Raising ducks is a hobby that fulfills a lifetime passion and is hard to let go of. Our family loves and cares for a small flock of Pekins.
When it comes to breeding ducks, some people consider the mating process to be violent and aggressive. It can definitely be gruesome if there are too many male ducks (drakes) and not enough female ones (ducks). It is natural for a drake to act more aggressive when there is more competition.
Typically, one male can be paired with up to six females, but this number will depend on the breed. If you are breeding Khaki Campbells, for instance, you can have 10 females per drake! Having more females will keep your male busy and render hi, less likely to force himself upon the females.
Requirements for Breeding
How do you make ducks breed? Well, you can’t “make” them breed, but you can encourage it. Before you start, you'll have to do your own research regarding the specific breed you are keeping. Questions you should ask include:
- What time of year do they typically mate?
- Are they of mature age?
- What is the ideal male to female ratio?
All breeds have different breeding requirements, but here are a few general things you should always do to promote healthy breeding.
- Make sure the birds are comfortable.
- They should have enough indoor and outdoor space to move around and spread their wings. The typical space requirements are 8 sq. ft. of indoor space per duck and 15 sq. of outdoor space per duck.
- If they are confined inside, keep the space clean!
- The females should be fed a calcium-rich diet.
- The drake should eat a lot of protein.
- The occasional treat usually helps promote general wellbeing. A happy duck is a lucky duck!
Ideal Conditions for Duck Mating
- They don't necessarily need a body of water to mate, but it does make it easier for them.
- The body of water should be big enough for the birds to fit inside.
- If nothing is readily available, you can try a kiddie pool or a watering trough.
- Keep the water clean. The water should be changed at least once per day, if not more. This is important for the ducks' health and the health of their babies.
Let the ducks mate for about two weeks before collecting their eggs. This gives them the opportunity to sit on their eggs, which increases the fertility rate and also allows them to get used to the process. It helps them learn to do "their thing" correctly.
Don't rush things. When ducks are relaxed and comfortable, it increases egg fertility tremendously. Let them do what is natural to them. If they don't sit on the eggs, it may be time to collect. Be ready to move the eggs to a brooder and then a hatcher.
- Before storing the eggs, visually inspect them for damage and cracks. Don't use ones that are damaged or have abnormalities.
- Always use a clean, sterile container for storage.
- Eggs can be stored for up to 14 days, if not longer.
- They must be stored properly with the pointy side down. This ensures that the air sac located on the blunt end will remain on top so that the baby can breathe. This is very important. If you store them the wrong way for even a short period of time, the hatch rate may decrease drastically.
- Storing eggs with the blunt side down could also increase the risks of bacterial contamination and salmonella.
What to Do With Bad Eggs
- Hard boil or scramble them.
- I know this is going to sound awful, but you can also feed them back to your ducks. Eggs are full of essential vitamins and proteins that aid both the male and the female reproductive systems.
- You can even grind up the shells and feed them to the females. The calcium will make their subsequent eggs stronger and more fertile.
Mating in the Wild
In the wild, drakes outnumber ducks because ducks nest and are more likely to be vulnerable to predators while nesting. The females can also be victims of drowning due to an overabundance of drakes.
In ideal conditions, the drake chooses which females to court, and the duck chooses which drake to mate with. This is why males usually have prettier feathers and plumage; they use their flamboyant appearance to court the better mate.
If a female is unwilling, the drake will force himself upon her. Forced mating is not a pretty sight. When the mating is forced, the female resists, and this usually does not result in fertilization due to the complex nature of their reproductive organs. Sadly, a duck's resistance to a drake's mating attempts usually results in the death of the female.
If a female is willing, the mating begins. Some people think duck mating behavior is violent, and they have a point. When ducks mate, the female lies as flat as she can in the water. The drake bites down on the back of her neck and does his thing. It will appear as though the drake is trying to drown the female because he is holding her head down in the water. Can you imagine why having too many drakes for breeding ducks can be a horrible sight?
Breeding ducks can be quite rewarding if you are prepared; the process of raising ducks is not as difficult as it sounds.
Duck Breeding Takeaway Tips
- Have a good male to female ratio.
- Keep their habitats clean. I cannot stress this enough. Cleanliness keeps the birds happy and the fertility rates high.
- Making the ducks comfortable helps with the natural mating process and dramatically increases fertility.
- If you're lucky enough to find a broody duck or you have a broody hen, make sure the two birds don't sit in the same box. When they share a box, the eggs in the middle usually don't hatch properly.
If you find a mistake or have anything useful to add, please use the comment section below to help me improve this article. And, of course, a simple thank you is always appreciated!
© 2017 Drake Runner
Duck lover on June 23, 2020:
Can ducks inbreed with one another?. should you allow mating amongst siblings ?
Kings Gondwe orchards. on October 26, 2018:
Well articulate., have learn more information about ducks thanks, only one thing to add is ducks egg kept better in a shaded place not at open. Thanks
More Facts About Duck Mating
Interestingly, duck mating is that the female duck can keep the male sperm for about two weeks and even more. The length of keeping the sperm depends on the specie of the duck. This will ensure that a single mating session can produce several fertilized eggs.
There can be more than one male sperm leading to a fertilized batch of eggs. This can happen when a male is unable to defend his female mate from other male suitors. Even with the blind-end pockets, the mating with another male can be successful.
Raising A Duckling As A Pet
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The most common question people ask me about mixed breed dogs is.
"Can you look at a mixed breed dog and tell me which breeds he's a mix of?"
Unfortunately the answer is "No."
A mixed breed dog has inherited a jumble of genes (and thus a jumble of traits) from ALL of the breeds in his heritage.
Simply by looking at him, there's no way to tell which of those genes and traits might have come from which breeds. There could be half a dozen breeds in his ancestry.
Let's consider a dog named Spot.
- If both of Spot's parents are purebred and the same breed, Spot is a purebred dog. Dalmatian + Dalmatian = Dalmatian.
- If both of Spot's parents are purebred but different breeds, Spot is a crossbred dog. Dalmatian + Boxer = Dalmatian/Boxer cross.
- If one of Spot's parents is purebred and the other is crossbred. well, now it starts to get tricky. Dalmatian + Dalmatian/Boxer is still considered a crossbred dog because there are still only two breeds there. Even Dalmatian/Boxer + Dalmatian/Boxer is considered a crossbred dog since there are just two breeds contributing all of Spot's genes.
- But once you introduce a third or fourth breed, such as Dalmatian + Boxer/Poodle. or Dalmatian/Collie + Boxer/Poodle. well, now Spot is a mixed breed dog. Multiple breeds are contributing genes and traits, and there is no way to sort out which genes (and traits) might have come from which breed. And often there are more than three or four breeds.
People who look at a mixed breed dog, and then based on appearance or "how the dog acts", declare which breed's genes are inside that dog, are simply guessing. There are too many possible breed- and gene-combinations.
Mixed breed dogs are sometimes called mutts or mongrels. Their uniqueness makes them truly special!
There is one way to know which breeds make up your mixed breed dog.
There's a veterinary company called Embark that will test your dog's DNA and tell you which breed(s) are in his ancestry.
You can do this right from your own home. No vet visit. No blood tests.
They'll send you a kit with cotton swabs, which you swirl inside your dog's cheek. His saliva contains his DNA. Mail the swabs back, and the company will tell you which breeds are "in" your mixed breed dog.
I think it's a lot of fun to find this out. You might believe that your dog is "mostly Lab" or "half Shepherd" or "a poodle/terrier cross." Now you can find out whether you were right or wrong! Read more about DNA testing here. Embark DNA.
Does it help to know which breeds are "in" a mixed breed dog?
Let's say you've just gotten a mixed breed puppy. Will finding out his breed composition mean you can predict what he will grow up to look like or act like? Will it help you raise or train your dog?
No, not really. Because even if you know which breeds are in him, you don't know whether those individual DOGS were typical for their breed. There are many purebred dogs who don't look or act like their breed is supposed to.
For example, many Rottweilers love strangers. Many Pit Bulls love other dogs. Some Golden Retrievers are shy or aggressive instead of friendly. Some Chihuahuas weigh 15 pounds instead of 6 pounds. When these dogs produce puppies, their atypical genes and traits can be passed on – to your puppy.
So just because your mixed breed puppy "has pure breeds" in his ancestry doesn't tell you what those individual dogs were like. Therefore you don't know which genes and traits they had available to pass on.
Finally, since your puppy's ancestors include several different breeds, many of their genes will be conflicting. Suppose one of his breeds has genes for friendliness. Another has genes for standoffishness. Another has genes for aggression. When your puppy inherits a jumble of conflicting genes, you don't know which genes will "trump" the others, or which ones will blend together to form some intermediate result.
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "A mixed breed puppy is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
Mixed breed dogs do "tend" to have moderate temperaments
The extremes of temperament and behavior often seen in purebreds are less common in mixed breeds. This is because many purebreds were specifically bred to be very energetic, or very independent, or to have strong chasing or barking or digging instincts. These traits helped the breed perform his work (herding, hunting, guarding, and so on).
Whereas in mixed breeds, extreme temperaments and behaviors are by happenstance rather than deliberate design.
In general, the temperament and behavior of a mixed breed tends to be more middle-of-the-road. They are often more flexible and may adjust to a greater variety of households and lifestyles.
Potential negative: A mixed breed is not the best choice if you want a dog with specific skills, such as herding sheep, or hunting pheasants or rabbits. Doing a specific type of work is where purebreds (and some specific crossbreeds) excel.
Mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier
Most mixed breed dogs have good genetic diversity. When parents are unrelated, their genes include a little of this and a little of that. Biologists tell us this is good for health. In fact, some serious health problems only occur when the same genes from related parents are paired up in their puppies. That happens a lot when you breed two purebreds together.
Mother Nature tends to make dogs moderately sized (about 30 to 60 pounds) with natural builds. Mixed breeds are seldom 5 pounds or 120 pounds. They seldom have smooshed-in faces like Pugs. Or bodies as long as a Dachshund or as barrel-shaped as a Bulldog. All of these unnatural sizes and shapes and physical features are connected with serious health problems.
Potential negative: The parents of a mixed breed puppy have not been medically screened for inherited health problems. If you're looking for a purebred or crossbred dog and you search very carefully, you can find good breeders who have done the proper tests on the parents. Whereas with a mixed breed dog, you have to put your faith in his genetic diversity, rather than in medical testing.
Potential negative: Some mixed breed dogs are blends of purebreds that share similar health problems. This means the same bad genes could easily come over from both parents and pair up in their puppies.
For example, suppose a mixed breed puppy has Cocker Spaniel, Poodle, and Bichon Frise genes. Although he has much more genetic diversity than a purebred Cocker or Poodle, or Bichon, he could still inherit hip problems, knee problems, eye diseases, or chronic ear infections – because all of those breeds are prone to the same problems.
To sum up, a mixed breed dog can be a fine choice.
- if you're willing to accept whatever characteristics he grows up to have. Or if you adopt an adult so you can see what he already looks like and acts like.
- if you're willing to put your faith in his genetic diversity to help protect him against health problems, since neither of his parents was medically tested for them.
- if you don't want to pay a high purchase price.
- and if you like the idea of saving a life that no one else may want.
In my book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, I'll show you how to find a nice mixed breed dog and how to determine whether he might make a good family pet for you.
- How to find mixed breed dogs available for adoption
- Which ages are best for adoption – and which ages are riskier
- Whether a male dog or a female dog might suit you better
- Four temperament tests you should do before adopting any dog
- How to test for possessiveness and aggression – even in a dog who seems friendly
- The adoption contract – what to expect, and which terms to watch out for
Crossbred dogs and purebred dogs are covered just as thoroughly. Dog Quest is your step-by-step guide to choosing and finding the right dog for your family.
About the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.
Lagotto Romagnolo: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Lagotto Romagnolo temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books
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|Temperament||Lively, smart, sensitive, fond of water and mud and digging, loves to run and jump and swim and fetch|
|Pros and Cons||What's good. What's bad.|
|Size||Mid-sized (16-19 inches, 24-35 lbs)|
|Exercise||Moderate to high|
|Training||Easy to moderate|
|With strangers||Varies from friendly to aloof to a bit timid|
|With children||Fine with well-behaved children if raised with children|
|With other pets||Usually good|
|Grooming||Moderate to significant amount|
|Colors||Brown, orange, white, and combos of those colors|
|Rescue dogs||Seldom available|
|Similar breeds||Portuguese Water Dog, Spanish Water Dog, Miniature Poodle|
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- Pros and Cons
- With strangers
- With children
- With other pets
- Similar breeds