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Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 11550
Experience:  Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
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I had 5 ducks, 3 of which seem to be in one family (one male

Resolved Question:

I had 5 ducks, 3 of which seem to be in one "family" (one male pekin and 2 female blk swedish)and the other two who were their own little couple. Those two are a combo of blk swedish and pekin (actually the babies from the first group which we incubated the eggs) so they are all domestics.
We believe her mate was taken by some animal because he is gone, feathers were scattered about and he NEVER leaves her side at all. She seems to be in mourning for him and I am concerned that she will not be eventually accepted into the other group of 3. (the two pair never were, they were always off by themselves)
What I am asking is, will she try to bond with the other group of 3? Do I try to get her a new mate? It is so sad to see her all alone. She looks for him everywhere.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Anna replied 6 years ago.

I'm sorry to see that no one has responded to your question earlier. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online and saw your question. If you still need help, some additional information will be useful.

How long ago was this duck's mate killed?

How has she behaved toward the others since then - staying away, hanging out near them, or actively trying to join them?

Does she now get frightened very easily?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It just happened yesterday. We came outside and found feathers on the ground, no blood and he was missing. He was never more than a foot away from her since birth and they stayed together all the time in one pond while the other 3 stayed as a group in another. My yard is fenced in by a 6 ft wood privacy fence so we think perhaps a larger predatory bird may have gotten him, hence no blood. The female seems upset since then, seems to be calling for him and at this point I have all 4 now locked in their outside pen but they seem to be shunning her right now picking on her somewhat (mostly the females of the other group) and she stays mostly in her own little cage (a cage within the bigger cage) for shelter. I'm not even certain right now what if anything she is eating. if I keep them all together like this, pretty much forcing the issue, will they all adapt to her in their group?
Expert:  Anna replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. I can't tell you exactly what to do, but I can give you the things you need to consider when making your decision. I've had ducks for the last 15 years. I've found that one drake is more than happy to join as many females as he can. The flocks seem to do well with up to seven females per male. If any of the other three ducks try to drive her away, it is more likely to be a female.

I've had a situation where a raccoon killed a drake. The hens left behind were frightened and jumpy for a couple of weeks afterward. They wanted to hide all the time. That's normal behavior after a predator attack. It's also normal to look for a missing friend. Your duck will eventually get over this part.

Whether she'll be accepted into the other group, no one can say. Only time will tell. It would be normal for her to be able to join them, but it also sounds like your group of ducks haven't been behaving normally up to this point.

You could try putting her and one of the other ducks (whichever is friendliest to her) in a pen by themselves. Once they seem to have bonded, release them back with the others to see if they'll then form one flock.

Getting her a new friend is another option. She would probably accept a new female friend as well as a new mate. The only drawback to adding a new duck is that there is no guarantee that they will like each other. I can only tell you that they probably would, but I have seen exceptions.

You'll have to use the information above to make a decision. If these were my ducks, I would try the method of keeping her with just one duck from the other group, and then re-introducing them. If that didn't work, I would then get a new companion for her. I hope that whatever you decide, it will work out well for you.


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