes.

You could separate them into two groups of one drake and one duck during the breeding season and then put them back together during Autumn and Winter when they will probably get on fine. This may depend on the amount of space you have and the housing you have and if you are able to partition it off.

You could also increase the number of females. 1 drake to about 6 ducks is a good amount.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

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Colour Of Duck Eggs

Well I now have a real mix of ducks and drake here on the farmingfriends farm!

I have 11 khaki campbells (2 drakes and 9 ducks – one is a doubled breasted khaki) They lay white eggs.

I have a pair of magpie ducks (1 drake & 1 duck) and I think they lay blue/green eggs.

I have two buff orpington ducks and I think they lay white eggs.

I have one white campbell duck and they lay white eggs.

Then I have 2 trout runner drakes, a mallard drake and a cayuga drake!

I have only been getting white eggs until the last week or so and now am getting a large egg with a green tinge to it. I think the white eggs are predominantly from the khaki campbells but one or two of the eggs are smaller so they could be from the buff orpington ducks. I think the greenish egg may be from the magpie duck.

If you keep ducks let us know what breed they are and what colour eggs you get from your ducks.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

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Age Of Maturity Of Male Birds

The age of maturity of male birds will differ between species of birds. The maturity refers to the age at which the males reach sexual maturity and will start breeding with their female partners.

Quail = about 60 days old.

Hen = about 6-8 months old.

Partridges = male grey partridges mature from about 10-12 months old.

Pheasants = about 6-7 months old.

Guinea fowl = about 8-10 months old.

Ducks = about 8 months old.

Turkeys = about 8 months old.

Geese = about 8 months old.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop to browse through our collection of books on sale.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

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Age Of Maturity Of Female Birds

The age of maturity of female birds will differ between species of birds. The maturity refers to the age at which the females reach sexual maturity and will start laying eggs and breeding with their male partners.

Quail = about 50 days old (I have observed that female Japanese quail will start to lay eggs from about 6-8 weeks old.)

Hen =  about 6-8 months old.

Partridges = female grey partridges mature from about 10-12 months old.

Pheasants = about 6-7 months old.

Guinea fowl = about 8-10 months old, however female guinea fowl can start to lay as early as from 16 weeks old.

Ducks = about 4 months old, generally domestic ducks will start to lay from 21 to 26 weeks of age. My khaki campbell ducks started to lay from about 20 weeks old.

Turkeys = about 7 months old.

Geese = about 7 months old.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop to browse through our collection of books on sale.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

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Male To Female Ratio For Keeping Different Varieties Of Poultry

Here is a rough guide to the male to female ratio for keeping different varieties of poultry together.

Quail = 1 male to every 3-4 females.

Hen = 1 males to every 6-10 females. (The Domestic Fowl Trust normally recommend 1 male to 6 females for breeding chickens.)

Partridges = 1 male to 1 female.

Pheasants = 1 male to every 6-7 females.

Guinea fowl = 1 male to every 2-3 females. Although best paired up.

Ducks = 1 male to every 4-6 females. (Debbie at South Yeo Farm normally puts 1 drake with min of 6 ducks and she says, “but some are more rampant than others!” I too have 1 drake to 6 ducks.)

Turkeys = 1 male to every 10 females.

Geese = 1 male to every 4 females.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

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How to Keep Poultry Drinkers and Waterfowl Ponds From Freezing

With the recent Wintery weather in the UK and other countries suffering with snow, frosts and minus temperatures, there has been alot of debate about how to keep poultry drinkers and waterfowl ponds from freezing and keeping your poultry supplied with fresh water.

Looking for advice – we are in the north so we do get freezing temperatures. Obviously we can’t keep the wading pool open for our Khaki Campell’s and I am on my third solution for keeping them supplied with fresh water (I have 6 ducks) that doesn’t freeze. I would love to hear how others have solved this problem! Barbara


Here are some suggestions and solutions.

  • Take out buckets of hot water in the mornings and give them bowls/pools of lukewarm water. A washing up bowl or two would suffice for a while. They love the warmish water and take it in turns to bathe. We have been doing this twice a day during the very cold conditions. (Suggested by Sarah on the farmingfriends forum.)
  • Us a child’s old paddling pool or sandpit as an alternative to your pond,. If it freezes then you can tip hot water on top then smash and remove the ice. (Suggested by Mo on the farmingfriends forum.)
  • In some countries you can get special heaters (called a float heater) to place in the water, ponds and drinking troughs.
  • Keep a heat lamp above a metal drinker (the kind of heater used for chicks) and the water will not freeze. Please be aware of the fire risks with a heat lamp and make sure it is positioned high enough above so that any straw or wood (ie hut) doesn’t get hot and catch fire. (Suggested by Dorise on the farmingfriends forum.)
  • Use strong toughened plastic tubs that won’t crack when frozen or if you pour hot water onto them. (Suggested by Jonathan from the farmingfriends forum.) Jonathan suggests checking out your local feed-n-seed [Example:http://www.horseloverz.com/Rubber-Tub-Cr850---Black---15-Gallon-pr-307864.html].

Do you have any tips or solutions for keeping Poultry Drinkers and Waterfowl Ponds From Freezing, if so then let us know by leaving a comment or alternatively you can read and join the debate about this issue on the farmingfriends forum here http://farmingfriends.com/forums/topic.php?id=1356

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Will Concrete Flooring Or 1/2″ Chicken Mesh Hurt Ducks Feet?

I have been asked if concrete flooring or 1/2″ chicken mesh will hurt ducks feet.

I live in an area with alot of raccoons….and due to lack of forage, have to move the duck pen around alot….Will it hurt them to walk on 1/2″chicken mesh and concrete??
Linda

I know that concrete can give them sore feet if they are walking on it all the time, but not sure about the wire mesh, although I wouldn’t have thought it would be comfortable for them and could damage their feet. I don’t like the thought of standing on wire and I often worry about my ducks running around on the concrete farmyard and all the gravel but we do have plenty of grass as well for them to walk on.  I am sure that straw on the top of the concrete and wire would soften where they walk.

Concrete flooring or wire mesh flooring are sometimes used when predation is a problem. Pens and housing can often have a wire bottom on them so that predators like raccoons and rats can’t burrow under and get the ducks or poultry or any sort.

My quail aviary sits on concrete so that I don’t get the rat problem but you can’t see the concrete slabs for straw.
I used to have bottom less pens for my hens and guinea fowl when I first got poultry and had to brick round to stop the rats digging under the sides and into the pen to eat the poultry feed or steal the eggs.

So a wire mesh floor on the hut would have helped to prevent this and their droppings would still get through the mesh and they would still be able to nibble at the grass!

We have had a great debate about this issue on the farmingfriends forum.

One member fo the farmingfriends forum – Yanky says,

Hi Sara I have mesh on part of the guinea fowl area but we laid it then covered it over with turf then straw. It works!
Yan.

Click on this link to read the debate about whether concrete and 1/2″ chicken mesh hurt ducks feet?

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

If you keep ducks or are thinking of keeping ducks then why not join the farmingfriends duck forum where you can chat about and ask advice about ducks.

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Duck With a Limp

I am often asked about what may have caused a duck to limp.

It can be quite common for a duck to have a limp, as quite a few of the members on the farmingfriends duck forum have had a duck with a limp.

Reasons for a duck limping:

  • It can sometimes be due to a knock,
  • broken leg,
  • the drake being overzealous,
  • a bee or wasp sting,
  • standing on something sharp which can lead to bumblefoot or calluses on foot,
  • sometimes  a limp can be a sign of worms.

Give the duck plenty of rest, you may have to keep your ducks in for a day so she can recooperate or you may have to separate her from the other ducks.

Check leg and foot for any signs of a break, damage, calluses or lumps.

Does her leg or foot feel hot if so this could be a sign of infection.

Keep an eye on her drinking and eating habits. You could also check her droppings for signs of worms.

If concerned about your duck then you could take your duck to the vet.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Cayuga Duck Breed

I have a cayuga drake so have been reading up about the cayuga breed.

Kai The Cayuga Drake

Kai The Cayuga Drake

  • The cayuga breed of duck originates from the USA.
  • Cayuga are a table breed.
  • The cayuga has black plumage with a green/purple sheen on the feathers.
  • The cayuga’s bill and webs are black.
  • Cayuga ducks can lay about 100 eggs a year.
  • The cayuga is classified as a medium weight breed.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Helping Weak Khaki Campbell Duckling

Jim sent an email asking for some advice about his newly hatched duckling who was very weak.

“hi Sara
Just a quick question, one of the ducklings that has hatched cant seem to stand up, hes flapping his little wings and his legs seem very strong, he wasnt help out of the egg although it did take him just under a day to get completely out, hes had food but mostly keeps his eyes closed until you talk to him.
any ideas of suggestions, even if its stop worrying (which is all im hearing from every one) would help!
cheers
Jim”

I advised Jim to give the duckling some warm sugared water that had been boiled

Lisa, one of the farmingfriends forum members recommended,

Hi Jim,

Saras right, give it some cooled boiled sugar water on a cotton bud,if it wont take it then drip it on the end of its beak , it will soon drink it and will give it some energy, when did they hatch? i has one that was week for a day or so,good luck with your little one, Lisax

Then Mama suggested,

Hi Sara, I did the same with my Gosling with a syringe dripped onto its beak and a bit of hard boiled egg yolk soon after. Hope the little one does well. Regards Mama .

Sarah advised,

I gave water in a dropper and very wet chick crumb, whilst mine was still in its shell – as it was exhausted. The sugar will give it a bit of energy. Hope hes really perked up by the morning.
Sarah

I was delighted when Jim emailed to say,

“hi sara, thank you soooo much for your help! in the end i just gave him some mashed yolk from one of my chickens, still wasn’t very strong but then once his sibling hatched out early this morning he perked right up and is running around happy as larry!
Jim, GLad and Barney”

Here is a photo Jim sent of the two ducklings.

Thanks for sending this photo Jim, glad there was a happy ending.

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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