Introducing new additions to the flock

Introducing same size/age ducks is generally not a problem, as they will size each other and establish a pecking order without much brutality. The problem arises when you want to introduce ducklings to a flock of full grown ducks, or a call duck to a flock of much larger individuals!

Generally, females are pretty accepting of ducklings. The exception is when that female has a mate and she is not currently laying eggs. I’ve learned first hand that it’s not only the male duck who will be aggressive, but the female who initiates it. Female ducks that are paired up and about to lay are extremely territorial and can chase and attack little ones. When I removed the male completely for a day, my aggressive female became neutral towards the duckling. She didn’t attack him, but she didn’t particularly like him either. After a few days, it was like she hatched him herself.

My call duck, on the other hand, was extremely curious about every new addition, large or small. She took in the wild mottled duck like it was her own and he was raised by two mothers.

It was an entirely different story when I brought home a semi wild full grown white runner to my flock. For the first day, everyone but my call duck were afraid of her. Eventually, they started to get along and the skinny parasite infested runner duck became fat, parasite free (read here about parasites) and the newly anointed alpha. My flock consisted of 3 females and 1 male. It was without a doubt a matriarchy. The most interesting part of the flock hierarchy was that only the most alpha duck was allowed to vocalize. As soon as Arwen became queen, my noisy call duck was muted. Anyone who’s ever seen or heard a female call duck knows how much they love to shriek! Arwen, a previously quiet and meek duck became increasingly demanding. Indeed, duck hierarchies are most intriguing. Below is a clip of my male runner duck asserting dominance over his new flock and female.