Ducks Personalities and Differences

Some of my ducks

I love my birds!  Ducks personalities and differences shows how I have become so familiar with my ducks that I know and understand all their difference little ways.  It takes time and you need to learn to tune in to what they birds require so that you can experience them in an entirely new and exciting way.

The First Ducks arrive on our Property

A couple of weeks after we moved to our property, my husband came in and asked if I would like some ducks for our dam.  Apparently there was a fellow who came with the birds on the back of his truck.

I quickly agreed, as I’d been talking about how lovely it would look with ducks floating around the dam.

The fellow gave us five.  I don’t know if he knew which sex he was giving or not, but we ended up with two drakes and three females.

He had them all stuffed in a cardboard box which I we carried down to beside the dam.  I had this image in my mind of carefully lifting each one out individually and allowing them to waddle into the water.  Oh how wrong you can be!

Out, Up & Away!

The moment we lifted the lid of the box, out they all came, quacking loudly.  They kind of flew and walked right across the dam to the other side and disappeared into the scrub on the other side.  One of them managed to fly further and she landed on the other side of the fence.

She desperately wanted to be back with the others, so she called and called, but it wasn’t until the next day that the neighbour went over and managed to frighten her into flying back over.

It was not quite the beginning I was expecting.

You can read about how I needed to teach them to enter the water in Teaching my Ducks to Swim.  Apparently these poor birds had not been handled at all, and never experienced the joys of swimming neither.

Every duck and drake has its own individual personality… no two are ever the same.  You can always find the differences if you take the time to find them.

Ducks Personalities and Differences

I found it interesting to read Animals have personalities, too!  It’s something I’m completely aware of but is not enjoyed by those who maybe have too many birds, or cattle, or any other animal, and therefore don’t get to understand them to such a degree.  This reading says that even spiders have personalities!  And what about the pesky little mosquitoes?  But I do believe it would be the same no matter how big or small an animal, bird, or insect would be.

Let me tell you about my experiences…

My Two Boys

Teal - the Rouen & Toby - the Pekin fighting
Teal – the Rouen & Toby – the Pekin sorting out who is top drake.

I was delighted that they were both so different and had a very strong bond between them.  Where you see one drake, you’ll see the other.  The only time they separate is when they are chasing individual girls.  Sometimes they chase the same girl!

Toby

When I was a little girl I had ducks, and my favourite one was Toby.  I loved him to bits.  One day a fox got into the pen and ate away half his neck, but somehow he survived.  Now I loved him even more.

Then one day, my father came to the pen and selected Toby to be a nice fat meal for one of his customers.  When I found that Toby was missing I fair yelled at my Dad.  “How could you take Toby, he was my favourite drake?”  I remember how Dad sat there without saying anything with a very guilty look on his face.  I didn’t need him to tell me what he had done.

So, this lovely white drake I had received was instantly named Toby.  While ever he is in my care he will never know the butcher’s knife.  Not for me… not for anyone… he would be totally safe with me, I assured him.

Teal

The other drake I called Teal.  It’s obvious of-course, because of the rich teal colour on his head.

So Teal and Toby they became.

I only ever saw them fighting one time, and that was this last season.  I believe that Teal had already sorted out that he was the top drake before they came to live with us.  Toby has still managed to receive plenty of action though and I have always found them to be best buddies.

I have never been able to touch them.  They will allow me to direct them, but I’m not allowed to come too close to them.

I talk in Ducks and Love about how the drakes handle the ducks with their love-making, and what I need to do to care for my ducks.

Mrs Brown

Mrs Brown
Mrs Brown, the female Rouen

This is Mrs Brown, the one who flew over the fence when they first came to live with us.  All the ducks were so afraid of me and it took quite some time before their trust grew.  I was patient with them and allowed them to become used to me and life on the property at their own pace.

Mrs Brown loves to eat out of my hand now, I guess she’s been doing that for a couple of years, so she’s more than overcome her fear.

For some reason she doesn’t receive as much mating attention as the other girls, so I often allow her to sleep with the boys at night.  I would know if she was getting too much as the feathers on the back of her neck would be missing.  I’ve only ever seen the boys mate with her twice… once being only yesterday. It’s always her choice… sometimes she chooses to go to bed with the rest of the girls.

But don’t be fooled… even thought they don’t mate with her often, this duck is soooo close to the drakes.  They spend all their time together.  I think the boys must see her as a sister (not that drakes really care) rather than a mate.

Snowy & Limpera

Snowy, one of my original ducks
Snowy – one of my original ducks

I received two white Pekin ducks and I couldn’t tell the difference between them.  They both acted the same, and looked the same.  Snowy receives a lot of ‘drake attention’ so I have to keep her away a lot of the time during the mating season.  She’s the only white duck I now possess, along with the white drake.

Limpera - the limp duck
Limpera  (deceased) receives one of the many visits from the other birds

One day Limpera started to limp badly.  I can only believe that one, or both of the drakes, had been far too rough on her.  I was advised to keep her confined to allow the damage to heal.  Poor little thing, I had to give her a dish of water to sit in.  She wasn’t sick, but struggled to walk.  Later on I created a bigger space for her and added a child’s wading pool.  She loved that.

The problem was that if I let her out, the drakes would soon come as their tongues were hanging out for her.  Then they’d hurt her more.  I know they didn’t mean to hurt her, but drakes will be drakes!

A time came where we had to arrange for her to go to duckie heaven… a very sad occasion.

So these were the first five ducks I received.  It was soon apparent that having only three ducks with two drakes was not working, especially when most all of the attention was going to the two white ducks.  So we decided to add to our little collection.

Swiss & Cheese

Swiis the mother, Cheese the daughter
Cheese – part Indian Runner & Swiss – a Swedish Blue

Corny name I know, but this is what the previous owner of these two lovely ducks called them.  Swiss was the mum and Cheese her daughter.

I think the previous owner made a mistake in calling her ‘Swiss’ as the breed is actually ‘Swedish Blue’… but who cares?

These two are together virtually all the time.  The family tie in ducks is very strong, which is so lovely to see.  I appreciate it particularly because I don’t see too many ties being exhibited in the chicken world.

Cheese & Swiss have never became really friendly, and like the drakes, they wont allow me too near.  

Swiss goes broody

Swiss in particular, is a force to be reckoned with when she turns broody, which she is prone to do.  If you want her to leave the nest, what a fight she puts up… hissing, huffing and puffing at me.  She hangs on to those eggs for dear life!

I had to take her off a nest once.  She had been sitting on them for weeks… longer than the normal three weeks.  I knew the eggs must have all gone bad, but she wouldn’t leave them.  It was quite a struggle but I finally managed to get her to leave.  After that I destroyed the nest so she couldn’t return to it.  Sure enough, they were all bad and I realised what the problem was.  The eggs weren’t close enough to the ground as there was actually some timber under where she had made the nest.  This would have prevented the necessary moisture getting to the eggs so that the little ones could hatch.  It was sad.

As I write this, she’s gone broody again.  This time she’s built a nest at the foot of a large gum tree down the back of the property.  I’ve decided to leave her there and hope she will have better success this time.

Ozzi becomes a Mum

Ozzi
Ozzi – part Rouen female

This lovely duck came to the property at the same time as Swiss and Cheese, so she knew them well.  She has more white on her head than the other Rouen ducks I have. 

Ozzi loves to eat out of my hand, especially if I clutch some seed in my fist.  She will burrow down between my fingers to seek out those lovely morsels.

As she had no family members with her, she tended to be a loner.  She was quite content all by herself, wandering around the property minding her own business.

But one day, I found that Ozzi had a secret… a secret stash of eggs that I had been missing!  She turned broody and sat there for three weeks.

It was Christmas Day in 2015 when all her bubs hatched.  What a wonderful Christmas present… I was so delighted!

Later on that same day she had them swimming on the dam.  How fast they could go… you could only watch and be amazed!

No loss to predators

We were lucky with these seven little ducklings as we didn’t lose any to predators such as hawks.  There were three girls and four boys, which when they reached maturity I found another home for them.  It was so sad to see them go as they were spectacular looking birds, even more beautiful than their father.

I have to say that I have never seen the drakes show any interest in protecting ducks while they sit, or in the raising of the bubs, unlike guinea fowl who take a keen interest in protection and raising.

Anyway, now Ozzi is no longer a loner.  Sometimes she goes off on her own, but often she’ll be right there with her three daughters.  It’s lovely she has some real family now.

Twinnies – Two of the Triplets

Called Twinnies as they are so similar
Twinnies – two of Ozzi’s daughters

These are two of Ozzi’s offspring.  They are both very similar birds, although one is larger than the other.  It’s been difficult for me to name them so I’ve simply called them ‘Twinnies’.  When they are together with the third bird, which is most of the time, I call them ‘the Triplets’.

I didn’t get to handle them as they were growing so they are not quite as friendly as I would have like, but never-the-less, they are generally friendlier than most of the other ducks.

It’s not so easy to pick up little ducklings when they’re are running around a big yard, especially when the mother always sounds an alarm if you try to touch them.

Little bodies that are growing as fast as these did, need a lot of nutrition.  I used to feed them three times a day.  This was their midday feast.

Khaki – third of the Triplets

Khaki
Khaki – a Rouen female, daughter of Ozzi

This duck stands out from her other siblings simply because she sports a big khaki coloured bill.  She’s a big bird too. I think it’s more normal to see a khaki bill on a male.

All the three Triplets have loud voices, they take after their mum.  She’s loud, so what else could we expect?

Angel (deceased – previously known as ‘Little Duckie’)

Angel - named because she glowed
Can you see the glow around Angel?

Way back in 2014, I set some guinea fowl eggs under a broody chicken hen.  At the last moment, I suddenly decided to add a duck egg as well.  Not sure why it did that, but I did.  Would I do it again?  Actually, no I wouldn’t, but you live and learn.

Both the guinea fowl keets and ducks take three weeks to hatch, and on that incredible day when I first opened the lid and discovered seven little faces peering up at me, there was also a fluffy yellow duckling!

To begin with I always referred to her as ‘Little Duckie’ but I began to notice that with most of the photos I took of her, they came out with a glow around her body.  I decided she should be renamed and she became ‘Angel’.  It’s quite strange, but the other white ducks don’t seem to ever have a glow like she did.  I called it her ‘aura’.

Angel dies

I had to lock her up often to keep her from the drakes as she was a real favourite.  One morning I went down to the hospital, where she was quite happy the night before, and found her dead!  Why she died will always remain a complete mystery to me.  She was young, fit and only the day before running around full of life.  We all miss Angel so much, it was an awful experience.

I’ve written a whole post on Angel as she was an amazing bird. (coming)

You can learn all about the keets and Angel through the other posts I’ve written.  How to Raise Guinea Fowl Keets

Angel & Cheese foraging

It was interesting to see that Cheese took a liking to Angel and began to spend time with her throughout the day.  I found that really nice as Angel had no duck family ties.  I mean, one of the white Pekin ducks would have been her mother, but I was never sure which one.  And of-course, they didn’t know that they were related either.  It was quite obvious that Toby was her father, but he was more interested in mating with her than being her relation.

Do you have ducks?  Have you taken the time to understand your ducks, with the personalities and differences?  What are some of your experiences?  I’d love to hear from you.

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